Citing sources

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Postby Guest » 06/16/05 12:48 PM

Another magician friend and I have a compelling idea for a book on card magic. I have developed a number of sleights and effects of my own, and in addition to my friend's work and the theme of the book, I believe it could be a very commercially viable project and a unique offering in the field.

I won't divulge the principle idea behind the book here. But the way we are conceptualizing the project, it would include not only our own effects, but a few of our own handlings of other people's routines that fit into the "theme." What I am curious about is the issue of intellectual property and crediting sources. Are sleights an issue of copyright, where permission from the copyright holder to use the method would be legally necessary? Or is it merely a matter of an expected courtesy in the field to give proper credit when including a particular sleight?

Also, are there any good resources to guide us through this project and help in our effort to find a publisher?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/16/05 06:07 PM

Here's the only hard and fast rule in publishing magic.

No matter what you do, someone won't like it.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/05 06:49 PM

Yeah, isn't that right? Well, I have no illusions about that one!

But I would like to know what the opinions are of people who have written books that includes other people's work to an extent (which is virtually any book in card magic, going back to Erdnase). Is it necessary to get the originator's permission? And are there legal copyright issues to consider?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/05 09:17 PM

Tricks and sleights are not protected by copyright--they are ideas.
The written expression of those tricks and sleights, including text, photos and/or illustrations, layout, type design, etc., ARE all protected by copyrighted.
You do not need anyone's permission to publish your own variations of previously-published tricks and sleights.
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 06/16/05 11:20 PM

Hi Richard,

you wrote :
You do not need anyone's permission to publish your own variations of previously-published tricks and sleights.
You're probably right but this means then that i can take any book, make small variations, use different text, different pictures etc just for the purpose of publishing...?

I belief we DO have to ask permission just because there are NO rules (yet) for the magic community.

Out of respect for the creator you have to ask permission.

And i think we have to educate magicians(in clubs, meetings, forums etc) about ethics.

If it's a variation its because you've read it somewhere in the first place... so out of respect of the origin you should ask permission...

That's my thoughts...

Jacky
www.magicbooks.be
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Postby Guest » 06/17/05 09:01 AM

Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I do intend to ask permission as a matter of courtesy and ethics, and list all sources in the bibliography. But it is also important to understand that legal considerations don't require it.

My knowledge of copyright law and intellectual property is from music and books. In these cases (and presumably this would work in magic as well, if the copyrighted work is merely the book itself), you cannot simply make "small variations," otherwise you would be making a derivative work and infringing upon the copyright. I think what Richard was saying was that, for instance, Guy Hollingworth's riffle shuffle and triumph handling method itself are not protected by copyright law (for better or worse), yet if I basically quote the specific description of it already published in Drawing Room Deceptions, I would be breaking copyright law.

It is an interesting issue, because it would seem that the more important "creation" of magicians would be the effect or technique that they invented, and not the mere book or article that describes it. A songwriter gets paid a mechanical even if somebody else records their own "handling" of the song, making changes, etc. Once a song has been recorded and published, anybody else can record it without permission, as long as they pay a compulsory mechanical fee to use it. If magicians were protected by copyright law in the same way, then they would get paid a fee if somebody else used their effect.

After all, when an inventor invents something and that invention is protected by patent laws, it's the invention itself that is protected, and not merely the blueprints that it was written on. It doesn't seem fair to me not to extend copyright or patent protection to magical inventions. Has anybody ever tried to patent an invention in magic, or is it just cost prohibitive?

I suppose there is a plus and a minus to all of this. The minus is, of course, that inventors of magical effects do not have their rightful intellectual property protected by copyright or patent laws, and do not profit equitably when they invent something of sufficient value that it would be used in other works. But on the other hand, it's good for the field in that information gets distributed more freely.

This begs another question for some of the long-time pros: has there ever been a movement or lobbying effort to get the copyright laws changed to protect the works of magicians?
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 06/17/05 09:28 AM

Hi Scorch !

A similar topic was already discussed over HERE

This is a topic that really intrests me, that's one of the reasons I created www.magicbooks.be

Since there is no institution or organisation that collects all the inventions, sleights and techniques I thought that Magicbooks.be is a good start...

I know there is still a lot of work to do, but a collection of more than 3000 books/lecture notes and magazines is not bad for a start...(after 1 year)

We still need more contributions... :)

Maybe whitin a few years we'll have 80% or more of the existing published magic material and that will be a good start... i hope :rolleyes:

all the best,

jacky
www.magicbooks.be
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Postby Guest » 06/17/05 09:47 AM

Originally posted by Jacky Kahan:
We still need more contributions...
This might have some useful information for your project. (You may already know of it, in which case my apologies.)

http://www.lybrary.com/mlp/

Dave
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/17/05 09:50 AM

Originally posted by Jacky Kahan:
...Maybe whitin a few years we'll have 80% or more of the existing published magic material and that will be a good start...
Perhaps after you get the material IN the books properly attributed, some who do invent material may be more forthcoming about "contributing" to your efforts.

You might want to start with such works as Expert Card Technique, The Art of Magic, ... where those who put their names on the works of others have already passed on. Consider Bobo's Modern Coin Magic where Tenkai's clip has somehow been dubbed "Goshman Pinch". Or L'homme Masque's coin concealment now becomes "Downs's Palm".

