Contact information needed

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Eric DeCamps » 06/27/07 08:08 PM

Does anyone know who the owner of this site is or the company's mailing address?

URL REMOVED SO THE JERK DOESN'T GET ANY BUSINESS FROM PEOPLE READING THIS SITE. RK

Thanks.

Eric DeCamps
Eric DeCamps
 
Posts: 277
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Forest Hills, NY

Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/27/07 09:43 PM

Is it legal? I think many DVDs carry a "NOT FOR RENTAL" notice on the back. The website seems to be a way of not only copying the business model of Netflix, but also attempting to circumvent the no-renting restriction (if that has any legal validity in the first place).
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20604
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/27/07 09:51 PM

This caught my eye on their "FAQ" page:

"Isnt this unethical to loan out magic DVDs?
"Simply put no.
"PreviewMagicDVDs.com demands that members do not use any of the material taught on the DVDs personally or professionally."

How PREPOSTEROUS! Is this guy on crack?
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20604
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Timothy Hyde » 06/27/07 10:12 PM

Eric, The domain is registered via a private proxy service,but they give a address on the FAQ page to return discs to ...

Preview Magic DVDs
317 E. South Avenue
Glenolden, PA 19036

perhaps just a mail distribution service
The Secret Notebooks of Mr Hyde - Vol 1 & 2 - http://www.MagicCoach.com
User avatar
Timothy Hyde
 
Posts: 171
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Australasia

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 01:12 AM

Richard,

It is slimey but I dont think it is illegal. I am pretty sure that printing "not for rental" on the back of DVDs means nothing.

Jay

P.S. I am not a lawyer, I just play one on the internet!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 05:03 AM

Though outwardly incongruent to the "not for rental or lease..." notice printed on the media:

What is the specific legal claim of harm?

Do video rental establishments require a special arrangement with the publisher?

How is that distinct from a public library or the lending which occurs in magic organizations?
Guest
 

Postby Eric DeCamps » 06/28/07 06:13 AM

Richard:

I thought those statements and their justifications were ridiculous too.

It's interesting that the person(s) who owns this buisness has chosen to make his/her identity "private". If the owner(s) truley felt confident that what they were doing was correct they would not keep their name(s) hidden.

Tim:

Thank you for your efforts.

Jonathan:
How is that distinct from a public library or the lending which occurs in magic organizations?
They are charging money for this service. Remember this is a very small community and this type of action really hurts the artists who release their material on dvd. It also hurts the people who supported these artists buy purchasing the dvds through the proper channels. I suggest that you visit the site and read their disclaimers.

Eric DeCamps
Eric DeCamps
 
Posts: 277
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Forest Hills, NY

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 06:30 AM

what happen if somebody making a copy of rented DVD using DVDripper.Already so many videos are available as ripped version through internet and downloadable for free.


:mad: We should do something :mad:
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 06:37 AM

From their site:

PreviewMagicDVDs.com demands that members do not use any of the material taught on the DVDs personally or professionally. The website exists to help educate the buyer before making an uninformed purchase. If you believe a DVD is not worth the price after previewing it (as many are not) than you have avoided wasting your money on material you have no intention of using. If a DVD is well produced and contains worthwhile material that you would like to learn, perform, or use, we insist that YOU behave ethically and purchase an original copy of that DVD.

If PreviewMagicDVDs learns of anyone misusing the website to illegally copy the DVDs we will immediately terminate their membership and turn them in to the proper authorities.
Okay, so they are offering a PREVIEW SERVICE to permit educated purchasing and have stated that:

1) Those who wish to USE the material on a DVD are expected and encouraged to make a purchase

2) Those who abuse the service by copying DVDs will be cut off from the service

Sounds about ethical so far.

If we are condoning a market where "you are paying for the secret" ... yet can resell items we have a grey area in this case which may be argued as parallel (a video equivalent of) the conjuring arts research project.

Do we wish to condone an open market for magic data in the first place where a muggle can pay a fee and access anything from a basic gaffed coin tricks to the latest in collectors item offerings?

This episode may help spur us to find legal means to protect our works from unintended dissemination.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 06:57 AM

Richard if this site truely offends you, I would pull the thread! Cause you are giving them much needed PR to the very people they want to get.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 07:14 AM

what happen if somebody making a copy of rented DVD using DVDripper.Already so many videos are available as ripped version through internet and downloadable for free.


