Piracy

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Guest » 08/09/04 09:25 AM

I am told that Penguin magic in the USA are selling a pirated version of Colin Gilbert's Linking Lifesavers. Colin has written to Penguin but had no satisfaction though I am told that they want to offer him some money. He is not really interested in a cash payoff and just wants the company to stop manufacturing and or selling this item. This is damaging my business as well as I export these items to the USA.
Any ideas from any of my magical friends as to how to proceed on this one.

Martin Breese, Brighton, England.
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Postby Guest » 08/09/04 11:38 AM

This is the kind of actions that justify my decision not to do business with Penguin. You are not the first person to have this occur. I hope you all can get it straightened out.
Steve V
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/09/04 12:07 PM

It's a pitty Magicsmith no longer exists... as a shop...
They sold the business to Penguin.... and since then i receive emails almost every day....

:(
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Postby David Mitchell » 08/10/04 04:49 AM

Penguin is starting to get a history regarding that.

They were selling something of Lee Asher's (without permission) and wouldn't do a thing about it until realizing that Lee has a lot more pull than they thought. (Don't know the details, so don't ask, all I know is they stopped).

There's a few other things that I know about, but am not choosing to say at this moment.

I never have, and never will buy from an online shop (with one exception).

David.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/04 04:03 AM

Thanks for your replies. So I see that I am not the first to complain. Although I have my own online magic shop I must say that there are also only just a few with whom I will do business. I hope that David includes my online business in the list of "one" that he will do business with. I have never cheated anyone and any complaints justified and frequently unjustified are settled without complaint. Try me out David and perhaps you will be able to extend your list to two! An online business runs the same way as a magic shop - in my opinion - as far as customer relations goes: if you don't look after your customers you end up going out of business. I have been muddling along for 30 years and I wonder how long Penguin have been around.
Is there someone there who knows the people at Penguin personally? If there is please drop them an email and warn them that when I go on the warpath (which is very infrequently) ... I go on the warpath. I could take any interesting trick that I like, rewrite the instructions and I wouldn't be breaking any laws but it is not my way of doing things. There are no challenges and it is wrong.
Usually pirates who rip me off don't have anything of their own for me to rip off in retaliation in any case. Still would appreciate more feedback from my magic friends out there. The more of a buzz about a rip-off merchant the more damage it causes them.

All the best, Martin
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Postby Terry_Holley » 08/11/04 09:50 PM

Interesting that as of this writing the Penguin website states the following:

"Manufacturer Says Magic Mints is an authorized version of Colin Gilbert's "Linking Lifesavers" which we also carry and recommend highly."

Terry
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Postby David Mitchell » 08/12/04 05:02 AM

They can say anything they want.

Authorized by whom?

Penguin has done and is DOING a lot of stuff that people in the magic community would have crucified other businesses for. Why aren't people speaking up about this sort of thing? Why aren't magicians trying to do something about it?

David.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/12/04 06:53 AM

Whose trick is the Linking Lifesavers?

I also recall a Jardin Ellis lifesaver from some time ago.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Guest » 08/12/04 04:28 PM

This may be a pipe dream but it could work. I was looking for some old books and ran into a website that was a collective shop for several small book stores.

What if magic would have one. One shop, amazing variety of stock, all the exclusive stuff etc. etc. The thing would be that based on the zip code, item, and country the computer would determine which shop would sell the item and ship it. And, of course, if that shop does not have the item it would be sold from another shop.

The benefits: marketing power, stock power, and ease of shipping and volume of shipping to gain benefits. The information circulated would produce real cost savings. And for the customers it would provide superior service and we would know that our money would go for those who really care about magic. Naturally, only proper shops would be included to that syndicate.

