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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magical Accessories » » What do you think of Bob Kohler's Holdout System? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Saqib16
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Yes, I am sorry for what I said also...
wert
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Just imagine if all the time and effort spent finding legal protections had been used to actually bring the device to market. I'm guessing (and I could well be wrong) that it potentially could have been available for some time by now.

I'm sure it'll be wonderful when it does arrive.

I wish Kohler and Co. the very best in actually keeping their device a "secret."

Only time will tell if this legal strategy will be efficacious. I have my doubts, but I'm willing to take a "wait and see" attitude.
Chance Wolf
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On 2003-04-12 15:12, wert wrote:
Just imagine if all the time and effort spent finding legal protections had been used to actually bring the device to market. I'm guessing (and I could well be wrong) that it potentially could have been available for some time by now.

I'm sure it'll be wonderful when it does arrive.

I wish Kohler and Co. the very best in actually keeping their device a "secret."

Only time will tell if this legal strategy will be efficacious. I have my doubts, but I'm willing to take a "wait and see" attitude.


This is an odd observation. Have you ever thought that maybe a creator is capable of multi-tasking? Why would it make a difference to the creator, or you, when it is released. I have a truckload of ideas I would love to release asap, however, I am patient enough to wait it out until the product is FULLY developed, unlike the half-thought products so quickly released for whatever reason, as well as protecting the idea as much as possible. There is SO MUCH "dead-time" during the development of a new product which would easily be a substantial amount of time to spend legally protecting your idea.
I am not trying to be a jerk, I just think your reply was not well thought out and slightly disrespectful to creators and their process, whichever they choose.
Finally, even if this strategy does NOT work...at least he tried his best and may pave a new path of thought and methods to protect our ideas. We have to fail to succeed sometimes, at any cost.
Good luck
Chance Wolf
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Tim Trono
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Saqib16... To say "I think he is being pretty greedy and selfish about the whole holdout thing. Where is the trust?" is absolutely ludicrous.

Both Bob Fitch and Bob Kohler have spent years (20+) on developing this system. They have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on prototypes, filming, etc. They have spent countless (!!!) hours putting this together. So they should just "give" it away? So they shouldn't trust when just looking around ideas are being ripped off left and right? Would you work on something for 20 years and just give it away? I'd also challenge you.. if you took the F/K holdout to a machinist and asked him to make up a set you'd be getting asked the same price or more.

Also you state "Magic isn't like any other business if you haven't realized that yet." Just because you "assume" that is the case does not make it reality. For many shops, dealers, distributors, and creators magic IS a business. I applaud people like Kohler for working to make it more of a business instead of this thing people don't take seriously. The problem becomes when people think like you that it is not and thus don't abide by what is right - i.e., just deciding it's OK to steal ideas, not giving creators the money/credit they deserve for their time, etc. You say you don't think licenses are "valid" as far as software and magic you don't think the legality will be pushed you are WRONG. I can guarantee you that if companies such as Microsoft know about particular pirating they WILL go after it. Just write to them and let them know you are getting pirated software... try it and see what happens.

I think your attitude is precisely why people such as Kohler have to work extra to PROTECT their years of work, their investment.

I think Dave hit the nail on the head when he asked "Do you think everyone should have everything in magic just handed to them?" The answer is NO. This system is NOT for everyone. It will take lots of work, you'll have to "live with it". And thus Kohler is protecting his item but also protecting the curious... they won't waste their money as it is too far of a reach. For those using this it is a bargain. But you have to be absolutely dedicated... dedicated enough to sign the lease, dedicated enough to pay the price, dedicated enough to live with this item. If you can't do this go look at one of the other thousands of items out there.

Finally there are a few posts apologizing after Kohler wrote his post. Again, isn't this yet another example of too little too late? In other words, you get on this board or others and badmouth him, his product, etc., then when you see you are WRONG you expect a simple "sorry" or such to save the day.

THNK before you post! Your words do have power and thus you should have some responsibility for what you say. Unfortunately there is no accountability, no responsibility issued on various boards.

