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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Protecting your Idea, Protecting your client (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

reedrc
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A section regarding keeping your concept yours,
Protecting against knck off artists, protecting your client and so on. So here we go
Kind Regards

Ryan C. Reed
Founder, Illusion Entertainment

designer, director, theatrical consultant, digital wizard, magic impresario, wonder aficionado, Illusioneer & dream architect.

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Chance Wolf
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I was quite surprised to see the original topic deleted but fully support the Café's decisions. I stand behind all my previous post regarding this topic and even deleted some original posts after considering the viewponts of others.
How can we change the Ethics problems if people Fear the TRUTH. It is so anti-productive to "back-out" from a topic once the FACTS are stated.
Come on guys, let's be realistic, stand some ground and fight for what is right.
I will post further opinions on this matter, when I have more time, and be sure not to be specific to other Manufacturers or Distributors.
Let me state for the record, if my company is EVER found crossing the lines of ethics or Ripping-Off others works, I will be the FIRST to put my head on the Chopping block and let everybody take a swing. I have enough character and courage to take what is due rather than hide behind those who will protect the cheats from the magic community.
Man amI Enraged! Smile
Just when I thought SOMETHING was getting accomplished.
Chance Wolf
Wolf's Magic
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

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mike_york
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Ok I will admit I was very out of place on the deleted topic. In the heat of the moment I said something’s I should have kept my mouth shut on. And I humbly and sincere apologies if I offended anyone. You know what they say "the truth hurts".


I am sad to see the topic gone. But I fully understand why. Defamation of character probably was an issue here. I was reading my post last night and saw that I was unclear and sounded like I was attacking a certain company. I did not mean for it to come out that way. I was really focus on the company who built the stuff. Once again I offer my apologies here. I just got caught up in the heat of the moment.

I will however repeat what I did post on the old topic.

A certain distributor of illusions and other magical effects "is only a small fraction of the problem. We need to go after the guys who build cheap rip offs."

I guess the point I was trying to get across is the fact these guys knowing sell rip offs to people. Then they come back when approached with "I didn't know" Is pretty lame if you ask me.

The only thing these manufactures need to do is just plan simple. Stop selling cheap imitations. That's all that I ask for. After they do sell quality magic from reputable people. And that's perfectly fine. After all that’s what a magic dealer does.


Ryan has a good idea here and I think we all need to step in a give our ideas. Ethics in magic has been a controversially issue for many years now. And it seams like it gets worse every day.

How do we stop this? I really don't think you can stop anyone from saying hey that's cool.

If something is really cool and could possible work for you go to the creator and ask what it would take to get one. Pay the proper royalties and give proper credit for the prop.
What so freaking hard about that?

I think people are for one too lazy and don't want to pay the price. But look at what you paying for. Some else hard work that’s cost them thousand more. So in a way you are taking the cheap and easy way out to begin with. So don't you think they deserve the proper credit?



I will post further when I can get all of my ideas collected.

I would like to here Ryan’s comments on this matter. Since his company designs illusions. I am sure they have some very good comments and suggestions on this matter.

Any chance of getting some other builders here?


Mike
Thomas Wayne
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There is one very simple solution that is EXTREMELY effective, if one wants to protect their creation:

Take several pictures of it from various POV's. Submit those pictures along with $25 and the properly filled-out forms to the USPTO, in application for a VA (visual arts) copyright. Do this when your creation is first released to the marketplace - or before.

Some time in the future, if/when your baby is "counterfeited", pursue the distributor with an IP infringement action. When the distributor claims innocence he will be forced to name the source (builder), who is probably foreign. Now you contact the US Customs Office.

Importation of counterfeit goods - defined (among other things) as any violation of a REGISTERED copyright - is a federal crime, and is punishable by a MINIMUM of $25,000 fine and one year in jail. That's the minimum; it can go as high as $250,000 and TEN years in jail. That's for EACH violaton, which - for our purposes - means each time a ripped-off unit is sold to the public or otherwise re-distibuted. These laws are VERY enforceable and come with a real set of teeth. US Customs has been very accommodating to me in the past and will fully investigate any legitimate complaint.

