Stevens Magic Emporium

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Postby Pete Biro » 07/22/02 11:22 PM

Geno... Joe has been driving from Colorado back to Wichita. Let us know when he responds and what he says. OK?

I am not after anything but a true record and history of the effect. I really believe Jay and Billy, when they say Flip devised the topsy turvy concept.

I know you paid Peter handsomely and as I said, "I commend you."

However, if the routine was NOT Peter's, then he didn't really have the selling rights. However, knowing his condition at the time, your payment was a kind and wonderful gesture.

Later, pb :cool:
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Postby Geno Munari » 07/23/02 02:42 AM

Stevens' defense is inconsistent to the facts.
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Postby Terry » 07/23/02 05:01 AM

To settle this, would it be possible to contact Flip and determine if he indeed did create the chair effect? If he did, then Geno only paid for Peter's routine and not the actual physical chair effect. If the trick belongs to Flip, only HE has the right to determine who can and can't sell it.

It appears from Pete's research and posts that Geno overpaid for a concept and Geno has resorted to a defensive mode to cover for it.

Let's go to the root of the trick to determine final ownership and end this arguing.
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Postby Guest » 07/23/02 05:23 AM

Just talked to Flip on the phone. Flip used to do a routine with a set of 3 chairs. This was basically a multiplication routine. Flip has NEVER performed or published a topsy turvy routine.

In the late 70's Flip visited with Peter, who had a set of chairs. Peter had not made any routine yet. Flip suggested to him the idea of using the chairs for a topsy turvy routine. From that suggestion Peter created his routine with the chairs, with all the lines, little bits of business etc.

So I think one can safely say that the topsy turvy routine belonged to Peter Pit, having been created by him after a suggestion from Flip.

I know Peter sold performing rights to Geno Munari. All other rights went to the sole heir of Peter, his sister Annie. Anyone wanting to sell Peter's routine should contact his sister and strike a deal with her.

Contrary to what one might expect, the topsy turvy chairs is NOT an old idea.
I find it a bit surprising that this whole deal is coming up again, since a few years ago, all these details were sorted out already quite extensively.

Since Harold Voit is aware of the importance of checking proprietary rights before putting something on the market, I assume he has acquired the right to sell Peter's routine from Peter's sister.

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Postby Pete Biro » 07/23/02 12:37 PM

Tommy: Thanks for getting in touch with Flip and adding important information regarding this situation.

Is there a contact for Harold Voit? Or could you possibly reach Peter's sister?

Kindest regards, etc., pb
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Postby TomTrix » 07/23/02 01:37 PM

Hello Pete !

Contact info on Harold Voit. Visit the website for zauberzentrale Mnich at www.zzm.de

Regards
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/23/02 10:02 PM

Tom... Nichts Ferstain (sp)... can't read German.

HOWEVER... a Google Search found four more dealers selling the "Upside Down" (Martinka Chairs).

Tilford $1200
Quality Magic $750
Tricks 4-U 1600 Euros
Mephisto Huis 1200 Euros

All feature the "topsy turvy" routine.

:confused:
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Postby Dick Koornwinder » 07/24/02 08:15 AM

I also checked the website of Zauberzentrale Mnchen and was a little bit surprised, that's an understatement, by what Mr. Voit is telling us about the Martinka chairs:
More than once versions of this effect appeared in front of us, either
imported from the USA or fiddled together in Germany, and always it gave
dissatisfaction. Either the construction was amateurish and therefore gave
away the secret, or it was a version stolen from Peter Pit who became world
famous with it. Peter was more than happy with this ZZM-version, (which is
licensed in the USA), because such a well made and easy going construction
he had not envisioned in his wildest dreams.
The above is a translation. Here you can find the original text:
http://shop.zauberzentrale.de/cgi-bin/Z ... iew/B30131

A couple of months before he died I have met Peter Pit in the Netherlands. He visited his family and also attended a one-day convention. I had the pleasure to have dinner with Tommy Wonder and Peter and believe me as three Dutch guys are sitting together there is a lot of gossip (and rumors). We discussed the long thread about the Martinka chairs on another forum and were happy it was looking if everything was settled now. If Peter had seen the ZZM-version of the chairs he would have shared that experience with us. So that's the reason I'm flabbergasted about what Mr. Voit is stating. I cannot find the timeslot in which Peter has had a chance to see the ZZM-version. At that time Peter didn't know how ill he really was and was full of plans and we were looking forward to meet again at the WMS in Vegas a few months later.
Further I'm wondering why Mr. Voit waited so long before he was actually selling the chairs. According his text the chairs were well made and working smoothly when Peter saw them. For sure not a prototype!
Further I don't know what the fact four more dealers are selling the chairs with Pit's routine is proofing.

