Magicians stealing

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Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 15th, 2014, 6:00 pm

I was at a lecture at the Magic Circle last night and comedy magician mark shortland lectured. He was selling (I assume) an effect with a flick book with artwork from The Simpsons.

I would be surprised if he got permission to use the artwork.

Does this make him any better than people pirating magic DVDs or the same?

Be more than happy to apologise if this is an official licensed product. But I kinda doubt it is.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Brad Henderson » April 15th, 2014, 6:07 pm

Don't know the product. However I am curious if this strategy is a legal one: several years ago a magic dealer was making magic props with Disney characters. I asked how he did this without getting sued. he explained that he bought Disney coloring books, colored the pages and glued them onto the prop.His position was that since he was using a legitimately purchased item it was legally sound. (Note: he allegedly bought a book for each prop he made, never actually copying the artwork).

would that fly?

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby erdnasephile » April 15th, 2014, 6:30 pm

Damian:

This doesn't directly address your question, but it may be relevant:

http://info.legalzoom.com/legal-use-dis ... 21231.html

Based on conversations with a television producer, I also think that parody is considered fair use.

While we're on the subject, didn't Hank Lee sell a trick using a character that looked a lot like the Sesame Street Cookie Monster. Was that an authorized product?
Last edited by erdnasephile on April 17th, 2014, 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Tom Stone » April 15th, 2014, 7:13 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Don't know the product. However I am curious if this strategy is a legal one: several years ago a magic dealer was making magic props with Disney characters. I asked how he did this without getting sued. he explained that he bought Disney coloring books, colored the pages and glued them onto the prop.His position was that since he was using a legitimately purchased item it was legally sound. (Note: he allegedly bought a book for each prop he made, never actually copying the artwork).

would that fly?

Making use of someone else's work within your own work is usually called "Derivative work". Like using samples of others' music within your own. Getting explicit permission is usually required, so no, I don't think it would fly.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 15th, 2014, 7:22 pm

I don't think it is an existing thing. You know the kids' book idea of it being split into 3 horizontally. With different characters on each page. So you can turn the top middle or bottom and create 'amusing' hybrids of the characters.

It was a svengali principle that forced one set of three bits of character. Which matched his prediction.

Thanks for the replies. I was so disappointed that someone would steal like this. Especially when ANYTHING would have worked. I had a book like that as a kid. Deep sea diver helmet, ballet dancer legs, something else in teh middle. It was fun. There's no need to steal from groening.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby brody » April 15th, 2014, 7:45 pm

If it's the same guy, you could just ask him.


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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Jeff Haas » April 15th, 2014, 8:15 pm

It sounds like "Sketch-O-Magic" by David Garrard, which is still for sale by the publisher, Sammy Smith:
http://www.spsmagic.com/products/sketch-o-magic

My PDF of Michael Close's reviews from MAGIC shows Mike reviewed it in February, 1998. He recommended it.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Brad Henderson » April 15th, 2014, 9:47 pm

Tom - to sample music you must make a copy of it. in my example the person bought an item and resold that item after coloring and glueing it to wood.

seems to me that should be ok. If I bought a Barney doll, be headed it, and sold it as a taxidermy mount as long as I am using legal items I bought, shouldn't it be legal?

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 15th, 2014, 10:05 pm

Brad, not only is it legal, it's legally protected artistic expression.
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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Tom Stone » April 15th, 2014, 11:32 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Tom - to sample music you must make a copy of it. in my example the person bought an item and resold that item after coloring and glueing it to wood.

seems to me that should be ok. If I bought a Barney doll, be headed it, and sold it as a taxidermy mount as long as I am using legal items I bought, shouldn't it be legal?

It is probably best to google what your country says about Derivative Works, because to make new work that include copyrighted works of others is a complicated area.

Let's say you bought a lot of old Donald Duck comics by Carl Barks, and you cut apart all the panels and then assambled some of them together in a new way that formed a completely new story. As Richard says, it can be argued that it's legally protected expression. If so, there would be no problem for you to print and sell as many copies you want of your work.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Brad Henderson » April 16th, 2014, 12:02 am

again, Tom, a key point is being overlooked - in the case I mentioned the maker was not going to 'print and sell as many as he wanted".

a better example would be someone took the barks original, cut it up and sold that piece made from the original barks material - no copies.

