Using someone else's trick.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mclintock, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. I'd like to find out what the general idea on using someone else's trick here is. Say I set out to learn a trick by watching it, say the Two Card Monte, and I determine how it is done and how to perform it (which I actually have with that trick) do you think that it is something I should perform, or not because it is someone else's trick?
  2. Magic is all about using the same thing but adapting it to your style. Very few people actually use "new" tricks, it's all about how you perform them. Don't claim for it to be yours, and you'll be fine. It's all about showmanship.
    mclintock likes this.
  3. It depends.

    I think it is in very bad taste to use someone's presentation of an effect without their permission. For example, I've seen people copy Jeff McBride's Miser's Dream presentation.

    As for effects, if you have purchased the effect, you are free to use it anyway you want (unless certain rights such as for television or video are reserved).

    I'm not a big fan of learning tricks by watching them or trying to figure them out. If someone has worked to come up with a creative method, it is up to them to decide if they will share it (by selling it or otherwise). That being said, there are a lot of effects that are pretty simple and anyone with a basic understanding of card magic will figure them out. I think it is worse to "teach" those effects without proper crediting (i.e. charging for someone else's secret) or to reveal the methods on the internet.

    Let me give you an example. I know how Wayne Houchin does French Kiss, but I purchased the effect anyway (on the Art of Magic DVD) when I was at a lecture by Wayne. I felt that if I was going to use his unique presentation, that I should purchase the effect. I was glad I did because I also learned Carbon Copy which is one of my favorite effects.

    It is interesting that you refer to Two Card Monte. I don't think that is the properl name of the effect you are talking about because that one involves the use of a double face card.

    However, I suspect that you are referring to Eddie Fechter's "Be Honest, What Is It" in The Magic of Eddie Fechter by Jerry Mentzer (1974):

    Or you are referring to "Switchcraft" which is attributed to Ted Annemann and John Scarne and first appears in Frank Garcia's Million Dollar Card Secrets (1972):

    An based on those, there are a lot of variations of two card transpositions going back to Professor Hoffman's More Magic in 1876:
  4. WHOOPS! I meant to say here then there! Also I was referring to using the concept of the trick with a different presentation, would you have a different opinion on that?

    EDIT: Also does the current status of the original artist (dead/alive) have an effect on this?
  5. Let me add another fact to the mix. The books Million Dollar Card Secrets and The Magic of Eddie Fechter are both out of print and run around $150 each. So purchasing the original publications of those effects is absurdly expensive.

    For those two effects, I think you can perform them without buying the original publications. I also think you can teach them to other magicians (in private... not on Youtube which is exposure to everyone). The considerations are: 1) the age of the original effects -- having been published more than 25 years ago; 2) that Anneman, Garcia, Scarne and Fechter (but not Mentzer) have passed away; 3) there is a significant prior and subsequent history to the plot; 4) the simplicity of the methods (a DL or a TC); and 5) the inability to purchase the original sources. Really, there is no way to legiimately purchase those effects -- unless you buy someone's teaching of an effect that isn't theirs or a variation of an effect that isn't theirs.

    Let's take another example -- Wayne Houchin's Carbon Copy. Even if you figure it out, I wouldn't perform it without purchasing it because: 1) the original effect is less than 25 years old; 2) Houchin is still alive; 3) the presentation is unique; 4) even though it uses simple sleights, the combination of those sleights is unique; 5) it is readily available for puchase (and Art of Magic is a great DVD even if it didn't have any effects.
    mclintock likes this.
  6. Thank you very much.
  7. Except Carbon Copy isn't Wayne Houchin's trick; it's Jay Sankey's.
  8. I think it's okay to use someone else's trick as long as you bought it legally when that person wished to for it to be distributed or gave you permission to perform it. Part of what makes magic complicated is that there isn't really any copyright laws or patents that can protect your performances. I mean a good lawyer good find some way to file for a copyright violation but it's often not even worth the effort. But most magicians I know live by an honor code of integrity and will purchase effects fairly and use them fairly. The only people I see violating this are 12 year olds on YouTube having reveal videos.
  9. Oops. I'm sure Wayne gave credit on the DVD and it was taught with permission (as below in the description) but I learned it years ago and only remember that Wayne taught it:

    CARBON PAPER - An incredibly powerful effect contributed to AOM by Jay Sankey. The back of a playing card is burned - your spectator FEELS the burn from that card travel through their hand and end up on a signed card that has been between their hands for the entire effect... leaving the originally burnt card completely unharmed. Performed and taught by Wayne Houchin. ​
  10. IMO, if you can figure out howsomething is done, then you should feel comfortable performing it, but if you know its anot persons trick, just dont claim ownership or creation of it, give the author their just deserves and point them to the right place. It might also be worth buying a trick you figured out, since reguardless of the fact you didnt need the instructions, you are still using a trick someone worked hard to create, you learned it from or vicarious though them, and this is a good gesture of thanks. I know i figured out the Dresscode routine watching it, i still dropped the cash on it because end of the day, its something fun it made me smile, and that was worth my money.

    I feel this is especially important if your earning from your performing. again, its all down to how you feel as ethics go, personally i feel magic is a endagered animal these days with how easy it can be to whip a phone out and dispel someone, so those who practice, great or small, should stick together. To that, if you can make an earning off something a fellow practitioner created, help repay them. That trick could help earn you an unlimited amount of viewage or earnings, the price of gratitude is one time.

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