Do we have the right?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DL360, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. This thread gave me the idea to start this discussion.

    Does a magician who buys a book/DVD/effect from another magician has the right to perform that material? Or is it only to be used as a source of ispiration and not to perform as it is?

    I'm not a fan of doing effects/routines as described by the author, I always do the necessary changes to fit my style or my taste (changes either on the methot/plot/structure etc). Although, I think that if someone who acquires the work of another magician aka paid for it, as the right to perform it as it is.

    I would like to read your thoughts on this.
  2. I always change them slightly to fit my style, but I feel as if saying you have no right to perform it even though you've bought it is wrong.

    As magicians, let's face it, we walk a very fine line between being a magician, or an honest con artist. A con-honest. >baboomtish<

    Ok, that joke was bad... But if you don't say in the description that you can't perform the effect, and then tell someone they can't, they'll feel deceived. The seller has crossed the line and it's basically a con.

    Rev even credited the creator in the description, so it's not like Paul was going to lose sales or something. In fact, he'd probably get a few more sales. It is basically free advertising.

    That's my thoughts on it anyway. I'm not sure if anyone would agree with me.
  3. Caveat - I am not a lawyer.

    From my understanding, when you purchase a product, unless the ad copy specifically states that performance rights are restricted in some way, you are granted all rights to perform in any medium. The seller can limit the rights if they put it up front saying that those rights are limited before the purchase is made - at that point it's a contract the buyer and seller are entering into. But if the purchase is made and only after that the buyer is told that the performance rights are limited, that is not going to hold up.

    Here's a thread where a few lawyers actually do go into this very subject:
  4. If we view magic as theater (which some have) and we view purchasing a magic product, similar to the purchase of a script, then it might be more clear. From what I understand Teller used this defense when his effect shadows was distributed without his permission.

    If you purchase a script you do not necessarily have the right to put on that play. (This is similar to how if you purchase a DVD from the grocery store there in the FBI warning it says that it is only for private use)

    If I want to perform Annie I have to strike up an agreement with the publisher. Often times the purchaser is required to explain the performing conditions of the play, how large the theater will be, how much they will charge for admission, and how long the play will run. The publisher then can give the purchaser a price that covers all of the necessary royalties that need to be paid to the various writers and producers every time the play is presented. The purchase of a single script does not cover the cost of royalties that goes in to a large production like Annie.

    So, when we purchase a magic effect I think it is clear that we are purchasing it for personal use. What constitutes personal use can get into a gray area. Also, the seller of a magic effect is often unclear with their intentions in selling the product. These 2 things cause issues as brought up by the Paul Gordon example.

    I think that it is the burden of the publisher to explain what is fair use. I think that it is the burden of the performer to properly credit and ask for permission.

    In the Paul Gordon example, it is clear that Rev believed he was using the trick for private purposes. It is also clear that Paul Gordon believed that he needed something more. In my view Paul should have made his intentions in publishing more clear from the outset (Many publishers do this. Bill Abbott explicitly gives performance rights with his products, Axel Hecklau goes as far as to give a certificate, Sans Minds regularly publishes a request to not perform these effects on television. If they can do it then so can Paul.)
  5. Can I just clear one thing up here: There was NO copyright claim made against me. This was never about me using the trick, it was about Paul using my video without asking first.

    I was the one who made the claim to Facebook on the basis that Paul ripped my video from Youtube and uploaded it to his own Facebook page without my permission. The video was my property, not Paul's, and I took exception to him using it (and removing my branding/titles) without asking. I made a claim with Facebook and the video was removed from his page.

    I honestly don't think he has a problem with anyone using his magic on the internet. The email he sent me asking me to take it down was nothing more than an attempt to get me to reverse my claim with Facebook.

    To quote the actual email:

    'It's NOT for you to post MY magic without permission. I will complain to YouTube....unless, of course, you want to withdraw your Facebook complaint!'

    He never intended to make that complaint, and in fact, the whole tone of his emails changed when I basically went "ok fine" and took it down. He then started asking very nicely for me to reverse my complaint.

    It was never about me using his trick, it was about me not allowing him to just steal my video for his own use. If I upload something to Youtube, and then decide to take it down in the future, for whatever reason, I want to be able to do so. If someone rips my video (featuring me, and only me) and uploads it on their own page, then the only way I can get control over it again it to get it removed by filing a copyright claim.

    This was never about tricks, it was about recordings and I hope everyone can understand that.

  6. Wow! Yeah, video is completely different than magic tricks. There are clear laws and Paul broke them! What a strange situation.
    Rev likes this.
  7. Again, not a lawyer - But magic tricks are different. I think the most sellers could get away with is not allowing someone to use the exact same presentation (Which is how Teller won, to my knowledge). You can't really patent a method.
  8. Yeah, that's what I understand as well. My minor was in pre-law, for a paper I wrote I looked into this, as well as a couple other magic related lawsuits. If I can find it I'll post it.
  9. Christopher's posts pretty much hit the nail on the head. If someone publishes magic, they have a copyright on the words in the book. They do not have a copyright on the methods. The methods could be patented, but that requires disclosing the methods and the patent only lasts for a certain period (I think 7 years but I could be wrong).

    Most magic is sold with the understanding that you are permitted to use the method, use the script and build the necessary props. Some material I've purchased has performance restrictions (no YouTube or television without permission) or marketing restrictions (you cannot make the prop for commercial sale -- only for your own use). I do remember that the True Astonishment DVDs and some others had very strange disclaimers that the DVDs were for entertainment purposes only and that you shouldn't do what they are telling you to do on the DVDs. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't help much in a court if someone injured themselves by doing what was shown on the DVD.

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