I can see how both this and the Barney example would be considered to have artistic content beyond the original piece - in the example I mentioned the man was essentially using the originals in a manner which intended to replicate the IP, without 'technically' replicating it. A viewer would not see it as having elements of 'commentary' or other artistic 'values'.

to me, it seems a reasonable position. I just wondered if anyone knew exactly one way or the other based on previous rulings perhaps in other arts.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Tom Stone » April 16th, 2014, 12:38 am

Brad Henderson wrote:again, Tom, a key point is being overlooked - in the case I mentioned the maker was not going to 'print and sell as many as he wanted".

a better example would be someone took the barks original, cut it up and sold that piece made from the original barks material - no copies.

I can see how both this and the Barney example would be considered to have artistic content beyond the original piece - in the example I mentioned the man was essentially using the originals in a manner which intended to replicate the IP, without 'technically' replicating it. A viewer would not see it as having elements of 'commentary' or other artistic 'values'.

to me, it seems a reasonable position. I just wondered if anyone knew exactly one way or the other based on previous rulings perhaps in other arts.

You need to google the phrase "derivative works" to find out.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby John Signa » April 16th, 2014, 2:24 am

I'd be more concerned about trademark infringement. Doesn't matter if the trademark is reproduced or cut & pasted, when applied to a different product, if it could be confused as a Simpsons product.
Last edited by John Signa on April 16th, 2014, 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 16th, 2014, 3:10 am

Jeff Haas wrote:It sounds like "Sketch-O-Magic" by David Garrard, which is still for sale by the publisher, Sammy Smith:
http://www.spsmagic.com/products/sketch-o-magic

My PDF of Michael Close's reviews from MAGIC shows Mike reviewed it in February, 1998. He recommended it.


Yeah, exactly the same, but with artwork from the simpsons.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Tom Moore » April 16th, 2014, 3:15 am

Are you sure he was selling it (that does make a massive difference in this instance) as I don't recall seeing him selling anything like that. If he's made one for his own personal use, using existing products (there are simpsons colouring in products out there) and or original artwork that's very similar to the MG stuff it's a completely different matter to if he's just blindly stolen a load of artwork and marketing it as his own creation.

It's worth noting that precisely none of the various coca-cola based magic tricks that exist have been made or have permission to use the logo's of coke on them, likewise the various vanishing / latex bottles (often sold with special copy labels) in famous shapes aren't done with permission either but that there are fair use & derivative works exemptions in IP laws that allow them because they fulfil a specific need that the legit product cannot fulfil. It is a very fine line though...
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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 16th, 2014, 4:56 am

Tom Moore wrote:Are you sure he was selling it (that does make a massive difference in this instance) as I don't recall seeing him selling anything like that.


Yes. He sold a small and large version.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Q. Kumber » April 16th, 2014, 7:18 am

Nobody seemed to mind when someone videoed one of the acts at the Blackpool convention, in violation of the strict rule - one which is in place in all professional theatres - of not videoing shows.

It was recorded and then posted on youtube without permission of the act.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2014, 7:52 am

What's the copyright status of the Lichtenstein paintings - the blowups of single panels of a comic?
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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 16th, 2014, 9:59 am

Q. Kumber wrote:Nobody seemed to mind when someone videoed one of the acts at the Blackpool convention, in violation of the strict rule - one which is in place in all professional theatres - of not videoing shows.

It was recorded and then posted on youtube without permission of the act.


I'm not sure comparing stealing an already marketing item and THEN stealing The Simpsons artwork and THEN selling it is comparative to someone filming a lunatic with 27 birds for shtz & gglz.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Q. Kumber » April 16th, 2014, 10:15 am

Both are copyright infringements.

It's like being pregnant, only one is more pregnant than the other.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby erdnasephile » April 16th, 2014, 10:21 am

Brad Henderson wrote:again, Tom, a key point is being overlooked - in the case I mentioned the maker was not going to 'print and sell as many as he wanted".

a better example would be someone took the barks original, cut it up and sold that piece made from the original barks material - no copies.

