Magic effects and copy right

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by krab, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. I think that's really indicative of an entitlement complex. Or at the very least youthful naivete and belief in their own invulnerability. Nothing unusual about a teenager being a whiny, self-entitled egomaniac unfortunately. I've stopped posting my routines online unless I've stopped using them altogether because I really don't want to perpetuate the problem of a bunch of kids thinking they should get performance ready material now and for free.

    Matter of fact, I actually sat down with a young guy a couple months ago. Newcomer, 18 years old. All he did was pick my brain about mentalism despite my repeated warnings that mixing magic and mentalism in the same show wasn't a good idea. I found out the other day that he's been ripping off my ad copy, now bills himself as a magician and mentalist, and is also trying to muscle in on markets that I'm working on and which he previously expressed no interest in. You can imagine left a bitter taste in my mouth.
  2. Sadly, the commercial element in magic now days, don't help, it's seriously exacerbates the problem in that the kiddies (some of them well in to their 30s) see things and chomp at the bit. Add this to a sub-culture mind-set that says that "hacking is cool" and/or the whole gangsta idea -- a.k.a. it's cool to steal if you can get away with it B.S.

    I've had loads of stuff stolen over the years, most recently my Card in Magician (recently done by Criss what's his name). It hurts on several levels but let me throw a guilt trip out there for those that are tempted to reverse engineer things. . .

    I live with several chronic health conditions and survive on right around $800.00 a month + whatever I can make on the side with my books and so forth. People that put my stuff on Torrent/File share sites or who out and out steal my published routines are taking money out of my pocket. . . money that I desperately need. $50.00 to you might not sound like a lot but for me it's huge, it's what allows me to get clothing, take care of my cats, and occasionally go see a movie.

    I'm not alone on this front, a dear friend in Boston is dealing with a punk that is releasing a "new trick" this coming monday... the kid claims everything is original to him when in fact Tony published this entire routine via Leaping Lizards a years or so back as a limited release. Tony is a vet with major health issues and spinal chord injuries. Like me, he survives on a very limited monthly income via SSI and the VA.

    Do You Want to Be Known As the A$$ That Steals Money from Injured Vets or Persons with Disabilities?

    Everyone gets on these forums and froths at the mouth complaining about the thieves and what they forget is the math; if the demand weren't there we wouldn't have a huge a problem as we have e.g. some of the people making all the rukkiss have to be part of the problem. Though I think it's kind of gotten weeded out, the Magic Cafe used to be a haven for such individuals, some of whom were moderators on the site.

    HERE'S A SECRET. . . if you bust your butt learning and earning a foundation you will eventually catch the eye of those individuals that are in the position to teach and guide you; through them you will end up with tons of "free" knowledge as well as your own top notch material that other punks in the world will replicate. . . but you'll be the top dog with the greater, longer lasting, advantages.

    Think about it.
  3. I've actually theorized that one possible outcome is that the DVD market is going to shrink. We're going to see more and more material either ripped off, poorly designed, or just plain made on the cheap. More crap is going to flood the market. The really good stuff is going to be harder to find as pros put their signature material in obscure books, less to turn a profit, and more to say that they got there first.

    After a while, the market for DVDs will start to shrink as everyone gets tired of being ripped off by bogus DVDs. Even the better ones will be tainted with a powerful whiff of caveat emptor. Piracy will never truly go away, but at some point it will start to diminish as people realize that most of the torrents out there are for complete crap.

    Piracy is the cost of doing business these days. But there does come a point where you have to quit being a cheapskate and actually buy something worth having. We don't truly value what we get for free. It might feel good to get something for free, but that's usually under the condition that we got it because of a legit offer. When I was first starting out, I pirated material. Most of it ended up unread or unwatched, sitting on my hard drive, forgotten until I finally deleted it trying to clear out space for The Sims 3.
  4. As I've mentioned before, there is a growing underground situation that involves some of the greatest minds in both, Magic & Mentalism (as well as Bizarre). We are selling by invitation only and at somewhat steep prices and we refuse to sell to people in the South & Central American countries as well as China unless we know them and they have a high moral ethic, because people from these 3 areas tend to have no care in the world when it comes to stealing and redistributing.