You just have to get off your dead butt and actually file for the copyright to begin with.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Chance Wolf
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After spending 20 years plus in the Professional Graphic Arts world, I found it a habit to submit all Copyright protection forms for all my creations, mainly Comic Book Characters and Artwork which was to be mass produced. I was never quite sure that this covers Physical Objects/Inventions but either way, it is a beginning to a defense. I have filed all the protections possible regarding my new creations in magic as well.
Thomas, I am glad you have found this an effective means of protection and I will thankfully follow your lead. You are correct, a guy can't complain too much if he hasn't even taken the time to begin even a basic protection plan. I am not too sure how much this will scare the Pirates but usually a knock at the door from a local Official is pretty frightning Smile
What is to stop creators from simply gathering FACTS, creating an Ad of Exposure, pooling their money and placing an ad in Magic magazine stating facts, showing the weakness in design and originality, stating legal implications etc. Of course we could have an Attorney friend in the industry approve it on a legal basis first. It would be very inexpensive and bring it right out to the frontlines. I can assure you I will do this if I ever face this problem. It is time to stop throwing Softballs and show we are serious.
Chance Wolf
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

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Kent Messmer
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Mr. Wayne, who does the Customs Office go after? The importers, importers or the dealers?

I own a magic store and have taken items off my site that are rip offs when I found out they were rip offs. These have been times the creator has contacted me.

There are so many items out there. Some fall under public domain, others do not. I have never seen a list of one or the other. How is one to know?

If one does not file a copyright or patten, how are intellectual property rights enforced?

Even with pattens people get around them with small changes. What is to stop, other than ethics, someone from making such items. Where is the line drawn?

I have ideas on existing effects with different applications but do not know if I can create and sell them without the magic world banishing me. How can I know if I am ripping off an idea without exposing it to someone else to pre-rip off me before I can put it out?

Yada yada yada. Thanks for your help

Kent
Steven Steele
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Chance,
You might also consider issuing performing rights licenses to those who purchase your creations. I have received such rights from several of the more expensive creations I have purchased over the past couple of years. Some of them give me complete rights; some grant everything except TV rights.
I think if every legitimate manufacturer (read creator) of effects does this we will all be alot better off.

Steven
Chance Wolf
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Steven,
Great advice! I am releasing a signature effect of mine which I performed for many years as a restaurant magician. I had considered the option you recommend and now have decided to go with it. I will be adding a Certificate of Authenticity signed and numbered as well. I think it adds abit more protection as well as a personal respect to the buyer. This is at least a beginning step in controlling this situation of piracy.
Kent, I can address the issue of "pre-rip-off's" ( which is a pretty funny line Smile ) Since the beginning of my new company, Regarding, re-invention/ recreation or new ideas, I have chosen a few trusted and very knowledgeable people in magic to bounce my ideas off of. After as much research as possible and getting their opinions, I decide to pursue the idea. I can assume you are an honest guy and I advise you to just be honest with your self, make a fair assessment of the "changes" and decide "is this truly different enough or a fresh enough spin to justify a release. After all, we have to live with ourselves in this business and it is very hard to detach your name from a product once it hits the market. If your in this for the long-haul, as I am, then I trust you will try to make the right decisions. Good luck and if you ever need some help or my advice, please ask Smile
Chance Wolf
Wolf's magic
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

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magic 12376
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I have a question for anyone in the know.
When I was in high school, I designed an illusion that since that time has been published by a fairly well known magician.
I had blue prints made at that time. Unfortunately, short of having these carbon tested for age or the testimony of the person who put the design on blue print via robo-cad, I really couldn't prove that this idea was mine over 10 years ago. Aside from that I really have no intention of making waves for this fellow who has released the effect as, I have never met him. What he releaseed, he came up with independent of me.
I also like the guys work and have, and do purchase his material.In fact I owned a magic shop a couple of years ago and sold his stuff to others. He has been selling this effect and publishing it for some time.
Have I, at this point lost all rights to ever market this as my creation. There some differences but nothing is a huge leap in a different direction as far as mechanics. This has happened with a smaller effect I once came up with as well. In this case it was a different creator/inventor. The problem here is I never documented anything and cannot prove it, but I feel I may have been indirectly ripped off, and in this case if I could prove it I would pursue legal action against both parties involved.
To keep this from happening again, what can I do, short of a patent as that can become pricey, to protect myself and prove when I concieved an idea for an effect? Someone suggested that I make a detailed drawing and written explaination and mail it to myself certified then I would have dated proof of the concept. Any other. suggestions?

