Why do people think it's okay to upload magic DVDs?

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Tim Ellis » 06/08/09 02:12 AM

I just wanted to alert you to this guy [Link Deleted: DS] who has uploaded over 217 magic DVDs on to the Demonoid file sharing site. I have written to him complaining, as he posted our DVDs too, and you can read his "justification" here.
http://magicunlimited.typepad.com/magic ... irate.html

If you can spare a moment, sign up to the Demonoid site a send him a message expressing your feelings as to what he's done.

With enough pressure, he might just stop.

(Please don't derail this thread by debating his right to "share" his purchases. He claims he's in the right so I've challenged him to identify himself by PMing me his name and address - then we'll let the FBI decide if what he's doing is legal or not).


He has uploaded DVDs by:
Tom Lauten
Shoot Ogawa
Aldo Colombini
Joel Paschall
Sal Piacente
Michael Ammar
Bill Abbott
Joe Rinfleisch
Jordan Johnson & Black's Magic
Doug Conn
Andrew Normansell
Pavel
Romaine
Ran Pink
R Paul Wilson
Patrick G Redford
Lee Earle
Cameron Francis
Joe Mogar
Patrik Kuffs
Peter Duffie
Jonathan Baymie
Andrei Jikh
Russ Niedzwiecki
Chris Kenner
Brian Flora
John Mendoza
Richard Osterlind
Dan Sperry
Jerry Sadowitz
Luca Volpe
Mike Smith
Scotty York
Gerry Griffin
Brad Gordon
Max Maven
Hondo
Ricky Kinosa
Jeff Blum
John Bannon
Stephen Ablett
Yigal Mesika
Stephen Tucker
Ed Marlo
Dat Watkins
Fielding West
Michael Sibbernsen
Richard Kaufman
Michael Sibbernsen
Lonnie Chevrie
Sixten Berne & Peter Rosengren
Steve Draun
Eugene Burger
Michael Close
Frank Chapman
Mel Mellers
Dan Harlan
Oz Pearlman
Howard Baltus & Al Lagomarsino
Docc Hilford
The Pendragons
Jon Racherbaumer
Curtis Kamm
Quentin Reynolds
Scott Guin
Martin Lewis
John Rogers
Aztek
Lew Brooks
Brian Curry
Steve Fearson
Frank Garcia
Jay Sankey
Looch
Andrew Mayne
Marc Spelmann
Matthew Mello
David Stone
Gared Crawford
Joshua Quinn
JJ Sanvert
Scott Alexander
Petrick & Mia
David Regal
Michael Maxwell
'World's Great Magic' series
Eric Jones
Ian Harling & Martin Nyrup
Gerry Griffin
Troy Hooser
Eric Jones
Homer Liwag
Bill Malone
Joel Bauer
Doug McKenzie
Jay Scott Berry
Daniel Madison
Chase Hubler
John Guastaferro
Dan Turcotte
Alakazam Magic
Tarbell
Spidey & P L Bergeron
Jay Noblezada
Sean Fields
Larry Becker
Philip Stokes
Raymond Crowe
Matthew J Dowden
Hugard & Braue
Frank Garcia
Brad Burt
Jeremy Pei
Christopher Williams & Jeremy Hanrahan
Alan Rorrison
Simon Lovell
Jeff Sheridan
Masked Magician

(Plus he's uploaded a selection of other teaching & motivational DVDS)
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Reason: Link Deleted
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 06/08/09 08:57 AM

Well you asked a question in the title but then in the body asked people not to derail the thread by answering the question so...

Actually though I think "alerting" people about sites like this does more harm than help. People who are deadset against magic file-sharing will still be against it; people who do it already will still do it. It isn't as though demonoid is going to remove the content. If anything it serves as an advertisement to the site. After following the link you provided I did a search for magic on the site and was overwhelmed with how much stuff is there. Nearly every major book and many of the top dvds seem to be listed on that site. You've basically led them to the goldmine (not that demonoid wasn't already fairly well known).

I mean honestly, do we really think emailing that user our concerns will change his views? In addition, while some of what he says is slightly off-base he does make some valid observations, particularly:

"I think you need to accept the fact that the next burgeoning revolution in computer technology is P2P file-sharing and its not going to go away. Companies and individuals that cling to the past need to learn to move on. Lawsuits are not going to shut down the Internet. The Internet is vast and encompasses the globe and file sharing will just move to other countries if necessary. File-sharing programs and websites are here to stay. Take advantage of the technology! Change is inevitable. Accept it!"

While people who make a living essentially selling information may hate to hear that,it is true. Considering that a vast majority of the people under, oh say 30 years old, believe that information should be free it is hard to see how file sharing can be made to go away.

That said, I can appreciate your frustration. While I am one of those that believes information should be free I also respect that people need to put food on the table. I am against the sharing of magic books and DVDs that are not already free.

Fortunately (depending on your viewpoint) we are seeing many more people put out free material. I've already stated before that anything I ever put out that costs me nothing to produce will cost others nothing to buy. It isn't as though I developed the material so I could sell it to other magicians. I created it for my own, and in some cases my spectator's, enjoyment. It has served that purpose and if other magicians can find value from any of it, so much the better. Of course, I don't make a living off other magicians and if I did perhaps I would think different.

