This letter is intended to hopefully shed some light and thoughts in response to your question, Richard, about the Eye to Eye vs. Perfect Guess controversy that has been going on over the last week or so. Many people have really tried to view this issue looking at all of the facts while others have simply jumped on the bandwagon and just assume the worst. Instead of speculating, making assumptions, making accusations, beating around the bush, etc. I think it is important in this case, and in all others, to stick to the facts and to call a spade a spade. So lets take a look at some issues on this because I think it reaches FAR beyond this one item.
Just prior to my recent weeks vacation I received a VERY nasty e-mail from Mr. Charles Gauci expressing his concern about Murphys Magic Supplies carrying a rip off of his Eye to Eye. I immediately responded to Mr. Gauci, as a representative of Murphys, and advised that I understood his concern, frustration, and anger but requested that he provide me some facts supporting his accusations so that we could sort out the issues as soon as possible.
We felt it prudent to ensure that we have all of the FACTS so that we could make an informed and ethical decision based strictly on facts as opposed to who could create the most waves or shout the loudest. Some of Mr. Gaucis friends, on various boards, have felt insulted that we asked Mr. Gauci for some facts to back his accusation yet none of them seem to have any problem with us pulling off Perfect Guess, demanding facts from that individual, etc. I think its important to look at all sides. For us just to act on an accusation with no facts, no background, no specifics, and no true knowledge of either party involved would be, I feel, unprofessional, shortsighted, and negligent. We wanted to ensure we handled this in the most ethical and professional manner possible but we cannot make such a determination by a simple accusation. I know Mr. Gauci and many of his friends are angery and I understand and appreciate that but we have to do what is RIGHT and not just bow to pressure, pressure from friends rallied together, etc.
As a similar example, a very popular product (which will go unnamed at this time) recently was released and got a lot of advertising, attention, etc. We started carrying this and someone claimed it was a rip off and put a TREMENDOUS, TREMENDOUS amount of pressure on us. We had threats from all over the world to stop carrying the rip off. Instead of bowing down to pressure, we decided to stand fast and wait for the FACTS in determining our path. The parties involved decided to arbitrate the issue (which was very admirable and I applaud them for that) under the watch of a mutually agreed upon, neutral, and very respected individual in magic (who again will go unnamed at this point but I am sure you will be hearing of this with all details soon). In the end, it turned out the item we were carrying, and hailed upon by many people as a rip off, was, in fact, the legitimate product. As mentioned, you will most certainly hear more about this in the near future. But it crystallizes the importance of providing FACTS in supporting an accusation. We have requested FACTS from both sides and have not yet received anything from Mr. Gauci (with the exception of a post Mr. Gauci made on The Magic Caf in which he states a letter went out to various IBM Rings Jan 22, 2002 and mentions his effect I cannot however get an actual creation date or release date despite repeated request) or the other party. Once we do obtain the facts, we will then make a determination based on reviewing the facts from both sides and act accordingly from there. How Mr. Gauci and the other party resolve it is between them. We do not condone or promote rip offs. However, it is easy to just jump to conclusions and start making negative assumptions but this is NOT the right way of doing things. As a distributor, we obtain products with the assumption that they are legitimate and sold to us in good faith. If a question arises as to the legitimacy of the product we absolutely will look at that and act accordingly based on facts.
Mr. Gauci has taken my letter on other boards and offered to arbitrate in a similar manner to the example I provided above. However, WE cannot arbitrate this as we are NOT one of the parties involved. I am awaiting on facts from BOTH parties (Mr. Gauci and the other individual who will go nameless at this time due to many threats, etc. it is typically not our policy to provide contact info but especially in this case with the tone that was reached and the threats strewn about we felt it particularly not prudent to give out home phone numbers, names, etc.). If the other party who created Perfect Guess should come forward and present facts, then it will be up to HIM to agree or not to agree to arbitrate with Mr. Gauci. I applaud Mr. Gauci for standing up behind his product and we will hopefully see soon to what extent, if any, the other party will stand up in a similar fashion. He may have precise and accurate facts that his creation was prior to Mr. Gauci or he may have no substantiated facts (at which point we will look at both sides and act accordingly).
There have been several requests that we stop selling Perfect Guess until this is resolved. If Mr. Gauci will agree to stop selling Eye to Eye we can certainly discuss that possibility though I rather doubt Mr. Gauci will want to stop selling his popular item. And besides that, the individual who sold us the units of Perfect Guess did, to my understanding, sell it to other dealers. Thus what is being asked is that we cease sales while others continue to sell.
And to all of the people that jump on the bandwagon without facts and make all kinds of negative assumptions and accusations with no regard, I would encourage you to strongly consider the brief example I provided above. This is not at ALL uncommon and we see it frequently you just dont end up hearing about a lot of very similar situations.