Bob is a person of the highest integrity, loves magic, has given a tremendous amount back, etc. He's spent a lot of time, money, frustration, etc. giving us access to some wonderful items with many more to come. Don't screw it up. Trust me, I can tell you for a fact that these type of posts DO make creators second guess themselves as to why they even bother releasing anything. If you took the amount of time and money involved in a project such as the Holdout and compared it to what Kohler and Fitch actually make I can absolutely assure you it is more for the love of it than a get rich thing.

Sorry if I come across harshly but I just see this time after time and it hurts all of us. Again... THINK before you hit the "post" button.

Tim Trono
Turk
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Quote:
On 2003-04-11 23:18, Saqib16 wrote:
I think he is being pretty greedy and selfish about the whole holdout thing. Where is the trust?


The trust has long since evaporated due to the unethical behavior of the magician population in general.

Turk

P.S. While I may never get one of these hold-outs from Bob, I understand the thinking behind his pricing stategy.

Also, 10+ years of refineent, engineering, re-engineering, and testing should count for something!! And the product is machined to the nth degree. I would expect it to be of surgical instrument quality and precision. This type of quality doesn't come cheap.

That said, I can't wait for Jim Riser's hold-out to be manufactured or for JonTown's "sleeveless" device to hit the markets.
Magic is a vanishing Art.

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Eschew obfuscation.
cgscpa
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Quote:
On 2003-04-11 23:18, Saqib16 wrote:
I think he is being pretty greedy and selfish about the whole holdout thing. Where is the trust?


Good question. How many times do you see on this board things like "why buy it when you can make it?" Which translates to "why pay the creator for his creation when you can rip him off instead?"

As to Mr. Kohler's Hold Out System - it's simple supply and demand economics. If you like it enough and will use it, you'll buy it.

As a hobbiest and amateur, I probably won't be buying this anytime soon. But the last thing I feel is "excluded". I'm sure it's worth every penny. As long as Mr. Kohler has effects like "The Black Envelope" and "Aces in their Faces" available, there are plenty of his great effects available to me.

I met Mr. Kohler once at Barry's Magic Shop in Maryland. He stopped by to say hello and I was introduced to him. He didn't know me from Adam yet gladly showed me some things he was working on. A truly nice guy of magic.
chrismatt
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Quote:
On 2003-04-12 13:40, Bob Kohler wrote:
Greetings from Holdout Central!

Let me clear up a few things concerning our release of the Fitch/Kohler Professional Holdout System.

First, let me make it perfectly clear that the intention of our lease agreement is to keep our system and its secrets from being exposed on television, manufactured by others and freely given or traded away. When I first got into magic, it was much more difficult to obtain the best secrets. Now with the advent of video, DVD and the internet, secrets can go around the world in just seconds.

My intention is to release all of the years of our work only to magicians who can keep a secret. That's it! The California Trade Secret Act is the legal backbone of our lease agreement and the protection it will provide us as the manufacturer and magicians who decide that our system is an arsenal of tools that will help them and decide to invest in our work.


I'm afraid you may find that the California Act will give you the backbone of a jellyfish.

Quote:
Patents and other methods of legal protection have failed totally to protect our secrets over the years.


Patent and copyright law is NOT designed to protect "secrets." It is designed to EXPOSE secrets, by encouraging inventors to REVEAL their secrets. This encouragement is through the mechanism of giving inventors a limited monopoly to profit from their inventions. To obtain this monopoly and the $$ resulting from it, inventors are REQUIRED to REVEAL their secrets. Any magical "invention" that is patented can easily be discovered. Again, intellectual property rights are given to encourage the revelation of secrets--so others can benefit from (and build upon) those "secrets."

Quote:
The Masked Magician, articles exposing secrets in magazines etc. have exposed many of our most cherished secrets.


So do magical inventors/writers when they publish their secrets and sell (and profit from) their ideas.

Quote:
Max Maven at Magic Live gave an inspired speech that challenged those in the audience to take back our secrets. He said that we have taken something that was incredibly powerful and made it trivial.


