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Senor Fabuloso

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Reply with quote  #1 
I think most of us can agree that piracy and knockoffs are an affront, to everything we hold dear in our art. OK a bit dramatic perhaps but seriously, we can all probably agree that it is ethically wrong, to steal regardless of the reason? A loaf of bread to feed ones family, during a depression not withstanding, we want to encourage development in the art and reward creative thinking. 

So what then to do about companies, that blatantly rip things off? And no, I'm not just talking about China based companies. Magic Makers as but one example, has made versions of some very popular effects from companies like Viking and Johnson. They have in fact changed a bit of the design to comply with U.S. patent regulations, making it technically legal but is it ethical and should we support their business?

I ask because they seem to sell everywhere, on sites like Amazon and Walmart. And this availability undoubtedly will bring many new people into the fold. These trick for some like it was for many of us, will be the first step into finding out more about the art and possible bring forth the next generation of accomplished performers? For me it was the TV magic set advertised on television at a time when TV was fairly new.

Should we as responsible magicians, discourage those new to magic from supporting such companies and are we tasked with guarding the door to development by calling out what might be seen as nefarious behavior? Or do we accept that t "it's the way it is" and not our business? Surly this is a question, which can find consensus and doesn't have to devolve into polarizing controversy.

What do you think?


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #2 
Not to pick on Magic Makers, but it is so easy so here is another example.  They can't even come up with original book titles.  For example, they advertise two card books and use the EXACT names used by Frank Garcia years ago.

Garcia wrote 12 books in his life. The books were written about card cheating, gambling, and most especially close-up card magic. Some of his magic books are considered collectors items. His most famous books were:

  • Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic (1976)
  • Million Dollar Card Secrets (1972)
  • Super Subtle Card Miracles (1973)
6302_1000x.jpg 
0113_1000x.jpg 

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
The secrets to most any popular magic trick are available to anyone who has the time and the motivation to seek them out.  For example, let's say you saw a magician vanish a silk and "something looked funny about his thumb".  Trust me, it happens.  So you go home and you google "Fake Thumb" because you don't know that it is really called a thumb tip.  Here is what you get....


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 

So the fact is, there is very little respect for secrets anymore in the magic community as a whole.  Companies that sell magic tricks actually show the gimmicks on their websites.  Invisible thread reels, check.  Folding quarters, check.  It goes on and on.  

We can rationalize it to death.  Some say "Well, nobody is really all that interested in those websites unless they are a magician and if they do stumble upon the websites, maybe they might want to BECOME a magician.  OK.  How can you argue with that?  Too many hypotheticals.

What is funny is I was on a forum the other day (not this one) and somebody suggested that they take the discussion to the "secret" area because they were starting to discuss particulars about a common sleight.  I just laughed.

Talk about yelling at waves.

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #5 
This topic comes up with amazing frequency. Obviously it is of great concern to some. And not that it shouldn't be, but the real question is, "What can we do as individuals?" Well, it seems to me that the best answer is Kant's Categorical Imperative, or in essence, act as you would prefer that others act toward all people. Or to put it another way, act locally, think globally. Boom, like that. That's about the best we can do as individuals. The rest is nothing short of self-vexation and mental onanism. 

Av 
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Jed

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Reply with quote  #6 
This is true.
But how about we look at the up side of things!
When performing for teenagers, I begin by saying that if anyone wants to know how the things are done, they can stand in back of me. It's totally okay by me, but they must not ruin the trick for everyone. The reason if this is that I know that if they want to figure it out, YouTube is right out there... I am not here to fool you anymore. Those times have passed, I am now here to show you an art.

This gives your performance a whole different context, maybe magic is more enjoyable these days than in the past.
What do you think?
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
One thing you can always do is vote with your wallet.  If you see a dealer that particularly rubs you wrong, don't buy from them.  There are plenty of others.  And when possible, buy directly from the creator.  The inventor makes more money if you buy directly from them.