Yes yes, I know, impossible, a pipe dream.
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/12/04 11:54 PM

Pekka,

interesting, but the main problem is that there will always be someone who wants to make money the "fast" way...

that is : against the rules... and/or without ethics..

then, what about a zipcode where you have 2 or more magicshops?


but, yes, why not dream ... :)

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Postby Guest » 08/13/04 05:00 PM

What if magic would have one. One shop, amazing variety of stock, all the exclusive stuff etc. etc.
We have that!
H & R
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/13/04 05:11 PM

The idea of marketing something through ONE retail portal is attractive.

And because I've met the 'H' in H&R I find that option tempting.

In this age of the internet, and good shipping worldwide... it makes sense to make stuff available only via one or a couple of places.

If you want wizardry for the wealthy, where you get both products and service, might be worth asking those folks to handle the retail for you. Perhaps the next Hofzinser can find a way to make materials available to the magic community without having to compromise on quality of props or instruction or customer service.

Just a thought.
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Postby Guest » 08/13/04 05:55 PM

Cellini once made an insightful comment to me

"There should only be four magic shops...
One on each corner of the earth...
All run by grand-masters"


Makes sense to me.

Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening.

:help:
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/13/04 06:20 PM

Great Idea... I have my list of four, but I will not post as the other 9,303 will get ticked at me.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 02:12 AM

"Manufacturer Says Magic Mints is an authorized version of Colin Gilbert's "Linking Lifesavers" which we also carry and recommend highly."

Isn't it amazing not only do these people want to stock a complete rip of Lifesavers but they also want to have the original as well .... just so they don't lose a few sales. I have never heard of anyone having a rip-off item in stock together with the original! And for the record Magic Mints is not an authorized version of Colin Gilbert's effect. It is just a rip-off.

And now here is a challenge to the people at Penguin: Come on this forum and justify your reasons for pirating Colin Gilbert's effect.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 06:11 AM

Great news though, if you order 50 bucks worth of knock-offs, you get a free set of Slydini silks along with a routine for doing it!

I honestly can't imagine such a beautiful routine being used as a free give away. It's disgraceful what they are doing to magic, and perhaps the I.B.M. will stop taking their money for advertising in the Linking Ring.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 09:22 AM

I appear to have become the latest victim of 'Penguin Piracy'. There are more, many more. The reason I am posting this is not for a sympathy vote or to vent my spleen telling you all what I think of Penguin Magic, you will have guessed that already. What this is more aimed at is finding a way to stop this sort of thing from re-occuring. I invented the linking lifesaver in 1994. It took me three years to perfect eveything into a routine, which I then made full use of for the next year. It was a great sucess which then promted me with the idea of marketing it. My reasons for this were, yes 99% financial, but also it puts 'new' magic on the shelves of dealers. That is how it works. If others before me hadn't sold their ideas, Or put them into print etc. I wouldn't have had anything to perform myself, so that's how it began. I haven't got rich by it but I do get a 'buzz' when I see or hear of someone else performing it.
Things were going O.K. until the thieves at Pengin decided to steal it. So where now... do I continue to release more effects only to let Penguin steal them? will any magician/magical inventor want to release his or her latest 'baby'? I think not. The magic market is going stale, with fewer and fewer 'New' releases each time you go to a convention. What is needed, is, some sort of governing body where you could send your magical idea's/inventions (with a fee) for them to be registered etc. Though not a 'proper' patent, it would give the inventor sole marketing rights etc. for x amount of years, during which time if anyone is found illegally making/selling it, they would have all advertising stopped and barred from all conventions. No exceptions. After this time period (I'm guessing about 10 years) the item would then become 'public property'. So it would be up to the inventor to 'cash in' within the time limit or decide not to sell it and keep it to themselves. Simple. So you could release your latest effect with a lot less fear of being ripped-off. I'm sure more new magic would appear on the market. Just an idea. No idea how it would all come together, but it sounds like a step in the right direction if we want this art to survive. Colin Gilbert.
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Postby Spurlock » 08/14/04 10:36 AM

I just came across another knock off of The Life Saver Trick... Its called The Clever candy Trick. The tube is printed LifeSavors.
The quality is not that great, but the price of $15.00 is. I don't know who made it for there is no name on it. I picked this up at a magic Flea Market.