Actually magical secrets and ideas ARE mostly trivial. The Art of Magic is to take those trivial conceptions and to morph them into something that appears incredibly powerful. We inventors and authors take way too much credit for this transformation. The "magic ingredient" is usually the end user--the performer himself.

Quote:
I agree with Max wholeheartedly. Look at some of the great secrets such as the thumb tip, invisible thread that are now common knowledge among laymen.


Very good examples of triviality.

Quote:
It is my intention that our system does not become the next of these great secrets to be common knowledge. Bob Fitch and I have spent countless hours working on and dreaming about the system. It would kill us to see it revealed and abused.


Evidently this is outweighed by your desire to profit from and/or popularize your invention.

Quote:
This is why for the last ten years we have been on a mission to find a way to protect our work and our customer's investment. Some critics of the leasing system and our method of protection say it is not going to work similar to many software products. I disagree. It's true that many software products are easily bootlegged. This is due to the digital nature of the product. But rest assured, when a company like Adobe finds out a production company has pirated copies of Photoshop on their systems the first thing they do is call in the FBI. Bill Malone's outstanding DVDs produced by Louis Falanga and L&L Publishing were pirated, copied and sold within one week of their release. The culprits were tracked down and stopped. They now face legal action.


Maybe the FBI has nothing better to do than to stop magic tricks from being copied, but I think that's fairly far down on their list of priorities.

Quote:
We have taken painstaking measures to insure that our system is protected. Our investment of time and many thousands of dollars is at stake just as our customer's investment will be. Everyone who has had knowledge of our system has signed our agreement stating that they are privy to trade secrets. This is the cornerstone of our protection. It establishes that we have kept these secrets as trade secrets.


It may be difficult for you to protect "secrets" that Jack Miller and others have popularized over the years.

Quote:
Last September at the LVMI convention we demonstrated our system to 20 close friends that are top magicians and creators of magic. Gentleman like Lee Asher, Bill Goodwin, Paul Wilson and many more top professionals are now a base of witnesses that can testify that our system is a trade secret. This defense has been held up in courts in California and Nevada.


Two states known for their rational legal frameworks.

Quote:
Our legal team has worked countless hours designing the lease agreement.


No doubt part of the reason for your product's substantial price.

Quote:
It is rock solid. It is much better than a design patent as we are protecting our equipment's concept as well as the design. We are protecting the training DVDs with the Trade Secret Act and copyrights.


Until the next installment of the Masked Magician or "Holdout Secrets Revealed!"

Quote:
But I think many magicians have not understood our intention of the agreement and how the license really works. It's very simple. The license is designed to give us power in the event of someone ripping off our design or exposing the secret. That's it! We can and will go after people who manufacture or expose our systems secrets.


Good luck! Most magicians are basically "judgment proof."

Quote:
Magicians who sign our lease agreement need to clearly understand that our lease is a LEASE WITHOUT TERM! This type of lease agreement has been misunderstood. What it means it that you keep the hardware and DVDs forever. There is no length of time involved. You can sell the system to another magician as long as they sign the lease agreement before transfer. You can include the system in your estate or will. The only restriction is that the recipient of any transfer must sign our lease agreement. Your use of our system will feel just like you bought it. The upside is your investment protected by the power of the California Trade Secret Act.


Which may not have the applicability/enforceability outside that state you think it does.

Quote:
The downside only kicks in if you decide to be unethical.


Un(?)fortunately, the ethics of our curious little profession are neither universally recognized nor legally enforceable.

Quote:
My intention is provide the professional magician with a tool that he or she can invest their time and money in and get expected results from their investment. How does it make you feel when you've spent your hard earned cash on a secret, practiced the routine for hours to make it yours, then turn on the TV and see the Masked Magician expose the same secret to millions of viewers. Personally, it makes me sick.


I'd suggest you invest in a large bottle of Pepto Bismal in the near future.

Quote:
So please understand our intention is to insure that this does not happen. Could someone expose a different holdout? Absolutely; I can't control everything but I will do what I can to stop it. Can somebody manufacture other holdouts. Absolutely, in fact there are many types of holdouts available today. Basic Miller types, Keplinger model, lazy tongs, shirt holdouts have been made for years. Go to http://www.jimriser.com to see pictures of many kinds that Jim has make over the years. Our solution is one of many possibilities.