Anyway I think that posts like that do little or nothing to help solve the problem and if anything actually can serve to make it worse.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/08/09 09:16 AM

kindly refrain from attracting the /b/tards to this forum.

if they wanted to crush our market - trivial - just make youtube videos explaining what's on product videos.

or was the idea to get magicians to sign onto [name of torrent site] and further the process along?

and now some news from the real world of what's happening today: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/06 ... index.html

yes the P2P folks have gotten into government.
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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 06/08/09 10:06 AM

Just saw my "In The Hands Wild Card" DVD on the Demonoid site when I googled it.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/08/09 10:39 AM

It's f**kers like this who are going to put us all out of business.

And you can stuff your opinions about not being able to do anything about copyright violations and piracy up your keister.

What we need is some balls from Congress that brings the copyright laws up to date for the digital age without any ambiguity and gives a clear mandate to law enforcement to go after these guys.

Then we need treaties with balls with other countries where these [censored] are hiding.

Then we need them to actually take action and shut these [censored] down.

It can be done: OF COURSE it can be done. Whether the governments will do anything about it is another story. Perhaps, by then, it will be too late.
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 06/08/09 11:42 AM

Well perhaps things could be done at the government level to stop it but I don't think that would happen. For one thing, actual enforcement of the laws would take up too many resources for what is (in comparison to the many other things they have to deal with) a relatively minor problem. And of course there are probably privacy issues when it comes to actually detecting and enforcing the laws. But I think the main reason they won't do much is that it is very unpopular. With the younger generations becoming more heavily involved in politics in the last few years their influence must weigh heavily on a politicians decisions.

On top of that piracy is in some ways becoming less of an issue in many fields. Software, for example, is almost silly to obtain illegaly anymore because generally you can find an open source program that is as good as, or often better than the competing software.

I think some of us would like to hold on to the hope that this will eventually go away. I'm sure the manufacturers of cassette tapes, VHS, and 3.5" disks were hoping that CDs and DVDs were just a fad. Businesses have to adapt, sometimes today at an overwhelming pace. Perhaps file sharing could be stopped. It doesn't seem like it will. So rather than hope that it will only to end up out of business I think people need to figure out ways to adapt so that they can continue to make a profit.
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Postby Naphtalia » 06/08/09 02:11 PM

People work hard to create something new and worth sharing. They are entitled to profit from their work.

These sorts of sites are about stealing intellectual property and distributing stolen property. I wish law enforcement had more means to go after these fences for intellectual property.

The fact that many under 30 believe all information should be free indicates not that times are changing, but that we need to provide folks with a better education about the value and the cost of information.

Criminals will always try to find a way around the laws. Where getting around means better technology, that will be developed. That doesn't mean we should give up on making the bad guys accountable for their crimes.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/08/09 03:19 PM

Matt Sedlak wrote:Actually though I think "alerting" people about sites like this does more harm than help.

On that we can agree. I was tempted to zap the link. But, as you pointed out, the site is already well known.


he does make some valid observations

None of his observations are new and, in fact, are not observations at all. They are rationalizations for committing what is indeed a crime. Like all crimes, they will not go away as long as there remains a market for the elicit product and criminals who (with good reason; the aforementioned lack of resources to enforce the laws) are not fearful of retribution.


While I am one of those that believes information should be free I also respect that people need to put food on the table. I am against the sharing of magic books and DVDs that are not already free.

Then why the contradiction?

Very little information is actually free. The information one garners in public school comes at a cost. The information in libraries is not free. Television and radio is not free. The list can go on. But in each one of these legitimate sources, the people whose work is being disseminated were compensated accordingly. These P2P sites are making money off the work of others without compensating the originators. There is nothing admirable about it and no way to justify it. Any attempt to do so is misguided. There is no grey area here; no varied viewpoints from which to see this issue. You either support what is right or what is wrong. Its up to each of us to choose.


anything I ever put out that costs me nothing to produce will cost others nothing to buy.

Then, unlike a lot of folks I know, you clearly place absolutely no value on your own time and work. Thats your prerogative, but please dont expect others to accept this in regard to their own time and work. The thing I value the most is time, and I charge for it.

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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 06/08/09 04:19 PM

anything I ever put out that costs me nothing to produce will cost others nothing to buy.



So my DVD cost little to produce (mostly friends donating time, space and equiptment) and I knew it would not fund my retirement but I also know it has value.

In addition to the hard costs, time and work there is the value of the idea(s)being expressed. If people stop getting fairly compensated for their ideas why would you expect them to continue producing books, dvd's, etc.?
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 06/08/09 05:05 PM

Perhaps I should clarify what I mean here. When I state that information should be free I don't mean that it is ok to take material that is made available for sale and to re-distrubute it for free. Not all file-sharing is illegal. I hope that the day comes when people don't feel the need to charge for information. It is already becoming a reality. Open-source software is increasingly gaining in popularity. If you get bored one day take a look at MIT's Open Courseware (OCW) and see what they are doing with creative commons. There is literally a lifetime of information available on there and many other universities are following their lead. There are numerous textbooks that are published online for free that are at or above the pedagogical styles of the expensive textbooks often forced on students.