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Postby Geno Munari » 07/24/02 02:23 PM

I just received a very sincere letter from Joe Stevens and I would like to post it as requested by Pete Biro.
Geno... Joe has been driving from Colorado back to Wichita. Let us know when he responds and what he says. OK?

Pete Biro

If Joe would give permission I will do so. It is commendable and would be of interest to the Genii Forum.
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Postby Hanno » 07/24/02 09:18 PM

Just a note to the comment of dick koornwinder.
Your translation from the harold voit Zauberzentrale Munich is wrong and leeds to a big misunerstanding:
You wrote: Peter was more than happy with this ZZM-version
But in a correct translation on the website of Mr. harold voit:
Peter would be more then happy...........
Thats a big difference!
I also whant to say that mr. harold voit is one of the most respectable and serious dealers here in Europe, who cares a lot about copyrights.
Maby you should contact him directly!

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Postby Guest » 07/25/02 05:54 AM

Hanno Rhombergs comment does make a big difference. "Would be more than happy" or "was more than happy" changes the picture a lot. I also thought it meant "was more than happy".

Anyway, this now suggests that Peter did NOT see the chairs from ZZM. (which seemed impossible to me as well). This makes the issue more simple. Thanks Hanno for the clear up.

The text on the web site, and correct me if that is wrong, does suggest that the version being sold is with permission. After all, it is mentioned that many version were no good and gave dissatisfaction, either through bad construction or that they were stolen versions. This implicates this version is not stolen, doesn't it?

This means that Mr.Voit must have acquired the right to sell Peter's routine from Peter's sister.

Peter's sister will be the perfect person to end this controversy. When the vacation period is over we'll know.

But I have little doubt, because I too know EXACTLY how much Mr.Voit cares about propriatary rights.

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Postby Geno Munari » 07/25/02 07:23 AM

This is getting interesting.....

This means that if the chairs had been sold by Peter's sister to Voit then he would have known that I was initially bought the rights from Peter.

When Peter and I made the deal he explicitly agreed not to sell to anyone else and that he and I were the only people to do the routines. This was are agreement otherwise I would not have paid him the amount that I did. There was never any talk except exclusivity.

Also, I made a seperate arrangment with Annie, Peter's sister, to fund Peter's Foundation which will be done as soon as she provides the necessary U.S. documentation that is suitable to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Postby Guest » 07/25/02 12:21 PM

This is indeed getting very interesting!

Just had contact with Guido Klaassen, the nephew of Peter Pit. He is also a magician, and told me he handles the legal rights of Peter's routine by appointment of the sister of Peter. (because she has little or no knowledge of magic).

He told me that so far NO ONE has contacted him to inquire, let alone acquire the right to sell Peter's routine with the Martinka chairs. He told me he has made no deal with any manufacturer or dealer concerning this.

So........it is all pretty obvious whats going on here.
Yuk.

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Postby Pete Biro » 07/25/02 12:33 PM

Actually, there is no reason a dealer cannot sell chairs (for the original effect) but it is Peter's routine and patter that are not up for grabs.

Should one get the chairs and develop a routine of their own, that, I would assume, would be OK.
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Postby Geno Munari » 07/25/02 12:55 PM

To answer Terry Terrell who askes..
If there really has been a breach of ethics on Steven's part, why complain to us on Genii and at alt.magic? Why don't you pursue it through the MDA or the courts?
Effectively there is no recourse in either of these ways you have suggested, however the court of public information has brought out the truth in the entire matter. As you can read in the posts, the people and issues close to the arrangement have been forthright.

Voit's arrangements are still areas of concerns.
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Postby Guest » 07/25/02 01:10 PM

Sure Pete, anyone can sell a nest of chairs. No one has problems with that. It is Peter's routine which is not public domain.