    More than the selling of material many of us have gone further back in time and only teach one on one or in small "coffee clutch" groups, passing on new routines and concepts directly, swearing their peers to secrecy. I have at least 3 versions of PK Touches two of which have never been published and the other saw less than 60 copies shared. That's just one example as to how things are unfolding due to the lack of integrity we are seeing within the world culture, not just magic. For far too long we've been programmed via the media, that it's ok to cheat on the rules; just look at TV commercials and their exaggerations let alone how semantics, linguistics and visual stimuli lead the consumer to assume certain things in that most of us still want to trust people as to being honest and having basic integrity and honor, but they don't!

    Unfortunately I have to blame Western Society for being a prime catalyst to the greater problem but, since we are looking at the magic world I'll point something out that's complicating life for all of us thanks to the pirateering; it's called DRM -- Digital Rights Management.

    More and more material is being submitted to sites like, Barns & Nobel, etc. with this type of software attachment. It's quite frustrating to those of use that prefer having a hard copy for study and back-up but it prevents most all forms of duplication unless you have direct permission. In most instances that I've experienced recently, you can't even list these books on your virtula bookshelf on your own PC but solely through a Reader resource like Readmill.

    Is this the direction things must take because of this gross immaturity of stealing?

    There are rumors out there about me trying to get copies of other people's material. In one particular case I was actually trying to confirm if or not a writer had plagiarized another writers material and things got seriously screwed up in translation resulting in my being "Named & Shamed" a game the brits love playing it would seem. Yes, I do ask for copies, usually directly from the author and usually for the sake of reviewing said material for the various publications I write for. It's just as true, that people send me copy even without my making a request because of my reputation in magic and their desire to have me review things. Unfortunately, most of my reviews aren't kind in that I have certain expectations when it comes to quality and research on each piece -- credit must be given where it belongs. All in all, I will defend the rights of an author/developer but I likewise support some very old fashion thinking when it comes to being a polite member of the human race. That's to say that I support Libraries, sharing between friends on a limited basis (lending a book), etc. I don't agree with the extreme level of selfishness & greed that's being justified under the banner of "Protection from Piracy" -- true Piracy stemming from those that horse trade material behind the scenes, file share scenarios and worse of all, those that make copies and sell them on eBay as originals.
  5. ^This.
    If I die too soon, my hardcover-bound magic journals of ideas & tricks I've designed are to go to my best friends (who are also performing magicians) for their benefit (they've seen most of it as I've designed it anyway), and not for posterity & dilution.

    Culture in the 21st century is telling us we're entitled to everything we want, and immediately. That butts against the classic magic culture of secrecy and respect. Just look at YouTube exposure vids!

    Regarding those 2 versions of PK Touches you haven't published, I hope you've been able to teach them to competent performer friends so that some day [many, many years from now!] when you pass on that those contributions to the art aren't lost forever.
    But I'm perfectly happy knowing I cannot click on a link on a website and buy them for $29.99 for instant gratification. ;-)

    To what Steerpike said above: the DVD & video download market (the legitimate market, not the piracy-side) is saturated and without good quality control.
    I'll come across a promo vid for a magic trick and think "didn't Vernon do exactly that trick with exactly that presentation?" Yes, he probably did; however someone without a knowledgeable base in magic/trick history won't know that. And if the publisher doesn't either... well... then we have the situation on the first sentence that krab1 started this thread with.

