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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Fighting the good Fight. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Chezaday
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The problem with rip-offs are two fold. First your stealing the inventor's work, the research and developement involved in creating the illusion. Second, the prop will be inferior not only in construction but, the if the dimensions are off the illusion will be given away.

I've worked with illusions for over twenty years now .. I've seen the best and worst builders out there. The copies hurt all of us .. they make us all look bad.

Steve
Payne
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Quote:
On 2007-12-07 11:21, Timothy Drake wrote:

I'd say it then belongs in the same category as just about every other illusion out there to which there never was a patent. Legally copyable but not ethically.

Best,

Tim


But it still fails to answer the question as to when is it ethical to copy a creators effect. I never hear of people decrying a thin sawing as being a rip-off. The Disembodied Princess, Things That go Bump in the Night, Temple of Benaries, The Doll House and scores of other Illusions are all considered to be in the Public domain. How long until will it be until Origami or Interlude are safe to reproduce without fear of being labeled a Rip-Off. How long does a magician own the sole rights to his invention and should these standards be any different than any other industry?
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Swann101
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Ya, why is a much bigger fuss being made when Origami gets ripped of than when Zig Zag gets ripped off?
JasonB
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Read "Vanishing the Elephant". Keller and those guys ripped each other off all the time. The world is a smaller place with the internet we all know things very quickly. that's why you can't plead ignorance to ripping someone off. You can just go to the Café, etc and find out all about this stuff.

When will it be ethical. It will only be "ethical" and in "public domain" when it has been ripped off sooo much that everyone forgets that the illusion ever needed performing rights and when people like Tim and Jim Steinmeyer etc are gone. Because these people remind us that you can't just take something that isn't yours. I learned that in kindergarten.

If you even own a rip off illusion (most honestly look like a pile of ****) you are probably a sucky performer anyway. And not really worthy to share the title magician or illusionist with people the likes of Lance, David, Blackstone, S&R or yes even Angel (go see his live stage show and then tell me how much he sucks, please).

This is stealing STEALING. There is a bigger fuss over Origami because it is more recent of a development and perhaps because the creator is still alive and he doesn't love his illusions ripped off, also he is responsible for half the illusion in most modern magician's stage shows so perhaps the illusionists feel protective of him.

The other day I was going to open a thread saying "magic isn't an art" and have people talk about it. The same people who are o.k. owning rip offs or don't see the problem with it would be the first to defend that it is an art. So, whats the art? Knowing which effects to take from anothers act? What if Steinmeyer was a performer and did the origami exculsivly, would you still want it? If you took it then it would be STEALING. SO whats the difference between that and what's happening now? Someone creates something it is theirs and they have the "ethical rights" to do what they want so respect that. There are plenty of effects in books DVDs and on magic auction. Why must we all want only the thing we can't have?

If someone gets their knock off illusion taken, stolen at a show or from there trailer. Are they upset? That reminds me, I saw a great huge trailer the other day. I really liked it and trailers have been around for years plus a new one is sooo expensive. I think I'll go hitch up to it and take it.

Best
The Drake
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Thanks for that great post Jason.

Best,

Tim
Payne
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Yet still the question remains unanswered.

When does an effect become public domain? How much time needs to pass before you can produce "generics"?

No other industry allows a creator to have a monopoly on their product or idea indefinitely. Even big Pharmaceutical has to allow other companies to produce their creations after the patent protection period expires.

So will it be ethical to build Origamis in 2021 when the patent expires and if not why not?
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
The Drake
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Quote:
On 2007-12-07 15:24, Payne wrote:
Yet still the question remains unanswered.

When does an effect become public domain? How much time needs to pass before you can produce "generics"?
No other industry allows a creator to have a monopoly on their product or idea indefinitely. Even big Pharmaceutical has to allow other companies to produce their creations after the patent protection period expires.
So will it be ethical to build Origamis in 2021 when the patent expires and if not why not?


I think the question was answered in a sense. When an illusion is ripped to the point that its origins are in question then it tends to become public domain.

However Payne brings up a VERY interesting question. There is no time limit on magic effects. Should there be? Will there be? Who will be empowered to make such decisions on time? Would anyone enforce it?

It surely won't be IBM or SAM. They both ( along with a lot of other orgs ) have strong policies against knockoffs that are " overlooked" constantly to avoid ruffling feathers.

I don't know who it should be but I do know it shouldn't be someone in the building business who thinks.." I can make a quick buck on that .. so times up for the creator."

Best,

Tim
JasonB
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I knew Payne would say that again. You can't just reproduce the Mona Lisa or Anatomy of a Man, these like the Origami are works of art. And the aformentioned works of art ARE protected under copyright ect., laws even though they are far older an the Interlude. So time is of little matter if something still has value. Look you want legals ask a lawyer. If you want ethics than the answer is never unless you have permission or there is no one alive left to ask permission.
"When does an effect become public domain?" This question assumes that it must become public domain. Noting has to. Patents and copyrights can be renewed and ethics should stand.

