Turner's review of Bairefoot's DVD

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby Guest » 08/12/05 09:22 AM

In the last issue of Genii, Joe Turner reviewed a DVD ("Ultimate Signed Coin in Balloon" by Michael Bairefoot) that apparently fills the ethics-violations cup to overflowing. In addition to the title-effect, Mr. Bairefoot claims credit for inventing the Classic Force and The Linking Cards (Paul Harris' "Immaculate Connection" from Stars of Magic).

To be fair, I do not own this DVD (it is nowhere near my cup of tea) but I did contact a few acquaintances who have either seen or own the video and they assure me that Joe's review is dead-on. The product is obviously crap and a rip-off of other people's creativity.

I see internet posts, magazine columns and articles constantly that express concern about ethics in magic. So, how can the magic community deal with those who willingly violate them...what happens now? Do the doors of magic every truly 'close off' to bozos like this?

Perhaps magicians will be forever saddled with tolerating blatant disrespect for the creative work of others. Unless I'm wrong, it seems like we are trying like hell to ignore it--but it just isn't going away.

Best,
Mick Ayres
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/12/05 11:57 AM

Mick,

Thanks for posting this. Surprise, surprise -- the DVD in question is produced by Magic Makers, Inc.
As for fighting this stuff, it is hard. No one seems to have ever gone broke by underestimating the respect that magicians have for our art. Stiff (what an appropriate name!) has, from what I have heard, a fairly large wad. When he can get first rate performers to slut away their work for much more than they can get from legitimate publishers -- he does. When he can't, he shamelessly rips the product off anyways.
The only way to fight this is to make it an economic burden for magic dealers, publishers, and suppliers to support Magic Makers. It is not a major loss to M.M. if you refuse to buy the Bairefoot DVD or any of their products. However, if they find that they can no longer advertise in the major magazines, if they lose orders from entire shops -- it begins to make a dent.
A friend was in a shop and was about to make a big purchase. He had spent about an hour walking through and had put together a big pile of books, dvds, and tricks on the shop counter. He then noticed a M.M. dvd on display and informed the guy behind the counter that he could not buy from them if they supported M.M. He walked out, leaving the guy behind the counter to put back the big pile of merchandise.
This is the kind of action that can help to discourage sleazy conduct in magic. The message has to be more than "we will not buy ripped off products," it has to be "when we buy from you and you buy ripped off products, our money is supporting those who are robbing creators and degrading magic...our money will not go to Magic Makers...and that means that, as long as you do business with them, our money will not go to you."

Best,

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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/12/05 01:20 PM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:
The only way to fight this is to make it an economic burden for magic dealers, publishers, and suppliers to support Magic Makers. It is not a major loss to M.M. if you refuse to buy the Bairefoot DVD or any of their products. However, if they find that they can no longer advertise in the major magazines, if they lose orders from entire shops -- it begins to make a dent.
A friend was in a shop and was about to make a big purchase. He had spent about an hour walking through and had put together a big pile of books, dvds, and tricks on the shop counter. He then noticed a M.M. dvd on display and informed the guy behind the counter that he could not buy from them if they supported M.M. He walked out, leaving the guy behind the counter to put back the big pile of merchandise.
Two problems with this sort of boycott.

1. Collateral Damage. Yes, your friend made a point with the shop owner, and perhaps a dent in his cash register. But what about the others involved in the purchases he didn't make? Did he leave a book from Hermetic Press on the counter? Why should Stephen Minch suffer because of what Bairefoot and Magic Makers do? Did he fail to buy a set of lecture notes from a creative, ethical magician? Screwed him, too, he did.

And it's not okay to say, he can just buy it somewhere else, somewhere that doesn't carry MM products. Much magic is very limited in distribution, and much magic bought in brick and mortar is an impulse purchase. The sale not made that day, may never be made anywhere else.