Our years of using our system has provided us with a working knowledge of the many difficulties that crop up when trying to use a holdout professionally. We've come up with very practical solutions. I'm very happy to see that the gentlemen from Vernet, Jim Riser and others are actively working on solutions. Gravity holdouts are one of the last great secrets in magic. Once you try one out and discover the power the tool gives your magic, you will be hooked for life.


Although some of us may prefer to remain unhooked (up).

Quote:
Our system is certainly not for the casual user. We knew that from the beginning. Early on, we decided that we would manufacture the best equipment we could and provide the best training DVDs we could produce. We didn't worry about the final price during development. We attacked each problem and solved it to the best of our ability. Alone the way, we realized that we had so much information, different attachments and routines that there is just no way to put it all out at one time. Our solution is to release our basic system, then as time allows, we will release many more attachments individually.


A wise marketing move.

Quote:
Our system provides a solid foundation that will expand for years to come. Each new attachment will come with its own training DVD. Most will be a featured routine.


God Bless Capitalism!

Quote:
Some will come with additional materials. Bob Fitch's fabulous Coin Attachment will be the first of these extra attachments.

To those who can't afford our system, I'm sorry. The problem is that it's impossible to please everybody. That's why there are Kias and BMWs. To those who think our solution is just too expensive, that's OK. The price is what it has to be for us to make our system available to magicians.


And why are you making it available, again?

Quote:
We?re still working on the edit and mastering of the training DVDs. Those who have been waiting, take a deep breath the wait is almost over. Sometime after the initial systems ship, I will put up some visual clips of what our system can do on my web site.

If you have questions about our system, please visit http://www.bobkohlermagic.com and read the full description.



I trust Mr. Kohler is a brilliant inventor and performer of things deceptive, but if the force and power of Hollywood cannot successfully hold back (as opposed to "hold out" against) the rising tide of intellectual property theft, I doubt that anyone in our peculiar little Art can. Good luck!
Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail.
Barry Taylor
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I've never questioned Bob's integrity and he has worked very hard over the years to become one of best professional magicians in the business. Everything he's works on, he puts the amount of time to perfect it and excels with the performance of the effect. Innovative thinking like Bob's is what makes magic even better and helps the art of magic to grow.
Micheal Leath
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My oinion on all of this is that Bob Kohler has the right to do whatever he wants with his products. If he wants to price something high to keep it from being overused, then he has that right. If he wants the user to sign an agreement, then he has that right. Magic has become so exposed because so called magicians are greedy for secrets. Some think they have the right to know everything. They get mad because some of the best secrets are out of their reach or price range. They seem to want everything just handed to them. I have seen post in other topics where people are mad because when they saw a demo of some effect, it looked effortless, but when they purchased it, they saw it wasn't as easy as it looked. Not enough "magicians" are willing to put the time & effort into learning effects. Some of these same people complain about the price of the holdout. So, the high price is going to do it's job and keep it out of the hands of those not willing to spend enough time perfecting their routines. No, I can't afford the holdout, but Bob Kohler has the right to do what he wants with his great creations.
Chance Wolf
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Bravo Micheal! Smile
So well spoken. I remember the days before videos and mass marketed magic when I used to go to the library, dig up some old hat book and THINK for myself! I was forced to create and PRACTICE to make an effect look smooth and polished.

That was the day when you created your own personal handlings, flourishes, subtle motions and gestures. Now it is handed to these new guys on a silver platter and they STILL complain.
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Dan Watkins
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I think the F/K holdout is one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen in magic. Even better than the actual system was when I first ever saw Bob Fitch, I had no idea such a device existed.

I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to coin magic, its what I focus mostly on. I can usually follow much of what I see. The night I first saw Fitch, I went home thinking that I really am missing something HUGE. I just could not comprehend what he was doing, it looked too real. That night still remains one of the most magical moments of my life.