Has anyone else seen this? :whack:
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Postby David Mitchell » 08/14/04 12:33 PM

As of 3:33 PM my time, I posted a link of this thread on Penguin's forums.

I wonder how long it takes for it to get deleted.

David.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 12:34 PM

Hi everyone,

Here in The Netherlands, magicians and dealers who are "dirty" can not advertise anymore in magic catalogue and not permitted to come to any magic conference.
The same we do with magicians who steal from dealers etc.
This people have no chances and stop doing there "things"
I think all the other magic cataloque's in the world must do the same. I know it "costs" advertising money but if shops like pinquin can not advertise in the books and not sell there stuff on conferences,....It take time but he can close his shop!
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 12:43 PM

Originally posted by Steve Shepherd:
Great news though, if you order 50 bucks worth of knock-offs, you get a free set of Slydini silks along with a routine for doing it!

I honestly can't imagine such a beautiful routine being used as a free give away. It's disgraceful what they are doing to magic, and perhaps the I.B.M. will stop taking their money for advertising in the Linking Ring.
I certainly hope so. I was shocked to see them advertising in it in the first place.
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/14/04 01:38 PM

RSmagic wrote:

Here in The Netherlands, magicians and dealers who are "dirty" can not advertise anymore in magic catalogue and not permitted to come to any magic conference.
How about maintaining a 'Black list' ? ...
problem...neutral people should maintain that list...who will decide ? where do we start?
Jacky
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 02:10 PM

How about maintaining a 'Black list' ? ...
problem...neutral people should maintain that list...who will decide ? where do we start?
There is an oath that IBM members take. I think it would be fair that if shop owner did not follow/beleive in the oath, IBM Linking Ring officials should not be allowing them to advertize in our magazine.

We can start by contacting the editor.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 06:54 PM

I think every country do have a covering organisation for magicians.
Under there membership you can go to conventions etc.
I think it is there responsibility to keep an eye on the basic rule's like doing the magic no harm.

If the covering organisation do nothing, then the "bigest guy with the biggest mouth" alway's win and that is not an option.
So they can interfere with magicshops, advertising in magic magazine's etc.

With interfering in magazine's I mean that the organisation give's a negative advice to the editor for selling advertise room in the magazine for the magicshop who sells rip-offs.

Before we get a discusion about this,...why we have otherwise a covering organisation?
Only for the "fun" things?
No,..every magician and shop can be a member, but when you do not hold on the rule's, you no longer a member and you can not advertise enymore etc.

(sorry for my english,...I think not everything is written that fine but I hope everyone understands my point)
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Postby Guest » 08/14/04 07:13 PM

Ironic for this thread to start on this forum, where, not too long ago, Richard Kauffman, the head honcho in these parts, so they tell me, said in a post, which was at least partially directed at this young student of magic something to the effect of, (and I paraphrase)

"Tough luck kid, this kind of thing has been going on for hundreds of years."

I say that sort of attitude from those that have positions of leadership in this magic 'community' is what makes the process continue.

Time and time again, I hear people say, well, stealing is bad, but I'm sure glad this got on to the market. I.E, the majority of buyers don't care where something came from, or how it came to be marketed...THIS is another attitude that makes the system continue.

But fear not friends, I think someone has set John Galt loose amongst our greatest creators. They are stopping. The men of mind might be going on strike. And if this is so, things will right themselves eventually, when the lights go out in New York, if you will.

However, we could stop it now. It's simple. We research what we buy. We ask permission from the creators of effects if we wish publish them, or parts of them. As a community we banish theives. And I'll say again, if magicians stopped being slimeballs and moochers within the community, perhaps there wouldn't be so many second rate entertainers and slimeballs inflicted on the public! :whack:

Help me out here guys.
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Postby Geno Munari » 08/14/04 07:17 PM

Martin is 100% accurate. There is only black & white in this issue; but magicians in the genre do not really know right from wrong, or they don't know the history of the effect.

