The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Act stealing....opinions (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
Stigmata
View Profile
New user
A small remote village in NAM
52 Posts

Profile of Stigmata
Lets start a new topic here and drop an ongoing fight before it gets even more out of hand. I have heard many performers over the years complaining how others stole their act. Im curious as we all hve our views and opinions but what does everyone think about this. What is ok to do ?What is considered stealing? Where is the line of what to consider when claiming to be the creator of a "new act". What boundries do you have to change/alter to claim its not the same thing? Does pitch or presentation affect the rules.If so then how? I don't want to fight over just not agreeing. I would like to see others views on the topic and why they came up with their opinions.
Todd Robbins
View Profile
V.I.P.
New York
2907 Posts

Profile of Todd Robbins
I have many thoughts about this and will be posting them here soon.
petekoloz
View Profile
Elite user
479 Posts

Profile of petekoloz
I will wait until Todd Robbins expresses his opinions and then re-phrase them as my own.
critter
View Profile
Inner circle
Spokane, WA
2551 Posts

Profile of critter
I will wait until Pete re-phrases Todd and then re-phrase Pete.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
Harley Newman
View Profile
Inner circle
5110 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
If we invent a piece of equipment, we can patent it. If we copyright a script or video, that work is protected. Unfortunately, we are not protected if we come up with a stunt.

We have a corner of the entertainment business that's ignored by the big-money companies (recording and broadcast), so points that are relevant are not very clearly defined.

We also have a corner of the entertainment business where "borrowing" is not only acceptable, but often encouraged. "It's OK. Everybody does it."

Many performers learn their acts from a mentor, and continue to present them in that way, using the same lines, etc. How many people do we know, doing a version of Melvin's blockhead act? Lots, but Todd is the only one I ever heard of, who paid Melvin royalties.

How many sword swallowers say "Down the hatch without a scratch"? Lots. I wonder how old that line really is.

The issue that will be increasingly defined, is whether something can be shown to be "derivative", and how far removed from the original it is.

I know a lot of "sideshow" performers who have no original work. Legally, it presents issues that have not yet been addressed. I know of a couple of very interesting things in progress, that will help with this definition. I've been asked to participate in two different legal cases that will address some of those issues. At some future point, I may have further comment...just not now.

Ethically, it doesn't change the fact that many performers steal the work of others, including folks whom they call friends. Sideshow, juggling, magic...all involve rampant theft. Out of all the people I know, only a handful in each genre do original work.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Todd Robbins
View Profile
V.I.P.
New York
2907 Posts

Profile of Todd Robbins
Sideshow performance can, for the most part, be separated into three catergories. Traditional skills and acts whose origins go back decades, if not centuries. The presentation of these are either based upon material used by previous generations of performers (and can for the most part be considered in the public domain) or original material created by the performer themselves or in collaboration with others. The second classification is variations of these traditional acts and skills. A good example of this is all of the various items people have inserted into their nasal passages that take this skill beyond what is traditional known as blockhead. And the third catergory that are new innovations in this field of entertainment. Harley Newman has created a number of these.

Problems arise when text from the first catergory and ideas from the second and third are used by others than the originator and premission for the usage was not obtained from the originator.

The secord catergory seems like the area where the greatest contention can be found. One question that often arises is who actually innovated the variation?

The originator of an act or presentation has the sole right to do their creation. It is wrong for anyone else to use this material or innovation without permission of the originator. This includes the manufacturing of a prop for a third party. Both the craftsman and the person that commissioned the prop are in the wrong.
Todd Robbins
View Profile
V.I.P.
New York
2907 Posts

Profile of Todd Robbins
By the way, what I stated was stolen from Pete and Critter.
The Curator of the Unusual
View Profile
Inner circle
Tampa FL
1399 Posts

Profile of The Curator of the Unusual
Original walks a fine line in Sideshow and Circus, What appears to be original today..can more likely than not be found to have been done before unknowingly..Nowadays "Its so old its New" has never been truer..I am patiently waiting for some smuck to revive the "Human Torcha"...last time I saw one was 30+ years ago in Mexico...How many acts, routines, one liners go back 50+...Antonio Olmeda and his Brother PePe (deceased) had the largest Archive of Circus acts on film that I had ever been aware of. Many a time some Act would come up w/ a "New" trick only to have the Olmedas set up a TV or screen and show them footage of that same feat! w/ different variations...
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
Stigmata
View Profile
New user
A small remote village in NAM
52 Posts

Profile of Stigmata
I have seen several people do the gavage act. Some have asked thetube permission to do it some have not. There is no doubt in my mind matt was the first to do that so I consider him to be the creator. Its quite the expensive piece to have made. Especially if coming from a maker in the Phoenix area. How some of them afford it is beyond me.When all they do is bar shows working for a cut of the door.Either way I have only seen 1 person to do it differently for an ending and its pretty impressive/funny. Everytime though something different is shown being done on TV its going to be copied though. What is that magic saying..."there's only 10 different tricks with many variations" something like that anyways. I have never seen anyone else do the barstool of nails I made while smashing with a cinder block smash of the head of the person on it. I don't consider myself a creator. I just see it as my twist on an old act. Sure I agree you can be a creator of new equiptment but an act I just don't see anything new.Just a variation of something old. Meat head sure the piece is new as a show piece but its nasal floss.Just a variation.
Harley Newman
View Profile
Inner circle
5110 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
"There's only 10 different tricks" is a cop-out, often used as an excuse to steal, an action for which magicians are notorious. Look at how many knockoffs are for sale, often using identical PR.