Best
hugmagic
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There should not be limits on the "rights to effects".

I fought long and hard to maintain the standards and ethics of Horace Marshall. I am not about to hand them over to some bedroom manufacturer who wants to just take the ideas and use them. Why should they benefit from my r&d and experience?

The idea and effects of Horace Marshall and myself are mine until I die. After that I really don't give a hoot.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Christopher Starr
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Careful Richard - don't encourage some lunatic with a knock-off feather blow dart gun!

Chris
minnich_magic
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Payne,
With regard to Jim Steinmeyer's Origami patent, if that is what you are referring to, it is a design patent, issued in 1992. In contrast to utility patent duration lasting 17-20 years, U.S. design patents last only eleven years. This patent expired in 2003. However, expiration of a US patent does not give others the green light to copy. Jim may have foreign patents that are still in effect, not to mention the license agreement(s) with illusion builders, and countless performance agreements with illusionists. You would have to contact Jim, or other inventors for any illusion you were considering to find out if exclusivity is protected in any way by written documents between inventor and others. Or, if an inventor manufactures his own stuff, be ready to respect what he says.

In a way, I agree with Richard that "there should not be limits to the rights to effects." Those of us who have been in magic for a number of years realize that, if we are seeking an illusion to add to the show, such as a solid-thru-solid in a very small box, there are several to chose from. It is not necessary to hop on the "latest and greatest" illusion bandwagon. Choosing the less traveled path allows greater uniqueness to our show, anyway.

If more of us agree that we should respect an inventor's choice to keep an illusion out of public domain indefinitely, then we should look for alternative illusions in books or on the market, or exert a little creativity, and come up with something entirely new. That's the greatest way to make this industry grow.

Tom Minnich
abercrombe
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P&L made some beautiful props but many other companies made the same props but are not sought after by collectors. Carl Bremma & Sons turned out many gorgeous items in brass and other companies copied them but never duplicated them. P&L, Bremma, Harbin and builders of original creations should be kept in the history of magic so no matter how many kos are made proper credit will be given even if a hundred builders have made kos and try to lay claim to originality. The right to the creation should belong to the the one who created it even if it falls into the domain. I don't like obscure history because it makes truth harder to find and prove.
Abe
Jack Murray
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Tom Minnich is correct! Many here aren't familiar with his work but he created "Gear Head" currently on my site and many other effects yet to see the market. Tom is a brilliant designer and I have know him for many years.
I just wanted to introduce him on the Café'. Glade to see you here Tom!!

Jack
JoyJoy
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Losander´s film about copies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPwjFA_CueA
mark2004
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Quote:
On 2007-12-07 15:33, Timothy Drake wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-12-07 15:24, Payne wrote:
Yet still the question remains unanswered.

When does an effect become public domain? How much time needs to pass before you can produce "generics"? No other industry allows a creator to have a monopoly on their product or idea indefinitely.


I think the question was answered in a sense. When an illusion is ripped to the point that its origins are in question then it tends to become public domain.

However Payne brings up a VERY interesting question. There is no time limit on magic effects. Should there be? Will there be? Who will be empowered to make such decisions on time? Would anyone enforce it?

It surely won't be IBM or SAM. They both ( along with a lot of other orgs ) have strong policies against knockoffs that are " overlooked" constantly to avoid ruffling feathers.

I don't know who it should be but I do know it shouldn't be someone in the building business who thinks.." I can make a quick buck on that .. so times up for the creator."


Actually there are clearly established principles that ought to determine when an illusion becomes "public domain". Payne is close to the mark when he observes that in no other business is any person or firm allowed indefinite rights to an innovation. However that is not something that is decided by the industries, it is something determined by law.

There is a substantial body of law, developed over a long time, which governs rights in the field of "intellectual property". One of the foundations of that body of law is the idea that rights (eg. patents and copyright) are of fixed duration. They are temporary monopolies granted to creators by society in order to give creative people some incentive to create. Monopolies in general are considered undesireable - on the grounds that they are ultimately harmful to the interests of the great majority of people. So "rights" are in fact a trade-off between the interests of society in encouraging innovation and the interests of society in protection against monopolies. Thus the monopolies granted in the form of intellectual property rights have always been of specific and limited duration. That is a feature of IP law in major jurisdictions around the world and in international treaties. It is true that big corporations (especially from the music and movie industries) have lobbied with some success to increase the duration of rights but they have yet to remove the underlying foundation.

Anything that magicians decide between themselves or within bodies such as SAM or IBM and which goes beyond the provisions of the law is at best a codes of ethics. Such a code cannot be enforced against anyone who does not subscribe to it. Indeed to try to enforce such a code against the unwilling might fall foul of the law.