Besides a magician's opinion on piracy, many other leaders in the magic community such as Genii Magazine and Magic Magazine do not care where their advertising dollars comes from.

They both take ads from companies that rip off Ali Bongo and many others.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/14/04 10:48 PM

Originally posted by Colin Gilbert:
What is needed, is, some sort of governing body where you could send your magical idea's/inventions (with a fee) for them to be registered etc.
It already exists. The Statutory Invention Registration: SEE HERE


Though not a 'proper' patent, it would give the inventor sole marketing rights etc. for x amount of years, during which time if anyone is found illegally making/selling it, they would have all advertising stopped and barred from all conventions. No exceptions.
That's the part that doesn't work. For example, our IBM Ring will likely host a convention next year. We will be the ultimate authority. And if we make an exception, either deliberately, or just because we have other things to do than run complete inventory and background checks on each of a half-dozen dealers, there is no way to compel us otherwise.

If it is so important, why not patent? Alan Wakeling, Pressley Guitar, Tenyo, Thomas Wayne/Bob Kohler, Lubor Fiedler, John Gaughan, and many others have patented their magical inventions.

Usually the response to this question is "it's too expensive". It seems hypocritical to me for an inventor to decline to spend money to protect his rights, yet to expect others to give up money (publishers to give up ad revenue, for example) to protect those rights for him.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 08/14/04 11:21 PM

Originally posted by SPURLOCK:
I just came across another knock off of The Life Saver Trick... Its called The Clever candy Trick. The tube is printed LifeSavors.
The quality is not that great, but the price of $15.00 is. I don't know who made it for there is no name on it. I picked this up at a magic Flea Market.

Has anyone else seen this? :whack:
The Clever Candy Trick is made in China by the same Chinese slaves who make all of the knockoffs for Magic Makers. This one is a real dog. Most of the time, the insert is a very sloppy fit. Nevertheless, it has really cut into George Robinson's business.

Penguin is a huge reseller of Magic Makers items.

Regarding the Statutory Invention Registration, you should actually see what the requirements are for using it. It is not cheap, and it is still going to require some research to file a proper application. It's basically an application for a patent without receiving an actual patent. And if there are any "holes" in the application, then it can be thrown out.

The Magic Dealers Association tried to do this a long time ago, but it really didn't work. One of the first items registered with the MDA was the Everlit Candle, which was invented by Frank Lezama. S.S. Adams got tired of paying his price for the candles and knocked them off. There was nothing he could do about it.
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Postby CHRIS » 08/15/04 03:40 AM

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:

Usually the response to this question is "it's too expensive". It seems hypocritical to me for an inventor to decline to spend money to protect his rights, yet to expect others to give up money (publishers to give up ad revenue, for example) to protect those rights for him.
Bill, the issue is not so much with getting a patent - that one can do reasonably cheaply. I did my first patent all alone and it cost me about $200 (back in Austria). But even if you go with a lawyer I would say it is affordable for many magic ideas.

However, what does the patent buy you? It only buys you THE RIGHT TO SUE. Nothing more. And here the expensive part starts. I have not run the numbers, but I was told that if the idea isn't worth about a million dollars, meaning you can make a profit of $1 million, there is no point in trying to defend it in court. How many magic tricks can make you a million dollar? And this is the real crux of the matter.

Patents are no solution for magic inventors.

Chris....
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Postby Guest » 08/15/04 04:00 AM

Apart from cost of a full world-wide patent (several thousands of dollars or pounds)even if you did go that far, your invention is then published by the patent office on the Internet by espacenet for all the world to see, so for instance how many packet effects would be for sale if all a magician had to do was look on Espacenet, read the workings and obtain the necessary double faced card etc?
The 'governing body' I mentioned earlier wouldn't have to do 'searches' or keep track of ideas/inventions at all, they would only have to intervene when a corrupt dealer had been spotted and reported to them.
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Postby CHRIS » 08/15/04 06:16 AM

Colin,

good point - but it goes even further. As far as I know, the patent office has little to do with ensuring your rights. You can't 'inform' the patent office that a violation of your rights has happened. They couldn't care less. It is up to you to defend your rights and sue the violators. The patent office doesn't help you there.