2. Where does it end? Boycott the shop who carries MM. Do we boycott the magazines which carry their ads? I think Genii adds much more to magic than it takes away, even if you assume (and I don't) that by carrying MM ads, they are to blame. Boycott the distributors which carry MM dvds? I don't know if Murphy's carries them, but I'd be hard pressed to stop buying all Murphy's products, especially since some are exclusives. If MM has a dealer booth at a convention, do we boycott the convention? If the Linking Ring or MUM carries a MM ad, do we drop our membership?
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Postby Guest » 08/12/05 01:42 PM

Handling this dilemma is like belling the cat...no matter what happens, somebody is probably going to get hurt.

One the other hand, at least the guy who left the stack 'o goods behind in the store, TOOK A STAND.

As bad as I feel for the shop-owner (who is struggling enough to keep his door open these days), and also for those guys who have taken the high road while developing their products (the Stephen Minches, K&G's, etc.), I'm impressed with the fact that at least one guy out there made a statement in his own way--he's had enough.

But, in my opinion, MagicMakers isn't the only culprit here...Mr. Bairefoot assembled this product and apparently is savvy enough (at least, according to his own website) to "know" better but he just didn't care.

Best,
Mick
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/12/05 02:08 PM

1. Collateral Damage. Yes, your friend made a point with the shop owner, and perhaps a dent in his cash register. But what about the others involved in the purchases he didn't make? Did he leave a book from Hermetic Press on the counter? Why should Stephen Minch suffer because of what Bairefoot and Magic Makers do? Did he fail to buy a set of lecture notes from a creative, ethical magician? Screwed him, too, he did.
There's no reason that Stephen Minch's (or anyone's) products need be purchased from a shop that carries MM. One can certainly purchase directly from Minch or from a shop that doesn't deal with sleazeball manufacturers (The Denny and Lee Magic Factory in Baltimore and Vegas is a superb choice: www.dennymagic.com).

2. Where does it end? Boycott the shop who carries MM. Do we boycott the magazines which carry their ads? I think Genii adds much more to magic than it takes away, even if you assume (and I don't) that by carrying MM ads, they are to blame. Boycott the distributors which carry MM dvds? I don't know if Murphy's carries them, but I'd be hard pressed to stop buying all Murphy's products, especially since some are exclusives. If MM has a dealer booth at a convention, do we boycott the convention? If the Linking Ring or MUM carries a MM ad, do we drop our membership?
The decision as to how far to take it is an individual one.

Too often, ambiguity in a small number of cases is an excuse for apathy and inaction in all cases.

There is a similar problem with Bill's second point. Should we not act at all because we are not sure whether we should follow through with similar actions on every level? Of course not. If you are not comfortable with refusing to deal with Murphy's completely -- then continue to deal with Murphy's. There is, however, no reason why you should feel that dealing with Murphy's precludes you from boycotting a dealer who supports sleazy manufacturers or a magazine that does likewise. Any action that you take, on whatever level you can, to oppose thievery is a positive contribution to magic.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/12/05 03:13 PM

I suppose, then, that you and I will have to agree to disagree. My "line in the sand" is that I don't want to buy stolen stuff. If I take it any farther than that, then the grey areas become such that I can't avoid hurting people whom I feel to be blameless.

In other words, if I hurt blameless people more than I hurt the guilty (which, I think, is what happened with your friend at the magic shop), then not only is the boycott ineffectual, it is a bad thing in and of itself.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 08/12/05 03:20 PM

Originally posted by Mick Ayres:
So, how can the magic community deal with those who willingly violate them...what happens now? Do the doors of magic every truly 'close off' to bozos like this?
The world of magic has many doors. They do not all open and close together. There are doors which are now closed to Michael Bairefoot. Not all doors -- perhaps ones he does not care to pass through. But they are closed nonetheless.

When I go to the Castle, I am very lucky that there are a number of very talented magicians who welcome me. I sometimes have the chance to proofread a manuscript, or to give a magician feedback on a new routine in development. I definitely see much more than my fair share of "underground" technique.

