BLATANT RIP-OFF

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Pete Biro » 05/30/12 01:03 PM

MAD HATTER MAGIC is selling what they call a "generic" version of Dean's Box. The price is ridiculously low, so it it probably made in China. The owner tells me "I'm just giving buyers a choice to buy a generic version." I guess he doesn't understand intellectual property. He's also selling a rip-off of my Plumber's Poles. Only his price is TRIPLE what you can buy mine for.
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Postby Don Hendrix » 05/30/12 06:29 PM

Go get 'em Pete! Somebody needs to. I saw an ad for your Ghostly Finger Rings, listing them for twenty-something dollars in China.
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Postby Jim Riser » 05/30/12 08:58 PM

Pete,
Such places would not even exist if so called "magicians" did not support them. Cheap magic fans are destroying that which they claim to love.

I have seen these cheap magic fans rally behind the rip-off guys and turn against the originators. Such behavior is rampant on the Magic Cafe - even encouraged and protected.

I have already begun to phase out magic production. I do not need the business nor headaches involved with supplying quality items to people who do not appreciate the care, work, and expense involved in the creation of such items. The situation is only going to get worse with the current generation of (I deserve and I'm entitled) pampered mamma's boys.

The rip-offs are not limited to Chinese manufacturers. We have enough within our own borders.

I'm old enough that I do not need to put up with such crap.
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Postby Brisbin » 05/30/12 11:38 PM

Jim raises (no pun intended) a valid point, one that I have given a lot of thought. Nationally and internationally, there is a vast number of people who have now grown up with the internet, and have developed a sense that all information (there's a difference between information and knowledge) should be theirs without much more effort than a few keystrokes. This type of thinking existed before the computer, of course, but coupled with a world-wide disregard for intellectual property and copyrights, patents, and trademarks, it creates a grim situation for the artists and creators in the pursuit of better magic. Driven by demand? Sure, but the demand is being supplied by manufacturers and dealers who do not have the right or permission to produce and sell these tricks. Ask yourself, is it about the money or the Art? (Hal Halbrook as the Professor in "Shade")

Here's something to think about - an observation quoted from Owen Magic Supreme's Catalog: "There is hardly anything in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper - and the people who consider price only are his lawful prey."

"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do." - John Ruskin

I know I'm preaching to the converted here, but at the risk of sounding elitist, which I am not (not inside any inner circle but my own at present), we do not share magic secrets or working knowledge of someone else's property. Most who claim they have a god-given right to know, do not deserve to know. Don't let your purchases in magic be decided on price alone. Buy less and buy original quality.

And to my friends the innovators, builders, purveyors of original magic, please don't be discouraged, but do the things that you do best. I want to ask the rest of us, including those who like to buy the flavor of the week tricks: don't buy junk, buy less but buy up. Don't encourage more rip-off wholesalers. But, it was ever thus... :/
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Postby CraigOusterling » 05/30/12 11:43 PM

Jim, please don't stop making the high quality magic apparatus you do. :(

Currently there are only a few people making great magic props. It saddens me to hear when another great wants to quit because of the ignorant (and immoral) kiddies running around on the green disturbing the professional golf game.
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Postby erdnasephile » 05/31/12 12:54 AM

Mr. Riser:

I second Craig's notion. There are certainly those of us who very much value your creations!

(Besides, whose going to make some more of those wonderful bottomless glasses (fingers crossed!) if you hang it up? :grin: )
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/12 10:30 AM

? but it's okay to go selling items taken from deKolta, Germain, Downs ...

@Mad Hatter Magic - it's not nice to go selling someone else's trick without first getting their permission.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/31/12 11:37 AM

Still waiting to hear back from deKolta before proceeding with my knockoff Praying Lady.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/12 11:41 AM

So Pete, you have effectively argued that unless there is a direct personal defense based upon market presense - it's just fine to sell anyone else's items in magic.

Still waiting to hear a cogent legal argument that refutes that position.

It sounds hypocricial to complain on the grounds of copyright if you also hold that it's okay to copy and sell someone else's work in our market.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/31/12 12:14 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:So Pete, you have effectively argued that unless there is a direct personal defense based upon market presense - it's just fine to sell anyone else's items in magic.

Still waiting to hear a cogent legal argument that refutes that position.

It sounds hypocricial to complain on the grounds of copyright if you also hold that it's okay to copy and sell someone else's work in our market.



And surely, Jon, you aren't arguing that there is something wrong will selling or performing an illusion created by a man who's been dead for over a century?

By what theory would that make sense? Patents expire, Trademarks must be maintained continuously by the owner, items from before 1922 have fallen out of copyright.

Most magicians who respect the creative rights of others do so not because the law requires it, but because of courtesy and respect. When the guy has been dead since 1903, those arguments don't apply.