Now lets look a little further at the ethics issue. Mr. Gauci, as an example, has professed, according to a post I just read and responded to on EG, as no longer wanting to share his creations due to the ethics issues involved yet he has recently engaged in an exclusive wholesale arrangement with a competitor to ours that, to my understanding, has apparently sold blatant rip offs and simply not been called to the carpet. This is where things start to extend well beyond the items in question. As another example, there has been a recent rip off of a watch effect put out by Bazar de Magia. This item has been EXTREMELY popular though it is hurting sales for Bazar de Magia and for shops and distributors such as Murphys who bought thousands of dollars worth of the original item released by Bazar de Magia and now simply have it sitting there as the rip off flies off the shelves. We have chosen NOT to carry the rip off as we knew the facts. Thus the self policing in magic seems to be selective and partly based on who can yell the loudest. We see our competitors, apparently and in my opinion, sell blatant rips offs but, because they are not being quite as active, no one is calling them to the carpet. Yet when we purchase units of an effect such as Perfect Guess in good faith that it is original and one person assumes they have been ripped off we get chastised up and down. If this is a rip off, neither I nor Murphys is condoning it in any way, shape, or form. What I am trying to stress is that if there is going to be self policing in the magic field it really needs to be all around and not selective. It needs to be based not on who can shout the loudest but across the board. It needs to be on who created and released it first and not on what people like. Being such an aggressive company, Murphys Magic Supplies, in my opinion (though it is obviously biased but I DO believe it or I wouldnt work there) is THE most ethical distributor in magic. However, it gets very tough when our various competitors are not apparently called on carrying rips offs and we pay higher prices, etc. on the original items to support the ethics.
Back to the issue at hand. I am basically looking for 2 pieces of information from both parties: 1) verifiable time when they created the item in question and 2) verifiable time when they released the item in question. I presented this to Mr. Gauci and he did not want to provide this information in fear that I might apparently backdate the dates on Perfect Guess. Although I understand and appreciate Mr. Gaucis concern, I really have NO interest either way and simply would not do that. All I wish to do is get this straightened out. I do not wish to speak FOR the other individual. He will have to do that himself and provide facts as well if an informed decision is to be made on his item. You may say well you DO have an interest in that your company is carrying Perfect Guess. Well, the truth is that if it is a rip off wed rather not continue to progress along with it. There has been more than one instance in the past where weve chosen to simply eat the loss. However, I do have to say that it is awfully hard to make an informed decision without all of the facts. If they are verifiable facts its hard to change them.
I also want to raise another point that deals with this yet extends well beyond it. When the concern was first brought to my attention I made it VERY clear to Mr. Gauci that I would be departing for vacation and asked that he send me the facts while I was gone so this could be rectified -- yet when I came back I found all kinds of mud slinging on various internet boards. Weve had people second guessing us, putting us down, threatening us, etc. and all without any FACTS, without all of the background, etc. Its like people have become ANXIOUS to sling mud. While I can certainly understand and appreciate Mr. Gaucis concern, anger, and frustration, I do not think it appropriate or beneficial to exacerbate a situation and get a mud slinging frenzy going (I am NOT saying Mr. Gauci has done that in fact, over the last few days he and I have exchanged some very good, productive correspondence dealing with this- however, many OTHER people HAVE jumped on the bandwagon blinded by emotion with no facts to substantiate their position). While I certainly do NOT dispute the factual claim that Mr. Gauci created the popular Eye to Eye I feel it is crucial to find out when he released it and find out exactly when the other individual released their version (substantiated in both cases) and then the answer becomes quite clear one way or another. Obviously, if Mr. Gauci is the creator of this effect, had his item out first, has the facts to support his accusations, and he is being ripped off, Murphy's would like to know ASAP as well. Wed like to put an end to this whole issue. Wed like to NOT see rips off. We support the people that are legitimately creating and moving magic forth in a positive direction. It's interesting though how people can ASSUME something is true by someone creating a stir about it. Assumption is a very dangerous thing (on top of it being the lazy and negligent route).
I wish we could all simply stick to the facts, get the facts needed to resolve this one way or another, and stop the mudslinging in general. I feel, with all due respect to the many individuals that have posted on this topic that a great deal of the responses fall into this category of mudslinging. They do NOT have all of the facts, some have tried to get us to empathize through sympathy (i.e. that we will not have access to future creations of Mr. Gauci which though I do feel is unfortunate as I am impressed by Mr. Gaucis work), and they have NOT received and evaluated both sides of the issue. As I cited in the example I gave earlier, sometimes the results can come back and surprise us. Although the internet is a wonderful tool, I have seen it really hurt magic and the camaraderie simply because it is so easy to sling mud with simply no responsibility for what is said or no apparent need to provide facts behind it. Once an accusation is made it is hard to shake. Look, as an example, at the gentleman, who was accused of the bombing at the Olympics. In fact, in the end, it turned out that this security guard was a hero but do you ever think he will not receive the negative stares, do you think it will be easy for him to get a job, do you think people will actually know he WAS cleared from it and DID try to act in good faith to HELP people? Unsubstantiated accusations such as those that many of Mr. Gaucis friends have made are dangerous and set an unproductive precedent.
Murphys Magic Supplies, Inc.