None of this would happen if I were to behave unethically.

I think Nathan put it best. If you're not comfortable dealing with someone, on whatever level, because of their ethics, then don't deal with them. That's what the magicians you know and respect are doing. The results are not so obvious, and they may not be as strong as we would like. But they are there.
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/12/05 03:41 PM

Bill,

Who, exactly, is the blameless person hurt by not shopping at that shop?
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Postby John Tudor » 08/12/05 03:49 PM

In his defense, Mr. Bairefoot claims to have fully credited everyone whose material is featured on the disc, and that those credits were edited out. He says that Magic Makers (who are known for this sort of thing) are the ones responsible.

In a recent letter to me, in a phone conversation, and in a Magic Cafe post; he stated that everyone was fully credited. He didn't see the final cut, so he is not to blame. There was to have also been a paper insert and a web page that included these credits- and that Magic Makers did not follow through.

This may be true, I don't know. I hope it is.

Unfortunately, Mr. B has a history of taking material that is not his creation, and trying to pass it off as his own. He's also known for prevaricating whenever necessary to benefit himself, so who knows?

I certainly don't believe it.

So we are back to the same questions: "what can we do?" Can we do anything (boycott, or otherwise) that will really make a difference?

Would it be appropriate or even possible to boycott not only the publishers and distributors, but the magicians who actually
make these gross ethical violations?

Are we really unable to affect the ethical situation of our art and it's publications, or are we afraid of our own standards?

John Tudor
"Ars longa, vita brevis." (Life is short, the art so long to learn) -Hippocrates

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Postby Bill McFadden » 08/12/05 04:08 PM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:
One can certainly purchase directly from Minch or from a shop that doesn't deal with sleazeball manufacturers (The Denny and Lee Magic Factory in Baltimore and Vegas is a superb choice: www.dennymagic.com).

Ohmigod , , , Nate: does this mean Denny and Hank Lee have merged?!! :eek:
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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/12/05 04:11 PM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:
Who, exactly, is the blameless person hurt by not shopping at that shop?
The creators, whose material I would have bought if I did make purchases there.

Example: As far as I know, Alain Nu does not make wide distribution of his notes. They are, however, for sale at Denny & Lee's. If I decided to boycott D&L (and I haven't, he's just an example), that would negatively influence Alain as well.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 08/12/05 04:13 PM

Originally posted by John Tudor:
In his defense, Mr. Bairefoot claims to have fully credited everyone whose material is featured on the disc, and that those credits were edited out. He says that Magic Masters (who are known for this sort of thing) are the ones responsible.
So? Even if he did credit the material, he was still teaching magic that wasn't his to teach. He added NOTHING to those effects. Is it any better if I teach Immaculate Connection and say 'Oh yeah, this is Paul Harris's trick'? What exactly is his defense?

I actually think Joe was kinder to this dvd than he could have been. More than I would have been. I think the coin in balloon is piss poor. I refer to this dvd as "Hillbilly harrasses a stripper for 90 minutes" It's a klutz doing other people's magic.
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Postby Robert Allen » 08/12/05 04:54 PM

I refer to this dvd as "Hillbilly harrasses a stripper for 90 minutes"
Ok NOW I'm interested in seeing this :) .
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/12/05 05:13 PM

McF,

Touche!

Mullins,

It is ironic that your hypothetical involves Denny's shop -- which has had a very broad and aggressive policy of not doing business with those who also do business with M.M. This has meant not carrying products that he would have liked to carry.

That said, the damage that you point to is confined to an extremely narrow set of circumstances -- where a product is only availible from a creator who only does business with a single shop which also does business with sleazeballs. This specific situation applies to such a tiny minority of cases that it cannot speak against the general principle -- though it means going about this sort of thing with caution and care.