Copying what you see others do on TV is also theft. If you were doing lines from a sit-com, they'd sue you for copyright infringement.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
The Curator of the Unusual
View Profile
Inner circle
Tampa FL
1399 Posts

Profile of The Curator of the Unusual
I asked Ward one time if I could "steal" (use) a line from his Bally... He replied "Sure!, Why not! I stole that line myself 50 years ago!" However, hardly any Acts/stunts are original anymore, What are original is the presentation...Donny Vomits masterful line "“It does Hurt, but my need for attention is greater than my threshold for pain.”..Is truly HIS trademark line and to use it w/ out permission or to use w/ permission would be a crime...Hubert Castle did a wonderful Drunk wire act w/ a backward and foward flip on the wire...James Plunkett carried on the act for Castle w/ Castle's blessing and I believe his guidance...Yet James still had to learn a Backward and the more difficult Forward flip to even begin...much more difficult then say the Blockhead,fireeating, BON et., in short out of a Hundred People, ALL could learn the Blockhead, maybe 1 or 2 could even attempt to learn Castles act...and very doubtful they could pull it off...As a side note, when I was kid (even now) Sid Lorraine was always my go to Guy for patter..

http://www.amazon.com/Lorraines-Scrapboo......03COA6G4

http://magicref.tripod.com/booksjr/lorrainesidpatter.htm
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
Harley Newman
View Profile
Inner circle
5110 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
So here's a question, Outlaw. Let's say I spend a couple of years working something out (which has happened). Then it gets on TV (which has happened). The next week a lot of my sideshow "friends" have put it in their show (which has happened).

I work to make a good show. When they copy me, they infringe on my uniqueness, my marketability. It means I've essentially written major portions of a number of people's shows, and gotten nothing in return. Are you saying that's ok?
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
The Curator of the Unusual
View Profile
Inner circle
Tampa FL
1399 Posts

Profile of The Curator of the Unusual
Quote:
On 2011-09-08 18:40, Harley Newman wrote:


I work to make a good show. When they copy me, they infringe on my uniqueness, my marketability. It means I've essentially written major portions of a number of people's shows, and gotten nothing in return. Are you saying that's ok?


I say its NOT OK!, and although I feel your pain, I do not know what recourse you may have...However, I have seen you perform Harley, and what may be taken/stloen will never be duplicated...Original Ideas/routines are custom fit to the personality and skills of the originator, Knock-offs rarely are as effective as the Original, This is what Originality brings to the table...Rest assured Ole' Friend, there is ONLY 1 Harley Newman!!...
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
Stigmata
View Profile
New user
A small remote village in NAM
52 Posts

Profile of Stigmata
There's laws against "theft" with legal penalties. Seeing something 1 person does and doing it themselves to me would be a compliment. It would just inspire me to take it further once again. Not sit around whining that I wasnt getting credit for it. Now if I heard somebody was doing it and using my exact wording and presentation & music yeah I would be mad & would handle that in person & guarantee they wouldnt do it again. I am sure when I put my new props out there on video it will be copied and probably be a lower form of them. I kind of hope that they do get copied though with something better then I thought of. Now Harley I am not saying it is right but also not saying its wrong. It happened,it happens & will continue to happen. It all depends on how or why they do it. It sucks that you work on an original idea so long and then it starts being done all over but I have learned to accept it.
dpe666
View Profile
Inner circle
2894 Posts

Profile of dpe666
Quote:
On 2011-09-08 19:57, Sideshow Outlaw wrote:
Seeing something 1 person does and doing it themselves to me would be a compliment.


To me that is the same thing as "complimenting" the guy who broke into my house and stole my television. Smile
Harley Newman
View Profile
Inner circle
5110 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
So you're ok with thievery, because it's the way things are done, until the victim catches you in person.

You're saying that you could take The Lion King, for example, change a couple of musical notes here, a couple of lines there, make it about cheetahs, and it's ok. Disney should be ok with that, eh? It's a compliment!

Compliments are nice, but my bank doesn't care if I get them, and I suspect yours doesn't either. They don't put food on my table, at least, not directly. But thievery does and has taken food off my table. If you think it doesn't matter, and has no effect, you're sadly mistaken.