I am saddened that some people thing that things only have value if you can put a pricetag on it. Dustin I do value my time and work. First though, I didn't develop it to publish for other magicians. I developed it to perform it and I have gotten many rewards from the performance of them, financial and otherwise. I think anyone who has created an effect remembers how great it felt for an audience to react positively to it and you knew it was yours and not some other performer's material.

Second, if I put it out for free that doesn't mean I am not getting anything in return. Having other magicians possibly use the material or, even better, work on and improve it is a far greater reward for me than a few dollars made from selling it. Not everything in life is about money.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 06/08/09 05:38 PM

I suspect the information-is-free crowd is made up of people who have never produced any information worth paying for. They seem to be top-heavy with academics and others with a guaranteed income who couldn't get arrested in the commercial marketplace. Perhaps if they took their own advice -- worked for free -- they might have a different view.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 06/08/09 05:48 PM

Matt Sedlak wrote:Second, if I put it out for free that doesn't mean I am not getting anything in return. Having other magicians possibly use the material or, even better, work on and improve it is a far greater reward for me than a few dollars made from selling it. Not everything in life is about money.

So how do you pay your bills?

My mind is boggled by this notion that we should all just share all our creations with the world because there are open-source software projects around.

Most of those developers of open-source software are people who are gainfully employed by places like MIT. They are paid (by somebody) for their brainwork. If they aren't paid by you, it doesn't mean they aren't paid.

How does come to be that intellectual property became worthless (in monetary terms) during the last 10-12 years of the Internet explosion? Sorry, I'm about as plugged in as anybody I know, but I just don't get this.

A technology has emerged that ENABLES people to take others' intellectual property for free, so a new philosophy is hobbled together clumsily by those who want to redistribute information without permission or license. That new philosophy is called "Information wants to be free."

News for you: information doesn't want anything. If I create something and distribute it for pay, and you take it and give it to other people, you are a thief. Plain and simple.

Cut this "free information" crap. It's just an after-the-fact rationalization because P2P software exists. Nothing more.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/08/09 06:00 PM

Is this what some folks call pounding sand or yelling at the street?

Why would one wish to rant here where folks are willing to buy items and talk directly to the innovators and authors and publishers - rather than on the places were the objectionable behavior is happening?

How are you doing in reasoning with the johnscate? If you can convince one such person that it's better for them and all in the long run to do something else maybe they can sway others as well.

Or you can type away here and risk luring over the /b/tards and worse.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/08/09 06:18 PM

Each DVD Torrent has a thread where people can post comments.

The comments are usually
"Nice upload, thank you!"
and
"john,your uploads are truely helpful. if any one have, please upload
Paul Potassy, 1,2&3
Fielding West 1&2
Nathan Burton
Mark Wilson on Illusions vol 1 , 2 & 3
Funny Business - Niagara Comedy Magic Seminar 2007
NORMANSELL ANDREW : 100 % COMMERCIAL COMEDY STAND-UP
Martin Sanderson Corporate close up
Harry Allen Comedy Bits vol,1 &2
Henrry Evans The other side of Illussion volumen 1 2 & 3
--scripting Magic by Pete McCabe
--Magic At The Edge by Jeff McBride
--Exploring Magical Presentations by Eugene Burger
--Stand-Up: A Professional Guide to Comedy Magic(book)"

I posted my comment in the thread, yesterday I had a reply from another user which talked about how he'd been a magician for 25 years and earned every cent from magic, he used to buy ever video that came out and 98% were great. Now 98% are rubbish and he thanks johnscate and Demonoid because he can preview them and buy what he likes, thus avoiding the rubbish DVDs. He pointed out that after viewing my DVD for free, he went off and bought it - but then did admit he was probably in the minority.

I replied to his post but oddly enough all of those posts have been deleted and all that is left is about a dozen
"Thanks Johnscate!"
comments.

I also received a PM from a Demonoid moderator saying:

"Please refrain from posting in the comments about any issue you may have with it being on the site.

If you can prove you are the copyright holder for the DVD in question, send an email to admin@demonoid.com with the details and request for it to be taken down.

Just curious, is that all you joined the site for, to post comments on torrents that may have your content ?"
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/08/09 06:22 PM

Jonathan & Matt

People who are into uploads arleady know about Demonoid.

It's the people who are willing to buy the items who are not aware of the EXTENT to which this piracy is going on.

I truly believe that if enough people were made aware of the damage this sort of thing is doing to our industry they might take a stand and do something about it.

Yes Jonathon, I am also ranting "on the places were the objectionable behavior is happening".

They don't like me talking about it in their forums either.
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 06/08/09 06:26 PM

Most people who develop material and end up putting it out don't make a living putting out magic for other magicians. Some of them make a living actually performing magic but most have other jobs that they earn their living through.

"My mind is boggled by this notion that we should all just share all our creations with the world because there are open-source software projects around." - Where did I ever say that because of open-source we should share our creations. I'm pretty sure I didn't. I said that information should be free and cited open-source as an example of free information. I never said that one thing implied another.

