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Jeff Dial
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Profile of Jeff Dial
Enough of this foolishness. Losander HAS published his Zombie gimmick. It can be found on the DVD "The Art of Levitation 1 & 2". The main shape, the exact shape of the business end, and handling are all explained. Dirk has also explained the gimmick at lectures. If someone wanted to use that published method for other uses besides the floating bubble Dirk describes, I don't see what is keeping them from doing so. If they combined it with the Wonder method they could have something more. Both are improvements to the Joe Karson and no one has accused either of stealing from Karson.

The methods are out there and published. It is up to us to take it to the next level.

Having said that, you still should be better served by buying one from Losander with the bugs worked out.
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
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Profile of bloodyjack
Thanks for the input Jeff I will check those sources out, not that I have any intention of making one anyway. I just wanted to defend the elitist attitude some people seem to have.
I have already said it would be better to buy one simply because the R&D would be too much already on this thread. The fact of the matter is if you want to you can and it is not stealing as I have been accused. So to the dude that made the first post go for it the information is out there for all to use. To the guy that flamed me and claimed I was a thief you should know better are you not part of the staff here?
"sir i sent you half the kidne i took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece i fried and ate it was very nise i may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer"
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Profile of RBerteig
I don't know what the specific patent, licensed trade secret, or copyright situations are with either Wonder or Lossander's particular invention(s). I do own copies of Wonder's books, but given the size of the pile they are under at the moment (I can recognize a portion of the spine at least two feet down and two feet in...) I am not about to pull the books to check for disclaimers.

In the software field (my day job) it is not uncommon to find that most interesting knowlege is tied up under licensed trade secret legal theories. At the consumer level, you see the "shrink wrap" license agreement. For commercial components such as operating systems or useful libraries, you often find long contracts that must be signed by corporate officers before material is made available.

I have a book on my shelf (Numerical Methods in C) full of techniques and methods for accurately calculating values of interesting functions and performing interesting bits of arithmetic. It carries a license agreement that allows me to read it, and not much else, despite the fact that it is crammed with useful and tested source code implementing all the techniques described. If I worked at a University instead of a company the license would be more permissive. I don't have to like it, but I do have to abide by it.

Presumably, these legal devices could be tied to magic as well. I don't know if they were in these cases; but I do believe that some illusion designers are careful to do so.

Generally, it is risky to claim trade secret protection without careful use of contracts that outline exactly what may be done with the disclosed information and under exactly what terms.

Patents are, of course, published. The patent is granted to the inventor in exchange for the publication so that others may be inspired by the techniques, and also contribute to the general state of technology by inventing and patenting in turn.

Copyrights are both harder and easier. They come about automatically merely by the act of expression (in print, in performance, etc.). They generally apply to the specific form of expression. To really get all the subtlties, however, you need a lawyer who has spent their carreer working with copyright and possibly even specializing in the particular medium of your intended expression. Poor choices of wording can produce situations like the lawsuit that prevented re-release of Snoopy's theme on CD for many years.

All that said, it is hard to imagine how a court could hold that Lossandar owns the entire concept of floating a table under any and all circumstances. We all would agree, for example, that the illusion of a floating table is an old Seance device that was documented to be used before any of our father's were born. Certainly, he owns the method and presentation he developed. It is his sole right to license others to use that method and/or presentation.

All that said, however, if I, Bloody Jack, or any other creative nut woke up one day and decided to spend the effort required in R&D, prop construction, routining, blocking, staging, and all the rest of the details that must come together to carry it off there would be no legal or ethical reason why we couldn't do so, with one minor catch: if, in fact, their were a patent on the method, then even an independent invention of the same method is an infringement.

Do we owe Lossandar credit for showing the way? Certainly. Part of that debt is paid by learning from his brilliance and creating something new and more impressive to share with all. After all, that is how progress really does come about.

(Obligatory disclaimers included. I am not a lawyer. Just my $0.02. Your milage may vary. Laws differ in each jurisdiction. Object in mirror may not be either the girl or the gorilla.)
Ross Berteig
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I had a private email from Stevens magic telling me their other floating tables are NOT KNOCKOFFS. This was already corrected on this thread by Ray RAY (see quote below)
On 2004-07-26 16:44, ReyRey Puentes wrote:
The Mikame table carried by Steven's uses a different principle to achieve the effect as does the Wellington.