The claim that the temporary loss of a single sale (keep in mind, the shopkeeper who is being boycotted can easily end the boycott at any time by no longer ordering M.M. products) in a tiny number of situations (if even a single one exists) is somehow a greater harm than the continued existence of Magic Makers is laughable.

The reality is that there is a huge amount of high quality material out there. None of us is able to give all of it the time it deserves (how many here have made a careful study of everything in Erdnase, The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, and Stars of Magic?) Given that we aren't able to study it all, why not choose to purchase materials only from responsible outlets?

Best,

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Postby Guest » 08/12/05 07:11 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
"The world of magic has many doors. They do not all open and close together. There are doors which are now closed to Michael Bairefoot. Not all doors -- perhaps ones he does not care to pass through. But they are closed nonetheless."


Pete,

That's exactly what I was looking for--a reaction of some sort from the magic community. Through his actions and the production of this DVD, Mr. Bairefoot's apathy about ethics is mind-boggling. Why isn't there more of a hue and cry?

For example, by naming the Classic Force after himself Mr. Bairefoot: (a) is ignorant, or (b) thinks the rest of us are stupid. The first one I can forgive, the second one is just immature. But none of this overshadows the fact that, when it comes to this guy's DVD, theft is theft.

I'll be the first to admit that giving credit where it is due isn't always easy. I once asked Paul Cummins about all the credits he puts into every book he writes or publishes. He said, "Without a doubt, I will miss a proper credit somewhere--but when people read my books, they'll at least know it wasn't for lack of trying."

I have self-published several books and manuscripts in my neck of the woods so I know first-hand how difficult giving proper credit can be. However, with the Internet availability and forums such as this one, there are plenty of guys out there ready to jump at the chance to show off their knowledge and let you know who created what when...and they're just a keystroke away.

So, there's no more excuse for poorly credited books, notes or DVDs like this one.

I rarely get to attend conventions, but if I bump into Mr. Bairefoot in the future, I'll do my part...and slam my door.

Best,
Mick Ayres
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 08/12/05 10:58 PM

There is at least one guy who gives Mr Bairefoot's dvd a favorable review
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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/12/05 11:16 PM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:

It is ironic that your hypothetical involves Denny's shop -- which has had a very broad and aggressive policy of not doing business with those who also do business with M.M. This has meant not carrying products that he would have liked to carry.
Again, let me say that I was using D&L _only_ as an example. I have no reason to doubt Denny's ethics, and the only reason I used his shop was because I knew he carried some (otherwise) limited distribution notes, which was the key to the point.

Nathan properly recognizes this as "hypothetical", but I just want to reiterate that I don't believe D&L is unethical in any way. (Although, if one wanted to carry Nathan's boycott strategy to its logical conclusion, I suppose that any shop which carried Ammar's Invisible Thread videos, which Joe Turner slammed in a Genii review for some of the very same reasons -- performance and explanation of another's material without permission -- is suspect, and should be boycotted. That being the case, should THIS product, and shops which carry it, be avoide?)

The claim that the temporary loss of a single sale (keep in mind, the shopkeeper who is being boycotted can easily end the boycott at any time by no longer ordering M.M. products) in a tiny number of situations (if even a single one exists) is somehow a greater harm than the continued existence of Magic Makers is laughable.
You've changed the rules by comparing the loss associated with a single sale, to the continued existence of MM. That only makes sense if one assumes that a single customer's boycott will drive MM out of business -- and it won't. Which is exactly my point. My boycott of (insert a non-ironic shop here) won't affect MM one whit. It will cost the shop all of the legimate business which I am now skipping. It will cost all of the producers and creators of the material I was going to buy, at least, delayed sales (assuming I can recreate them later) or possibly, it will cost them the sale altogether, since most of my magic purchases are a confluence of opportunity, desire, and spare cash; and such circumstances won't likely recreate themselves. It is often a zero sum game in which I may be able to recreate the purchases later, but not always. Finally, it will cost me -- I'll have to make the purchases in a way that is only second-best in terms of convenience, price, etc. (if it were first best, I'd have done it that way originally).