AV is right, we pretty much just have to behave appropriately and hope others follow.  It really is too big of a problem for any of us to solve on our own.  So in the end, folks like you and me get upset while the others just shrug.

I still report any blatant theft to the creator.  I have gotten some nice emails back thanking me for doing so.  One went as far as to lament that fact that it isn't going to help much, but he appreciated the thoughtfulness.  That was good enough for me.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
I still report any blatant theft to the creator.  I have gotten some nice emails back thanking me for doing so.  One went as far as to lament that fact that it isn't going to help much, but he appreciated the thoughtfulness.  That was good enough for me.


Ray,

That's just the sort of Kantian ethic I was advocating. And also proof that it works. It may not change the entire world, but it makes differences in small corners. And, hey, small corners count!

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jim ferguson

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jed
This is true.
But how about we look at the up side of things!
When performing for teenagers, I begin by saying that if anyone wants to know how the things are done, they can stand in back of me. It's totally okay by me, but they must not ruin the trick for everyone. The reason if this is that I know that if they want to figure it out, YouTube is right out there... I am not here to fool you anymore. Those times have passed, I am now here to show you an art.

This gives your performance a whole different context, maybe magic is more enjoyable these days than in the past.
What do you think?



That is one of the strangest points of view I think I've read on a magic forum.

If you are not there to fool them, then what's the point ? What you propose isn't magic.


Jim

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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Not to pick on Magic Makers, but it is so easy so here is another example.  They can't even come up with original book titles.  For example, they advertise two card books and use the EXACT names used by Frank Garcia years ago.

Garcia wrote 12 books in his life. The books were written about card cheating, gambling, and most especially close-up card magic. Some of his magic books are considered collectors items. His most famous books were:

  • Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic (1976)
  • Million Dollar Card Secrets (1972)
  • Super Subtle Card Miracles (1973)
6302_1000x.jpg 
0113_1000x.jpg 
 
  I actually know a bit of the back story on this one. These are DVD's not books. An agreement was made with a relative of Frank Garcia for the material to be done in DVD format. An amount was agreed on. The DVD's were filmed with Simon and manufactured and then the relative changed his mind. Having laid out the money Rob Stiff released them anyway. Not sure whether a check was sent and not cashed or what. Heard this awhile back. Of course in many other cases stuff was just taken. 

Of course even Magic Makers original items have been pirated (Karma some might think).
I think it would be difficult to find one huge magic company of the past that didn't have pirated items listed among their stock. The average magician at the time probably didn't realize it as they only deal with one or two dealers. Magic makers was the whipping boy for awhile. 

Now of course there are hundreds of Chinese dealers and EVERYTHING they sell is pirated pdfs and downloads.

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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jed
This is true.
But how about we look at the up side of things!
When performing for teenagers, I begin by saying that if anyone wants to know how the things are done, they can stand in back of me. It's totally okay by me, but they must not ruin the trick for everyone. The reason if this is that I know that if they want to figure it out, YouTube is right out there... I am not here to fool you anymore. Those times have passed, I am now here to show you an art.

This gives your performance a whole different context, maybe magic is more enjoyable these days than in the past.
What do you think?


I agree with Jim. Of course its still possible to entertain them, and not have them figure out what you do, by doing none standard stuff.  Your viewpoint makes it seem like you've given up! Unless of course, the stuff you do is stuff you learned on YouTube?
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim ferguson



That is one of the strangest points of view I think I've read on a magic forum.

If you are not there to fool them, then what's the point ? What you propose isn't magic.


Jim



Nope, it's not, is it? It's what... performance art, I guess? But to what purpose? To expose? Make a point? Save them the trouble of opening a browser on their phone?

Yep, I, too, am confused. Perhaps Jed will offer insight into his purpose and objective.

Av

Edited to replace an errant comma with the appropriate apostrophe. 
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #13 
I can't imagine suggesting that people get positioned so they can see how the tricks are done!? Just because one or two might later visit YouTube in hopes of finding the secret isn't a reason to suggest that they could position themselves so as to see how you accomplish the magic.