These aren't considered knockoffs.

Hope everybody got that the first time round because Mr Stevens wants me to set the record straight. Here was my reply to him:

"The whole way the thread was going was that nobody is allowed to make a floating table because it is Losander's effect so the point was there is now suddenly a bunch of people who are now making floating tables, regardless of method. I would also like to point out that magic dealers do not describe the method of the various things they sell so unless one has real psychic powers how would we, the buying public, know how an effect is achieved, unless we buy it?
That said I did brush through your ads and did get the impression that the method was similar; this was a mistake on my part. As for setting the record straight, the next person that posted did that."
"sir i sent you half the kidne i took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece i fried and ate it was very nise i may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer"
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Profile of MagicalPirate
Hi Ross:

This is totally off-topic, but how do they know that you have incorporated their source code into your program? It's not like C source code is distributed and then interpreted. It is always compiled and then turned into an executable file, leaving no trace of your source code or anyone else's for that matter. I know it is just a matter of ethics. When I bought those books I started with the bits of source code and then built it into the functions that I needed the code to perform. Since the death of DOS I don't bother programming anymore. Not interested in the investment of time and money to learn how to make it make Windows.

Back when I did program (self-taught hence the use of all those snippets of source code) I figured that Windows was a passing fad and made the mistake of developing my own menu program called DOS Master. It was better than Windows; it never crashed even when idiots were using it. But alas, you can't get sufficient market penetration when your only funnel was those computer shows that were somewhere else every other weekend. I guess I'll just blame it on using Borland's Turbo C 1.0.

Martin Smile

Now Back To Floating Tables
Martin Blakley, CSH, DASH, CMSA
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Bill Palmer
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On 2004-07-21 12:19, Micheal Leath wrote:
So, what about this Floating Table from Proof Positive Magic? Is this one infringing on the Losander Floating Table?

Yes, one of his methods is infringing on Losander's gimmick. The other is an old method. But it is a flimsy-looking table. The legs are too thin.

I would take a completely different approach to building something like this, if I were inclined to build a floating table that infringed on Losander's.

Which I'm not inclined to do, by the way.
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Want to really rock this thing? Forget Losander's floating table, and try to invent something better, or more extreme.
The Mirror Images
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Let's take it to a way like it is the dancing cane but a table. No cloth...ha that is different.

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Profile of GarySumpter
Although funny, that isn't such a bad idea!

Definitely worth thinking about!

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On 2004-08-05 00:17, MagicalPirate wrote:
It's not like C source code is distributed and then interpreted. It is always compiled and then turned into an executable file, leaving no trace of your source code or anyone else's for that matter. I know it is just a matter of ethics.

You'd be surprised how much GNU open source code is in Microsoft's products.
Chance Wolf
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After seeing your latest avatar pic...uhh.. You can go ahead and build whatever the hell you want! I won't mess with you! Smile
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Profile of tabman
Bloodyjack builds good looking stuff and I bet his floating table will be nice too. Great thread. Floating tables have been around a long time and its a lot of fun. I don't know everybody's secrets but there's only a few ways to make this work that I know of. Hmmm, maybe a helium filled table! Smile Speaking of helium, did anybody see "Mythbusters" last night?

Posted: Dec 23, 2004 12:58pm
Richard Robinson also did a nice little book called "The Zombie Gimmick" about ten years ago. It covers a lot of ground and must still be available at allmagic.
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...
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On 2004-07-20 12:16, bloodyjack wrote:
As a side note to a previous post I believe Tommy Wonders Zombie hook up is in print in his Book of Wonder. Does that not make his hook up method public domain if you want to use it and own the book?

Advice I was given by a wise magical mentor...

If you have purchased a book, it is within your rights as the owner to build an effect or perform an effect in that book. However, one could not manufacture it, sell it, or claim its their own creation.