"News for you: information doesn't want anything. If I create something and distribute it for pay, and you take it and give it to other people, you are a thief. Plain and simple." - I'm also pretty sure I said that I don't support taking something that is put on the market for sale and redistributing it for free. Just checked...I did! Protip: reading someone's post before commenting on it is generally a good idea.

I've said a number of times in this thread that I don't support the file-sharing of material that was not already put out to be distributed for free. I also said that it is a rampant part of today's society and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. That doesn't mean that I believe it is right. The way things should be and the way things are tend to be very different. You can complain about how the people doing it are breaking the law (they are!) but that doesn't change the fact they are doing it. If all people who are affected by it do is complain and fail to adapt then they will end up suffering. Yes it is unfortunate that they have to adapt due to illegal activities but that doesn't change the fact that they have to adapt.

"Most of those developers of open-source software are people who are gainfully employed by places like MIT. They are paid (by somebody) for their brainwork. If they aren't paid by you, it doesn't mean they aren't paid." - Even if we accept that as true it is still free to me, the end user. Information should be freely available to those who want to use it. Information is different from the latest song, or the hottest new movie. Anyway, I know of many people who work on open-source projects, (or even any kind of project..doesn't have to be software related) who do it because they love it. They are not compensated financially in any way and some of them are proud of that very fact.

I've also said that I respect those who disagree with me and I don't consider someone a greedy bastard just because they choose to charge for their creations. I respect that in a free market society people can have different opinions about the value of things. That I would choose to release something for free has to do with my own personal worldview and nothing to do with whatever you are trying to say it has to do with. I get more benefit from the non-financial aspects of creating things. Others don't. To each their own.

I don't download magic, music, movies, books, software, etc. illegally. In many cases there simply is no need to anyway, even for those who are of a mind to do so. You can continue to disagree with me if you want to. It is your right. But if you are going to do so at least disagree with things I've actually said or stand for and not things you decided to put in my mouth.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/08/09 06:30 PM

That was kind of the mod at demonid to inform you of the process to get items removed. Maybe Bob Farmer would know what's involved in proper language to inform the mods of items which are infringing.
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Postby Tom Stone » 06/08/09 06:56 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:That was kind of the mod at demonid to inform you of the process to get items removed. Maybe Bob Farmer would know what's involved in proper language to inform the mods of items which are infringing.

Legal lingo will probably not have as much effect as putting a humanistic and empathic slant to it.
Just tell the mod the facts: you are a single individual creator who make everything yourself. There is no big corporation backing you up, and the profit is not that big, and that the torrent of your DVD is really hurting you personally.
...There are others who have had success with a personal approach like this.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/08/09 07:04 PM

Well, I sent them an e-mail at the correct address stating that I'm the owner of the copyrights on my videos--someone tell me if they remove them from the website.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/08/09 07:11 PM

I have decidedafter some thought and counselthat I would indeed delete the link to the site. Im sure those who need to get to the site to have their items removed can find it. Or Im certain Tim will gladly help. I just dont think that weThe Genii Forumshould make it easy to get to. After all, as Tim said, those who are into uploads already know about the site. So why educate the blissfully ignorant?

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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/08/09 10:18 PM

Matt said "If all people who are affected by it do is complain and fail to adapt then they will end up suffering."

I don't agree Matt. That's like saying "People are shooting other people in the street. It's illegal, but not going to stop in a hurry, we should adapt by all buying bullet-proof vests or not going out."

Rubbish!

If people are doing things that are illegal we need to make sure the law is enforced, not let the law-breakers continue on their merry way.



Dustin - while I respect your idea to delete the link, I posted it because I wasn't fully outraged until I visited that site and actually saw what was going on for myself. Once I saw the scope of the piracy of just ONE PERSON I felt I needed to stand up and make my objection known.

I think a lot of people feel we're making a big fuss over nothing, just a couple of kids swapping files, like magicians do with DVDs and books at magic clubs.

It's not the same. It's criminal activity that's flourishing because the law can't do anything about it until people make complaints.

With James from Black's Magic we have managed to close down a lot of magic file-sharing sites already. It may not be possible to stop, but we can slow it down.


As to the argument "It's great that file-sharing allows me to preview DVDs before I decide to buy them." Yes, you can test drive a Mercedes before buying it, but the decision to let you test drive it is at the discretion of the owner of the car, not some anonymous third party who shows you howe to hot-wire it.
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Postby Ted M » 06/09/09 12:44 PM

Practically speaking, preventing copying in the digital age is pretty much hopeless, massively expensive and impractical without the apparatus of a totalitarian police-state.

Is anyone familiar with an alternative business model for publishing which acknowledges that published works will be endlessly copied after their release, and so requires all payment up front prior to release? After the work is released, there is no control over it -- it may be freely copied by those who paid for its release, and also by those who did not. This post-release situation is of course the same situation we already see today, but with the payment model shifted to a point in time before free copies are available.

There are a few names for this model: Fund and Release, or Threshold Pledge, or the Street Performer Protocol. Whatever the name, it is described like so:


There is an alternative. Using the logic of a street performer, the author goes directly to the readers before the book is published; perhaps even before the book is written. The author [...] makes a public statement on the order of:

"When I get $100,000 in donations, I will release the next novel in this series."