Again, I don't believe my own boycott of anything other than the specific MM products affects the problem sufficiently, that it is worth the downsides of performing it. Others obviously disagree, and more power to them.

If I could stop the stolen material, I would. If I could stop those who share in your version of guilt by association, though, I don't think I would, because that would mean stopping every magic magazine, every convention dealer's room, and every big magic publisher.

Finally, let me say that I have no problem with boycotting MM products themselves, or magicians which are a party to their worst practices. I just don't think boycotting at secondary and tertiary levels is very effective. It is unfortunate, however, that there just aren't enough people who's sense of ethics is strong enough that it guides their purchases in MM's target market for any of these variation of a boycott to make any difference. (I don't think that Richard dropped MM as an advertiser because of cancelled subscriptions; I think it was more because he personally decided that MM wasn't an entity he wanted to do business with. Which matches my feelings pretty closely.)

And so you know that this isn't just an academic discussion for me:
I've known Michael Bairefoot for a number of years, and I like the guy on a personal level (to the extent we run into each other at conventions, etc.). But as our Ring considered various acts for the recent SEAM convention here in Huntsville, the situation with this DVD was a black mark against Michael. We closed one of Pete McCabe's doors.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 08/13/05 01:17 AM

Originally posted by Robert Allen:
I refer to this dvd as "Hillbilly harrasses a stripper for 90 minutes"
Ok NOW I'm interested in seeing this :) .
It's probably worth a laugh if you can find it cheap. And you can find it cheap, I did.

By the way, you guys forget who this is marketed toward--mostly beginners or people with little knowledge of magic. That's why they do what they do.

Also, why is Bob Eliot endorsing everything MM does? Does he own stock in the company or what? I thought he was a pretty respected guy.
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Postby Guest » 08/13/05 02:25 AM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
I think Nathan put it best. If you're not comfortable dealing with someone, on whatever level, because of their ethics, then don't deal with them. That's what the magicians you know and respect are doing. The results are not so obvious, and they may not be as strong as we would like. But they are there.
That's an excellent principle. And in general I try to do that. Not only in magic, but in all aspects of my life.

As far as is practical, I avoid dealing with people who I consider to be unethical, or liars, or hypocrites.

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Postby Guest » 08/13/05 02:53 AM

Ive spent sometime Michael Barefoot, and have found him to be extremely self involved and self serving.

Someone could write a book about Michael's antics in magic up until now. Or make a documentary movie fit for the Fox network.

Do you remember the time that Michael entered a SEAM contest and performed Signed Card to G-String? He stripped onstage down to his gstring, in front of an audience of mostly male magicians. Just talking about it is making me queasy.
You havent heard the last of Michael Barefoot. He's young, he's got energy and creativy, and he easily fits into the same category as Busby, Giorgio, Cassidy, and Mark what'sisname.
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/13/05 07:29 AM

Bill (I referred to you as "Mullins" in my last post only to distinguish you from Bill Mcfadden, to whom I was also replying),

The reason that I balanced the damaged caused by a single sale against the continued existence of M.M. is because the conditions that you set forth under which this kind of boycott would harm harm an "innocent" were so specific and restricted that -- as a matter of practice -- I greatly doubt that those conditions would be met more than once by any single boycotter. Hence the damage to an "innocent," under your very contrived scenario, amounts to the loss of about a single sale.

I should add that, even under such limited circumstances, I am not certain how innocent our hypothetical creator who gives an exclusive to an MM-stocking shop would be.

As to the Ammar situation, this is another case of the murky middle being used to rationalize inaction towards the extreme. I would be surprised if most mainstream publishers have not, at some time or another, offered a product of questionable provenance. Those of us who are taking action against MM are not doing so because they have ripped off a single product or a few. We are doing it because they rip-off creators continuously and shamelessly. They steal at a level where, to an outsider, it looks as if making shoddy imitations of other people's ideas is a basic part of their business model.