Ronald R. Romiski
Kent Messmer
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Thanks Chance.

Ronald, I don't know how much weight this would hold but, years ago I checked into one of those companies that "helps" people get patents and the first thing they told me to do is to draw up with the most detail etc. my invention and take it to a post office and have them post mark it, then mail it to myself and DON'T open it. File it away in a safe place. I think this is good idea as it would at least show a time line of when you came up with the idea.

Kent
reedrc
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We have all of our designs Notorized in sealed envelopes and locked in a safety deposit box, along with digital representations on CD & DVD.

Chance mentioned he wanted my thoughts on this sort of thing. So bear with me a few hours I'll get back to ya.
Kind Regards

Ryan C. Reed
Founder, Illusion Entertainment

designer, director, theatrical consultant, digital wizard, magic impresario, wonder aficionado, Illusioneer & dream architect.

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Peter Loughran
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Mailing yourself an envelope as a form of copyright is a myth or an urban ledgend. Who ever told you that should not be answering your questions. They simply do not know what they are talking about.

To prove my point:

For instance I could mail myself an empty envelope, now I own an empty envelope with a date on it, just waiting to be filled with someone elses secret or idea that pops up anytime after I recieved my own enevelope.

Talk to your legal advisor about copyright laws and pat.s as they are different, in your state or country, and they will explain to you your lines of action in protecting your secret or idea the best that you can.

But unfortunately some pirates will find ways to sell rip offs through fake names and address or from operating out of P.O. boxes.

There are steps you can take as an inventor to help protect your invention. Such as offering extras or tech support to those who register with you. Like software producers do.

P.
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wow
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Guys .
We can talk about this for years!!!!! Botton Line is..........
Rolex make billons of dollars a year world wide But they cant stop the rip offs, so what chance do we illusionists have !
If you want the best you buy Rolex if you want cheap S--T buy a $40 watch. It comes down to the buyer ! If the maker cant find a market to sell, HE WILL STOP SELLING !!
Steven Steele
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Chance,
I'm glad you liked my advice. The only other thing I would add, is as a purchaser of an effect that includes performing rights, I feel that I am protected as well.

I also think it sends a message to would be copycats. Daryl used to publish his effects with red paper; so it couldn't be copied. (That was before the wide spread use of computers and people who thimk tha kan tipe korrectlee). Smile

Steven
Kent Messmer
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Sorry if I gave the impression that a post marked letter was the same as a copyright. That is not
what I said. For one, have every page postmarked, put in envelope, mail to yourself and don't
open. All this will do is give a verified time when you came up with an idea. It still will not hold
any water if someone else files a copyright or patent.

I still don't know much about intellectual property and how it works but I would think that if
someone went through the time and expense to file a patent/copyright on say a square circle, and
was given the patent, that they would have the right to have all others stop making them and be
able to enforce it. Even though there are hundreds out there and someone could show that it was
their idea before the patent was issued, if the patent was issued (which if it was the patent office
would have checked to see if a patent had been filed before issuing another one) the patent holder
would have the law on their side. Unfortunately in the magic world, this person would be black balled and
excommunicated even though they paid to protect “their” invention.

Does anyone know how I/P works. Is there a filing process?

Kent
Vaclav
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Quote: I have ideas on existing effects with different applications but do not know if I can create and sell them without the magic world banishing me. How can I know if I am ripping off an idea without exposing it to someone else to pre-rip off me before I can put it out?

