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RobertlewisIR
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Legally, that's the distinction.

Ethically, I go one step further and say I wouldn't copy down the details of the method. Little tips and ideas, fine, but not step-by-step. That's not a legal distinction, and others may find no problem with it, but I, personally, wouldn't feel right about it. A lot of this just comes from what I would and wouldn't "feel" right about, so I can't necessarily defend why I think some things are okay and others are not.

I will say, though, that the difference between borrowing a book and posting a method on the Internet is that the book is shared amongst magicians, whereas the Internet is out there for audiences to just Google whenever they want to know how a magician did something. But even at that, I think there's a lot of gray area, and I don't get nearly as worked up about exposure as most of the people here do.
~Bob



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AGMagic
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Bob, Interesting that you find it unethical to make notes that remind you of how to do an effect but do not find exposure to be a big problem. You are obviously much younger than I. I need all of the reminders I can get.

In the first case, you have already paid for the knowledge and (hopefully) integrated your performance style into the effect. If you then sell the instructions (probably at a reduced price) I see no issue with having made reminders on how to do the trick. The originator still made his money on you and you were able to recoup some of your expense in the secondary market. Granted there may be a loss of additional income to the originator when the person buys your used copy instead of a new copy, but that does not seem to be your argument.

In the second case, exposure, the person is diminishing the art and stealing revenue from every working magician. Exposure, for most people, ruins the magic of the method. While magicians may be happy with just watching the presentations of others, lay audiences want to be astonished. Once a secret is out, it cannot be taken back and that affects everyone's wallet, not just the originator of the effect.
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RobertlewisIR
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I didn't say exposure isn't a problem. What I said was I'm not as worried about it. I don't think most audiences do Google to find out how it's done--they're astonished, but they just don't care to put in the time to study it. And if someone happens to know how a trick is done when I perform for them, it really just means my presentation needs to be good enough that they don't care about that, either. A good magician can fool someone. A great magician can still entertain someone even if they know how the trick is done. I don't expose, and I don't favor exposure, but I don't lose sleep over it either. The Masked Magician can reveal something on television, and I could go out the very next day and still fry with it. Most people don't even care enough to watch the Masked Moron on television.

And actually, the loss of income to the originator largely is my argument. Not that I have a problem with used books, and not that I think it's inherently wrong. But for me, personally, I feel like if I'm doing a trick and making money from it, then it's only right that the creator gets that money. And if I sell it to someone else who also starts doing it and I don't stop doing it, then he's lost some money. Now, that's inevitable sometimes. We all do some tricks we can't remember where they came from. But I think the deliberate act of copying down the notes is a step farther in that direction than I'm willing to go. But I'm also not saying in any absolute terms that no one else should, either. Ethical decisions, largely, are personal ones.
~Bob



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Dougini
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Quote:
On 2013-12-21 17:47, RobertlewisIR wrote:
The Masked Magician can reveal something on television, and I could go out the very next day and still fry with it.


Really? You must be good, Bob. I have had VERY bad luck in this regard. "Prohibition" by Charlie Justice is one. TWICE I have been called on it. The Dye Tube. Same thing. That was NO fun. I only wish your statement was true. For me, anyway.

Quote:
Most people don't even care enough to watch the Masked Moron...


Most? That may be true. Believe me, the number of people that DO is still FAR too many...

Doug
DWRackley
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Yeah, I think many of those who are interested in magic are also interested in the Masked Magician. He's hurt a lot of people. On the flip side, I've fried magicians using a Svengali deck. Much of magic is in the handling, and if you're showing the same effect (regardless of method) somebody is likely to pop up with an "I know the secret!" whether they actually know YOUR secret or not.

One of the things that used to completely exasperate me was when I pulled out a deck of cards, and IMMEDIATELY heard, "Oh, I know that one". They couldn't have known anything because I hadn't even got the cards out of the case yet. Clearly it was me, not the trick, being challenged.