Readers can go to the author's Web site, see how much money has already been donated, and donate money to the cause of getting his novel out. Note that the author doesn't care who pays to get the next chapter out; nor does he care how many people read the book that didn't pay for it. He just cares that his $100,000 pot gets filled. When it does, he publishes the next book. In this case "publish" simply means "make available," not "bind and distribute through bookstores." The book is made available, free of charge, to everyone: those who paid for it and those who did not.


More details and nuance of the Fund and Release/Street Performer Protocol are at:

http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bi ... ew/673/583
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Postby CraigMitchell » 06/09/09 02:04 PM

The Fund and Release is an interesting concept ... has this been used successfully anywhere ?

Perhaps we need an 'itunes' of magic ... where convenience and simplicity of a 'paid service' outweighs the desire for people to pirate items via slow and dodgy torrent links et al.
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Postby Naphtalia » 06/09/09 03:05 PM

Ted M wrote:Practically speaking, preventing copying in the digital age is pretty much hopeless, massively expensive and impractical without the apparatus of a totalitarian police-state.



We don't need a totalitarian police-state. We just need to up the possibility of getting caught, prosecuted and fined in accordance with the laws that are already on the books. If the fines are sufficient, we could fund the group that investigates and prosecutes.

Go after the folks who download illegally. We won't get everybody, but as it starts to be a risk, people will consider whether it's worthwhile or not.

Go after the sites that provide copyrighted materials to which they do not have rights.

Personally, I love the idea of an itunes sort of site for magic - a new way for people to get the material they need and for the creators to get compensation.

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Postby Jeff Haas » 06/09/09 04:05 PM

I think that Theory 11, Dan & Dave, Joshua Jay and others are already building the magic equivalents of iTunes.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 06/09/09 04:23 PM

Craig Mitchell wrote:The Fund and Release is an interesting concept ... has this been used successfully anywhere?


Stephen King tried something similar in 2000 for his novel The Plant. He put the first chapter on his website for download by anyone and if most payed him $1 for it, he would release more chapters the same way.

The limit was set at 75% of payers versus downloaders. The rate of paying customers decreased over time, but the first parts were over the limit and six chapters were published (making up the first somewhat self-contained part of the novel).
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Postby Efendi Kwok » 06/10/09 11:55 PM

Joe Pecore wrote:Stephen King tried something similar in 2000 for his novel The Plant. He put the first chapter on his website for download by anyone and if most payed him $1 for it, he would release more chapters the same way.

The limit was set at 75% of payers versus downloaders. The rate of paying customers decreased over time, but the first parts were over the limit and six chapters were published (making up the first somewhat self-contained part of the novel).


And the bottom line ...

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...
...
According to King's representatives, the venture was a failure. The project was ended, they claimed, because of a lack of sufficient payment, and a public that could not be trusted with the honor system. Some even claimed that this represented the commercial infeasibility of web publishing.

However, fans and readers claimed the idea was a success, and that it was made infeasible for other reasons, particularly by fact of its high pricing for an inconsistent product. King and his publisher, citing dissatisfaction with the percent of paying readers, raised the cost of each installment to a high of 7 dollars (for 13 installments, or $91 USD total) which only increased criticism and decreased demand.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 08:09 AM

Tim Ellis wrote:Matt said "If all people who are affected by it do is complain and fail to adapt then they will end up suffering."

I don't agree Matt. That's like saying "People are shooting other people in the street. It's illegal, but not going to stop in a hurry, we should adapt by all buying bullet-proof vests or not going out."

Rubbish!

If people are doing things that are illegal we need to make sure the law is enforced, not let the law-breakers continue on their merry way.


Interesting points.

However, few things to bear in mind.

a) You will never, ever, ever stop piracy. That's a given. Piracy has been around since the printing press was invented. In fact, the printing press was initially thought of as a piracy device. The very nature of P2P means that it can't be stopped. So you're wasting your time.

b) Piracy increase sales. http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/ipp ... 1456e.html

So I agree with the point that you have to adapt or you will die. Firing off pissy letters to torrent site owners will do absolutely nothing. Cut off one head, and the hydra simply regrows another. And it's catagorically proven that MOANING about piracy increases it. Simply look for the increase in traffic for the piratebay during their recent court trial.

Why not use the energy being wasted fighting piracy in coming up with something new? Reznor gave away his album and made 750k in 3 days. How? Selling 'undownloadable' things, making them limited edition, etc.

Groundbreaking.

What could magic publishers do like that?

OK, you can put in a specially printed card, or gaff or something...what else? As magicians, we're unique in the fact that you NEED 'stuff' to use the product. Music you just listen to. Films you just watch...

I think that's a MUCH more interesting and USEFUL discussion that bitching about 14 year olds who WOULD NEVER BUY THE PRODUCT ANYWAY pirating something.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 08:12 AM

Efendi Kwok wrote:
Joe Pecore wrote:Stephen King tried something similar in 2000 for his novel The Plant. He put the first chapter on his website for download by anyone and if most payed him $1 for it, he would release more chapters the same way.