The "coins across" effect goes back long before your work on it who's the hypocrite?
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 05/31/12 12:20 PM

Ouch!
Please visit my website.
http://houdinihimself.com/
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/12 12:23 PM

I try to avoid items that were taken without permission. It's as simple as that. And as you observed it's done as a matter of artistic respect.

Not sure what to make of your coins across remark.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/12 12:39 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:I try to avoid items that were taken without permission. It's as simple as that. And as you observed it's done as a matter of artistic respect.

Not sure what to make of your coins across remark.


If you're referring to the fingertips thing - let's see...

The item started by changing the timing on something Geoff Latta was exploring - where he would use the attention on the moving hand after a rention placement and the appearance of the coin to almost get a jump backwards in a miniature of a moment in Slydini's One Coin routine. His gaze was following the moving hand even when the coin vanished.

The first version of the three coins across version using the attention leading approach was done with a fellow student who was really good at the Shaw production - so full credits there. The second version was a left handed handling of Roth's Winged Silver from his first lecture but using fingertips handling and the attention leading and a sweep-pickup vanish for the last coin ala Slydini.

IMHO there's no taking without permission in that process or what came after. The open handed coin production was independent invention - as was the one handed vanish and later on the EG2EG switch.

So just what hypocrisy are you accusing me of?

not amused,

Jon
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Postby hgebeaux » 05/31/12 01:10 PM

Let's see, I'm confused. Is giving credit the same as having permission?? And just what constitutes permission? Just being published in some book? And what is permission needed for? Only the exact object/effect? Or does some slight change mean anything goes - like making something out of metal when the original was wood? Or using the left hand instead of the right? Or a different color deck? Or using a two instead of an ace? Just confused about all this nonsense and nastiness.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/12 01:56 PM

be specific hgebeaux - what nonsense and what nastiness?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/31/12 04:03 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote: The first version of the three coins across version using the attention leading approach was done with a fellow student who was really good at the Shaw production - so full credits there.


Jon -- let's look at this one sentence from your post, to show why it is so frustrating to engage you on the forum.

"full credits there" Not really -- you don't give credit to the "fellow student". Who was he? And you've said earlier that permission is necessary -- do you have Shaw's permission? Or is it necessary? To what extent is the permission of a dead man required? Or are you even using the Shaw production -- your post is opaque.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/12 04:15 PM

Thanks bill you are right. there's obviously no sense in bothering crediting in this environment or protecting other people's work even by general consent ... copy away.

anyone NOT know where to find the latest stuff online?

:(

PS - you probably already have the September 2006 issue somewhere.

And in response to your ill phrased question - I could not get in touch with the other three magician students who were at the lunchroom table to get their permission to include their names when writing for publication. Again, courtesy and respect for others.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/31/12 06:09 PM

We aren't talking about the latest stuff. We are talking about stuff that is decades and decades old.

If I saw you doing something that was uniquely yours, of course I would respect your right to perform it exclusively.

I have no guilt, however, it doing effects invented by or popularized by magicians that have been dead as long as "deKolta, Germain, Downs".

There is a line that should not be crossed. Doing century-old magic does not cross it.

There are exceptions, though. Ricky Jay has made "Congenial Coterie" his own. It shouldn't be done by others.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/01/12 08:04 AM

I don't recall anyone using the patter from the exclusive coterie other than Ricky Jay. Not much to say about those who play pigeon as if "monkey see monkey do" had some implied dignity in the arts. Doing as instructed by ones teacher(s) as a learning exercise is an odd thing to bring before audiences.

You've crossed the line with me Bill - Starting by not acknowledging the works that were taken (billiards ...) from Germain and DeKolta to be sold in magic shops and then presuming to know what is 'uniquely yours' about someone else's work followed by the subjunctive reads as "if you can prove that I knew it was something of yours then maybe I'd eventually admit some wrong doing about someone selling a version of what I saw you do" in plain text. ENOUGH.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/01/12 08:29 AM

Pete Biro wrote:MAD HATTER MAGIC is selling what they call a "generic" version of Dean's Box. The price is ridiculously low, so it it probably made in China. The owner tells me "I'm just giving buyers a choice to buy a generic version." I guess he doesn't understand intellectual property. He's also selling a rip-off of my Plumber's Poles. Only his price is TRIPLE what you can buy mine for.


What item number or search criteria gets to the item in question? How about a link?
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Postby Ted M » 06/01/12 10:05 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:not acknowledging the works that were taken (billiards ...) from Germain and DeKolta to be sold in magic shops

Jonathan, if you were alluding to historical occurrences of dealers merchandising items from the working acts of Germain and DeKolta without their permission, you didn't supply enough context to make that clear. At all. Your use of present tense instead of past made that further opaque:

? but it's okay to go selling items taken from deKolta, Germain, Downs ...