Thus, it is NOT "carrying (the) boycott strategy to its logical conclusion" to boycott anyone who stocks Ammar. The logical conclusion is that if another company came up whose business centered upon thievery and forgery, we would also apply a similar boycott.

Bill points out that this is a sacrifice -- that it means that you aren't taking your first choice. He is, of course, absolutely correct; any boycott is a sacrifice of what one would otherwise want. It is worth asking, however, how much are we really losing?

There is so much material out there now that none of us can give all of the worthwhile material the attention that it requires for us to really benefit from it. Show of hands: how many of us have carefully studied every item in Erdnase, The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, and Stars of Magic? No matter intense our study of magic may be, we are going to miss something. Given that, why not choose to miss those products that come from a company that degrades magic, and from those companies that actively support it? I am a serious student of magic who performs professionally six evenings a week, I have yet to "have" to purchase anything from a company that supports MM.

Beyond the issue of the efficacy of the action (and there have been remarkable successes made by those of us working against MM), there is a question of self-respect. The people that we are willing to associate with and the activities that we are willing to support -- both actively and passively -- speak volumes about who we are and about the standards to which we hold ourselves.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 08/13/05 04:06 PM

Originally posted by hoo monkey:
You havent heard the last of Michael Barefoot. Hes young, hes got nergy and creativyt, and he easily fits into the same category as Busby, Giorgio, Cassidy, and Mark what'sisname.
You just insulted several GOOD magicians.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 08/13/05 06:33 PM

Originally posted by Ryan Matney:
Originally posted by hoo monkey:
[b] You havent heard the last of Michael Barefoot. Hes young, hes got nergy and creativyt, and he easily fits into the same category as Busby, Giorgio, Cassidy, and Mark what'sisname.
You just insulted several GOOD magicians. [/b]
And one sphincter.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/13/05 08:18 PM

Originally posted by Bill Palmer:
...And one sphincter.
Anyone else reminded of the three sisters who live in a cave and have to share an eye?
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Robert Allen » 08/13/05 09:07 PM

LOL, ah, humor. A little goes a long way :D
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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/13/05 10:15 PM

One point that I hope doesn't get lost in the back-and-forth between Nathan Coe Marsh and me:

Nathan is taking a stand against a real problem in magic, and that is a good thing. His goals are the same as mine -- to pressure manufacturers and magicians into respecting the rights and creativity of those who have gone before them. The fact that he and I disagree (with respect, I hope) about methods should not take away from that basic premise.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/05 12:01 AM

Originally posted by Ryan Matney:
You just insulted several GOOD magicians.
I beg to differ.
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/14/05 12:21 AM

I was also taken aback by hoo's list -- Bob Cassidy has made more positive contributions to our field than 99.9999% of his peers. He is impeccably honest, albeit disorganized and in the midst of dealing with a far more pressing (and more important!) personal situation. No time is right to recklessly throw his name out in this kind of context, but now is a particularly inappropriate and coarsely insensitive time.
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/14/05 12:23 AM

Bill,

I appreciate your response and hope that my post doesn't read more harshly than it was intended. We do share a common goal.

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Postby Guest » 08/14/05 10:07 AM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:
I was also taken aback by hoo's list -- Bob Cassidy has made more positive contributions to our field than 99.9999% of his peers. He is impeccably honest, albeit disorganized and in the midst of dealing with a far more pressing (and more important!) personal situation.
Your 21, what do you know about Bob Cassidy? Andno, Im not going to get pulled into a listing of Bob's sins on nationwide forum.
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/14/05 10:52 AM

22 and it is an international forum. If you are willing to smear his name publicly it is only responsible to be able to support that smear publicly -- unsupported innuendo is disgusting.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/05 06:04 PM

Gentlemen,

I've always believed the Genii Forum was a 'cut above' when it came to quality and maturity among its participants. So, can we get back on point?