The limit was set at 75% of payers versus downloaders. The rate of paying customers decreased over time, but the first parts were over the limit and six chapters were published (making up the first somewhat self-contained part of the novel).


And the bottom line ...


According to King's representatives, the venture was a failure. The project was ended, they claimed, because of a lack of sufficient payment, and a public that could not be trusted with the honor system. Some even claimed that this represented the commercial infeasibility of web publishing.

However, fans and readers claimed the idea was a success, and that it was made infeasible for other reasons, particularly by fact of its high pricing for an inconsistent product. King and his publisher, citing dissatisfaction with the percent of paying readers, raised the cost of each installment to a high of 7 dollars (for 13 installments, or $91 USD total) which only increased criticism and decreased demand.



That was 9 years ago. Do you not think the internet, ebook publishing, willingness to pay for online content, broadband adoption etc has altered just a tad over the last 9 years?

I don't see the King example as even vaguely relevant today.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 08:25 AM

Naphtalia wrote:
We don't need a totalitarian police-state. We just need to up the possibility of getting caught, prosecuted and fined in accordance with the laws that are already on the books. If the fines are sufficient, we could fund the group that investigates and prosecutes.


Thing is, how do you do that? As I'm sure you know, you can't PROVE anyone has downloaded ANYTHING really. This is why there hasn't been one case actually go to court. The majority who get RIAA letters have settled out of fear.

All you can do is log the IP address of a router where someone has downloaded a file PURPORTING to be something illegal. So, if you have unsecured wifi, that could be anyone at all. It is no proof. The filename is no proof.

So, the only solution is low-level packet sniffing. This means that every packet of information you send or receive over the internet is examined by 'the authorities' and decided to be illegal or legal.

Sound like a good idea, or a massive invasion of privacy? It really is the ONLY technical way of doing this.

Naphtalia wrote:Go after the folks who download illegally. We won't get everybody, but as it starts to be a risk, people will consider whether it's worthwhile or not.


Sadly, history proves you to be wrong on this one. Massive fines from the RIAA has done nothing at all to disuade movie, music and software piracy. Magicians would act differently to these other file sharers because...

Naphtalia wrote:Go after the sites that provide copyrighted materials to which they do not have rights.


So you'll be going after google then?

search for ANY popular magic title on google and add .torrent to the search query. Lawks a mercy! Hundreds of links to pirated content.

Naphtalia wrote:Personally, I love the idea of an itunes sort of site for magic - a new way for people to get the material they need and for the creators to get compensation.


That would be great. Few things. iTunes music store worked for a number of reasons. a) the ipod. It was the music and the device together that make iTunes Store work. b) Price. It was deemed a reasonable price at 99 cents per song. c) Unbundling tracks. Letting people buy individual tracks rather than a whole album massively increased digital sales.

I'm not saying you couldn't do a magic download store. But I doubt it would reach the impact of iTunes.

However, if magic publishers stepped vaguely into the online era, and more aped the adult movie model, it might be interesting.

What online streaming services are there for magic? Heck even L&L's site is pathetic compared to the big adult sites. Why?

Would offering punters the content they want, in a medium they want at a price they want be THAT hard to do?

No.

I think that magic publishers (no offence Mr K) are like the big 5 music labels. Old fashioned and arrogant. Think that they know best, and seem to be almost actively ignoring the internet as a distribution medium.

Look what happened to the music labels...

This is all obvious. Netflix = good. Blockbuster = screwed. iTunes = good. Tower Records = out of business.

All I think needs to happen is a site needs to launch that is a 'gatherer' of content. Just like iTunes. An aggregator. Go to L&L and the others and agree a fee, put up a site, sell the content. DRM free in a variety of file formats. And price it sensibly.

Why should you have to buy the whole Lennert Green video if all you want is one trick from it?

Why can you not just buy the one trick for a fraction of the price of the whole DVD?

Food for thought...
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/11/09 08:51 AM

Are we in a place where we can look for root causes yet?
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Postby JHostler » 06/11/09 09:00 AM

A large, growing, and frighteningly myopic contingent believes that all information and digital media should be supported by ad revenue and - by extension - that "retail" is no longer a viable or even valid business model. At very least, this notion feeds their rationale for criminal activity.

As I've spouted before (in the context of marketing The Rauschenberg Effect), the market for magic is inherently inefficient. The lack of transparency (secrets) undergirding much of the value of books and effects also serves to twist supply and demand curves. Put simply, customers rarely know exactly what they're buying... additional "rationale" for pirates.

Sadowitz and I, quite independently, have "adapted" by actively controlling the initial point of access to our respective media. Additionally, I've rolled the dice with voluntary remuneration/barter ("pay what it's worth")... with limited - albeit some - success.

Far from agreeing with Matt, I believe we must attack the problem on two fronts simultaneously: legal and economic. Sue the bastards, disrupt their "businesses" (to the greatest extent possible), and experiment with new and innovative business models. (Signed, limited hard copy editions are a fab idea. Make the product collectable.)
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 09:58 AM

John Hostler wrote:
As I've spouted before (in the context of marketing The Rauschenberg Effect), the market for magic is inherently inefficient. The lack of transparency (secrets) undergirding much of the value of books and effects also serves to twist supply and demand curves. Put simply, customers rarely know exactly what they're buying... additional "rationale" for pirates.