Some here may perform as mentalists, but nobody's actually telepathic. We can't read anybody's mind. The words we type have to carry our meaning.
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Postby Smurf » 06/01/12 10:13 AM

Jonathan,

Search for rope box at Mad Hatter and you will find it.
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Postby Roger M. » 06/01/12 12:11 PM

With none of the three major moves marketed along with Dean's Box being original to Dean, I'd hesitate to accuse anybody of "ripping off" the moves.

..........and the box itself really isn't much of a departure from Stewart James's original Sefalalgia concept, so I'd be a bit hesitant to declare the box "original" as well.

I have and enjoy a real Dean's Box, and the quality is amazing, it really is the finest of woodwork.... (unlike the Chinese box where one can clearly see the screw holes and the wood filler covering them in the picture), but I've long been hesitant to declare very much about Dean's Box as being "original" to Dean.

If anything, the entire concept and much of the realization is original to nobody else but magic's original genius....Stewart James.
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Postby El Mystico » 06/01/12 01:20 PM

I don't own a dean's box, and know nothing about the methods, the credits or the permissions.

Assuming Roger M is right:
Has Dean got permission from the originators?
Assuming he hasn't, does that make copying a copy more acceptable?

Bill asked Jonathan if he had Shaw's permission: I don't think
Jonathan replied to this.

It feels like some people are trying to attack Jonathan. I'm really not. There is a line to be drawn somewhere; but I don't know where it is, and at least Jonathan seems to have a consistent logic.

As someone who has stumbled across his effects on a Japanese torrent, I find this an interesting area to explore.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 06/01/12 01:23 PM

While I do not support this kind of blatant rip off, I think there are options for Dean.

Perhaps he could follow Losander's lead and offer a "beginners version", of his box which is not as fancy, but is official.

If the Chinese can profit at selling their knockoff for $100, I'm willing to bet that Dean Dill could hit a similar price point and also still make a profit. Nothing about the materials/skills needed to build a similar box suggests that a decent version couldn't be produced for much less than the $350 going rate for Dean's Box. I think Dean should produce that lower end version and reap some profit where there currently is none for him.

It's very doubtful that there's much will to seek legal redress (especially in terms of the lawyer's fees needed) to stop this the sort of counterfeiting mentioned here, but I'd think it would be better to get "some" profit from a lower end official version (perhaps with the option to trade up to the nicer official version at a later date) than receiving nothing from the knock offs.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/01/12 01:27 PM

The Chinese are a bunch of thieving bastards who don't give a crap about intellectual property. The only reason the current situation might change is if they start coming up with original material and we just copy it and sell it over here. That might give them second thoughts.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/01/12 01:37 PM

I had mixed feelings when I first heard about Dean's Box. I was familiar with its roots in our literature and had to think about it for a moment. Here is how i assessed it:
1) no living workers items being taken/copied without permission
2) no book material being lifted (even if not exactly cited)
3) professional quality item and routine offered

Now for someone to come along and sell copies of the prop that was constructed for Dean's routine (the thingie in there and two whatchamacallits included too?) without permission ... that just seems like taking to me.

Again IMHO.

About making comment as regards using (and citing) a sleight that's in print in this context along with items taken from deKolta and Germain... horses-ASS-tonishing.
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Postby Scott Fridinger » 06/01/12 02:40 PM

Seems like this same conversations takes place about every 2 years...
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/01/12 02:54 PM

Smurf wrote:Jonathan,

Search for rope box at Mad Hatter and you will find it.


thanks. Chinese ...???

real hard to see "Works the same as Dean's Box. Rope, rings and directions included with box." as anything other than taking from a living seller of his own product.
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Postby Roger M. » 06/01/12 02:58 PM

Just to be clear, Dean's Box is among the finest pieces of magic woodwork you could possibly lay your hands on. I love working with mine.

I wouldn't entertain ownership of the Chinese crap even if it was $25.00.

My point was simply that calling out the Chinese crap as a "rip off" of an effect solely created by Dean might be a bit simplistic, even untrue.

Although I own and enjoy Dean's Original Box, I long ago resolved that it was ultimately a convenient derivative of Stewart James Sefalaljia (and a couple of other of James ideas).

If anything, the Chinese are ripping off Stewart James, but then ripping off original creators with no credit offered seems commonplace these days.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/01/12 03:01 PM

RogerM - I wanted to elide that aspect as I don't recall Dean Dill mentioning James and that mini-spirit cabinet dimension/history in his item when the materials were briefly shown to me.
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Postby Roger M. » 06/01/12 03:15 PM

I don't believe the Dean's Box folks have ever openly acknowledged or publicly thanked Stewart James for the sizable contributions he made to the Dean's Box effect.