From what Guido tells me, no one has acquired the rights to Peter's routine, except Geno ( who bought it from Peter himself).

In a way that means the case is closed. It is all pretty obvious.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/25/02 01:36 PM

Geno,
I guess it's time you contact Harold Voit and see what he has to say. I would also suggest that you print out the messages from Tommy, since he has spoken with Peter's nephew, and forward those to Joe.
I think the forum is a remarkable thing ... thank you to all who are contributing to the discussion.
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/25/02 09:21 PM

Chief Richard... yes a forum is a good thing. Through this thread we have discovered much, thanks to the tenacious work by a few members.

The important point is that magic is a global activity and this proves it with messages going back and forth with no regard to boundaries.

I would love to be able to afford a set of the chairs and try to come up with my own routine. I think the prop is awesome.

FYI, Stevens is going to drop he Peter Pit routine supplied with the props and has obtained the rights from Gary Darwin, who has a completely different routine with them.
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Postby Geno Munari » 07/25/02 11:00 PM

You mean Gary Meador. He goes by Darwin. Which is another story.

As a matter of fact it is probably the Passe-Passe routine that I performed when I realized that the Chair Routine was Peter Pit's. This was in about 1991. You and Joe saw me perform this at the San Remo. Remember?

However beware, he sells photo copies of the Harbin Book with his special hand drawn cover for $20.00. No Joke. Ask him if you don't believe me. He thinks nothing of it. Great moral fiber!

He does not have a computer to get on this board, but his very dear friend Dondrake does.
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Postby Terry » 07/26/02 08:00 AM

Maybe Geno can explain why....

The best selling effect at Houdini's Magic Shop is the U.F.O./Whirling Card. For your money, you receive a slapped together set of instructions (with a very nice cover) and some IT which you must prepare, hence "getting screwed" by paying a lot for a little. The effect is "loosely" based on the Hummer Card (although finding the difference is the real trick), hence the "Hummer" reference.
This was posted by Dan Harlan on alt.magic. If it is true, why is it okay for some people to lift material and not okay for others? :eek:
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/26/02 09:43 AM

I'm out of here.... argh... dog eat dog is the magic dealer biz.... :D
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Postby Geno Munari » 07/26/02 10:41 AM

Well Terry I am glad you asked......

It is recognized by Billy McComb, Joe Stevens Obie Obrien, Rich Bloch and others that the Hummer Card was the basis of our effect. It was sold by Hummer more than 50 years ago, however it was not performed with the same materials that we use nor even close to the handling. Hummer spun the card around his body and did not bring back around again ad infinitum. He did not borrow a person's credit card, or driver's license etc. Cause it to float from hand to hand and then immediately return it to the person.

What we did with the effect says Billy McComb, "..have brought it to an entirely different effect..."

Hummer did not originate the idea of an object floating around the body. It was an old vaudeville gag wherein someone might throw out their hat to the audience and then have it return to them. Just like Lance Burton does.

In the last 50 years no one marketed or performed the effect like ours. Simply no one.

Yes we indeed credit Bob Hummer for the original concept however if his version was so popular, why wasn't it successful? Simple answer. It is not the same effect.

Others have copied our version and not even changed the name, for instance. UFO-YO by Jim Pace, on the Lite Flight Video by Perry Maynard he teaches Fearson's hook up (Fearson is not to happy about this) and then at the end of the video he teaches our version of the U.F.O. (Ultimate Floating Object). He also has three soundtracks on the video that are from the top music charts, i.e., Seal, Phil Collins and R. Kelly. Not one cent is paid to BMI and ASCAP or to the performers.

This last issue has been a bone of contention with myself and Joe Stevens. He has been aware of the situation and knows that he is violating every rule in the book. Yet Joe permitted him to sell at his conventions for years.

This last year we had an informal hearing about the U.F.O. and Jim Pace at the Desert Magic Seminar. All agreed with my defense and Billy McComb was the Judge, along with Rich Bloch.

To summarize:

1. The Hummer Card and the UFO are entirely different characters as to then and now.

"Hence" One more thought.....We are going to have a U.F.O. Competition...and give away $1,000.00 to the best performer with the effect.

