In our opinion, oral agreements become void if one of the persons involved is no longer alive.
Richard Kaufman wrote:Anything prior to 1923 is public domain.
If the heirs do nothing with this material other than preventing other people from using it, at what point does it become free domain?Richard Kaufman wrote:Ideas, provided they are "ownable," are the property of the heirs of the deceased. Anything prior to 1923 is public domain.
Richard Kaufman wrote:But tricks are not copyrighted.
Jim Riser wrote:In closing, I would mention that once an item has been redesigned or modified to improve functioning or to even change the function, it becomes a different item and is no longer the original item. It becomes a derivitive product or effect.
Jim Riser wrote:. . .Another factor to consider is that the majority of the "magic community" do not seem to care where the apparatus comes from. They just want it. This is a major contributing factor leading to the theft of magic items. . .
Donal Chayce wrote:IMO, in making use of another magi's trick, routine or prop, it's not just a question of whether or not doing so is legal, but also a question of whether or not doing so is ethical. An even grayer area, to be sure, but one that's arguably of equal importance.
Case in point: About a month ago I wrote to Ron Wilson seeking permission to perform his signature Bagpipe Chinese sticks routine or my own version thereof. Happily, Ron not only gave me his blessing, he also provided me with a lot of helpful information and assistance regarding construction of the props. (Ron's set of sticks are now in the possession of, and being used by, Scottish cruise ship magician Scotty McLean.) He even sent me a DVD of a performance of the routine he gave at the Castle several years ago so I could get a better sense of the size and proportion of the sticks.
Did I legally need Ron's permission to do that? I don't believe that I did, but for me that's beside the point. I made it clear to Ron that without his permission I would not make the props and I would not perform the routine. And although he didn't ask me to do so, I also promised him that I would accord him proper credit whenever I make any references to "my" routine outside of performance situations. Again, for me that's simply the ethical thing to do. But I'm aware that the mileage of others may vary.