I know that some magicians dislike aspects of intellectual property law - the expense of enforcement and the need to disclose details in patent applications being two examples. However the law is not something any of us are free to pick and choose. It is a system that has been developed over many years to codify broadly agreed principles of justice. It involves compromises but no such system could avoid compromises. When it comes to the crunch - when there are disputes - it is patent law, copyrights and trademarks that define what "rights" actually consist of and how long they last. It is absolutely clear that rights to illusions are of finite duration.

Patents tend to be of shorter duration (typically a maximum of 20 years in UK law with some situations involving shorter times - I believe the order of magnitude is similar in the USA). Patents would offer exclusivity in the use of a method or a particular design for a gimmick. However they won't protect you against someone who achieves a similar effect with a prop that has a different design.

Copyright, which lasts a lot longer, will protect aspects of a presentation - similar to the way in which rights to theatrical productions are protected (I believe this was the means used by Houdini to maintain exclusivity for his water cell escape).

Trademarks might cover the name of an illusion or certain aspects of the visual design of a prop. They are generally a long lasting form of protection - but being less knowledgeable about trademarks I can't say much more about the details or about how they vary between jurisdictions.

As I understand it from what 'minnich_magic' posted, Jim Steinmeyer's Origami patent expired in 2003 in the USA. That seems to imply that anyone in the USA is now free to use that method. I don't know if he has a trademark or copyright that covers the use of the name "origami" in connection with the effect - if he does then that would imply that people can build a prop using his method but they'd have to give it a different name and possibly make it look different in some way to make it distinguishable from a Steinmeyer prop.

I don't see how license agreements or "performance agreements" (refered to be 'minnich_magic') could be enforceable if they are not founded upon one or more of the legally established intellectual property rights. Once the underlying right expires then no agreement or contract could grant any exclusivity or other meaningful right deriving from it.

Protection in other jurisdictions depends on what Steinmeyer has done to protect his interests there. If he took out patents then those might still be in force, but they are likely to expire by about 2012 at the latest. If he didn't take out patents then the "knock off" builders have been within their legal rights to use his method. Same with trademarks - if he registered a trademark then there might be long lasting protection against anyone else using the name "Origami" for such an illusion or against anyone making a prop that looks like Steinmeyer's Origami. If he is relying on copyrights then that might be more complicated - they are not something you formally register or apply for but something that automatically occurs when the work in question is initially created. I don't know when Origami was first performed in Europe or who did it and I'm not sure who would gain the copyright, Steinmeyer or the performers. (I have a feeling it was The Pendragons but I'm not sure)

For those who are interested, I initiated a thread titled "Duration of IP rights in magic" wthin the "Right or Wrong" section of the forum.
Dennis Michael
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Quote:
For those who are interested, I initiated a thread titled "Duration of IP rights in magic" wthin the "Right or Wrong" section of the forum.


Here is a link to that section:
Right or Wrong: Duration of IP Rights in Magic.
Dennis Michael
Terry Holley
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If you haven't checked out this thread, I suggest doing so.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=7&2

I believe it's pertinent to this conversation.

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
mark2004
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Quote:
On 2007-12-10 13:28, Terry Holley wrote:
If you haven't checked out this thread, I suggest doing so.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=7&2

I believe it's pertinent to this conversation.

Terry


I just tried that link and it seemed to be broken. Has the thread been moved? Can you give us some indication of what it was about?
Kex
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The law seems to be a world filled with shades of grey while the ethical code of magicians is black and white. It's like comparing apples to oranges when we discuss this. Not that I support ripping off effects but I have a question. Are deceptive bases in the same catagory as a whole illusion? If we are upset that someone steals an illusion and makes knock-offs of it then why not complain about using someones hard work that produces a beautifully deceptive base? I really see no diference in the two. If bases were as 'guarded and protcted' as illusions then I think the world of illusions would be no where near what it has become in todays age. Hate me if I'm wrong but let's give credit to the ground work that got us where we are and pay respects to that as well.

Kex
Terry Holley
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Quote:
On 2008-01-05 08:59, mark2004 wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-12-10 13:28, Terry Holley wrote:
If you haven't checked out this thread, I suggest doing so.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=7&2

I believe it's pertinent to this conversation.

Terry


I just tried that link and it seemed to be broken. Has the thread been moved? Can you give us some indication of what it was about?


I believe this was the thread that was moved form "Grand Illusion" to "Secret Sessions" because of information in certain posts that was deemed too much information for an open forum.

Moving the thread eliminated posts from those who had less than 50. Because I replied to an individual who had less than 50, one or more of my posts are now gone just as his are (although in one of my posts you will see his initial response and my reply). So to some degree, the thread appears to me to be bit harder to follow.

Check out the following thread for the redirected and edited discussion:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=37

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
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