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Postby Guest » 08/15/04 08:22 AM

Can we all agree that patents are of little use for the majority of magic effects? If so what I mean when I say a 'governing body' is, not the patent office as we know it but more on the lines of a group of people within the magic community where effects could be sent (similar to sending one for a review) where the effect would be given a registration date/number etc. and then simply filed as proof of ownership.(without being published of course).
Any infringements on this would result in the necessary actions being taken by this committee to stop the violators advertising etc. Obviously money for damages would be down to the individual inventor to pursue. But with some sort of proof from the 'committee' a charge of fraud may carry more weight. But at least the violators would be stopped in their tracks. If all agreed from the start - each magic magazine, convention organisers, links on web-sites etc. surely it would go a long way to stopping the rip-off merchants?
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Postby Bill Palmer » 08/15/04 09:00 AM

When it comes to setting up our own "governing body," the various governments will not take to kindly to this. By setting up our own governing body, we would be usurping the rights of the government agencies involved in such matters.

For example, let's take the Linking Lifesavers trick. You submit it to a registry. Now this registry is not a recognized government agency. It's a trade association. What rights does it have other than telling other people that violators cannot advertise their knockoffs in the trade journals of member organizations. At some point, if there is no "real" registration, i.e. something recognized by the courts, then someone is going to bring a suit against the registration agency and the member organizations for unfair restraint of trade.

If they have enough money, they would most likely win such a case. And you would still have to try to regulate sales over the internet. Basically you would have an organization that is operating outside the definitions provided by law, which is, by definition an extralegal or "outlaw" organization.
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Postby Jim Riser » 08/15/04 09:38 AM

May I suggest that this problem goes much deeper than the symptoms of rip-off dealers?

Basic to human nature seems to be the desire to get something for nothing. People need to be educated to resist this basic urge and hence avoid wasted money, time, and resources.

As long as so-called magicians (buying customers) put price above all else, there will be a marketplace in which the rip-off artists will survive and even thrive.

Rather than setting up a new quasi-agency, perhaps we should work within the current system and with resources which are already in place. This would be much more cost effective. It would be very easy to insert a monthly article in all magic journals educating potential customers of riped-off items as to who the real inventors are and why it is better to buy the originals. Actually pointing out differences between the "original" and the knock-off could go a long way towards educating the customers. These monthly columns might even point out that ads from the offending companies might appear in their magazines; but that these products are not supported. (There are other issues involved when accepting ads than appear on the surface. It's not as simple as it would appear.)

Now, this all assumes that the originators make it known which effects are theirs. It also assumes that the original items are of better quality than the rip-offs. Sadly, this not always the case. This would put pressure on the originators to "do it correctly".

There will always be those who want to make a quick/easy buck by ripping off the hard work of others. The key, as I see it, to limiting these types is educating the potential customers. And doing so through existing channels is likely to be the best method of doing so.

If we take away the customers, there will be no rip-off dealers. They need victims to survive.
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Postby Guest » 08/15/04 09:42 AM

So who IS actually breaking the law? Myself by the sounds of it for wanting to stop Penguin the right to 'fair trade' of my effect. Excuse me while I go and bang my head against a wall.....
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Postby magicbar » 08/15/04 09:58 AM

I have read the thread and have a few comments. I have over the years only commercially produced an instructional video and was very concerned about piracy (pirate copying) and fortunately none occurred to my knowledge because of safeguards I implemented (and/or nobody thought it was good enough to steal!) although the title I copyrighted has been used (borrowed?) by others...I have developed my own presentations for effects I bought/read in books I own and like many, tried to make effects I like 'my own' by imposing my own style.

ok, the comments...

