Well, I really had hoped this whole affair was laid to rest. Obviously, Mr. Bush is still worked up over things, and I can't really blame him, the way things were framed for him by others.
I think that the advice that Mr. Bush is offering is really not very good advice. In this situation the actions he took cost him a lot of money.
Our lawyers told us in Nov 2004 that the document in question was public domain, and that Mr Bush had no ownership rights in the document at all. They said that we or anyone else could use the material any way they saw fit. This was also the opinion of the legal department of a major commercial publishing company.
The document was published in 1975 without a publishing date, copyright notice, and without the author or publisher's name. According to the rules before 1978, this put it immediately into the public domain. Even had this not been the case, and the copyright notice had been in effect, the routine and pamphlet would have gone out of copyright in 2003, and would have had to be registered and renewed at that point. It was not.
So we were completely satisfied in November 2004 that we had all necessary rights to publish the document and routine whenever we wished.
Bob Sheets, Chef Anton and myself talked it over, and decided to continue looking for Mr. Bush anyway. Sheets had spent four years looking unsuccessfully for Mr. Bush, talking to everyone he knew in magic from Georgia--Dan Garrett, Charles Pecor, and many others. None of them knew what happened to Doug Bush, and no one had heard anything from him since around 1978. Several people told Bob that they had heard he had died.
I put up a search notice here on the Genii forum, and on Magic Cafe. I did a couple of internet name searches, and only found one Doug Bush in Atlanta, a Doug Bush, Jr. I called that number every day for two weeks, and never got an answer or an answering machine.
My lawyer said that the best way to locate him might be to publish the routine and let Bush or his heirs contact us.
So we taught his routine on our DVD as the beginner's routine upon which all of our original moves, ruses and subtleties would be layered. I wanted to make sure that Bob's work on the presentation of Doug's routine and Doug Bush's work were clearly delineated. So I decided to publish the entire 14 page manuscript of Doug's routine on the DVD in a pdf file.
At the end of the routine, we put a notice saying that the routine was in public domain, but that we were still looking for Doug Bush or his heirs, and asking that anyone who knew where to locate either of these, help get us in touch with Doug Bush or his family.
We named Doug D. Bush as the real author of the piece, rather than the imaginary Dr. Beaumont. We also credited Doug Bush for the basic routine on the rolling credits to the DVD.
We decided that we would put aside $3000.00, $1500 from S4S and $1500 from Bob Sheets for Bush's heirs should they be found.
This figure was arrived at by thinking what a big name magician would likely be paid by a publisher for making a teaching DVD of one or more routines.
We thought it was more than generous, and simply a gesture of respect to someone who we all thought had contributed greatly to the shell game literature.
Even though we did not need to pay anything legally, we thought that magic ethics should go beyond the copyright laws and show due respect for the creators.
A competitor of ours, Andrew Pinard, was able to locate Mr. Bush and offered him a ridiculous and insulting amount for the exclusive rights to the routine.
Mr. Bush was insulted and angered and refused to talk to him again. Why Pinard thought it would be worthwhile to buy the rights to a routine that was public domain and had just been taught and published on our DVD is a mystery to us, but the result was that Mr. Bush wouldn't speak to him anymore.
Pinard then e-mailed and told Bush that the routine wasn't really worth any more than $200 because it had already been published without permission, and he then gave the information to Bush about us and our production.
Bush contacted Bob, and Bob and I, not knowing about Andrew Pinard's interference, responded with enthusiasm to having located him. We sent him more than $200 worth of S4S DVD's, shells, books, chains and other products to give him an idea of how we operated and who we were.
We told him we wanted to pay him for his routine, and offered him $2000. We didn't want to antagonize him by telling him that his routine was out of copyright, and figured that he would put up a counter offer, and we would negotiate up to the original $3000 we had planned to give him.
But Bush refused our offer and refused to negotiate or even talk with us. His harsh and curt e-mails are published on the Magic Cafe thread. He told us to talk "only" to his lawyers.
Well, at that point we told him that the $2000 offer was a take it or leave it thing, and that if he insisted on bringing lawyers into the negotiation, then that offer was off the table.
His lawyers called us, and wanted to know if the offer was still available. We said it was. They asked us very nicely if we would consider paying for Mr. Bush's legal fees ($500) which we agreed to do, since we wanted to try to get Mr. Bush to agree to accept the money, and to get the whole issue behind us.
We also offered Mr. Bush another $2000 to let us video tape his performance of the routine to put on a later DVD. This he refused.
We were being mercilessly attacked on the internet by bloggers who called me all kinds of things, from hypocrite to unprintable names of all kinds.
We were unable to respond because of the ongoing negotiations, and our reputations were being systematically attacked and shredded by a handful of mean-spirited anonymous bloggers. We wanted to get the whole thing behind us.
Bush agreed to the terms, accepted our check, and signed a release giving us full rights to use his material any way we wanted for any time into the future.
This of course is useless, because Andrew Pinard and anyone else here can print and sell the manuscript in question without legal problems since it has been both out of print and out of copyright for thirty years.
By refusing to talk on the phone with Bob and I, who are fans and promoters of Mr. Bush's work, by refusing friendly negotiations and going to his "high-powered lawyers," Mr. Bush cost himself $1000, and saved us $500.
I think it is a much better idea for anyone who feels he has been wronged to try to work things out in a friendly way with those who they feel have wronged them first, and only go to lawyers as a very last resort.
We are not upset by Mr. Bush's rants, and feel that he was really the victim in all of this, not of our doing, but a victim of our competitor whom we believe sought to manipulate him and create a scandal which would have forced our DVD off the market and damaged our company's reputation just as our competitor's DVD on the shell game was going to come out.
Mr. Bush's hurt feelings and antagonism toward my company is a result of the way the whole situation was framed for him by Mr. Pinard.
We are very sorry for all of this mess, and really had hoped that finding Mr. Bush would have ended up in further opportunities to promote him and his wonderful work that has been forgotten for so many years.
What we had hoped would have happened didn't because of the interference in our business relationship with Mr. Bush by people outside of the situation--both our competitor Pinard, and the bloggers whose vitriol and bombast before they had the facts has been matched by the extent of their silence on the issue since the facts have been revealed.
I apologize for this long post, but I feel that our friends and customers in the magic community deserve to know the whole story from our side as well as the distorted and weird version of events that was promulgated among the bloggers by Mr. Pinard.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I can't imagine why anyone would want to read more than this, but the thread on the Magic Cafe that was mentioned above contains the whole story from our side, and from Andrew Pinard.
It also contains all the correspondence between Bob Sheets, Mr. Bush, and myself. If you really find this worth the time, all that you could possibly need to know to make a decision about this case is right there.