    To that point:
    In my first year of learning card magic (12 years ago now) I was learning sleights and basic tricks to reinforce use of those sleights (hey that turned out to be a great way to learn btw, kids). In my downtime such as lunchtime with friends (I was in college back then) I would mess around with the sleights I knew already and come up with new versions! new fancy ways to force a card! new sleights!
    ...and found out most of what I was coming up with on the spot, the late great Nate Leipzig had beaten me to... by 90 years! ;-)

    Now, I could publish my "original" sleights & manipulations, make an urban street style trailer with dramatic movie music, and put it online for $24.99 and there would be a large group of (I assume) young magicians who would eat it up as new material, never knowing that nearly the same material has been in print for 2x-3x the number of years I've been alive.
    Legal? Maybe.
    Moral? Grey area.
    Respectful to the art & its history. NOPE!
  6. In my first year of learning card magic (12 years ago now) I was learning sleights and basic tricks to reinforce use of those sleights (hey that turned out to be a great way to learn btw, kids). In my downtime such as lunchtime with friends (I was in college back then) I would mess around with the sleights I knew already and come up with new versions! new fancy ways to force a card! new sleights!
    ...and found out most of what I was coming up with on the spot, the late great Nate Leipzig had beaten me to... by 90 years! ;-)


    You've hit a few nails on the head here, starting with those that re-invent the wheel and who don't ask questions when it comes to properly researching the material prior to releasing it and grabbing all the cash that actually don't exist. . . trust me, you'll never get excessively wealthy selling magic unless your blessed with brilliance.

    There was a company bought out by Penguin that had a terrible reputation for producing effects & systems that claimed originality but in truth, the guys that came up with the effects, nor the company, took on the task of researching the effect prior to release. The result was having some major players in the industry bad mouthing them for stealing from Dirk Losander, Me and several others. Adding insult to said injury they were deliberately misleading when inquiries were made on their effects. . . for an example, claiming that elbow reading wasn't pencil reading . . . you don't tell a legend in the industry such a thing without paying for it in the long run. (and no, I didn't just expose something).

    Too many "newbies" want to make a big name for themselves without realizing that stepping into the general market means you're swimming with sharks. This is why I am always saying, CONTRIBUTE TO ESTABLISHED PUBLICATIONS FIRST and give away your brain farts. You will become better known, faster and in the same course of action, build a reputation that makes what you market more valuable and too, more likely to sell at a higher volume. This is why certain notables boast about buying a home or new car off of one effect; they had built a reputation first as a concept person AND PERFORMER. Most of them don't even release material that's less than 3-5 years old and in use -- stage proven as it were.

    If you want to prove that you're creative the second step is to write that book, but NOT a book with two or three effects in it; write an actual book (50+ pages) with a dozen or so effects that you give an evolution to; what first inspired the piece and whose routines were involved that helped you come up with this variation (and 95% of what you come up with does already exist and is little more than a variation on previous thinking. . . it is exceptionally rare that anything genuinely "new" comes along).

    Stop Hyping Your New Card Tricks!

    Of all divisions in magic Card Magic has the most books and material going; magic buffs are addicted to the things and because of this saturation, the requisite research is a must and it gets deep!

    But How Do I Do This Research? You ask

    You get to know magic historians that know key areas of history. If you're a card guy you go to the elder cardmen out there. Not one but about a dozen of them, and you ask if they know of anything similar and where you can find it.

    Just yesterday one of my publishers caught me on something. I had devised a very cool bit of Psychometry using Tarot cards. Being a history buff Loren knew of a similar effect published 30 years ago in a noted source. He forwarded the article and about 90% of what I'd come up with matched the techniques this older system used.

    Now if some old and "learned" dude like me gets caught out, replicating something from yesteryear I can bet you dollars to doughnuts that a newbie is going to to. This is why we MUST research and why, if we are going to focus on developing effects, we must have a sizable personal library with which to work. . . yet, I see many selling their Mark Wilson and Tarbell books saying "I don't need them any more" when in fact, they do. . . such books should never leave your book shelf because you will need to reference them from time to time. . . I still do.

    To strive for greatness is not a sin. To do so without integrity and solely for the sake of cash and fame. . . well, that is a sin; one that affects us all in rather negative ways.

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