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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » "TV Rights not included" <- legal? (14 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dannydoyle
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Umm is that 30 day thing a legal opinon on international enforcement?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Red Shadow
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I don't know how that would work with international breaches. You would have to contact a copywrite lawyer in the country doing the breach. Each country has differnt laws, just look at China.
Dannydoyle
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That was why I was wondering what would make you speak with such certainty.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Red Shadow
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Because so far, there have been no known successful cases of any magician who performs a protected trick on TV, from an effect that has been released to buy being sued. There is no precedence and yes, there are shows where the rules were "bent". Usually the performer gave it their own patter and as we all know "ideas" cannot be copyrighted. Which means they got away with it.

Again, not saying if it's ethically right. But a performer claiming that TV Rights are reserved, but not having the money or power to enforce it, only results in bad reviews and reduced sales from what I can see of the situation.
Dannydoyle
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Or it can result in having to pay legal fees.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bill Hegbli
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Bob Kohler is selling this creations with no TV rights, as he explains, none of his tricks he is selling will be viewed by other magicians to steal. I believe he states none of the material can even be videoed, and thus none of the effects can be shown on YouTube or even on the purchasers website for promotion. Go to his website and read the agreement requirement for yourself. His $700 Missing Link (Linking Finger Rings) has these requirements before purchase.

I believe he does have the money to enforce his signed contracts he requires before purchasing the tricks he sells.
Edith
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Bill: It is different if you make a contract before. But if you are just selling and stating "no TV-rights" I don't think that will stand in court (and I briefly discussed this with a soon to be (German) lawyer). I don't buy stuff from people who do that because it feels like they are trying to make up laws that don't exist and make people believe that they do in fact exist. I find this dishonest and manipulative.
normative
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So, I was just questioning this in another thread. I'm not a practicing copyright attorney, but I am a senior policy analyst at a DC think tank who works on, among other things, intellectual property, and know this area of the law reasonably well. The current precedent under US law is reasonably clear: Magical effects *as such* are not copyrightable "works." The patter and dramatic performance of a routine are subject to copyright, and a sufficiently novel gimmick may be a patentable invention, but tricks as such are not covered. The exclusive "public performance right" that's part of copyright law is why you can't sell tickets for a public screening of a movie just because you bought the DVD, or stage a theatrical production of a play just because you bought the published script. There's a recent, somewhat well publicized case in which Teller sued a Belgian magician for releasing a video of himself doing Teller's "Shadows." The court found for Teller because the Belgian fellow had duplicated in great detail Teller's original staging and choreography, but was also quite explicit that the underlying effect — causing parts of a rose to drop off by some secret method — was not itself copyrightable.

So an exclusive right to publicly (or televisually) perform a *ROUTINE* (if sufficiently original, and not just "pick a card and watch" or "lemme show you something cool") would be enforceable. Rights over original visual material essential to a trick, like a photograph or movie clip, might be copyrightable. But there is no such thing as "TV rights" or "public performance rights" to an effect in itself. (It might get slightly more complicated if the only way to do the trick were to construct a patented device——but the performance itself would probably not be infringing.) If you don't want to take my word for it, you can look up the Teller opinion, or just consider whether programs like "Magic's Greatest Secrets Revealed" could really be broadcast on major networks if unauthorized performance of an effect violated an exclusive statutory performance right. It doesn't, so there's no real underlying legal basis for claims of reserved TV rights if you're not pretty closely following scripted patter or precisely emulating a specific unique performance.

Contract law can, of course, create specific non-statutory obligations. Someone could show you a method subject to an agreement not to perform it under certain conditions. But merely saying "TV rights reserved" in ad copy, or in a manual, or on an instructional DVD, cannot unilaterally create a binding contract. (Imagine if it could: "By continuing to watch this video, you agree to pay my rent for the next five years.") So barring scenarios where someone actually *signed* something as a precondition of, say, recieving personal instruction, there are unlikely to be enforceable contract rights at issue. Also, of course, even if such a contract existed, it would not bind anyone who learned the effect without being a party to the contract.

Whether it is *ethical* or consistent with professional norms to perform an effect on television when you know the creator has expressed a desire that people not do so is, of course, a completely separate question that I make no pretense of answering. But very generally speaking (and CYA disclaimer: this is not legal advice) my understanding of the current state of the law is that someone who knows the method to perform an effect is *legally* free to perform it without permission, provided they do so without replicating other copyrightable elements (like the specific patter script) in the process. In most cases, a "TV rights reserved" label will not be enforceable, because there's no underlying performance right under copyright law, nor would there be a real binding contract.
Dannydoyle
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DC comics has a think tank?

They should have used it before Val Kilmer as Batman.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
brehan
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holland
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Ask the creator for permission
I don't think they give you a hard time
Yust ask before doing.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » "TV Rights not included" <- legal? (14 Likes)
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