Details to follow....
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Postby Geno Munari » 07/26/02 10:45 AM

By the way Pete...did Johnny Paul give you permission to put out his Cups and Balls?

He gave me a nice set of his and they are different than any that you have. Ask Jim Riser about them.
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/26/02 11:13 AM

Joe is the ONLY one selling the cups... and he has permission via the video to sell the routine. The cups are NOT actual copies of Johnny's cups as I didn't have a set.

What these are are a cross between the old Ireland and P&L style (older than God) that we made so they would pick up the sponge ball.

Again, Joe had paid for the routine when Johnny was taped. We just made a cup that would work.

By the way... I don't think I ever saw anyone equal to Johnny and Grippo when it came to doing real magic.

All these guys with the thumb tips to switch bills should have been lucky enough to sit across the bar from Johnny when he did his bill work.

I still don't know how he did most of it and I saw him a number of times.

Likewise Grippo.

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Postby Pete Biro » 07/26/02 04:57 PM

Just in contact with Joe Stevens and he told me Johnny Paul told him "You should have someone make the cups, as long as they are made to work right, go ahead."

END OF SUBJECT :cool:
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/26/02 06:02 PM

Wait a minute - the subject is not quite closed yet, Pete :)

Geno mentioned above that the "Johnny Paul Cups" that you are supplying to Joe Stevens are not like the actual set that Johnny Paul gave to him (Geno). Having seen and handled both sets of cups - your version and the original Johnny Paul Cups - I can affirm what Geno stated. The original Johnny Paul Cups and your version are quite different. The set that you supply is more like the traditional P&L style (rights owned by Bob Keyser) with an extended taper. The original Johnny Paul Cups in Geno's possession have a different profile. The transition between the taper and 1st bead closely resembles older Martinka Style Cups (which were not spun). The original cups nest differently than the Pete Biro version of the cups.

This info is presented in the interest of correct history and in no way criticizes either set of cups - merely affirms that they are different. Both sets are nice and will do the job with sponge balls quite well. Apparently, no one owns "the rights" to the Johnny Paul Cups.

Perhaps, one of these days, Geno and I will produce exact duplicates of the real Johnny Paul Cups :eek:

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Postby Guest » 07/27/02 06:03 AM

O.k. I know I'm stepping into a pile here but... when I worked for Kirkham we had two sets of the nesting/multiplying chairs FROM THE DANTE SHOW... as a joke (just to tease Peter) I brought one set to a Castle Swap Meet and he nearly had a heart attack. He knew I wouldn't sell them but, I also know that he was very protective about them.

AS I recall, Peter allowed John Gaughan to replicate the chairs he'd been using for years, so he knew things were safe, during a trip to Europe.

As to the "rights" of the chairs and the NUMEROUS routines that can be done with them... O.k. Peter could sell the rights to his personal "Pit Sit" routine, but I don't honestly see how he could control anything outside that particular contribution... as I understand it, others did a topsy turvey styled act with the chairs (though not as good) back in the 40s and 50s... I may be wrong, but I do believe that's the case. Peter simply expanded upon the idea (I believe it was with Fred Kapps help??? Don't remember all the details)

Sorry, my memory isn't what it used to be and I'm trying to recall talks with Peter that happened 20 years ago... As a side note... I do believe Phil Temple & Co. ended up with the Dante chairs formerly in the Kirkham collection.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/27/02 07:37 AM

Craig, "stepping into a pile ..." of what?
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Postby Guest » 07/28/02 01:12 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Craig, "stepping into a pile ..." of what?
Oh... I dare not say, given how "sensitive" things can be with folks... ;) (and here lately the most innocent of my posts have been sparking off some serious flames :confused: )
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/28/02 01:23 PM

Originally posted by Craig Browning:
Peter simply expanded upon the idea (I believe it was with Fred Kapps help??? Don't remember all the details)
You missed Tommy Wonder's posting above?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 07/28/02 04:03 PM

Originally posted by Jim Riser:
traditional P&L style (rights owned by Bob Keyser) with an extended taper.
To what extent can the rights to any style of cups be "owned", when none of the designers/ inventors take the trouble to patent or trademark their efforts?