Regarding the price and what the Bobs do to protect it, my opinion is it's their holdout, it’s their experience, and they don't even have to share it with anyone if they didn't want to. I am sure parts of them don’t even want to share it with people. Imagine if you had something that many did not even know existed, that was extremely powerful. If it were me, it would be hard for me to let it go. The Bobs feel its time to let it go, but they aren't going to let it go easy. They are putting most of what they know on DVD, and making the holdout with no expense spared in its design and parts, and they are attempting to protect it legally.

One thing their strategy is doing is making darn well sure the people who are interested in it are really serious about it and have a very high perceived value (I personally believe from seeing the system with my own eyes that the perception is in line with the product) of what they are getting. I am sure these are the only types of people they want to give their treasure to, nothing less.

When you treasure something, you have a much less chance of being a jerk with it; a much less chance of causing the Bobs problems. I would guess that after spending $1,800 and then spending countless hours to learn to use the system, people aren’t going to want to go out and expose it to the world.

I’m not a lawyer and I honestly don't know how strong Bob's legal protection is, but I do know this: It's probably enough to be a real pain in the rear if you decide to try to screw around with them. The fact is you do sign his agreement, and if you decide to break it, your probably going to have some major headache, even if in the end it turns out Bob's legal backing wasn't as strong as he thought, I don't imagine the road one would have to take to find that out would be a pleasurable one.

I guess in summary. I think it is great Bob is releasing something that he doesn't have to. I think it is great that he is taking steps to release it to people who ascribe a very high value to it, and is taking steps to make it somewhat uncomfortable to abuse it. I think Bob is just naturally trying to provide, but also protect something he values greatly.
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wert
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On 2003-04-12 15:24, WolfsMagic wrote:

... Have you ever thought that maybe a creator is capable of multi-tasking?

Why would it make a difference to the creator, or you, when it is released.

...
....
Finally, even if this strategy does NOT work...at least he tried his best and may pave a new path of thought and methods to protect our ideas.

Well, let's put it this way.

I never said a creator couldn't multitask.

Since I don't intend to buy this holdout, I also never stated that I personally care when it comes out.

I did not make (or intend to make) any comments disrespectful to anyone.

I stated a personal view and asked a rhetorical question.

I also stated that I'm willing to be quite patient and see what the outcome is once the "secret" of the holdout is released.

The masked moron could easily expose a non-Kohler style holdout on tv and thus compromise (in a general, yet damaging way)the precious "secret" of holdouts in general. And this could be easily done without violating any of the vaunted new legal protections of the Kohler device.
Micheal Leath
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Let me apologize in advance for what I'm about to say, because it may offend some people. I just love it when someone makes a comment, then when others make a good argument against their comment, all of the sudden they didn't mean it that way. All of the sudden, they don't care about the product or whatever anyway.
wert
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Quote:
On 2003-04-13 02:51, Micheal Leath wrote:
All of the sudden, they don't care about the product or whatever anyway.
And don't you love it when some folks make veiled accusations of hypocrisy, conveniently neglecting to actually take the time to read and understand the posts in question?

It's easier to "stir the pot" than actually respond to salient points I suppose.
Bobrem
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Pardon my ignorance but whats a "holdout? Smile
MacGyver
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Read Expert at the Card Table by Erdnase, that has a good description.

If you want pictures check out Riser's website
Dan Watkins
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Quote:
On 2003-04-15 01:44, Bobrem wrote:
Pardon my ignorance but whats a "holdout? Smile


In the this context of this thread, the holdout steals objects from your hand and delivers the object back whenever you want. While the object is hidden away, it is being "held out", thus the name.
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wert
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If anyone would like to see photos of holdouts, check out the following link.

http://www.jamesriser.com/Holdout/LeverHoldout.html

Or, as someone else has suggested, it's shown in "Expert at the Card Table".
Bobrem
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So it's sort of like a pull, only mechanical? How does it *deliver* objects to your hand? Smile
Dan Watkins
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It depends on the type of holdout, some are actuated by squeezing your knees together, some by opposite arm motion, some by simply turning the opposite wrist, some by squeezing a lever between your arm and body, etc. It depends on what holdout design you are dealing with.
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