Jay Sankey once opined a similar view. His rap was that they'd then appreciate the "art." I don't get it. "Look at how gracefully he manipulates the key ring to make it seem that one ring passed through the other..." That thinking is for magicians, not laypeople. 

Hide the secrets at all costs is my MO. 

Mike
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
The secrets to most any popular magic trick are available to anyone who has the time and the motivation to seek them out.  For example, let's say you saw a magician vanish a silk and "something looked funny about his thumb".  Trust me, it happens.  So you go home and you google "Fake Thumb" because you don't know that it is really called a thumb tip.  Here is what you get....


I realized years ago that I (upon forgetting my TT when I did a birthday party) could make a small silk vanish even without a TT.  I like to use the small square bar napkins as an impromptu version whenever possible.  But, I don't like all the easy exposure so readily available.

Tom
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicTK


I realized years ago that I (upon forgetting my TT when I did a birthday party) could make a small silk vanish even without a TT.  I like to use the small square bar napkins as an impromptu version whenever possible.  But, I don't like all the easy exposure so readily available.

Tom


Sure, you can do a barehanded vanish, use a dye tube, a pull or a TT.  Or even an invisible TT, which of course isn't.

I'm sure you realize that my point is that IF they take the time to look it up, not only do they find thumb tips, they find finger tips, invisible TTs and even thumb writers.  Mentalists can't be too happy with that either.

Another thing that kills me is the ads for multiplying billiard balls that call out the fact that not one  but two shells are provided.  They even show them.

Back in the day, the ad would say something like you will receive 3 balls and that "special something" that allows you to create miracles.

Like I said, it is like yelling at waves.  We've pretty much lost the general public on this.  So like my wife tells our kids constantly.  Do the right thing even when those around you aren't.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #16 
Upon perusing the website for the International Brotherhood of Magicians, I found this section from their bylaws:

D. Except as noted, members shall not reveal the modus operandi of magic effects or principles to the lay public. Exceptions are (1) where the intent is clearly to teach, so that the recipient may learn how to make and/or perform the effect or effects, rather than simply to satisfy curiosity; (2) where the method of an effect is integral to the plot, as in a detective novel or play; (3) where the method is important to the history of the performer or inventor or the evolution of the effect under discussion, as in a magic history or biography; and (4) where an effect is performed and then the simple method is revealed as a gag or stunt. However, the Ethics Committee, with the approval of the Board of Trustees, may grant a member the privilege of a specific exception if they decide that the Art of Magic is not injured thereby.

And from the Society of American Magicians Joint Ethics Guidelines:

All members of The Society of American Magicians agree to:

1) Oppose the willful exposure to the public of any principles of the Art of Magic, or the methods employed in any magic effect or illusion.

2) Display ethical behavior in the presentation of magic to the public and in our conduct as magicians, including not interfering with or jeopardizing the performance of another magician either through personal intervention or the unauthorized use of another's creation.

3) Recognize and respect for rights of the creators, inventors, authors, and owners of magic concepts, presentations, effects and literature, and their rights to have exclusive use of, or to grant permission for the use by others of such creations.

4) Discourage false or misleading statements in the advertising of effects, and literature, merchandise or actions pertaining to the magical arts.

5) Discourage advertisement in magic publications for any magical apparatus, effect, literature or other materials for which the advertiser does not have commercial rights.

6) Promote the humane treatment and care of livestock used in magical performances.

The IBM and the SAM have their own "personalities".  When I was active, the SAM was seen as the more professional of the two and the IBM was constituted by more amateurs and hobbyists.  Please forgive the over-generalization.
So it is no wonder that the SAM lists "unauthorized use of another's creation" and the IBM does not.  

I thought both were worthy of sharing and germane to the discussion at hand.

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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #17 
Interesting discussion...

I would like to see more ethical behavior from the legitimate magic vendors who sell effects based on heavily edited (misleading?) videos or ad copy.

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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Sure, you can do a barehanded vanish, use a dye tube, a pull or a TT.  Or even an invisible TT, which of course isn't.