If the proprietary features of a given cup are functional, they may be patented. Otherwise, trademark and/or copyright law may offer some protection. Has any magician ever taken advantage of existing law to obtain legal protection for his cup design?

Jeff Busby tried to make a case that the design of Paul Fox-style cups was his, but apparently all he owns the rights to is the Paul Fox name, applied to cups (and maybe not even that . . .).

I guess it's a bit of a peeve of mine that sometimes magicians will claim "rights", expecting others to honor them, but won't take the available legal steps to establish their ownership of said "rights", when existing law provides an avenue to do so. The fact that it is expensive to file and obtain a patent should only be of peripheral relevance -- if magicians won't patent their inventions, copyright their routines, trademark the parts of their "look and feel" that could be so trademarked, it seems unrealistic that the rest of the magic community should be obligated to respect their claims.

Intellectual property is a two-way street -- society at large grants privileges (the ability to own, sell or otherwise control ideas or expressions of ideas) to creators in return for the creators having established and explained the idea through codified procedures (filing copyright, filing patents, etc.).
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Postby Scott » 07/28/02 05:01 PM

Thank you Bill. That's the post I was waiting to see. It sums up what I kept thinking while reading this very interesting thread. I can't believe that someone is so into the "I created it" mentality. Truth be known, no one knows who created which sets of cups 1st, since it's been around for 1000's of years. I think it's pretty short sighted to think that 1000's and 1000's of variations of the cups have been made by craftsmen around the world for 2000 years and somehow, someone thinks they "invented" some cup design. Truth be known, no one knows. You could very well be copying some set someone made in India 500 years ago, and depriving generations of poor people the cash for the cups their ancestors designed.

A bit over the top, but you get my point.

This is meant for the cups statement. I'm not talking about the chairs. Clearly someone knows the timeline on that one.

Patent it or lose all rights to claim it as your own is the only way to go.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/28/02 07:08 PM

You guys obviously have no idea what a "patent" is and what it protects. In order to obtain a patent (a very expensive and lengthy process) you must not only create something that does something no other item has done before, but you must also prove that no one else has done it before. In the process, assuming your patent is granted, you must explain in detail the way in which your mechanism operates. Patent papers are public documents, and anyone can read them.
People don't patent things so their secrets remain "secret."
There is no way to patent or copyright the design of a particular style of cup for the cups and balls. Even if it were possible on an intellectual basis, patents costs tens of thousands of dollars to research.
Last I heard, Paul Fox's family was looking into legal ways to keep Jeff Busby from ILLEGALLY using the Paul Fox name, something which, rumor goes, he never properly paid for.
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Postby Guest » 07/28/02 09:57 PM

The reason for the "I created" mentality in cups seemed strange to me until last week.
I was given several chop cups and regular cups to look at. There IS a difference. Both in cosmetics and feel. Some have 3 ribs, some have no ribs, some have a more tapered bottom, some more rounded. It was really amazing but I never had the oportunity to compair so many at once.
My point is all cups are not created equal and for someone to say "Paul Fox cups" or whatever w/o proper authorization is not only screwing the person who has the right & the person whos name they use but also the end customer that want's a particular set of cups for a particular reason.
Just my opinion....... :p
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/28/02 11:40 PM

Bill and Scott;
FYI - Bob Keyser does own the legal trademarks for P&L items. Therefore, he owns the rights to the P&L Cups. I do agree that the "rights" situation in magic is ridiculous. One particular dealer claims the rights to whatever is currently being discussed - what a joke. Busby isn't worth talking about. He would lose in any court. People who do the development and creative thinking in magic or any field deserve proper credit and financial reward. This idea is very difficult for people who can not or do not create to comprehend. It goes far beyond an ego thing. There is the financial aspect involved in creating anything. There is the sacrifice of time in the development process. Most people would not be willing to make the time nor financial committment it takes to create quality and original magic apparatus. As an example, I can tell you that it cost me over $10,000 to make my first spun cup. This cost must be included in prices of apparatus, as well as, the income not earned on the cash invested. This is a big reason why creators are concerned about "the rights" to their creations. They have invested their lives and fortunes in the creation of magic. The non-creators certainly want to be paid for their time. Rights are a real concern for many of us who care. If the creators of magic are not rewarded for their efforts, they will go elsewhere with their creative minds.
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Postby Scott » 07/29/02 03:33 AM

Richard, I do know what a patent is and you proved my point exactly. It's expensive and can't be done for the cups because no one's "creating" anything that is patentable (is that a word?). Sure, people are creating variations, and I appreciate that, but again, prove me me that YOUR variation wasn't created in the middle east 500 years ago. Oh, that's right, it can't be proved, therefore it must be o.k. to say "IT'S MINE"!