Whining? I'm not saying Yes and No, just talking straight. You asked my opinion, in both public and private, and I shall give it. And BTW, if I have laurels, I'm not resting on them.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Michael K
View Profile
Loyal user
Hazleton, PA
251 Posts

Profile of Michael K
If you truly believe that there are only a few magic tricks (and therefore it is OK to copy and steal from anyone living or dead) then check out Penn & Teller's show. They took that idea that there are only six methods in slight of hand and made a great routine about it. If you think that you just have to copy Melvin's blockhead act please see the Lucky Daredevil Trill Show and Tyler Fyre's very funny and very modern take on this old stunt. While there is much variation on themes, such as sword swallowing, there should be no room for outright theft of acts, stunts, and scripts.

It is very difficult to create new material, new scripts, and new props, so it should be alright to copy and steal? Instead of being ourselves on stage we should lift other performers entire personas? Instead of putting in the time and effort to come up with a really original script, we should use the same lines that have been heard for almost 100 years now? Does the fact that a good number of the people who get ripped off are dead and a good measure of them took it from someone else before them, make it right? NO! It isn't right in other arts, so why should it be in our art?

Yes I am guilty. I have used some of Melvin's lines for the "Human blockhead." However I always credit him by name and say that he was the original inventor. I say "This is what Melvin used to say..." and then I directly follow it up with "but this is what I say."

Just today I saw an old photograph of an old sideshow banner with a very classy lady walking up a tall ladder of swords. While I can guess that very few performers have an exact copy of the one in the banner (looked to be at least 15 feet high) most ladders are the same and are just a isosceles triangle. The simple triangle design works and has worked for many years. I agree with Todd Robbins' post claims that this is alright as a tradition. Did I copy and therefore steal someone's design idea...yes. Yes I did. For the moment I'm too lazy to come up with an original design. And from what I've seen of people directly "complimenting" another's creativity and hard work I'm not exactly inspired to put in the work.

With the modern growth of sideshow stunt performers there should be a new era of creative ideas and thoughts and not just a rehash of the exact same acts done the same way with the same lines. --BTW some of them are getting dated because most people don't even know what a 'boxcar' is anymore, but that hasn't stopped some folks!-- Sure our shows can be built on the shoulders of the giants who went before us, but we must stop stealing and we MUST start calling out those who do. Otherwise we will all just be parrots. Who wants to see a parrot of a parrot show?

Don't ask ask for justification, when there may be a lack of knowledge, imagination, or effort. Step up to the fantastic challenge of being yourself and creating your future. Sadly there are a too few in magic who have taken up this challenge...but I would suggest the book "Tales Of Enchantment" by Walt Anthony to prove that there is a ray of shining hope for the future. May we boldly go forward and not just be a poor, stolen imitation of other performers.

Michael
The Curator of the Unusual
View Profile
Inner circle
Tampa FL
1399 Posts

Profile of The Curator of the Unusual
My suggestion is to take up Circus Acts...Most copiers won't have the practice skills or motivation to put in the time required to learn these skills...Either way, it won't transalate into more $$$ or work/(Gigs?)...If you don't believe me, just ask a dishwasher in Sarasota Florida...
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
Michael K
View Profile
Loyal user
Hazleton, PA
251 Posts

Profile of Michael K
I'm saddened when I take a long time to write a post that tried to build up and challenge performers...and then I read the next post.

No the problem isn't undercutting. The problem is performers who cut down, steal, and say that this is good and acceptable. In so many other arts the thieving frauds are quickly hung out to dry professionally, financially, and legally, maybe it is time that we start doing the same.

Michael

P.S. I tried to edit my post to make it more succinct but I couldn't since there was another post after it.

P.P.S. I've invested almost 3 hours with this single thread in the hopes that others would be inspired and not fling petty uneducated jabs. Please forgive me in advance if I decline to respond further to poorly veiled attack posts; I've got to get back to creating and building up my show.
The Curator of the Unusual
View Profile
Inner circle
Tampa FL
1399 Posts

Profile of The Curator of the Unusual
Quote:
On 2011-09-09 01:06, Michael K wrote:
I'm saddened when I take a long time to write a post that tried to build up and challenge performers...and then I read the next post.

No the problem isn't undercutting. The problem is performers who cut down, steal, and say that this is good and acceptable. In so many other arts the thieving frauds are quickly hung out to dry professionally, financially, and legally, maybe it is time that we start doing the same.

Michael

P.S. I tried to edit my post to make it more succinct but I couldn't since there was another post after it.

P.P.S. I've invested almost 3 hours with this single thread in the hopes that others would be inspired and not fling petty uneducated jabs. Please forgive me in advance if I decline to respond further to poorly veiled attack posts; I've got to get back to creating and building up my show.


I thought your post was excellent, well thought out and Observant of a Industry wide problem..Many Valid points..I still believe Performance and Showmanship of Sideshow Arts can't be Stolen...Sure one can steal a Line...a move..et., But No one can steal the performer..Todd Robbins is Todd Robbins, Harley is Harley, et., et., Many can play "Gomez" of Addam's Family Fame, but for me..John Astin IS and always will be Gomez...Same holds true for SS arts, Circus Arts and on and on...A line, a prop, a look can be stolen, But whether or not it can be pulled off is a whole different matter...
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Act stealing....opinions (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.31 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL