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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Statute of limitations (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

hobbymagic
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Houston, Texas
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What is the statute of limitaions on magic "things"? If the person who invented the double lift made a video tape (I am exaggerating to make a point) would every one who used the DL have to buy the tape (based on ethics)?

When does something become common practice and is fair game for anyone to use?
Jonathan Townsend
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Ossining, NY
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First the thing has to be let loose by the inventor.

From there we have some grey areas. Like is it okay to teach a move that is in print in your own work (without permission)?

You might want to look around at those who've been writing and inventing for many years and notice that magicians have VERY long and accurate memories. And are not so likely to forget when something is "borrowed", especially when it was already published and could simply be cited.

If you believe it's okay to treat other people's work as 'fair game' to be copied, then you should be okay with having your work copied as well. IF that bothers you, then why should it be okay to treat someone else's work that way?

When is someone else's work "fair game". Never. Especially in magic, which is built upon not only engineering but upon SECRETS.

If the golden rule does not suffice for you and you require a hands on lesson ...someday, maybe you will be fortunate enough to make some discoveries. Then perhaps you will understand.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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No, REALLY - when does something fall into the public domain? It's an issue that spans many areas of creativity right now, when the laws are trying to keep pace with new demands.

Go right back to the basic question ... do any of you forum members do a double lift? A Hammann count? Have you ever palmed a card or coin? Have you ever bought a book by Hammann describing the count? That would give you the right to perform the "secret move" ... have you ever bought a book by whoevcer invented the double lift or who first palmed an object?? If not, then you're stealing!

In fact, I happen to know [I channeled it on a Ouija board] that the double lift was invented by Philippe the Mountebank, hung for witchcraft in the middle ages ... palming was invented by Ra-Houdini-Tep around the time the Great Pyramid was built (some guy in a flying saucer gave him the idea) - absent a purchase receipt for a parchment or papyrus from one of these guys, you are all violating the rights of the creators and their heirs. Hammann, of course, is still with us (I think).

Okay, I've stretched this far enough ... we all agree, I think, that buying the inventor's published description buys the right to perform, but how far back do you have to go?

The IBM ring in my area published a members-only "parade" sort of booklet for the holidays one year, and someone suggested we submit it to "The Linking Ring" - the officers all tabled the suggestion and privately agreed that the booklet was riddled with "borrowed" effects "like you always get when you put together this kind of thing." The experience changed my outlook about the membership in general, many of whom often made a fuss about "stolen" tricks (except, it would seem, when they did them.)

Or is this a bit like the old joke (I heard it attributed to Churchill) - "Madam, would you sleep with me for a million?" - "Sir, you make yourself hard to resist." - "Would you sleep with me for five dollars?" - "What kind of lady do you think I am?" - "We've already established what kind of lady you are, now we're negotiating a price."
Jonathan Townsend
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Some of us at least try to research our sources, so when we write we can honor the works that informed our own efforts.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
another guest
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No, of course you don't have to buy.
House
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-02-01 07:29, another guest wrote:
No, of course you don't have to buy.


Of course you don't HAVE TO buy.

And of course nobody has to show you anything new or useful either.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Bill Palmer
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When you are discussing things like legal matters, it is important to get the terminology right. "Statute of Limitations" refers to the time between the commission of a crime and the filing of an arrest warrant for the person who did it. There is no statute of limitations on murder. I believe you are wondering about when a magic trick passes into the public domain.

That's a sticky issue, no matter how lightly Ross wants to treat it.

If something is patented under a "utility patent," the duration is 20 years. If it is patented under a design patent, the duration is 14 years. Patents are non-renewable. However, most magic tricks aren't patented. About the only protection they get is copyright protection, and that may not protect the essence of the trick. Copyrights cover graphical representations and/or recordable representations of something -- books, music, movies, videos, drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures -- these are copyrightable. The duration of a copyright is 95 years from the death of the author (it's recently been extended). So that's a much better deal. They are also cheaper. But they offer less protection. They protect the exact wording (or close derivatives thereof) or the exact drawing (or close derivative thereof). So a person can change just a few words (theoretically) and have a new work.

But Intellectual Property law is in a state of flux. Much of it is determined in courtrooms. Some of it makes no sense at all.

So, what we have going for us in magic is a code of ethics. It's not well-defined. And some people delight in claiming they invented things that they had little or nothing to do with. Right now, I am working on research that will track down the origins of a coin gimmick that several people claim to own. When I have my proof, there will be a lot of apologies going around the magic community.

Some illusionists feel that all of their creations have an unlimited lifespan. 'Taint so. Even the one that is causing the biggest stir right now -- the Pendragons' 360 degree levitation, has its origins in something Mark Wilson did 40 years ago. Mark just didn't show it on television because he thought it weakened the effect.

When John Gaughan patented the Copperfield Flying, he set a time limit on how long it will be exclusive.

I think most of us know when we are stealing. If the originator of a move or trick is still alive, or if the commercial vendor of the trick is still selling it, and you want to use part of it in something you are doing, it's a simple matter to write or call the person -- or e-mail them -- and ask permission.