Interesting point. The music industry blamed piracy for a downturn in sales, but many people put it down to simply music releases being bad to average in terms of quality.

Maybe if 'we' released less [censored], people would be less tempted to pirate it?

Maybe if 'we' let people know the method, less people would be tempted to pirate it?

I wonder how much magic piracy is down to people simply being curious if an effect is worth buying or not.

We've all been burnt buying appalling tricks that sounded good in the ads. If the appalling tricks stopped, maybe the piracy would decline?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/11/09 10:22 AM

Does any of this feel familiar:

It's all about hype and getting the gossip first so you can fool them first at the club...

It usually turns out to be less than novel, far from practical and a puzzlement to those who wish to learn rather than be titillated by gushing dolts...

There's a dread of feeling "if only I bought x instead" combined with "but x is probably just as bad".

Do you have nightmares about folks who learned that there's something more efficient than taking candy from babies - namely taking money from children in exchange for empty promises and a pretension of them becoming a 'special person' because they now have 'special knowlege'? Can you not see the parellel to the cycle of abuse in this?

Does your wife/signficant other wonder at the collection of things you have but don't explain or use to entertain others?


Have you ever wondered...

Is knowing how something is done different from knowing whether you could integrate it into what you do?


That last one is likely critical to the survival of an open market in magic.
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Postby JHostler » 06/11/09 10:42 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Does any of this feel familiar:


Is knowing how something is done different from knowing whether you could integrate it into what you do?


That last one is likely critical to the survival of an open market in magic.



Exactly my point. It's like trying to sell IP to a company without fully disclosing the value added. No one in a rational market would buy... but magicians face a nifty Catch 22, where much of the value (or lack thereof) resides in the secret itself - the IP. Full disclosure is often impossible without giving away the store.
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Postby SteveP » 06/11/09 11:28 AM

mrgoat wrote:
What online streaming services are there for magic? Heck even L&L's site is pathetic compared to the big adult sites. Why?

Would offering punters the content they want, in a medium they want at a price they want be THAT hard to do?

No.

I think that magic publishers (no offence Mr K) are like the big 5 music labels. Old fashioned and arrogant. Think that they know best, and seem to be almost actively ignoring the internet as a distribution medium.

Look what happened to the music labels...

This is all obvious. Netflix = good. Blockbuster = screwed. iTunes = good. Tower Records = out of business.

All I think needs to happen is a site needs to launch that is a 'gatherer' of content. Just like iTunes. An aggregator. Go to L&L and the others and agree a fee, put up a site, sell the content. DRM free in a variety of file formats. And price it sensibly.

Why should you have to buy the whole Lennert Green video if all you want is one trick from it?

Why can you not just buy the one trick for a fraction of the price of the whole DVD?

Food for thought...


I'm going to jump in to this - a little late, but since I have some experience in this I want to give you another perspective.

Being the website developer for L&L, I will address the above comments in a moment, but first I want to share an experience I had in getting our content removed and ultimately ruining a forum where magic trading had been going on for 2 years.

Through Google I stumbled across a site that had a lot of magic videos being traded. This is a different situation than the P2P we typically see. This was a forum, like this one where people uploaded files to download services like RapidShare and then posted the download link. The site wasn't devoted exclusively to magic, they have movies, apps, etc.

Well it turns out that services like MegaUpload, RapidShare, etc will remove your files if requested.

I joined this forum with multiple, disposable user names because I knew each one would be banned when I started posting. I targeted the L&L files, had them removed from the download site and when they started complaining on the forum that it had been removed, I went on and bragged about it. This went on for a week and finally the admins for this forum said no more magic section. They got sick of banning me and moderating the posts.

That was a couple of months ago and that site is now dead for trading magic. A small victory, but it had been running for 2 years without a challenge.

P2P is another monster all together and it's just not possible to have it shut down or removed.

Now to address Mr. Goat's comments. Why is L&L's site pathetic compared to adult sites? The fact that you're even asking that makes me wonder how informed you are with the economics of the magic retail business compared to the online porn industry.

I'm flying solo with L&L's site. There isn't a team of developers and graphic designers as there are with most adult sites. I could put together a team, substantially raise my rates, and we could put together a kick-ass web site which will ultimately cost you the consumer more money because that extra cost will need to be absorbed somewhere.

The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar business with millions of customers. The magic industry is a multi-million dollar industry with less than 100,000 customers. I don't care how you offer up products, the market is over-saturated. You have the early adopters who buy products once they are released. They support the dealers & creators. Then you have the next level of customer who buys at 50% off on ebay and magic forums.

We are currently doing some downloadable products through a third-party service. It's just ok. It may be increased in the future through another provider. We haven't talked about it in a while. But right now, I don't see how the market is going to support the added expense.

For L&L to do it on it's own would be cost prohibitive. I've looked into solutions and it's just not practical. The increased cost for the servers and bandwidth is enough to say no. Add in labor to rip all those files, upload everything, create the pages, etc. Remember, we're in a very small industry here and right now EVERYONE is hurting.