It is very tricky, but maybe you should try contact the originator of the effect and tell him, that you have an idea for improvement of the effect. And you would like to obtain a permission to produce it. But do not say what the improvement is over the phone, but offer to fax it or E-mail it. That way you will have a legal proof of your idea. And maybe they even can help you to manufacture it.
An perfect example of this is could be the ZIG ZAG illusion.
Originally you would have to purchase Harbin's book, which included blueprint and a agreement, that you can make one for yourself.
Then there was this guy who approached manufacturer John Pomeroy and told him that he purchased the book second hand and the agreement was not there any more, but he would like to have one (ZIG ZAG that is) and if Mr.Pomeroy can build it.
Since the agreement was missing John Pomeroy refused. But then he contacted Harbin ,explained the situation and asked Harbin permission to make it for this guy.
Harbin agreed and furthermore granted John world wide right to build ZIG ZAGS.Also they started a correspondence which lasted until Harbins death.
John also made about 35 improvements to ZIG ZAG which were all approved by Harbin.
Of course nobody else pretty much cared about the ethics and ripped it of, but that is a different story.
So if you want to be sure that you are not ripping off anyone go directly to the source and keep all the correspondence and records on file to protect your self.
Hope this helps a little.
Vaclav
JamesinLA
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I have, unfortunately, had to hire an intellectural property lawyer once a few years ago. We made out pretty well considering who we were going up against. He taught me that to prove intellectural property violations you must prove 1) that the offending party had access to your material, and 2) that your material is substantially like the offending party's material. This is an inverse equation. The more access you can prove, the less similarity you need. Also, in my business, an idea or concept is not copyrightable. But rather, the original "expression" of that idea. I'm not sure how this translates to illusions but for what it's worth, there it is.
Best,
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
magic 12376
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Quote:

To prove my point:

For instance I could mail myself an empty envelope, now I own an empty envelope with a date on it, just waiting to be filled with someone elses secret or idea that pops up anytime after I recieved my own enevelope.



I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but by mailing it certified in the United States, a section of the form that is filled out in order to mail anything certified is placed with adhesive areas over the back of the envelope. This would now act as a sort of seal. If this were tampered with with I would assume your proof dosen't hold up. The idea was to not open the envelope once you recieved it. Now in the event you ever needed to prove, or establish a timeline in regards to when you created the effect you present the unopened envelope.
I agree there are still many flaws in this system, but short of patent what other way is there of establishing "Rights" to something.

Ron Romiski
reedrc
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To comment about proving someone has or had access to material. We use the digital world for this. Computers are our friend Smile

For viewing blueprints design, & product:

We're using a custom designed sever system that tracks a user's path and action on the section with secure material. This includes usernames, IP address, dates, times, what kind of computer and OS they use, where they click and how long they have been there. If they've downloaded something: and WHAT they'd downloaded.

This all comes with a user end agreement in this secure section of these facts that locks the user into this, so by clicking next this user agrees to this digital contract, furthermore making a solid agreement by accessing this section with a username and password. Keep in mind this is all after the user is validated with phone, address, company and so on. So we have that info too.

All data is recorded and burned to CD every month, then archived.

Just some of the things were doing online to be sure our investments as well as client investments are well protected.

For design, fabrication and rights.
Typically there are 15 to 20 illusions each year:
IEI only sells TWO of each illusion in our line.
Whether the user buys the rights or chooses to do fabrication (fabrication comes with rights) we only have two completely custom built unique props.........worldwide........ And that’s it. These illusions are licensed to these individuals exclusively to perform anytime anywhere unrestricted for a period of 113 years. This helps us and the client keep track of the investment as well as keeping the pieces completely two of a kind ......Literally.

The second secure source is WE BUY our props back if the client grows tired or wants something new. Its in the contract that they are not to sell the piece to anyone but IEI. This way the prop does not land in the hands of someone INCAPABLE of performing it, or someone looking to sell it online and so-on. Again this way we have complete control who ends up with our unique product worldwide.

This also pushes IEI to come up with completely new and innovative illusions each year, Keeping the industry rolling and evolving in technology's.
Its a fantastic challenge for us as well!

So this way we have many UNIQUE illusions
and less of 20 to 50 somethings out there....

Just some of the things we are doing to protect many of our designs & props. Its worked very well for IEI and its clients.
Kind Regards

Ryan C. Reed
Founder, Illusion Entertainment

designer, director, theatrical consultant, digital wizard, magic impresario, wonder aficionado, Illusioneer & dream architect.

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