Obviously exposure is bad, if only because it puts the audience in the mindset of looking for the secret rather than enjoying the magic. On the good side, it challenges us to become better performers and to consistently stay “ahead of the curve”.
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RobertlewisIR
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Of course there are going to be bad days and people are going to challenge us. We all experience it at some point. But it's an EXTREME minority of people in my case, so I don't let it bother me. The way I see it, if someone knows how I do something, then whatever--I know how to play piano, but I can still enjoy listening to a great pianist. And I always strive to present material in a manner that does not lend itself to a challenge. I try to create artful moments and tell stories with my magic, so I never do things like ask people to guess which hand "it" is in ("Oh, wrong again, ha ha ha, now it's in my pocket, you stupid audience!"). Most people seem perfectly happy to play along with that sort of presentation. I still fool most of them. A few others probably know some of my stuff but enjoy my work anyway, and it's a rare person indeed who really tries to challenge me. And when they do show up, I usually just politely wrap up my set and perform for someone who enjoys it.

All that being said, you're right: exposure is GENERALLY bad (though I don't speak in absolutes--in rare circumstances, a piece of exposure can be more artful than the effect itself). And when kids post exposure videos on YouTube, I certainly disapprove and wish they'd all go away. But the way I see it, there are more important things to worry about. They're really only hurting their own image and their own audiences--my work is largely unaffected by them, and that's in large part because I deliberately structure my act so that I'm not challenging anyone, and not giving them any reason to challenge me.

The way I see it is this. Every last one of us knows how the linking rings is done. Every last one of us knows how the cups and balls is done. And yet, when a really good performer links those rings or makes those little balls dance under the cups, we enjoy it just as much as the laymen do, because an artistry has been brought to the performance which transcends mere methodology. Do I claim to be that good? Certainly not. But I strive to be, and in so doing, I think that my audiences get a sense of what I'm trying to tell them with my magic above and beyond whatever method I use to do so.

So the bottom line: secrets are important, but they're not "all important."

I'll also add that, I occasionally get the "I've seen this" line (or its equivalent) when I'm performing for a new audience. It's part of our life, and probably unavoidable. But what I will say is that while they might say that BEFORE they see me perform, I pretty much never hear it AFTER. If they say they "know this one," I usually just smile and say "Ah, but like a fine wine, magic only improves with age." There's no challenge there, and much of the time, they take that as "permission" to just enjoy the show without bothering to figure me out. I'm subtly telling them that I have something of value to offer whether or not they've seen it or know how it's done. I don't know if that would work for everyone or if it's just my style, but it often works for me.
~Bob



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DWRackley
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Hasn't happened since I was a teenager (more evidence that it's about experience?) But I've also learned how to take "regular" stuff and turn it on its head so that even people who know the secret don't always recognize what they're seeing.

Most important, though, is to get them "on your side" in the first place.

Afterthought: One thing I didn't know when I was younger, sometimes it's not really a challenge, just an acknowledgment. Especially in a kid's show, when they say "Oh, I've seen that one before", often it's like when a grownup recognizes a favorite song. It's an invitation to "show me again". If you don't recognize that, it can seem hostile when it's really an entreaty.
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RobertlewisIR
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Quote:
On 2013-12-28 19:35, DWRackley wrote:

Afterthought: One thing I didn't know when I was younger, sometimes it's not really a challenge, just an acknowledgment. Especially in a kid's show, when they say "Oh, I've seen that one before", often it's like when a grownup recognizes a favorite song. It's an invitation to "show me again". If you don't recognize that, it can seem hostile when it's really an entreaty.


Very much so. Sometimes it's a challenge, sometimes it's not. Often, you can tell the difference. But even when I can't tell the difference, I do my best to not allow it to be a challenge. If that's how it's intended, I try to diffuse it, but no matter what it is intended to be, interpreting it as a challenge and responding in kind will put the audience on the defensive. I don't want them in that state of mind. I want them enjoying themselves so much that they don't care if they've seen it before or know how it's done. Care to guess how many times I've watched Eugene Burger's Card Warp? Yeah, I've "seen it before." But it's still the best *** Card Warp I've ever seen.
~Bob



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Terrible Wizard
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Meany good and useful points Smile
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