But this has worked successfully and continues to with sites like Ellusionist. I worked with Ellusionist for six months, at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. It's a completely different operation than most other magic publishers. But it's not perfect because you have to keep bringing in new customers and THAT pisses off many in the magic business. They advertise nationally, they sponsored a TV show and that pissed off many people. But that is the business model that is required to make all of this profitable. iTunes & NetFlix work because there are millions of customers.

Personally, I would love to hear some solutions. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I've been dealing with this for several years and am open to hearing ideas. If solutions can be found that included a group of publishers and that didn't interfere with distributor arrangements, great!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/11/09 12:09 PM

It's a mistake to equate the piracy of music with that of magic. And it's a mistake to equate the piracy of magic tricks with that of magic DVDs and magic books. No one needs to "peek" at a book before buying it in order to find out whether the "secret" is worth the money.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/11/09 01:52 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:... No one needs to "peek" at a book before buying it in order to find out whether the "secret" is worth the money.


IMHO it's exactly that utility of "the secret" which is getting us in trouble.

If one is not buying a manuscript (text) or prop but a 'secret' - then the market and author are losing out on the usual moral claim of copyright protection - as the customer is NOT buying the fixed expression but the "secret" supposedly contained therein.

Second, if that 'secret' is simply not useful to the purchasor... it is still theirs to do as they see fit - even to make graffiti of the data and a sculpture of the props.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 02:12 PM

Steve Pellegrino wrote:
mrgoat wrote:Now to address Mr. Goat's comments. Why is L&L's site pathetic compared to adult sites?


Adult sites offer 100s or 1000s of gigabytes of exactly the content the surfer wants. At a price he is prepared to pay. So he pays 5 bucks a minute or 30 bucks a month to access it.

They serve the content in a very easy to download manner. They offer a variety of file formats. They stream in HD H264.

I cited L&L because really they are probably *the* leader in offline publishing, yet seem to not to really embrace online.

I mean *no* disrespect to you, and had I known you were reading, I would have not used the word pathetic. Behind the times would be more appropriate.


Steve Pellegrino wrote:I'm flying solo with L&L's site. There isn't a team of developers and graphic designers as there are with most adult sites.


Not at all true. Most sites are run by one man bands. They shoot the content, edit the content make the site, organise the hosting, the CC processing (which is tricky in adult as you can imagine), run the updates, run the marketing etc etc.

In fact, three of the most successful sites in the UK are run exactly like that.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar business with millions of customers. The magic industry is a multi-million dollar industry with less than 100,000 customers. I don't care how you offer up products, the market is over-saturated.


And you don't think porn is over-saturated? You don't think porn is MASSIVELY troubled by stolen content (much more so than magic)? Of course it is.

So what to do?

Start caring about how you serve up that content. Start *really* caring about your customer. About how to use the data you already have on him to better serve his needs.

To enter into a Customer Lifecycle Management campaign from the first time they hit your site. Work out how to give them what they want, all the time.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:We are currently doing some downloadable products through a third-party service. It's just ok. It may be increased in the future through another provider. We haven't talked about it in a while. But right now, I don't see how the market is going to support the added expense.


I've seen it. It looks like an adult site from 10 years ago. If you would like me to put you in touch with some streaming video providers (admitedly adult ones) that could help, let me know. It's really much cheaper than you think.

There is hardly any extra cost at all. You already have the content (which is the biggest cost)! Bandwidth costs cents, preparing the video for the web is really cheap to do now too. Getting a webmaster to post regular updates of your existing library would not be expensive at all as it would be such a junior webmonkey position.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:For L&L to do it on it's own would be cost prohibitive. I've looked into solutions and it's just not practical. The increased cost for the servers and bandwidth is enough to say no. Add in labor to rip all those files, upload everything, create the pages, etc. Remember, we're in a very small industry here and right now EVERYONE is hurting.


Sorry, I find this really really hard to believe. The dedicated server will cost you around 250 bucks a month with 10 megabits of bandwidth. That would be enough I imagine. The labor is peanuts if you look at outsourcing places. I get videos sorted for web in South America. It's very very cheap. Using a decent CMS, updates could be done by a junior office admin.

Steve Pellegrino wrote: iTunes & NetFlix work because there are millions of customers.


Well maybe, or maybe because music and movies are moving to digital distribution.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:Personally, I would love to hear some solutions. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I've been dealing with this for several years and am open to hearing ideas. If solutions can be found that included a group of publishers and that didn't interfere with distributor arrangements, great!


I think what it needs is a kick up the butt. Like Steve Jobs did with the music industry. He went round and courted them all individually, for MONTHS until they all said yes.

If a company was set up to become the aggregator for online digital content, they could court all the magic publishers in the same way Jobs worked the record industry.

I don't believe ellusionist or L&L or however will separately solve this. But, that doesn't mean you couldn't offer a decent streaming/download service to an audience that has proven they like buying music and movies online.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 02:15 PM

John Hostler wrote:I believe we must attack the problem on two fronts simultaneously: legal and economic. Sue the bastards, disrupt their "businesses" (to the greatest extent possible), and experiment with new and innovative business models.


How many cases have the RIAA or MPAA successfully brought to court?

I think legal action is a waste of time.
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