Hats off to those who create because some of the cups are sweet, but I think it gets out of control as far as who can do what. It's a piece of metal, and there is nothing that prevents me from looking at your cup on a web site and then creating my own, from memory. You might not like that I could do that (physically, I can't, so it doesn't matter), but it's nothing you can do legally to stop me(or anyone else).
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Postby Hanno » 07/29/02 11:28 AM

lets move from magic to the real world. I am working for an international pharmaceutical company. I could tell you a lot about copyright, patents etc. Richard Kaufmann was absolute right, that it will be impossible to get a patent on magic tricks, which will be out of discussion. Its also not possible - with acceptable costs - to protect anything from copy. Thats why we are discussion and complaining here. When we come to performance and pattern it is even more complecatet.
So its an ethical question.
Wo what are our weapons in this situation?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 07/30/02 08:50 AM

First of all, it is entirely possible to patent magic tricks. See, for example, U.S. Patent #'s:

5,354,238 -- a method of simulating levitation invented by John Gaughan (review this the next time you see David Copperfield soaring)

6,174,241 -- Mark Setteducati's Magic Book

5,409,420 and 5,445,565 -- two more inventions by Mark Setteducati

5,605,508 -- a guillotine by Alan Wakeling

4,565,364; 5,551,921; 5,549,515 -- assorted Tenyo patents

5,886,956 -- Lubor Fiedler's Phantom Clock from Tenyo

These were found with only a few minutes searching on the US Patent Office Database -- there must be more.

The argument that "Patents are expensive" is true. So what? If you aren't willing to take available steps to assert your rights to your creativity, then don't complain if someone else uses your work. If you invent something and put it into the marketplace (even the small magic community) without patenting it, you are placing it into public domain, and you lose your rights. That is settled law. It seems unethical to me for a magician to call those who use public domain materials a "thief".

Yes, you must disclose the method to get a patent. Again, so what?? This is just like hiding an effect by publishing it in a book. How many lay people at Copperfield's show think, "I bet I can find the method to flying by going to the Patent Office's database"?? zip, zero, none

Geno Munari claims the rights to Page's routine. Fine, I'll grant that magic works better and is advanced as an art form if we as a group respect signature acts. But what is a routine? how much patter must I change before I've made it mine? What if I drop one of three phases, and insert a new one of my own invention? Is the routine 2/3rds Page's then? Because routines cannot be objectively quantified, arguments about their ownership will always be just that -- arguments. The good magicians will either creat their own routines, or take existing work and personalize it until it is their own. Jamy Ian Swiss said it best in a Genii book review a couple years back -- the best reason not to steal a routine is not that it is ethically bad, but that it is theatrically bad.

From Jim Riser: "Bob Keyser does own the legal trademarks for P&L items. Therefore, he owns the rights to the P&L Cups." What Keyser most likely owns is the right to use the P&L name and hallmark in association with cups (or other magic items). Your own web page shows that the basic design and salient features of the P&L cup predate Petrie and Lewis by some time -- their cups, while optimized and refined, aren't new.

Likewise, the most Busby can claim on PF cups is the right to use the Paul Fox name and logo, not their basic design.

Another point -- in, most of the spats I see about who is stealing what, the one making the accusations is asserting his right to _someone else's_ creativity. Not always, but often. This seems odd as well.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/30/02 10:01 AM

No one said you can't patent a magic trick, but it has to physically do something in a way that no one has ever done before, and it is extremely expensive and time consuming. Patent searches take years and cost a lot: where's the motivation? You can't make that much money on most magic tricks.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 07/30/02 11:18 AM

With all the talk on patents, isn't it true that after 25 years a patent has run out and can be used by anyone?
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