I began this thread because the issue of Ethics in Magic is a difficult one to tackle in the best of times. Mr. Bairefoot's DVD is a rock-solid example of the very thing we all claim to despise--for once we don't have to discuss this issue in the realm of theoretical-situations and 'what-ifs'. Here is a real, tangible violation of ethics within our midst...and a rare chance to do something about it.

HooMonkey (hoo-ever you are), please drop the antagonism and post a message that contributes to the solution. Otherwise you are just in the way...and apparently you are old enough to know it.

Thanks,
Mick Ayres
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Postby NCMarsh » 08/14/05 07:16 PM

I think that to simply concern ourselves with this single act of theft is to suffer from paralizing myopia. As a matter of practice, there is little that can be done against this single product. It is out there, it will continue to be out there. As a single product, likewise, the harm that it inflicts is relatively small.

The real issue with MM is not this theft or that theft. From their earliest releases to this Bairefoot DVD -- which I take it is fairly recently -- MM has engagend in a longstanding pattern of behavior that suggests that theft is part of their basic approach to business. To fight each of these acts individually is to lose the forest for the trees. As long as this company is allowed to, it will continue to steal.

Voices have been raised about many of Magic Makers products individually. This, in the end, matters little. While I am all for individuals and groups closing doors for MM performers, actions against individual performers -- ultimately -- are not going to end this. MM has deep pockets and a willingness to steal what it cannot buy, there will always be another performer willing to be paid an outrageous sum to appear in one of these rip-off dvds. Do what you wish to Mr. Bairefoot, six months from now it will be someone else. We need to stop trying to trim the leaves and start trying to pull this weed out by the roots.

The other problem with dealing with each specific product on its own is that one specific theft is morally no worse than any other specific theft. This makes it hard to justify taking action against one performer who has a specific product that is a theft, when there are unquestionably many more who also have one or two infriging products and against whom you aren't going to take any action. But when we look at the real issue here -- the scale of MM's thefts -- we see that we are dealing with a truly unique situation. Many people in magic steal once or twice. No one steals as frequently or as shamelessly as MM. Take decisive action against them and there are no concerns of "but what about this guy who's doing the same thing, and that guy..."

best,

N.
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Postby ChastainCriswell » 08/14/05 09:09 PM

I personally am not going to point out specific things on this thread in which I do or do not agree. Some folks on here I am sure having history with Michael Bairefoot may cause biased statements to be made. However in no ones defense I believe that the issue is much bigger than ethics. Mainly cause there are far and few between who care about ethics anymore. The issue is education. IF we as a community would educate those that are just starting out then issues like this would be seldom occurrences. I remember when I was starting out in magic.... it was almost near impossible get anyone to care about my magic. I even had conflicts with a few folks that would not give me the time of day. Why because of whom I was hanging out with. I learned a lot from the guy I was hanging out with and I even learned about ethics (Believe it or not) but after much beating from the magic community I started to see his care for the art dwindle into nothing. Because of the back biting and the insane ways of the community as a whole and even individuals acting alone this person got to where it was all about him and nothing else. I had the privilege to live and work with this guy and learn from him as well as taught him some things. Granted, even then he had a checkered past with many of the magic community. But I do know in his beginning stages he was like me he learned about how magicians are and what they do to "protect" the art, and decided he was going to do things the best way he knew how and maybe even change magic forever. Also like me he found out it was near impossible. I have no problems or issues with anyone here or in "real life" as a matter of fact some of those that use to (for a lack of better terms) shun me, are now actual friends in my mind. I have somehow earned a little respect from them, as it should be, since I (even through the "outcast" stages) respected them. That being said I will give my opinion on this DVD and how it pertains to ethics. The coin in Balloon lacks something and in my mind it is the penetration not being as strong as it should be but I have seen it kill laymen as well as magicians. The rest of it (Not having seen the DVD itself) may or may not be unethical but I don't agree that it was right to publish it even with credits unless he advanced the method, effect, or the presentation. (Darwins law I believe) However I consider Michael a friend even if it deducts respect points from anyone. Because in the end it is just a trick and friendships are deeper than that. Some of you do not consider Michael a friend and that is fine and dandy. No problems with that here, I know first hand why some do not like him and I don't blame anyone. To conclude; education of the young and lowering some ego's to teach beginners right from wrong, I believe will stop some of the unethical happenings in the magic community. We all have made stupid mistakes and some of us continue to make them, but raising our pitch forks and trying to run Dracula out of town is not the solution.