There used to be a group, The Magic Dealers Asociation that would endorse ads found in Genii I have from 60s-70s. I don't see that anymore but as a self-governing, seal of approval type organization it may be of some use to resurrect. Then teach these youngsters to respect the creative process.

Patents, copyrights, etc... One tactic used by some is to register the routine as a theatrical performance with a writer's guild and let them go after people that infringe on your copyright (note: copyright, not 'idea')

Another is to get a patent on the technology used in the effect (i.e., your prop is an invention using specific design and technology) and potect it that way.

Frankly, I think the piracy is a sign of the times. I feel magic is in a saturation bubble where the diminished venues have all the enthusiasts and practicioners and retailers cannabilizing one another. This is combined with the instant gratification so many desire they really don't care how they get the reward or who they screw to get it. Having the respected magazines take their money and worse, have their reviewers offer endorsements in their columns, sets a very bad example..but where else will they get enough money to meet their revenue goals?

Don't fret, it happens in many industries. In lets say TV..if someone has a hit with a type of show there are many knock-offs soon to follow with look-alike scripts and look-alike B actors to replicate the hit at a lesser price. When Blaine got his first hit the rage was re-naming close-up magic as street magic and all the old tricks that go with it. It happened with all the other notables too throughout time... g'wan, pick a name. I remember Magicana had a quote near its masthead (sic) "magic has about 12 people thinking for all the rest, here's some of them.."

Magic today seems to be governed by convention organizers and media publishers. If it can be shown that someone is unethical, they should be refused inclusion. On the other end you have the consumer/practicioner that demands satisfaction at any price and these people are the ones that need their mindsets well, re-set. There is an ethical way to get satisfaction...it just has to be clarified, supported and in some cases, enforced.

Maybe the information age is to blame..but that is a subject of another post.
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/15/04 12:11 PM

Nothing will work until society realizes it is greedy, crooked and doesn't respect others.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 08/15/04 01:28 PM

Originally posted by Colin Gilbert:
So who IS actually breaking the law? Myself by the sounds of it for wanting to stop Penguin the right to 'fair trade' of my effect. Excuse me while I go and bang my head against a wall.....
You're not breaking any law, yet. But Penguin may not be breaking a law, if there is no legal protection for your trick. Please bear in mind that I do not in any way condone what they are doing. It is totally unethical.

To further emphasize their lack of ethics, they have taken to a tactic used by various other groups to assuage their concience (if any.) This is the setting up of a foundation to help kids learn magic, and to entertain sick kids (this from their web site.)

Let's take a look at a different instance, one that all of us can relate to. Remember when Dover republished Modern Coin Magic in paperback? Jay Marshall had forgotten to renew the copyright on the old edition when it expired. So the book went into the public domain, and Dover took advantage of it.

Now, what can you, we, all of us do? You can go over to the Cafe, which is where a lot of their buyers hang out, and make it known that "Magic Mints" is an unauthorized knockoff of your trick, even though they claim it has your approval.

You can put pressure on your local clubs not to book certain lectures. Look at their site, and you will see who I'm talking about.

And you can make sure that your friends do not patronize them.
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Postby Guest » 08/15/04 01:35 PM

Colin, how did Penguin go about adding "Magic Mints is an authorized version of Colin Gilbert's "Linking Lifesavers" which we also carry and recommend highly." to their product description for Magic Mints? I am very curious. It sounds as if you certainly have not endorsed the product through your postings here. And if that is the case, what would prompt Penguin Magic to make such a fraudulent statement, given the legalities of making such a statement.
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Postby Steve V » 08/15/04 02:10 PM

Why wouldn't they? They made a simular product to another magicians and actually used the same name for it he did. The implication was it was the exact same product at 30% the price. That is when I stopped going to Penguin.
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