Ghost Kings?

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Frank Starsinic
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Frank Starsinic » October 10th, 2004, 12:44 pm

Tim! Well done and I will add a link from my site to that page to help educate.

I believe Lee Asher also reported that
a David Harkey effect has been ripped off from his book "Simpley Harkey" and is being sold on Penguin or MagicMakers.

Maybe Lee will chime in with the name.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 10th, 2004, 1:34 pm

For the same reason I let some stuff slide as regards my work earlier in this thread, I feel the need to comment on another issue that came up.

This thread is about some unauthorized copying of material for sale at a couple of web sites. We pretty much all agree that this practice does not make us look good as a community.

Picking on some folks with prolithic output is a seperate game. Unless Jay's putting his name on borrowed material, let's leave his choice in retail outlets to another time. Love him or hate him... he, Ammar and a few others are our market big names.

Let's stay focussed on what we can do about rip-offs.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » October 21st, 2004, 8:29 am

Just a thought here for my first post on this forum.

Is it not possible to patent a technique such as "healed & sealed" (or any of the other techniques discussed in this thread)? It seems to me, and I'm just an hobbyist, that professional magicians can be slightly naive in releasing great ideas without ensuring their copyright fully. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, but I do believe that if I was to invent a new way to cut down trees and registered a patent describing the technique it would be on the record as my idea. Is there really a huge difference between this and a technique such as the one employed in healed and sealed?

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 21st, 2004, 8:44 am

Originally posted by Ben Walshaw:
Is it not possible to patent a technique such as "healed & sealed" ...
Ben, getting this set up in some way we can accept as part of our community ethos/law/ideas we all respect is the larger issue behind this and other recent discussions.

One lawyer recently published something on this subject in a Magic Magazine back in July.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

John LeBlanc
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby John LeBlanc » October 21st, 2004, 9:24 am

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Ben, getting this set up in some way we can accept as part of our community ethos/law/ideas we all respect is the larger issue behind this and other recent discussions.

One lawyer recently published something on this subject in a Magic Magazine back in July.
But that's the underlying issue at hand: compliance.

I think it's unreasonable to expect compliance (voluntary or otherwise) from people who already demonstrate a propensity for not complying with existing laws, rules, guidelines, etc.

At issue is basic integrity. Like its close relative morals, that's something I don't think we can adequately legislate.

I wrote something in my blog the other day regarding the subject of appeasement, the opposite of shunning. In my opinion from observing things, the only aspect of "carrot and stick" that works consistently is the stick part.

John LeBlanc

George Olson
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby George Olson » October 21st, 2004, 10:49 pm

Kip Pascal Hmmm'

After all these years (50 to be exact)my college physics conversion tables have reared there bothersome heads in an otherwise interesting thread....

And he's writing from Oregon.... curioouser...
Kip
KiloNewton
4.448
Kip
Newton
4448.22
Kip
KiloGram
453.56
Kip
Ib
1000
Kip
Ton
0.454
Kip
KiloNewton
4.448
Kip
Newton
4448.22
Kip
KiloGram
453.56
Kip
Ib
1000
Kip
Ton
0.454

I don't know what to make of it

Let's see...

Jerry Anders lives in a college town here

Reed McClintock lives near a college in this area

Lee Asher lives in a college town here or by golly so did Mr. Harkey...

GO

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Tim Ellis » November 2nd, 2004, 3:03 am

The idea of patenting a product can be extremely expensive and, giving the relative low profit of your average magic item, it's not worth it.

Even if you do patent it, you need the money to back up your patent by legally defending it in court.

Don't worry though, because on the Penguin Magic Guidelines for Ethics page they say that they understand that it's too expensive to patent every magic trick, so they treat all tricks as though they are patented.

http://www.penguinmagic.com/ethicsandinnovation.php

Eric Rose
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Eric Rose » November 10th, 2004, 11:15 am

Mr. Ellis,

Thank you for the link to the Penguin ethics page. In the section you mentioned above, they state that they will market an effect if it is sufficiently innovative over a predecessor.

I wonder, given the actions demonstrated, does that mean changing titles or packaging is innovative enough, or do you also have to increase the margin for the retailer?

Eric
- not particularly fond of small flightless birds.

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 10th, 2004, 11:32 am

Originally posted by Eric Rose:
... if it is sufficiently innovative over a predecessor.
And so, starting with four Queens from a borrowed deck, the performer displays them face up, and one by one they give him the cold shoulder, turning face down. Calling the trick Ice Queens would make it marketable?

I suppose a kicker ending where when manually turned over, they have become spot cards would make a nice ... nah, that's too much work.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » November 10th, 2004, 11:57 am

Originally posted by Ben Walshaw:
Just a thought here for my first post on this forum.