I can see how both this and the Barney example would be considered to have artistic content beyond the original piece - in the example I mentioned the man was essentially using the originals in a manner which intended to replicate the IP, without 'technically' replicating it. A viewer would not see it as having elements of 'commentary' or other artistic 'values'.

to me, it seems a reasonable position. I just wondered if anyone knew exactly one way or the other based on previous rulings perhaps in other arts.


Brad:

I found this Re: Derivative works

"This issue sometimes arises in the context of the defendant purchasing a copy of a picture or some other work from the copyright owner or a licensee and then reselling it in different context. For example, pictures from greeting cards might be affixed to tiles or one kind of textile product might be turned into another that can be sold at a higher price. In Lee v. A.R.T. Co., (the Annie Lee case), the defendant affixed the copyright owner’s copyright-protected note cards and small lithographs to tiles and then resold them.[8] The original art was not changed or reproduced, only bonded to ceramic and sold. The court held that this act was not original and creative enough to rise to the level of creating a derivative work, but effectively similar to any other form of display or art frame.[9]

Distribution rights differ from reproduction rights. While the first-sale doctrine entitles the copyright holder to begin the distribution chain of a copyrighted work - by selling note cards, for instance, or giving them away - it does not permit the copyright holder to control what is done with the item after it is distributed. Unless there is a separate contract between the parties, the person who owns the object has the right to give it away or resell it him or herself. In the case of Lee v. A.R.T., since bonding the cards to ceramic did not create a derivative work, A.R.T. Co. was legally within their rights to resell the cards in such a fashion.

When the defendant's modification of the plaintiff's work is de minimis, too insubstantial to "count", there is no infringing preparation of a derivative work. So long as there is no derivative work, there is no infringement—since no conduct that the Copyright Act forbids has occurred."


Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 16th, 2014, 10:27 am

Q. Kumber wrote:Both are copyright infringements.

It's like being pregnant, only one is more pregnant than the other.


Well one is sold for money, one is put up for a laugh. I think it's very different. Stealing for money/posting for a laugh.

Also, look on youtube. Every concert nowadays has sections filmed and uploaded. Not every trick is stolen and resold shamelessly.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2014, 11:07 am

mrgoat wrote:
Q. Kumber wrote:Both are copyright infringements.

It's like being pregnant, only one is more pregnant than the other.


Well one is sold for money, one is put up for a laugh. I think it's very different. Stealing for money/posting for a laugh.

Also, look on youtube. Every concert nowadays has sections filmed and uploaded. Not every trick is stolen and resold shamelessly.


What does it mean when a thing is copied well and sold but somewhat out of context in time?

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Bill Mullins » April 16th, 2014, 11:28 am

1. None of us know the details of what has happened here. It could be legal, it might not be.

2. Violation of copyright is (generally) a civil tort, not a criminal act. If the person whose copyright is being violated doesn't care enough to do anything about it, it isn't the place of anyone else to do anything about it. (In other words, you are responsible for protecting your own copyrights, and the rest of us don't get to play copyright police.)

3. Whether or not any given act of copying is a copyright violation is often highly dependent on the specific facts of a case. Lee v. A.R.T. is the answer to that case. Whether it is the answer to any other case is up to a judge, in an adversarial proceeding, to decide. Sometimes it's art, sometimes it's copying, sometimes it's free use, sometimes they get away with it.

I've participated in the arguments in the past. I'll let this one slide. Ya'll have at it.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Q. Kumber » April 16th, 2014, 12:28 pm

mrgoat wrote:
Q. Kumber wrote:Both are copyright infringements.

It's like being pregnant, only one is more pregnant than the other.


Well one is sold for money, one is put up for a laugh. I think it's very different. Stealing for money/posting for a laugh.

Also, look on youtube. Every concert nowadays has sections filmed and uploaded. Not every trick is stolen and resold shamelessly.


I'm just intrigued as to where you draw the line.

It would appear that you don't mind people videoing and uploading intellectual content, providing they don't charge for it. Stealing for a laugh is OK, but stealing for money isn't?

