The future of magic as a business

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby Mike Powers » 07/15/03 06:01 AM

When I check the Penguin site, I see downloads for old standards like Do As I Do, Jazz Aces, Matrix etc. The prices are generally around $5 or $6. I'm not sure what authorizes dealers to create videos of tricks that are found in books and then charge $$ for a pdf file or internet video clip which explains the trick.

What if everyone gets on this bandwagon. If you want your own business, just get a big library of magic books and videos. Find a bunch of good tricks. Make an internet video of each one. Create a pdf file explaining how to do it. Hook up with paypal. BINGO - you're in business.

Sort of depressing but this may be the future of magic as a business. In the BIG world of business the only rule is to stay LEGAL. And what I've outlines above IS legal. There is an ongoing effort to maintain ETHICAL standards in magic but this may be a losing battle. Let's hope not.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/15/03 08:31 AM

If the download of "Matrix," for example, is exactly Al Schneider's routine, I'm not sure it's legal for them to sell videos of it. That's an open question, and one of the main sources of confusion about the legal rights of people who create (in this case) sleight of hand effects. "Matrix" has been published and copyrighted by Al Schneider, so I would guess that there's a chance that selling a video of the same method would be illegal. Ditto for Peter Kane's "Jazz Aces."
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Postby Bill Mullins » 07/15/03 08:59 AM

Practically speaking, it is legal. Because Schneider hasn't sued them, gotten a judgement, and collected it. Until he (or someone in a similar situation) gets a judge to rule that copyright law covers the description of a magic trick (which, to date, it hasn't), it is legal and will stay legal.

Anyone want to come up with a few tens of thousands of dollars to prove they own a magic trick?

Any Lawyers want to do this, pro bono?
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Postby Mike Powers » 07/15/03 03:11 PM

If the download is the exact wording of the original, the pirate could have trouble. However, if it is his/her "expression" of the idea, it's legal as far as I know. I don't think anyone can get in trouble as long as the effect is re-written in the "pirate's" words.

I wonder if the "look and feel" concept from software can be applied in this situation.

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