We should do something
Not so sure that most of the genii BBS readers are yet familiar with how to download internet stuff from those places. I hear stories but am still clueless. Perhaps we would be better off using the mail. Besides there is something nice about a packaged product that is just not there with an internet download ... so far.

How is the magic market for internet downloads as product finding the product packaging appeal issues?
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 11:20 AM

Here's the email I just sent to the webmaster of this site:

You are hurting the very art that you love. You are taking money out of my pocket and the pockets of numerous magicians. If we magicians have lack of funding for our investments (DVDs) then that stifles the money that we would invest in our next projects. Your company is basically preventing the growth of magic. The money that you are making rightfully belongs to us. You tell your members that they shouldn't use the material or copy the DVDs when you have no way to police that. When word gets out about who you are and those who are associated with you, like your suppliers, you've got to know that you will be shunned by the brotherhood that you are basically stealing from. Is that how you'd like to be thought of.. an unethical thief? I guess greed made you leap before you really looked at the situation.

Yours,
Diamond Jim Tyler


I would suggest that all of you who really care about the fallout from this callous business give them a piece of your mind at:

info@previewmagicdvds.com

Also, whoever is supplying them is equally culpable if they continue to sell them DVDs at wholesale prices. By cutting off their supply I would think that their business would eventually die.

Yours,
DJ
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 12:03 PM

Do we refuse to sell videos to libraries?

It seems we now know why the owner/operator did not want to put their name up on the site.

Raw nerve or not folks, this does raise some very awkward questions about our market. Here is the one that a harassment case would likely bring up and make us look very bad:

Is retail magic profitability dependent upon no-return policies for sales of merchandise which does not serve the customer?

Disgusted by the prospect of that DVD preview business but even more wary of where this could take us.

Jon
Guest
 

Postby Tom Klem » 06/28/07 01:11 PM

Eric

As I see it this individual or company is acting as a rep or agent without permission from the artist for the use of their copyrighted materials. Individual magicians they can not usually afford to fight these cases.

But in this case they are also selling the
A&E Television Network TV Show
Chris Angels Mindfreak I and 2. I believe a major company like A&E would not be happy to see this thief of copyrighted material going on. Perhaps letting the "big dog" know will close this down. A&E has lawyer on staff to police just this kind of thing.

Also great last show last Wednesday!

Tom Klem
Tom Klem
 
Posts: 116
Joined: 02/24/08 01:00 PM
Location: New York City

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 02:37 PM

Unfortunately a company like this exists because they are filling a "need" in the marketplace. Someone is renting from them. If not they wouldn't be in business.

Is it laymen who would have no interest or knowledge of what information is on these DVD's? Sure if they stumble across this site and order once but I don't imagine they'd be back for more.

I was involved with producing a videotape of a legendary magic personality a number of years back. We ran a full page ad in "Magic" magazine the month it was released. In the exact same issue an ad ran for a preview magic videotape ("Watch Before You Buy" I believe was their slogan) club. This has been going on for a long time.

Also they may not even be buying the DVD's wholesale. If they get a used copy or even pay full retail (or special membership or discount internet magic store prices) and rent it a few times they'd make their investment back and then some.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 02:55 PM

From the site
The website exists to help educate the buyer before making an uninformed purchase. If you believe a DVD is not worth the price after previewing it (as many are not) than you have avoided wasting your money on material you have no intention of using. If a DVD is well produced and conatins worthwhile material that you would like to learn, perform, or use, we insist that YOU behave ethically and purchase an original copy of that DVD.
and to emphasize what is being claimed as the market niche: If you believe a DVD is not worth the price after previewing it (as many are not) than you have avoided wasting your money on material you have no intention of using.

Now it may come down to: do we have a policy in our market that sticks the buyer with an item unless they can find another willing buyer to pass it on to? And if so, is this policy the root cause of the above cited attempt to find another way to permit informed buying decisions?

yeah I saw the typo in 'contains' but did not want to alter their copy. :rolleyes:
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 03:21 PM

On items like Bob Kohler's Black Envelope which comes with additional props...are these sent to the renter too?
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 05:02 PM

Just back from an expensive dinner where I sought legal advice on this matter.

According to what I have been told, it's not so simple to claim a harm and since magic media (data) are sold without contract NOT to lend at library or to resell or to loan ... it's an expensive proposition should some wish to seek injunction or prosecute for damages.

On the other side, to malign this business (no matter how antithetical to our current market) could be interpreted as to do it harm and may offer the owner reason to seek protection and remedy.

Any good ideas?

