Intellectual Property and Magic

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Guest » 09/18/07 09:06 AM

Check out: ... id=9825182

Very interesting article about intellectual property within the magic community. I look forward to the new book.


Paul Green

Postby Guest » 09/18/07 09:36 AM

The author expressed some surprise when informed of the article by Thomas Crowe published in a 2004 issue of Magic Magazine.

They have been in contact with eachother as of late last week.

Jacob mentioned that he's a magician and been out of touch with the community since around 1999 and so missed that article... and some fun in recent discussions around here too it seems.

I wonder if DC is up for making a few pallets of books vanish?

Postby Guest » 09/20/07 07:45 AM

Thanks for sharing this!

Postby Bob Farmer » 09/20/07 08:00 AM

I have an idea for combatting the Wikipedia exposure the article mentions. Magicians should "correct" the explanations but with totally false explanations. For this to work the "corrections" can't be too ridiculous (e.g., cards across accomplished with secret dwarf strapped to back of magician under his coat), but must take advantage of beliefs laymen already have.

For example, Davod Copperfiled's "Flying" work with a complicated series of magnets placed about the stage and under his clothes.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 09/20/07 08:16 AM

Bob, your suggestion has been tried before several times. The people writing the articles must have a certain amount of magical knowledge because they keep correcting it back to the way it was and usually banning the person who tried to edit.
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Postby Guest » 09/20/07 08:32 AM

Ryan, Bob, folks

We've had this discussion before and even invited one of the mods from the Wikipedia over here to discuss their position.

Some of their position is on a discussion page for the ambitious card trick.

It's been my experience that they (the rest of the online world) don't take kindly to the level of self indulgence that goes on in our community regarding words which are not congruent to actions and norms of behavior - especially our notion of "secrets" which are just products.


Postby Tom Stone » 09/20/07 09:43 AM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
For example, Davod Copperfiled's "Flying" work with a complicated series of magnets placed about the stage and under his clothes.
Doesn't work, I'm afraid. And it is something that is difficult to defend if one prefer to edit under a true name.

It's more practical to do proper editing. For example, if Copperfield isn't the originator of the Flying illusion, then it is proper editing to remove such exposures from his entry, and move the existing text (unmodified) to the entry of the originator.
The entry of the originator should then be filled with correct biographical data.

Then, if the correct originator has not published his work - then the exposure probably is a theory by someone else (like William Poundstone), and then it is proper editing to move the core bits of that theory the the originator of the theory.

Or... if the true originator has not published his work, and there is no source given for the posted exposure, then the exposure should be considered "original research" and should be deleted according to Wikipedias own rules.

It's possible to make the existing exposures less "attractive" by doing proper and correct editing, which is rather easy to defend and motivate.
Don't add anything to the exposure, but move it to proper places and surround it with correct info about the people involved.. then it is more likely to stay.
After a while, the exposures can be made less accessible by modifying the language used. Parts can be splitted up into their own entries (which is also filled with biographical data) etc.
That is, still functional for people doing research, but less accessible for casual readers.

I myself follow the procedure:
A: Add a correct fact
B: Move something to a more proper place.
C: Delete or change something which is badly written, wrong or can be called "original research".

...once you are considered an expert in the area you are editing, it becomes easier to do more radical edits and have them stick.
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Postby Guest » 09/20/07 10:20 AM

Tom, have you tried this?

Be interesting to see what happens when "the ambitious card" links to Dai Vernon and "the trick that fooled Houdini" and from there to Wesley James and "coming up in the world" and also to Ed Marlo (link to Edward Victor) for the depth of vision card displacement subtly and "tilt".

How goes?

Postby Tom Stone » 09/20/07 10:24 AM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Tom, have you tried this?
Yes. A lot of it has been reverted though, but some changes have become more or less permantent.
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Postby NCMarsh » 09/20/07 01:16 PM

I've just hopped on wikipedia and started working on the issue...

one angle I am trying is that the "Wikiproject" about magic is alienating the people who are most qualified to contribute worthwhile information through the exposure policy...and that changing the policy would make magicians and serious students of magic far more likely to contribute quality information about magicians and the history of magic...

also trying to work the angle that the sources cited in many cases (ex: the zig zag girl) are television shows (valentino) and internet pages...none of which would be considered legitimate sources by a printed encyclopedia...and that if the 'wikipedians' want to see their work held up as a credible 'encyclopedia' they would be wise to stick to standards of best practices exemplified by real encyclopedias...(encyclopediae?) ... orks.22.29
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Postby Guest » 09/22/07 08:55 PM

I had a problem with Wikipedia about a year ago. They had placed a link to the cups and balls museum web site without my knowledge or permission. This was offensive to me for two reasons. One is that the link was right below an exposure of the cups and balls and the three shell game. The other was that a wikipedia link can really eat up your bandwidth. At the time, I was limited to 2 gigs of bandwidth per month, and I had come close to that a couple of times.

I removed the link. They put it back. I logged in and removed the link. They put it back. So I registered a complaint with them on the basis of the ownership of the copyright to all my photos as well as the text and the cups, themselves.

Their reply was that my web site was a "public resource." Horsepuckey. I paid for the web site. I pay for the server space. There is nothing that is "public" about it.

I tried an IP address block, but since they are on many different servers, that didn't work. I tried putting up some pages to get people away from the site and they put up pages that jumped directly into the part that had the most pictures on it.

I had an attorney ready to handle the case on the basis of a privacy intrusion and an intellectual property situation, then I found the answer.

I password proteced the web site. It keeps away the curiosity seekers, and it gives me a place to display my collection. I haven't been troubled by the Wikipedia folks since then.

Postby Guest » 09/23/07 08:32 PM

Wikipedia can be used for revenge. A friend fired an incompetent employee and shortly thereafter an unflattering addition was made to my friend's Wikipedia entry. It took me about 90 seconds to determine who the jerk was that did it...tracing his Wiki editing name to his real name.

You guessed it...the jerk my friend fired. He cleaned up his entry, but now has to watch it carefully. The jerk got a letter from a lawyer advising him that if he put any more false information on the Wiki he'd be sued.

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