Having sorted out the past, some sorting of original versus derivative works might help the literature as well.

I happen to support the scholarly approach to conjuring and will likely be available to offer original source documentation should your work happen to include mention of my coins across.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Temperance » 06/17/05 10:16 AM

I happen to support the scholarly approach to conjuring and will likely be available to offer original source documentation should your work happen to include mention of my coins across.
Why don't you release a booklet or submit your coins across handling to a magazine? You might aswell; at least then people will be able to give a reference to something a little more tangible than 'I heard he showed it to Chris Kenner ages ago'.

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 06/17/05 11:09 AM

Originally posted by Euan:
Why don't you release a booklet or submit your coins across handling to a magazine?
I know that Jon was in the process of compiling a book on some of his material a while ago...I'm not sure what the status of that project is, though.

-Jim
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/17/05 11:27 AM

Originally posted by Euan:
...at least then people will be able to give a reference to something a little more tangible than 'I heard he showed it to Chris Kenner ages ago'.
I can assure you it is something of a challenge to get such writing done while also processing the emotional issues that come with the surprise of finding one's private work made public without permission. When challenged in this way, writing goes very slowly.

I feel it is important to get the lineage and provenance of the material into text so the trick can find its proper place in our literature. Any matters best expressed in vitriol have been set aside from this work.

At the moment (weekend project) trying my best not to grouse as I load up Adobe Photoshop. This to clean up some photos that go with the text. Anyone who wants to offer some strategies on that, feel free to email.

Thanks -Jon


What is your feeling on cleaning up the crediting on works like ECT? I feel it would be interesting to have the correct Vernon, Miller etc work on some of that material in print.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 06/17/05 12:12 PM

Jonathan wrote :

You might want to start with such works as Expert Card Technique, The Art of Magic, ... where those who put their names on the works of others have already passed on. Consider Bobo's Modern Coin Magic where Tenkai's clip has somehow been dubbed "Goshman Pinch". Or L'homme Masque's coin concealment now becomes "Downs's Palm".
I Agree totaly, that's why Magicbooks.be is forum based, this means that if anything is wrong or not well referenced anybody can contribute and proof otherwise. So please look for ECT on MAgicbooks.be and put the records straight :) or just let me know what needs to be corrected, i'll be glad to update it !

That's why i'd like more magicians to be involved and put the records straight.

And Jonathan, YES, I'll be glad to add your coins across, please send me more details and i'll add it in the "encyclopedia" part of the site. (which is a new section since a few months, where we'll try to reference all the moves and sleights)

Of course, the day that your routine will be published in a book or lecture note or magazine, we'll add it with proper credit.

All the very best,

Jacky
www.magicbooks.be
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/18/05 02:02 AM

Sure, it's a good idea to put the records straight, but it's very very very difficult.

I give you two examples.

Consider Darwin Ortiz "The Annotated Erdnase"
There is a real effort to find a maximum of sources.
There are 701 entries !!!
BUT some of them are not complete (no date, no page, etc.)
I have found some of them and actually there are only FOUR incomplete (in my files)
I have requested help in this forum (See Some informations, please in Magic & History)but actually, I have no reply.
Why ? Simply because it's very (etc.) to find.

My other example is T.A. Waters "Mind, Myth & Magick.
Do you know the number of entries ? More 450 !!!
And do you know how many are incomplete ? 90 (because Waters refers to a lot of tricks and it's more difficult to know date of creation in catalogue)

It's not a reproach ! It's simply to show how difficult it is.

I have worked also on the Bobo's book.
There are a lot of tricks which come from The Magic Wand and other magazines.

In fact, it's simply "A question of time". If you want to have real informations, you have to read all magic literature very carefully BUT even with this method, you can miss a lot of infos.
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 06/18/05 04:24 AM

Hi Philippe,

I agree with you totally, but the magic community has NOTHING that accumulates sources and references,(except a few sites on the net) i believe it's better to have something than nothing.

And as said before, I decided to use a forum based site in stead of a database, because here people CAN interact and update everything all the time to put records straight.

And yes, it will take some time, and i will continue slowly but surely to update magicbooks with the help of magicians worldwide :)

all the very best,

Jacky
www.magicbooks.be
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/18/05 07:15 AM

Your site is a good example for "doing something".
It's for that I try to help you as I can.

The Genii Open Index Project is another example, but as we say in french : "C'est un travail de longue patience" (Sorry, I don't know the equivalence in english).
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 06/18/05 08:34 AM

a work of long patience :)
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Postby Brad Henderson » 06/18/05 10:17 AM

I think a good rule of thumb is, "If the creator is still alive, it is far better to ask permission." Most will be happy to include it. And it is much better than having a handful of irate people who feel they were taken advantage of. This is not a legal issue, it is a moral one.

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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/18/05 10:22 AM

Thanks !
It's always the same thing.
When I'm afraid to do a translation word for word, the expression IS a translation word for word and when I believe it's identical, IT'S NOT.

Cf. Qui se ressemblent, s'assemblent
In english : Birds of a Feather
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