* as I am not a lawyer this is not legal advice, just a reflection of my limited understanding of what I have been told and cautioned about regarding the sale of magic items.
Guest
 

Postby Bob Farmer » 06/28/07 05:19 PM

Without going into the tedious legalities, there are ways of taking this site down and I've shared my knowledge with a company that will do something about it.

As to MAGIC -- what a pathetic way to make an advertising dollar -- somebody call Stan and tell him to get his head out of his ashram (by the way, if anybody wants to rent my copy of MAGIC magazine, please call).
Bob Farmer
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Short card above selection.

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 06:17 PM

Thanks Bob, glad to hear someone has insight and a plan of action.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/28/07 08:11 PM

I am writing to them, and demanding that they pull my DVD's from their site. I don't think it will help, though.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/29/07 02:56 AM

I want to begin this post by saying that I am not giving an personal opinion on this whole situation. I would like to bring up some points that I, as a consumer, feel about what is being said on this board.

First, when a person buys a domain, the cheapest way to go is to register the domain publically, this allows the whole world to do a whois lookup and see your details. This opens your private name and address to be listed. However, you can pay the domain provider to keep this information hidden, protecting an indivdual business person's privacy from easy access on the Internet. This is done, not to "hide" from people, but rather it is a way to protect the individual from such things as identity theft and unwanted corrospondence delivered to the individuals home. You can't call microsoft and get Bill Gates Cell number.

Now, let's discuss what this site "says" they want to do. They feel that there are several problems wrong with the magic market.

1. People make DVD's at home, sell them for typical prices, with sub-par quality. Some small company may buy it and get it out to the world.

2. The big publishers release DVD's with great quality, however, they are extended into multiple disk sets, much of which is seen as filler by the customer. To add to this, the current trend seems to be to release the complete DVD sets as one, increasing the typical cost of from $35 to $100 to purchase a DVD to obtain, lets say, one desired effect. This can probably be seen as a direct reaction to the copying of DVD's. Many people will spend $35 to get a DVD and make some copies, but they may be less willing to spend $100 to do the same.

So as a consumer of magic in today's world how does all of this effect me? I have had to stop buying magic for the love of the art. I purchase only what I really feel I need. I personally am tired of buying magic products that are worthless. There are few products that I will buy on name recognition alone.

How do I determine what to buy. Well, there are many reviews available in the various magic magazines. However, I personally feel that some of the reviewers are 1. not qualified to review or 2. not confident enough to make a serious attempt at reviewing a product, because they don't want to hurt someones feelings. There are only a handful of reviewers in the magazines I trust, and who have similar opinions as me. How many reviews have you read lately, of rip-off material, that say wonderful things about the effects?

I have personally turned away from traditional magic purchasing and have turned toward buying items directly from creators.

I don't want to ramble, sorry, but my point is instead of jumping up in arms over a site which is emulating a solid free market system already in place in mainstream culture. Instead, maybe the community should come together and try to cure some of the overal woes of the consumer magic market as a whole.

I personally would never use the site discussed in this thread. I don't have $20-$35 a month to waste on "reviewing" copies of magic DVD's I may want to buy. I have a local magic shop that is willing to discuss quality of magic items produced, which will help me make decisions. The internet has opened up great opportunities for individauls to come together in ways like never before, however it has also opened up a can of worms which we have not seemed to be able to overcome as a community.

I mean no disrespect to those who create quality magic and sell it to help make a living. I appreciate when creators offer thier ideas to the community. At this point there may be points I wanted to make, but can't remember, so I will finsh now.
Guest
 

Postby Mitch Dutton » 06/29/07 08:46 AM

Hey guys, this is nothing new. Special interest video rentals have been going on for quite a while. Check out:

http://smartflix.com/store/category/56/ ... c-Juggling

All these specialty video producers are in the same boat. -Mitch
Mitch Dutton
 
Posts: 114
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Calhoun, GA

Postby Guest » 06/29/07 08:53 AM

Scott,

You make some valid points but I cannot get past one thing...

When you rent a DVD and return it you keep the knowledge you've gained. You've learned someone's tried and true secrets for pennies. Whether or not the video quality is good or bad you've learned a performer's pet routines and lines and I think that the artist should be paid well for sharing those secrets. Information that is gained easily is typically dismissed just as fast. However, if one gains a secret that costs a little more than they would like to spend, then that secret is held closer to the vest and more cherished in my mind. Magic should be kept secret and held sacred and not divulged to those who are merely curious.