I'm sure you realize that my point is that IF they take the time to look it up, not only do they find thumb tips, they find finger tips, invisible TTs and even thumb writers.  Mentalists can't be too happy with that either.


Oh, yes.  I definitely got your point.  Without even looking deep, people can find stuff so quick.  Of course, if they are willing to take the time to search.  Too many search terms are linking various effects together.  

Back before the internet is when I had first performed the no TT silk vanish.  It was funny when I first brought out the silk, a kid said, "I know how you do that one, you have a thing on your...".  I just grinned and did the vanish, mimicking the same motions, just to give him something to focus on while I ditched the silk to end very clean.

Tom
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T
Interesting discussion...

I would like to see more ethical behavior from the legitimate magic vendors who sell effects based on heavily edited (misleading?) videos or ad copy.


That is item #4 above in the SAM verbiage.  Yes, I have seen videos where the method is totally misleading because they edit out all of the "dirty work".

There even is a popular item being sold right now where there are two methods, one designed for camera or one-on-one performances and a practical one that you can use anytime, anywhere.  Guess which one they feature?  I'm sure you don't realize that until you buy the item in question.
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #20 
Unfortunately legal compliance does not always align with ethical/moral behaviors and actions. That is, I can follow the letter of the law but my behavior does not necessarily have to be moral or ethical. 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T
Unfortunately legal compliance does not always align with ethical/moral behaviors and actions. That is, I can follow the letter of the law but my behavior does not necessarily have to be moral or ethical. 


True enough!
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Bizzaro

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Reply with quote  #22 
On the subject of Magic Makers, much like China, sometimes they make a GREAT version of something generic. MM has the best mirror box on the market currently. You can be staring right into it from a couple feet away and it looks empty. We used one in our magic themed escape room for a puzzle.
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ

 

The books were written about card cheating, gambling, and most especially close-up card magic. Some of his magic books are considered collectors items.



Although your link points to a classic Caravaggio painting (The Card Sharps) it's tough to beat any of the Poker Playing Dogs pictures.

A_Friend_in_Need_1903_C.M.Coolidge.jpg 


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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #24 
I don't see how one can stop the pirates.

I remember doing a deal i.e a trade at the Magic Café which involved trading my book The Dance for this other guys "book" Larry Becker's Stunners Plus. I thought it was a great deal. So,I get an e-mail from this guy and the e-mail had a link to the bootlegged e-book for Becker's Stunners book.

I contacted the Café and they told me that they would look into it. Pissed off, I pm'ed the other guy and told him that I would like my hard cover book back, he then asked me " What other books are you interested in?" I told him what I wanted, and then he told me that had those books in e-book forum and asked me not to PM the Café anymore. He also told me that he would be sending a" bunch of e-books" to me. He sure did. There were a ton of bootlegged material. I no longer get bootlegged stuff any more, thus I learned a big lesson.

My thinking is that this is going to continue, this hurts the creators and it hurts the art. Just my 2 cents....

MP
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #25 
Magic Makers may make nice things but that doesn't change the fact that they are ripping off like crazy. They ripped off my trick, Diminishing Returns. They made a small modification to justify the rip off and then took a step backwards making their "version" less magical. The full story is even more damning but I won't go into it now.

Talk to Lee Asher and others about being ripped off by Magic Makers. 

Mike
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T


Although your link points to a classic Caravaggio painting (The Card Sharps) it's tough to beat any of the Poker Playing Dogs pictures.

A_Friend_in_Need_1903_C.M.Coolidge.jpg 


Sleight of paw?

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Bizzaro

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Magic Makers may make nice things but that doesn't change the fact that they are ripping off like crazy. They ripped off my trick, Diminishing Returns. They made a small modification to justify the rip off and then took a step backwards making their "version" less magical. The full story is even more damning but I won't go into it now.

Talk to Lee Asher and others about being ripped off by Magic Makers. 

Mike


Oh don’t get me wrong. They are scumbags. I wasn’t defending them.

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