On occasion I've considered trying to make small runs of magic apparatus. Whether I'll ever actually do this remains to be seen. While thinking about this however, I realized that I don't know the details of how to avoid infringing upon others creations, past or present. I'm posting this in the hope of learning the details. What I do know at this point is:
1) Patent - I forget how long these run for, and I can't recall whether you patent an idea, or an implementation of an idea. How does "patent pending" relate?
2) Copyright - I can't remember how long these run for either. As I understand it these cover published printed/video material only? Also, I understand that Copyright law differs from country to country, and I've heard rumor that "All Rights Reserved" is some sort of international protection of property, is that true? If so how?
3) Trademark - I don't know how long these last. I believe they protect a specific, um, mark, or printed sigil, but not printed material or manufactured items. Example: Arm & Hammer baking soda is trademarked, but I can sell my own version of baking soda and it's not protected by the trademark as long as I don't use "Arm & Hammer".
4) Crediting - as far as I can tell, this is a moral thing to do, not a legal thing to do. Am I correct?
Some questions that come to mind are:
a) I see a piece of apparatus described in a book, and the book is still under copyright, can I legally build the apparatus for sale, or is it protected by the copyright?
b) Example: a book has trick "Card Zorch" described in it. I cannot republish Card Zorch until that copyright expires? Under what cirumstances could I publish a modified version of Card Zorch without violating the Copyright?
c) I see a piece of apparatus that's selling like hotcakes. I blatently rip it off and sell it for a few bucks cheaper. If it's patented (which is unlikely for most cheap tricks given the cost of patents) then I can be prosecuted. But under what other circumstances are there legal remidies for someone who rips off a non-patented design? What about if I make an "improvement" to the design of a patented/non-patented item?
Ok, thanks in advance for your contributions. Let's keep it civil :D