I don't know what can be done about all of this. These days on the Internet any type of content you can dream of is just a "right-click away". But I don't think we should let this company exploit our art. What's the old saying from Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Yours,
DJ
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/29/07 09:14 AM

Sounds pretty good DJ,

Let's explore what's involved in being self consistent and having that position

One could only offer products which are entirely new creations or come with the permissions of those whose works informed the new work and all citations to previous works in our craft.

Also, just to be consistent one would have to have manage not to sell to those who do take or buy from those who make a practice of taking.

Impressive.

When we wish to have a rule and enforce it for others which we do not self police we have evil at work right here. Evil most pernicious to our art, our craft and our respectability in public.

So to those who do live by and with such a noble ethos, congratulations on your success.
Guest
 

Postby Bob Farmer » 06/29/07 10:02 AM

The difference between these rip-off artists and, say, Netflix, is that Netflix pays a portion of every rental back to the copyright owners (i.e., the movie studios).
Bob Farmer
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Short card above selection.

Postby Guest » 06/29/07 10:22 AM

Thanks Bob, I found a link to a couple of simple legal answers to part of the question here: http://www.lawguru.com/cgi/bbs/mesg.cgi?i=339497726

In short, it appears that the copyright notice on videos explicitly states some conditions on the items use and that covers part of the issue here.

Still not sure about the rental vs loan etc side.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/29/07 10:44 AM

I think the rent/loan issue will go away once contents is offered a lot cheaper and for immediate download.

I would assume that since one can buy a song MP3 at $1 the rental market of audio CDs is not a healthy one.

Same will eventually happen with DVDs. These will soon be distributed as downloadable clips for a lot cheaper because no replication, warehouse and mailing is necessary. Magic DVDs also lend themselves to be broken up into various sections, one for each trick or technique. These can then be sold separately for a dollar or so. Customers can then pick and choose what they want.

I think this will largely eliminate the rental market. Very similar trends are happening with books and libraries.

Best,
Chris
www.lybrary.com
Guest
 

Postby Bob Farmer » 06/29/07 12:01 PM

Soon, even Chris will be digitized and downloadable.
Bob Farmer
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Short card above selection.

Postby jerry lazar » 06/29/07 12:30 PM

What is right or fair or ethical or optimal for DVD producers (copyright holders) may or may not overlap with what is legal or defensible in a courtroom... Anyone interested in these legalities should first familiarize themselves with the First Sale Doctrine in all its complexity, which is daily being shaped and re-shaped by the judiciary (in contradictory and conflicting rulings) -- which means that anyone attempting to sort this out via the legal system is engaging in an extremely pricey crapshoot... Instead of whining, complaining, gnashing teeth, wringing hands -- instead of threatening, accusing, name-calling -- how about figuring out a way for EVERYONE to come out ahead?... That's how they did it in the movie biz!... Imagine a way for magicians who produce DVDs to derive MORE income from "rentals" (or "loans" or however you want to label it), while end-users of DVDs ultimately pay LESS for each one, so that they can consume MORE... The music and publishing industries are having to completely re-think the way they do business (i.e. maximize revenue/profits), and the video/DVD market has been overhauled many times in the past decade so that it's now a cash cow -- for everyone up and down the line -- and at the same time home entertainment is far more affordable than it was decade ago... And, yes, downloads are completely changing the landscape... It's incumbent upon us to be realistically forward-thinking and work towards positive solutions that benefit everyone -- stop dwelling on what IS, and imagine what CAN BE...
jerry lazar
 
Posts: 96
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: los angeles, ca

Postby Guest » 06/30/07 02:07 AM

JD,

I agree with what you are saying. This subject really has no answer, because it seems that those in this business do not have the financial backing the music/movie business have.

Bob, thanks for the info. on the rental companies. Great insight for comparison.

I really think the magic culture has changed. I was shocked the first time I saw that people were loading movies online and sharing them throughout the web, via Napster and the like.

It is amazing when people complain that "so and so" is "holding back" material that should be published, and then turn around when material is wrongly given out. It seems like those middle people, who respect the art, and wish to learn everything they can about the history and techniques are always caught between a rock and a hard place.

Is there really an answer? How many books are illegally available in .pdf format? I fear that many people will stop releasing material to the public "magic" community. If we take a step backwards and close-off, or at least try, the knowlegde base to such things as private magazines, at great cost, we will in turn hurt the brick and mortar retailers we have grown to love.

