Industry with no copyright protection? Lessons from fashion's free culture.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Wallmott, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. I found this video and its quit interesting, its about copyright in the fashionindustry or i should say, the lack of one. Magic is also mentioned and why it cant be copyrighted.

    So this one crushes the myth that there is some kind of copyright on magictricks, even though some people and creators want to think so.
  2. Right. No copyright just a "code" magicians go by.
  3. I have been in magic a long time and have never heard anyone suggest a trick could be copyrighted. What myth do you speak of?

    Now a specific writeup or film of a trick is copyrighted - that's why it is illegal to xerox a magic book and sell it.

    Likewise, some performers (as far back as Houdini and as recently as Teller) will write up their routines as a play giving them legal protection.

    Further, Bob Kohler is currently employing the california trade secrets act and a specialized type of copyright to protect his releases.

    And then there are patents. Yigal Miseka recently sued another magician for patent infringement and won.

    So there are protections.

    But ultimately, there is a difference between what is legal and what is ethical. One will close doors for you, one will open them.
  4. Not going to name any names. But i have heard quit a few well known magicians claiming copyright and performance right for their effects.
  5. If someone has made a statement to this effect, then point it out. They have gone on record. Now if someone told you this privately then, one, it is hardly of mythic status and two that person is just an idiot. To not back up your claim that this belief is pervasive only makes it look like you are making stuff up that you don't know anything about. As I said, I have been in this game a while and have never heard an informed magician make any claim about there being a copyright for a trick.

    Having said that, the british theatrical unions had some interesting policies in place that restricted who could perform certain tricks on their stages. McComb had a great story about this. While it wasn't a copyright, it was a form of protection.

    Likewise, Tom Stone has written a bit about Swedish ip laws which are different than those in the US and stronger when it comes to a creators rights. For example, according to Tom, if a magician performs an effect in a mixed media (video tape, for example) then that effect can be considered (like some forms of choreography) protected. There are some interesting threads with contributions from real lawyers on these matters over on the genii forum.

    Now, performance rights are a different issue and have to do with routines. If you know anything about theatrical liscenses then you know that buying the script for a play, like Wicked, does not give you the right to perform it.

    Likewise, just because you own the sheet music to poker face doesn't mean you can legally record it or even perform it in public.

    So, magicians CAN reserve and/or grant performance rights to their material as long as they go about the process properly.
    So, while there is no copyright on an idea, there are copyrights on specific incarnations of that idea. There are also some other legal protections available, and creators can restrict and withhold certain rights as theatrical agencies do (though this is rare and seldom handled properly).

    But I think saying there is exists a widely held belief that a trick can be copyrighted is an overstatement.

    At least - among people that know anything either about magic or ip law.
  6. Couldn't have said it better myself. Many of our artists' livelihood depend solely on the sale of their original creations. I don't think providing limited information on what legally constitutes a copyrighted work acts as any justification for the unethical distribution of said material.

    Many of our releases have been developed over hundreds of performances for real audiences. By learning the trick via an unauthorized source, you are completely discounting the years invested in engineering and fine tuning the effect. I don't think that's anyway to support the artist, let alone the art as a whole.

    For those looking to take a stand against copyright infringement - join our fight directly HERE.
  7. #8 Nostravinci, Jun 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2010
    Some random thoughts after having watched Johanna's TED talk video.

    [begin vent]

    I've had people ignore my copyrights (back in the day, they photocopied my lecture notes) and steal my creations without improving them nor giving any credit. It hurts. A lot. A tremendously creative and inspirational friend got depressed over the many knock-offs and thefts of his original effects. He doesn't create new things anymore. This is a great loss for our community.

    Myths are a lot like artistic souls. Be wary of crushing them, or the damage may be permanent.

    There is a huge difference between copying and consuming, vs. being inspired, and building/innovating on top of that inspiration.

    If you only crush, copy and consume, then people who share their innovations and inspirations will be hurt. If you wound an artistic spirit enough, it will fade. When you take something and don't credit the originator (and also improve the idea with your own creativity), a small part of our culture dies.

    We are not the fast food, automobile or fashion industries. Our magic teachers/lecturers/publishers don't have the mass market reach of the film/novel/music industries.

    We thrive because we support/credit/inspire each other. We don't do it because we are forced by copyright/patent/trademark or other legal protections. We do it out of respect for each other's passion and effort. We respect each other because we care.

    Care is a much better word than crush.
    Respect is a better word than rights.
    Create is a better word than copy.

    [vent over]

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