If you do, I guarantee that you will surprise the heck out of them, and they will probably give you permission to use it. This is especially true of material other people have knocked off already without permission.

Sometimes all it is, is lip service. But in the end, it makes you feel better, and it gives the person you asked a whole lot more respect for you.

And the rest of the magic community will eventually learn about it and respect you.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JackScratch
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http://www.copyright.gov/

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html#duration

Handy little site. Acording to that site, copywrite pre 1978 have all expired. Copywrites post 1978 all last 95 - 120 years, depending on the specifics of the particular copywrite. In otherwords, before 78 it is public domain, After 78 it nevver will be. Personaly, I think the law is completely retarded and the work of "Der Mouse".
Bill Palmer
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That is not the complete story. First of all, Drew, the word is copyright, not copywrite. The site does not say that all copyrights prior to 1978 have expired. It says that the ones that have not been renewed have expired. The ones that have been renewed are now covered by the present law. You need to check out all of the links on the site to understand how this works.

Part of one of the links states that after the original pre 1978 copyright or renewal has expired then
"(2)(A) At the expiration of the original term of copyright in a work specified in paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection, the copyright shall endure for a renewed and extended further term of 67 years...."

So, a copyright renewed in 1977, would be good until 2072. That's 1977 + 28 + 67.

Drew, I keep up on these things. I'm not an IP attorney, but my family has been in the publishing business for 3 generations. Most of my income now comes from royalties on 789 items my father wrote, and another couple of dozen that I wrote.

I own anywhere from 1/3 to 1/9 of all his material. It keeps me in cups.

This is another one of those cases of "drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring."


The law is now more in favor of the artist than the publisher.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JackScratch
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Sorry, I grossely abreviated the issue, incorrectly at that, and you can pretty much get comfortable with typos on any forum, I spelled it correctly in the link.

While my beliefs on the subject certainly wouldn't be favorable to your situation, which I am sorry for, that doesn't change them. I believe copyrights stand entirely too long. Our society has no start to finish concepts that are original, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and they on the shoulders of other giants. The longer copyrights stand, the slower we develop intellectually. Also there is the issue of our past being sold back to us at a premium. Nostalga and retro is big business, more often than not, profiting someone other than the original artists, much like in the situation you describe. I hold absolutely no ill will towards you for it, I simply believe it is time for change. I wouldn't worry, no one is likely to change any legislation because of my beliefs.
Bill Palmer
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There is a reason that patents are short and copyrights are long. If you go to the opening pages of the IP law section of the federal statutes, you will gain a much more vivid picture of this.

I do feel that copyrights should last at least for the life of the original author and his spouse or significant other. This may seem long to you, but when you get into the business of creating material for a living, your perspective changes.

Some people think copyrights should last 20 years or so. I don't think that's right at all. Take a look at all of the money that Sony and other recording companies are making from reissues of albums recorded during the 1960's - 1980's as DVD's. There are virtually no production costs at all. Without an obligation to pay the artists for their work -- without which these companies would be in other businesses -- they would be raking in a hell of a lot more money than they are now. And they won't go broke any time soon.

The nostalgia craze has always been with us. One of the ironic things about the nostalgia situation is that Irving Berlin outlived many of his copyrights. So did Eubie Blake. Nobody foresaw the resurgence of ragtime music. Should they have been paid for their work -- Absolutely!

Your argument that the longer copyrights stand the slower we develop intellectually is pure horse crap. Long copyrights encourage original work. If you have to come up with your own material you have to think.

Go back to the spring and drink deeper.

Basically, you are arguing a topic that you have no knowledge of at all.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JackScratch
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Yeah, I figured I would catch hell for that post. 20 years wasn't what I had in mind, but assuming that someone didn't start producing intelectual works when they were 5, how long is the average lifetime, measured in production years? I agree, people should be allowed to make a profit from their hard work, and that their right to do so should be legaly defendable, but current copyright laws last up to 120 years, assuming the average writer starts writeing at 18 (and I'm not), your talking about someone living to be 138. Not only do I not expect this to be the average, I don't expect it to be the exception, either.

Would it realy be that hard for Congres to put "the life span of the creator" into something? How bout an "X or X whichever is longer"? I just think copyrights durations are excessive.
silverking
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Quote:
I just think copyrights durations are excessive.


Are you the author of any copyrighted material?
JackScratch
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Not yet, but I intend to be. Likewise, I can say from experience that I do not always have opinions that are in my favor. I tend to be a very fair minded person. Also I don't think I'm going to live to be 134, which is how old I would be, if I published a copyrighted work today, when the copyright expired. Kinda see my point?

Not saying you intended thism but I don't care for the inferance that question makes. You think only people with copyrighted material should have opinions on the subject? I'm all for copyrights. I'm a big fan of capitalism. I'm a big believer in a persons right to profit from their works. I also believe strongly in antitrust laws, and think they should be stricter. I feel that the bigger and more profitable the business, the more restrictions should be put on it. I feel very strongly that copyrights should expire. I don't know precisely how long I think they should last, I'm very open to discussion, but I think 95-120 years is excesive as both excede the average lifespan, and no one writes the day they are born.
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