Is it not possible to patent a technique such as "healed & sealed" (or any of the other techniques discussed in this thread)? It seems to me, and I'm just an hobbyist, that professional magicians can be slightly naive in releasing great ideas without ensuring their copyright fully. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, but I do believe that if I was to invent a new way to cut down trees and registered a patent describing the technique it would be on the record as my idea. Is there really a huge difference between this and a technique such as the one employed in healed and sealed?
I'm not sure, but apparently there is a patent for the exact method/set-up that Copperfield uses for his piece "Flying."

But that's not something I can confirm.

Pete McCabe
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Pete McCabe » November 10th, 2004, 2:29 pm

I can confirm that the mechanism used by David Copperfield for "Flying" is indeed patented. I have a copy of the patent in my files, where the inventor is listed as John Gaughan.

One problem with patents is that they are available for any and all to see. Another is that, as I understand it, the way you get a patent is you prosecute the patent. In effect you sue the government to give you the patent.

This brings up the biggest problem: you need to hire a patent lawyer. And lawyers, I am reliably informed, cost money.

Bill Mullins
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 10th, 2004, 2:35 pm

Originally posted by Ben Walshaw:
Just a thought here for my first post on this forum.

Is it not possible to patent a technique such as "healed & sealed" (or any of the other techniques discussed in this thread)? It seems to me, and I'm just an hobbyist, that professional magicians can be slightly naive in releasing great ideas without ensuring their copyright fully. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, but I do believe that if I was to invent a new way to cut down trees and registered a patent describing the technique it would be on the record as my idea. Is there really a huge difference between this and a technique such as the one employed in healed and sealed?
It is possible to patent processes, devices, and a few other things. You use "copyright" in reference to "ideas" -- you cannot copyright an idea. You don't "register" patents -- you file for one (a fairly expensive process), and it may or may not be awarded to you. Then, if someone infringes on it, it is your responsibility to stop them through a civil suit (again, more lawyers and more money out of your pocket).

The biggest problems with using copyrights, patents, and other forms of Intellectual Property protections for the protection of magic secrets are:

1. They don't protect secrets. Usually full disclosure of what is being protected is required, and anyone can look it up after the fact.

2. The cost-benefit ration sucks. It is very expensive to get a patent, and then to use it. Suppose Anders (??) had patented "Healed and Sealed" in the United States. It would have cost him several thousand dollars to get the patent. Then suppose further that someone markets a trick called "resealed Drink Can". Anders would have to file a suit in federal court that the second trick infringed on his patented trick. I can't imagine that that could be done for less than $10k. He might not win. He might win, but be entitled to damages of only $2k. He might win, but the person he sues won't have enough money to pay.

There are very few situations where a patent makes sense.

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby John LeBlanc » November 11th, 2004, 6:20 am

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
2. The cost-benefit ration sucks. It is very expensive to get a patent, and then to use it. Suppose Anders (??) had patented "Healed and Sealed" in the United States. It would have cost him several thousand dollars to get the patent. Then suppose further that someone markets a trick called "resealed Drink Can". Anders would have to file a suit in federal court that the second trick infringed on his patented trick. I can't imagine that that could be done for less than $10k. He might not win. He might win, but be entitled to damages of only $2k. He might win, but the person he sues won't have enough money to pay.
My father-in-law was responsible for many patents successfully filed during the 60s, 70s and 80s for a major oilfield service company. He was also called as a witness in the endless lawsuits brought against smaller companies violating those patents.

He told me on a number of occasions that, while his company prevailed in every lawsuit, often the offending company would go out the next day, open up shop under a different name and proceed as usual.

Patents give you a better legal standing on which to sue. As you suggested, they don't actually stop anyone from copying anything.

John LeBlanc
http://www.escamoteurettes.com

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » November 11th, 2004, 11:31 am

The best way that I know for prtecting such 'property' is to seal the idea, design, manuscript, or what ever it is in an envelope and send it to your self via registered mail and never open it.

This ensures you sealed and dated proof of your 'intelectual property' and is more or less the best evidence to support any claims, legally, that someone has 'ripped you off' so to speak.

It is what I have done with the origional Seamless manuscript, and is the kind of thing that can settle debates like the one some people have over weither or not Jon Townsend was the original woker on the now ampent three fly, or V.C.A. effect. Inspite of the fact that even Kenner seems to acknowledge that he more or less got the idea from Townsend. (this is my understanding mind you and I may be off with some facts on that one.)

The point is that the sealing and registerd mail tactic is one that holds up in court. Provided you do NOT open it your self or prior to the time that it is needed as evidence, and at that point you would be still submiting the SEALED package.

