Rights to make my own (insert your favorite RS) deck

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 09/28/01 07:04 AM

This is a question that I have been wondering about for a while.

Suppose I purchased Practical Mental Magic, (which I have done) and therein lies the complete details of construction and handling for the Brainwave deck.

Since this is currently a marketed item, am I expected to purchase one instead of making one up myself?

While we are on the subject, how about other marketed tricks/decks?

I purchased an Invisible Deck.
I now know how to construct one myself.
Am I supposed to purchase a new one when the old one wears out?

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Burt

P.S. The civilized, discussion, thoughtfulness, and depth of knowledge displayed on this forum is simply amazing.
Hope I don't screw things up starting to post!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/28/01 11:34 AM

Hi urusai, and welcome to the forum!
Your question is a good one. You are free to make up the deck yourself. You may find it a pain in the ass, however, and dealing with roughing fluid and spray is a sticky business. I think most people buy another "Brainwave Deck" because it's the simplest and easiest thing to do.
You can make them for your own use, but you should not sell them. At this point, however, the "Brainwave Deck" is such an old item that many many dealers make them themselves and sell them. I don't know, even though the trick was created by Dai Vernon and Paul Fox, who actually owns the rights.
Generally, you can always make another copy of anything you buy for your own use. It's a different story if you want to make them up to sell, which can be against the law depending upon the item and who owns it.
Good luck!
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Postby Guest » 09/29/01 06:26 AM

Although the actual making-up of the deck is as Richard says 'a sticky business' DIY enables you to create either a Brainwave or Invisible deck in your own choice of cards.
As far as I know the only commercially available decks are Bicycle or Aviator so DIY can provide Tally Ho, Fournier or even Casino decks......the choice is yours to match your favourite brand! ;)
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Postby Bill Duncan » 09/29/01 04:43 PM

Originally posted by Wallace B:
...the only commercially available decks are Bicycle or Aviator so DIY can provide Tally Ho, Fournier or even Casino decks......the choice is yours to match your favourite brand!


Or better yet use some crappy deck of bridge cards with puppies on them, claim that you woke up during the night, made the prediction with the first deck you found on the kitchen table and barely recall doing it. You're not even sure this is the correct deck...
Then after the Invisible Deck routine do a pocket deck switch as you go to put the cards away and switch in a stacked normal deck of the same design. Do a couple of miracles with the stack that have the audience handle the cards...
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Postby Guest » 10/01/01 02:42 PM

Thanks for the responses!

RK:
Thank you for the welcome and for your information. I was wondering
if this reasoning would apply to other more recent ideas in gimmicked
deck work? For example, on Solari's website, the description for
his Brainwave deck describes using only a couple of RS. Is the
assumption made that once I purchase an original, I could make my
own (for my personal use)?

Wallace, Bill:
Boy oh boy, I never even considered making up a deck using anything
besides a Bicycle deck. I *ALWAYS* buy Bicycle decks when buying
cards since these are the "standard" magic cards. I neglected to
even consider using a different brand.

I have just experienced one of those "Why didn't I think of that"
moments!

I have a friend who works for a company that produces souvenir
type playing cards locally. He is going to seriously freak if I
do and Invisible deck with one of those decks! :eek:

Thanks you guys!
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Postby Ray Banks » 10/01/01 04:19 PM

As far as I know the only commercially available decks are Bicycle or Aviator


I have purchased and/or seen several 'off-brand' ID's marketed by Royal and others. I don't think they are as good as the Bicycle ID I got from a major dealer.
Pick a card....Any card....NO not THAT card..THIS one!

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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/04/01 01:39 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:

Generally, you can always make another copy of anything you buy for your own use. It's a different story if you want to make them up to sell, which can be against the law depending upon the item and who owns it.



I'm no lawyer, but a person who has tried to
educate himself on these issues. There are 4 general categories of intellectual property which the law gives protection to.
1. trademark
2. trade secrets
3. Patent
4. Copyright

1. Very little of what magicians would like to protect is covered by trademark (Abbott's might protect their rabbit logo, RK might wish to protect the Genii design). But tricks, routines, etc. aren't covered by TM or service marks or related concepts.
2. Copperfield requires road crews, etc. to sign secrecy agreements, and may protect what he does through civil suit if the other parties violate those agreements. But that is his only avenue, and the concept is basically one of contract law.

To protect your ideas under trade secrecy law, you must actively attempt to keep it a secret -- if you sell it in notes, or book, or video form, then you have disclosed them openly and they are no longer trade secrets (unless you through contract or other signed agreements attempt to control further dissemination, as did Harbin with the original Zig-Zag illusion).

3. Patent -- many tricks, devices, methods, etc. might be protected by patent, but it is not cost effective to do so for most (however, search a patent website for John Gaughan's methods of simulating levitation, and then consider Copperfield's Flying illusion). Patent law provides for penalty for violation (again, throug lawsuits in civil court). It is for a limited duration (17 - 25 years??) and may be renewable once, I think. It does not provide secrecy -- the price one pays for exclusivity and control of rights is public disclosure, so that others may build on your work.
4. Copyright is the intellectual property right which is most easily obtained -- an author obtains copyright upon expression of an idea in tangible form (writing a manuscript, recording a video, etc.). It is more easy to protect that right (sue violators) if it is registered at the copyright office (send a copy to the Feds, fill out a form, pay a registration fee). Copyrights last a long time (author's life plus many years), and may be passed to heirs.
But it only allows the owner to limit copies being made of his expressed tangible idea (long quotes or photocopies of a manuscript, copies of videos or DVDs, etc.). If you devise a presentation of a trick, copyright does not mean someone else cannot use that presentation, unless they quote substantial portions of your patter directly (and what "substantial" means is, again, a matter for civil courts). You cannot copyright plots, methods, routines, tricks, illusions, etc.

I can perform Snowstorm in China as much as I like, unless I use (verbatim) another magician's patter, or build my own version of the various gimmicks (_if_ they have been patented -- if they haven't, then I can build them). I can do likewise with the signature routines of most magicians, because they haven't taken the steps to legally protect them (patent illusions like interlude, or control via trade secret agreements). Unfortunately, most of what magicians would like to consider intellectual property isn't really "property" under the law.

The recent stink over a magician performing Max Maven's routines is a good example. The guy is a turd, and should be avoided by all who respect the craft and its important creators and innovators, but what he is doing is most likely legal.

Like I said, I'm no lawyer, and I would love for some magician who is trained in the law to pick apart what I've stated (Darwin Ortiz, where are you???) But it is a sad truth that most magic ethics are based on mutual respect and people trying to do what is _right_, rather than based in civil, criminal or contract law. For those limited cases where law might provide protection, it is unfortunately seldom cost effective to do anything about it.

Bottom line -- it is most likely legal to make your own rough and smooth deck, but if you want to be sure, get a lawyer.

Bill Mullins

[ October 04, 2001: Message edited by: bill mullins ]
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Postby Guest » 10/05/01 02:01 AM

Bill,

Thanks for a most thoughtful response on the topic!

You're statement about "Things Magic" being based on mutual respect and people trying to do what is _right_ I think describes my initial question perfectly.

I am less concerned with what is the legally permitted thing to do, and more with what is the right thing to do.

At times, it seems that the "Legal System" is a more appropriate name than the "Justice System" since justice sometimes seems to have almost nothing to do with the interpetation of laws... :confused:

Whew, people around here are so well read. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Burt
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