In fact, I believe the most common previous response considered James contributions as not relevant to Dean's Box.
Odd considering you can find the moves, and the concept of the mini spirit cabinet throughout James work.

From my own perspective, the only truly original element to Dean's Box is that it moved the spirit cabinet into the hands (from the table) for part of the effect (which is definitely worthy of note IMO, but would be more palatable if James was also fully acknowledged).
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/01/12 07:17 PM

There are a lot of Chinese magicians, the younger generation, who are actively trying to combat the knock-off artists. Mainly because they want to open shops, but can't compete with the knock-off prices and also because they released their own products and got knocked off.

Ironically these same guys advised me, when I was in China last month, to buy some movies at the market. When I pointed out the hypocrisy of being anti-pirate but purchasing copy DVDs, they simply didn't get it. "Everyone does it" was the excuse.

But Richard does have a good point. During the Chinese Olympics you could not buy any knock-offs of their Olympic mascots.

The Government DOES have the power to stop knock-offs. They will only do it if they see a benefit to themselves
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Postby CraigOusterling » 06/01/12 07:36 PM

Scott Fridinger wrote:Seems like this same conversations takes place about every 2 years...


Two years? Seems like every two weeks.

I think this conversation needs to happen MORE often. If *ANY* search engine renders a [color:#009900]novice[/color] OR professional to land here to this thread to read about the facts of ripoffs and copies then the principle will stay out there.

That's a good thing.

Even when posts make the train take a dirt road the thread eventually comes back on track.

And the principle remains the same. It's NOT RIGHT TO STEAL from someone. *sigh* iirc this is 7 or 8 on the top ten commandments (even if you're not religious you understand this... short of being born and raised by morons)

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p.s. I'm not religious so please excuse me if I worded the top ten thing wrong.
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Postby houdini's ghost » 06/01/12 10:27 PM

It isn't Stewart James' Sefalaljia (and a couple of other of James ideas).
It is Dean Dill's entirely original approach to a Paul Curry idea.
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Postby Roger M. » 06/01/12 10:49 PM

There's some Paul Curry, there's some Elizabeth Warlock, there's substantial work from Busby's "Automated Sefalaljia".

Phases #1 and #3 in Deans Box are identical to moves in Busby's "Automated Sefalaljia" (long before Dean's Box, and itself derivative such that Busby asked James for permission to release it, to which James [apparently] gave his blessing).

The entire popular concept of a table-top spirit cabinet capable of doing multiple effects originates with James.
Dean's Box and Astro-Ball are the two obvious marketed derivatives of James "box".

If anything, the fact that none of the above folks are noted in the Deans Box instructions or on the DVD is precisely my point.

That Dean Dill was the first to bring together a collection of ideas originating with other folks doesn't (at least to me) excuse him from crediting those individual folks.

But my original point was only that calling the Chinese rope box a "rip off" was 100% accurate, but for clarity it is a rip off of a totally uncredited, and highly derivative effect to begin with...........sort of a "pot calling the kettle black" thing.
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Postby CraigOusterling » 06/02/12 01:22 AM

I have not researched the above works so I'm probably speaking from complete ignorance, but, I don't remember any kind of lid or hole in the top of the Sefalaljia box (sans 'secret' thing) ?
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Postby Jim Riser » 06/02/12 03:05 AM

The concept of a self contained miniature spirit cabinet was added to by Jack Wilson in 1942 with his "Miniature Spirit Cabinet" Blue Prints and Directions. This was self contained, no assistant, and much larger than Dean's Box or James' old radio cabinet.

Anyone have additional miniature spirit cabinet sources? We would not want to leave anyone out. Jack Hughes had a few items which might be considered based upon James' ideas. Any others?
Jim

P.S. Harbin may have had a couple similar items but like Hughes, not long involved routines. Theirs were more one effect items. Didn't Robert-Houdin have a miniature spirit cabinet too? Where do we want to draw the line? Based upon size? Involved routine? Method? How long ago? Where?
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Postby mrgoat » 06/02/12 04:33 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:The Chinese are a bunch of thieving bastards who don't give a crap about intellectual property.


And the blacks all sell drugs and steal cars, right?

And don't get me started on those lazy mexican gardeners...
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Postby Joe Pecore » 06/02/12 05:51 AM

Jim Riser wrote:The concept of a self contained miniature spirit cabinet was added to by Jack Wilson in 1942 with his "Miniature Spirit Cabinet" Blue Prints and Directions.

FYI-Sefalaljia by Stewart James was published in the Jinx issue #69 (December 2, 1939) http://geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Sefalaljia
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
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