It is a small investment that is well worth the effort.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 11th, 2004, 12:53 pm

Here is the only legal way to protect a magic trick.
Never show it to anyone.
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Bill Mullins
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 11th, 2004, 5:07 pm

Originally posted by Glenn West:
The best way that I know for prtecting such 'property' is to seal the idea, design, manuscript, or what ever it is in an envelope and send it to your self via registered mail and never open it.

This ensures you sealed and dated proof of your 'intelectual property' and is more or less the best evidence to support any claims, legally, that someone has 'ripped you off' so to speak.

It is what I have done with the origional Seamless manuscript,
The only thing that this will protect you from is copyright violations; that is, from someone selling photocopies (or equivalent) of your original manuscripts. It won't protect you from someone performing your tricks, or from someone selling new descriptions of your tricks, or someone building on your tricks without giving you credit.

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby John LeBlanc » November 11th, 2004, 5:54 pm

Originally posted by Glenn West:
The best way that I know for prtecting such 'property' is to seal the idea, design, manuscript, or what ever it is in an envelope and send it to your self via registered mail and never open it.
And how would you go about proving what is sealed in your envelope is what was actually mailed? (Rhetorical question.)

Even so, since the post office doesn't have any requirement to keep registered mail records for any length of time approaching that of the U.S. Copyright Office, I'm not sure I'd hang my hat on that as a reliable method anyway.

Registering a work with the United States Copyright Office is so pitifully simple and inexpensive I can't come up with a reasonable argument against it so long as there's something that needs the benefits registration provides (statutory damages and attorneys fees in case of litigation, among other things.)

John LeBlanc
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Bill Duncan
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Bill Duncan » November 11th, 2004, 7:15 pm

In the 1980's I considered creating my own business and in doing the ground work I read a book designed for small business owners.

In it was advise for what to do if your "widget" required a part or technology owned by some other company. It was suggested that you "do what the big multinational companies do." and use the technology without paying.

If you're business is successful you'll be able to negotiate royalties based on your profits. If you don't make any money they won't waste any of theirs taking you to court.

Business has no morals. Some business people do...

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Timothy Hyde
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Timothy Hyde » November 12th, 2004, 1:43 am

Originally posted by Glenn West:
The best way that I know for protecting such 'property' is to seal the idea, design, manuscript, or what ever it is in an envelope and send it to your self via registered mail and never open it.

This tactic , sometimes known as 'poor mans copyright", is now well known to be an urban myth.

A quick search on google will prove this to be the case. For example

http://www.staples.com/content/Open/CopyrightBasics.asp


Timothy Hyde
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Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 12th, 2004, 4:47 am

Originally posted by Glenn West:
...'intelectual property'...
Till our culture respects the notion of intellectual property, it will just have to make do with whatever is willing to be sold in the streets, be it philosophy, product or people.

If we want to get out of the gutter, we may have to let go of what we took from the gutter.

Do we truly believe we look good in those grime covered rags?

For the less philosophically minded, we might try this phrase on for size: "What would Hofzinser do?"
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » November 12th, 2004, 8:32 am

To answer questions, The above method was given to me by actual legal counsil. To prove what is sealed I think was pretty clear. Using the proper envelops it is impossible to open and re seal them. The link provided simply addressed the idea of regular mail with standard envelope which is what is conotated by many with the suppossed 'myth' as apossed to the type used for deposits and what not with such security features. As such it is a simple matter of open said package at the apropriate time.

The idea here is to simply provide yourself with valid, sealed evidence that your idea or product existed when it did.

As I said this is the kind of thing that would serve well to end disputs such as weither or not Townsend did have his V.A.C. routine first. Granted even Kenner seems to ronically it seems (as far I can see) that Townsend is the only one who has yet to have his routine published, I may be mistaken though. Mr. Townsend, I do not intend to atempt to speak for you here. I am mearly commenting on what I have observed. I have also observed discussions on this matter in which you seemd to be the only one who didn't care, and I don't blame you as they were seemingly trivial discussions.

Back on topic. You are given record yourself when you use registered mail, and the pakage itself is dated appropriately. So there is evidence and reciept of the date.

You simply are creating sealed evidenc that is proof of existance.

And this will protect against the 'repackaging' of your ideas IF, by resemblence of the said 'repackaged' piece to said original piece, it is clearly provable that said idea is without a doubt a direct derivative or re-writing of said original.

I have also come across this issue with the publishing of original ideas and works in Comic books. Something else that I have worked with.

On that note I rather enjoy Steranko. Did you nkow he became versed in Music and Gymnastics aswell?

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » November 12th, 2004, 8:42 am

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
Business has no morals. Some business people do...
It's funny because it's true.