Chastain Criswell

PS: Yes the friend I refer to is Michael Bairefoot.
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Postby EdAndres » 08/14/05 09:31 PM

...unless he IS DRACULA!
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Postby Guest » 08/15/05 10:40 AM

Chastain,
I completely agree with you and Nathan in your conclusions. Ultimately, there is no value in throwing the baby out with the bath water.

When guys like Herbert Becker or Valentino make a paycheck by exposing other people's hard-earned creativity--it's bad enough. But when a working-pro does it, that's too far over the line in my opinion. No matter WHO the guilty party is: the emotional side of me likes the idea of pitchforks and angry mobs. But, I'll get over it.

As you said, six months from now, it'll probably be someone else pulling this same nonsense. But at least this time, the issue hasn't been swept under the carpet as usual.

Best,
Mick Ayres
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/15/05 12:34 PM

All right, time for the Bonehead-Patrol.

I just spend an hour cleaning up this thread--time I do NOT have.

In the future, I expect everyone to learn how to edit their own messages. There is no need to carry on about what was a simple mistake in writing Magic Masters when the person obviously meant Magic Makers.

So, in the future, use your BRAINS.

Also, for 22-year-old Nathan who is hopping up and down about "stealing": you can not steal what the law doesn't give you the right to own. Magic tricks are not something that can be owned under the current law. So, everytime you use the word "steal" regarding a trick, you leave yourself legally vulnerable.

If you think all of your carrying-on will have any effect on Magic Makers you're sadly mistaken and naive. Beat your chest all you want--it makes no difference.

Magic shops, mail-order, Internet customers buy magic made by Magic Makers because that company provides them with tricks that are at a price point that is much more attractive. (CHEAP, in other words.)

Most magicians (like most of the folks in the real world who buy things) don't care who makes what as long as it's less expensive. People who are willing to pay more for quality are a small group.

So stop being naive, Nathan. If you want to have a positive effect, go to law school and work for the next 20 years to change the law.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/15/05 01:13 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Magic tricks are not something that can be owned under the current law.
From http://www.inc.com/articles/2000/05/19083.html :

The following items are just some of the things that might qualify for patent protection: biological inventions; business methods; carpet designs; new chemical formulas, processes, or procedures; clothing accessories and designs; computer hardware and peripherals; computer software; containers; cosmetics; decorative hardware; e-commerce techniques; electrical inventions; electronic circuits; fabrics and fabric designs; food inventions; furniture design; games (board, box, and instructions); housewares; Internet innovations; jewelry; laser light shows; machines; magic tricks or techniques; mechanical inventions; medical accessories and devices; medicines; musical instruments; odors; plants; recreational gear; and sporting goods (designs and equipment).

You might also want to look up U.S. Patent #5,354,238, as an example.

-Jim
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/15/05 01:38 PM

I'm waiting for someone to sue a manufacturer over copying a magic trick that's been patented. Find me a case.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 08/15/05 02:03 PM

Horace Goldin apparently "successfully" sued several performers whom he argued infringed upon his "sawing a woman in half" patent rights. In a letter to Carter the Great dated 19th Novemer 1935 he says: "5 Judges sitting at the Supreme Court of New York concurred in my favor." in reference to those suits. Anybody know the details (I'm guessing Mike Caveney does!)? Whether he collected any satisfaction other than the dubious publicity value of winning his case is another question...
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