~ Fredrick
"Try to find the humanity in the magic and maybe you'll come up with something of your own. It's the humanity that gets you there, not techniques." Michael Moschen on Creativity
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Profile of jamieallan
A very large floating haunted table is for sale on under "illusions built outside the USA". Its twice the size of my Losander's and looks like a real table, its cheap too. Built by a UK prop shop!

Bryan Gilles
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I don't think this is too far off of the topic; however, I am bored with the floating table... Everybody is performing it. Those who aren't are saving for it. What is wrong with something more unique. The beautiful thing about our art is we are suppose to mystify... make the impossible possible. Why do the smae effect as everyone else. How would a floating table fit your act... I can see it now, after a couple high paced routines with fast paced music and lighting effects right into a boring story of how you found this magical table in you grandpas attic....blah blah...yada yada... why not get creative... Come on, are you the same people who are still working out of your brightly colored boxes with stenciled dragons and Chinese writings.... Here's a bit of advice and what I believe is a new idea...go ahead and steal it... after all, what are you doing to Losander... Anyway, I imagine it would work well with most performers. Imagine doing a Dancing Cane/ Mic Stand with a traditional coat rack. I am sure there are gears turning as you are reading. Make the coat rack from Balsa is so easy to work with this wood. It cuts like butter and is light as a feather...I am sure you can find another wood to do this with... I am considering building a mock up of this... I will send you a review and pics. I am sure you can tie this in with any performance style... Let me know what you think...maybe I am way off here..but it sounds better than stealing someone's creative idea and running with it. Lets be more creative... You don't think Jim's Modern Art wasn't inspired by Harbin's Zig-Zag right....
Bryan Gilles
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Profile of R2
Luna, this is the topic that Dirk and I were discussing when he was in El Paso.Tx.
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Pete Biro
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What happened to my reply mentioning the Francisco Floating Card Table?

I see, there's another thread "Building" vs. "Consructing" -- sorry Smile
Dan LeFay
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"I don't think this is too far off of the topic; however, I am bored with the floating table... Everybody is performing it. Those who aren't are saving for it. What is wrong with something more unique."

Need we say more? Something extraordinary has been taken, mauled, copied, sold (I've seen copies going on the internet for 70€!!!)and probably discarded by our "brethren"...again! Those who get angry if you are not willing to share the effects you worked so hard for. Those who do not have any idea of difference between idea, concept, method, effect or routine.
Those who, in spite of admitting they have unethical thoughts STILL try to convince others it is OK to do and take as you please.
This attitude has driven me away from a small forum in my own country. I see it is the same everywhere.
"Things need not have happened to be true.
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths,
that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes,
and forgot."
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Jeff Jenson
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Hey there,
I read this topic a while ago and it struck a chord with me. I personally feel that if someone has an idea of how an effect is done then no one should have a problem with someone else building it. For example, I built a vanishing dove cage and I feel that it is better than a Norm Nielson's dove cage also I built a close-up table, a sub trunk, Zombie ball, wands, hollow eggs and yes even a floating table. So I don't know why anybody would have the right to discourage anyone of building a prop that fits their needs and style.

I mean why buy a Losander table if after you get it and you don't like the gimmick well then you wasted your money. Why not build your own style, your own gimmick and your own TABLE!!!

Jeff Jenson
"Keep The Magic Alive"
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Profile of bry1513
This is an old thread, I know that, but it was very comical for me as I read peoples posts........I could almost hear their underwear crawling up their cracks. So if peoples theories hold true, that you cannot ETHICALLY build your own floating table because Losander, who didn't invent the floating table by any means, has a method (which you would never know what it is unless you bought it)that is so superior, that making your own would be a crime. So in essence, if I built a floating table which when performed, looked even better than Losanders, it would be unethical for him to build any newer versions, because he could be ripping me off, and so on and so forth. Tony Clark did not invent the invisible dove harness (Love ya Tony), Jeff McBride did not invent the back palm (Love ya too Jeff) and Losander did not invent the floating table. If you have an idea for a floating table and are not ripping off others for profit, but for your own use, don't lose any sleep over it. Plus, I don't know why anyone in his/her right mind would spend $700 to get on stage and say "hey look......a floating table", let alone the $2500 price tag of Losanders. Talk about unethical..........

Take care,

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