Is it then time to start petitioning lobbyists and lawyers and congressmen to re-address copyright laws to un-blur the lines in which the world of magic falls?

Or do we become a community of people who share our magic with only those we trust, thus loosing part of the magic fraternity that has no direct access to other magi.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/30/07 07:15 AM

On Thursday I wrote to the owner of this site saying:

"Hi,

I have been alerted that two of our DVDs are on your rental list.

If you do have these DVDs in stock you will notice on the opening title it stresses that these DVDs are NOT for rental.

Please remove them from your rental selection immediately.


TIM ELLIS"

It may not surprise you to know that we've had no reply so far. I guess if I wanted to sign up and send him money he'd I'd have heard back from him in a few hours.


On all of our DVDs
* Ellis in Wonderlan
* 24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis
* Runaround Sue
* Ellis & Webster's Cunning Stunts

we specifically mention that our DVDs are not to be rented, loaned or added to libraries.

However, it's hard to fight someone when they remain as anonymous as this secretive businessman.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/30/07 07:39 AM

Tim I respect the fact that you put that information on your product. Is there a specific part of the law which backs this type of notification on material?
Guest
 

Postby Rick Ruhl » 06/30/07 08:44 AM

Reverse white pages are great, you just put in his address and he comes up.

Richard W Koch
317 E South Ave
Glenolden, PA 19036
(484) 494-3385

Any questions, give him a call. ;)

Here's a map to his house.

http://maps.google.com/maps?li=rwp&q=31 ... ,+PA+19036
Rick Ruhl
 
Posts: 570
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Tampa, FL

Postby Guest » 06/30/07 01:33 PM

Awesome detective work there, Rick. I looked at his house on Satellite. It looks like he needs the money. :(

I wonder if any of our friends on the forum know the name?

It appears that he has taken advantage of a service called RentShark, designed to allow people who were already, presumably, set up to rent large quantities of videos to make the transition to the web.

I'm definitely going to make a plea (another plea) to my local magic club to not support this guy. I'd encourage the same to others.

Also, I hope for his sake that I don't run into him at the SAM convention. Not that I'd do anything to him. I'd just point him out to Bob White. :)

-Mike Squires
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 06/30/07 02:39 PM

There is a big color ad in Magic Magazine for PreviewMagicDVDs.com, see page 57.
Guest
 

Postby John LeBlanc » 06/30/07 02:54 PM

I wouldn't count on that being the actual name and address. Jim Sisti called me about this during the week and I did some checking into it. This is simply one of several web sites this guy runs out of Quebec doing, essentially, the same thing.

Late last year he even filed an international patent based on this "business" process which, to my rather simplistic view of things, works quite a bit like an illegitimate version of Netflix.

John
John LeBlanc
 
Posts: 866
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Houston, TX

Postby Rick Ruhl » 06/30/07 07:43 PM

But that is where the DVD's have to be returned... hmmmmm I wouldnt think he'd have a fake address for returning the DVD's
Rick Ruhl
 
Posts: 570
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Tampa, FL

Postby Guest » 07/02/07 08:07 AM

Mr. LeBlanc, are you saying you believe that RentShark is running PreviewMagicblah-blah-blah, or do you think there's another concern, powered by RentShark, that is running several similar renting type sites?

Again, as a producer of a few of the DVD's on that site, I encourage each of you to help curb the memberships to the site while legal channels are pursued, by making the issue known to your local club members.

After talking to an attorney friend of mine (not officially retained), this person is required to pay what amounts to renting royalties to the copyright owners of the material being rented. I know that this has not been the case for the four DVD's I'm involved with.

Mike Squires
Guest
 

Postby John LeBlanc » 07/02/07 09:48 AM

What I believe is this web site is using software created for exactly this purpose. I know how to contact the guy who offers the software and hosts it in Canada. There are quite a number of sites using it right now.

Two people who are in a better position to know who is actually behind this site are the Rentshark people and Stan Allen.

At the end of the day, I predict three things will occur:

1. The owner of the site will claim he has the legal right to rent the DVDs since he will claim he purchased them and U.S. Copyright laws allow rental.

2. To the extent people (like me) believe this is A Bad Thing for magic and feel strongly enough about it, we will not support businesses that engage in rentals and we will encourage our friends to behave likewise.

3. There is about to be a big change in the way magic DVDs are marketed. The word "licensing" will be a big part of that. This moves the argument away from copyright law and into contract law.

John
John LeBlanc
 
Posts: 866
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Houston, TX

Next

Return to Buzz