The same can be said about individuals in the magic community. Yeah, you know who you are.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 12th, 2004, 8:44 am

Originally posted by Glenn West:
... To prove what is seald I think was pretty clear. ... This idea here is to simply provide yourself with valid evidence that your idea existed when it did...
Glenn, folks,

Such is NOT the question or issue. There is no question about Lee Asher's interpretation of Twisting the Aces. The question at hand is how to handle the repackaging and sale of derivative works from which one can reconstruct the original.

Ours is an economy of secrets.

The question remains open. Proving precedence on the items used as examples is most often not an issue. The difference between legal and ethical perspectives in our peculiar economy is the center of the issue.

Let's posit a guideline on the issue: If a work offered contains sufficient material that one can infer the secret of another work in print, then it may violate the secrets of the owner of the earlier work. Does this make sense? How do we want to handle this?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

John LeBlanc
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby John LeBlanc » November 12th, 2004, 8:58 am

Originally posted by Glenn West:
To answer questions, The above method was given to me by actual legal counsil. To prove what is sealed I think was pretty clear. Using the proper envelops it is impossible to open and re seal them.
Well, if it works for you, Merry Christmas to you. In my opinion -- and the opinion of my own legal council -- it's a Rube Goldberg method. I guess that's one reason they call it "legal opinion" or "practicing law."

It occurs to me that, if a work is worth protecting in some way, isn't it worth the $30 bucks to register the copyright?

John LeBlanc
http://www.escamoteurettes.com

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » November 12th, 2004, 12:33 pm

Perhaps, if one, you have that to spend, (my comic related work started in high school, and yes $30 was a lot to me then) and two, if you feel it will make a true difference in the end if the issue arises. All who I have spoken too who have encountered the issue, unless in some huge corporation instance, have found it to make little to no difference too have actually purchased the copyright.

But back to where Mr. Townsend is trying to steer us. On track that is.

If you are inferring that one can infer the secret of a previously published source through ones deductive reasoning, then maybe not. I have had many a 'revelations' upon reading one source and yet said revelation pertains to another.

If we are discussing a direct association, as may be inferred with said 'Ghost Kings' then there is more of an issue.

We are in this case, from what I understand, the releasing of a duplicated effect that is accomplished via the same method. Now I have yet to see the 'Ghost Kings' but I have seen the 'crushed and cured' and in that instance there was nothing added to improve the effect, in fact only to take it bake in quality of effect. (I honestly almost didn't know that something 'magical' was happening.)

Perhaps the most respectable approach is to merely speak to the individual your self. Discuss the matter. Topics like whither or not the 'new' effect was independently conceived, etc.
We have recently seen a similar case occur with the near simultaneous release of two examinable effects of changing a mediocre hand into a royal flush with a brush of the finger.

As I recall, although the parties agreed that the methods were conceived independently, one had decided to withdraw their effect from the market out of respect.

Unfortunately this does count on the individual have that respect for the said original creator. Given the appearance thus far however, in this case that respect is non existent as it would have prevented this whole thing from the start.

The best course of action from this point is beyond me. Perhaps it is wishful thinking that the purchasers of magic will recognize what has happened and support the true creators and be rewarded with far better products with regards to quality and attention, and eventually weed out such people who merely rip off others.
It would appear that this idea does not work though, as the 'new' versions are often made more affordable and appeal mainly to those who are new to the art and have less knowledge of the true source material.

It is also even more unfortunate that this sometimes has the exact opposite out come.

Sad.

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby John LeBlanc » November 12th, 2004, 12:47 pm

Originally posted by Glenn West:
All who I have spoken too who have encountered the issue, unless in some huge corporation instance, have found it to make little to no difference too have actually purchased the copyright.
Actually, and to quote the U.S. Copyright Office: "Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."

You aren't purchasing anything. You are officially registering your copyright with a government agency that carries some weight if push comes to shove.

I don't know, maybe things are different in Canada.

U.S. Copyright Office FAQ:
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-g ... tml#mywork

John leBlanc
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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » November 13th, 2004, 10:33 am

That's actually the way I understood it. Which is why I have been told that does not make too much of a difference as it is already copyrighted.

I guess I should have worded it differently. Thanks for the clarification.

Glenn

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Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » April 4th, 2005, 2:51 pm

Is there a general thread for discussing plagiarism or should I just go on here?

Guest

Re: Ghost Kings?

Postby Guest » April 4th, 2005, 2:54 pm

Reason I ask is some one has openly posted on another message board their intentions to copy and sell something of mine.

I won't be mentioning any names or the forum itself here. Especially as I the mentioning of one of them specificaly is not aloud.

Any suggestions?


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