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Brad Henderson » April 16th, 2014, 2:09 pm

erdansephile - thanks. that answers the question on the copyright front. Now interested in John Signa's trademark consideration. the potential confusion which is intended to be the result of the fair use if purchased material was at the heart of my question - how it impacts the situation.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Tom Moore » April 16th, 2014, 2:28 pm

Quentin - videoing of theatre performances isn't any kind of law or rule; it's usually the result of contract clauses imposed by the creative parties involved (typically directors, choreographers or designers) and also a politeness thing (holding up your camera to video a performance ruins the view for the people sat behind. It's fairly unique to traditional theatre; look at more experimental or experiential theatre, concerts, circus, street theatre and you'll generally find they don't just allow filming but actually encourage it as they've found a way to harness it as a marketing tool.

If the famous bird act has a clause in his booking contract/rider that says "don't film my act" then it shouldn't be filmed & put on youtube (as to do so would be a breach of contract, as noted elsewhere a civil matter not criminal) also if he does have such a clause then he would have to take action against BMC as they took precisely no actual steps whatsoever to stop filming or photography of his act or any other and they would be the people with whom his contract is with. They may then have a secondary contract with visitors (buying a ticket comes with Terms & conditions) which may prohibit filming of performances and it would then be under that breach of contract that they would take private legal action against the individuals who filmed.

Copyright is complicated stuff....
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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby MJE » April 16th, 2014, 2:47 pm

Interesting topic. Regarding the Disney coloring book prop made and sold by someone, it sounds pretty legal. It's simply reselling an existing item. But.....

What about PERFORMING the effect for a paying audience? A Disney character being presented in a live show (be it a costume, or even a drawing) must have some rights attached to it somwhere along the line. And Disney does, indeed, look for violations.

Naturally, they miss the vast majority, but I don't think I'd take the chance. The dealer selling this product needs a disclaimer of some sort if my guess is correct. Which seems crazy, but not quite as crazy as selling a DVD of effects and telling you (AFTER you've purchased it) that you are not allowed to perform the material. And exactly that did happen last year.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Q. Kumber » April 16th, 2014, 3:11 pm

Tom,

I take your point. However ...

Damian has regularly made posts about people stealing, and recently he even managed to annoy Dustin in a different thread, much of which was deleted. It's obviously a topic that he feels strongly about.

I'm just curious as to where he draws the line between what he feels is OK to take and what isn't.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 16th, 2014, 3:49 pm

Q. Kumber wrote:Tom,

I take your point. However ...

Damian has regularly made posts about people stealing, and recently he even managed to annoy Dustin in a different thread, much of which was deleted. It's obviously a topic that he feels strongly about.

I'm just curious as to where he draws the line between what he feels is OK to take and what isn't.


Nothing is OK to take that doesn't belong to you.

It was wrong to record and release the crazy old loony and his birds.

But hopefully it put at least a few people off giving that useless fckstick Lever more money for his appalling show next year. If so, some good came from it.

Seriously though, I think if you are taking something that is depriving someone of income, that is the most 'bad'. So, if you steal a magic trick, like the one posted above, and then steal Simpsons' artwork, and then resell it as your own, that is something that should get him banned from the Magic Circle and I will email the council and request they investigate.

It's really the hypocrisy of magicians that annoys me. Stealing magic instructional DVDs and books is very bad. Stealing TV shows from another country because you want to see them is fine. Reselling the material Daniels stole from the BBC is fine and supported by Dustin. That is what gets my goat. As t'were.

Hope that helps clear my stance on it Quentin, you rogue, you!

xoxo

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Q. Kumber » April 16th, 2014, 3:55 pm

Damian,

Thanks for the clarification.

I haven't seen the trick you mention but if he is using a flick book, that principle is most definitely public domain.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 16th, 2014, 4:51 pm

Q. Kumber wrote:Damian,

Thanks for the clarification.

I haven't seen the trick you mention but if he is using a flick book, that principle is most definitely public domain.


I don't think the simpsons artwork is public domain.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby John Bowden » April 16th, 2014, 8:30 pm

Speaking of stealing........................


I'd be very careful of stealing someone's character by accusing them of a crime unless I had already verified that they were guilty.

The undertaking that if they can prove that they are innocent I'll apologize is a very hollow promise.

Have you evidence that Mark Shortland is a thief?

Are you a thief Mr Goat? Can you prove that you are not?

No one is guilty unless proven so.

Genii Forum is as guilty as any thief in facilitating Mr Goat with these accusations which are totally unfounded and without any evidence being presented.

Maybe Mark Shortland lifted the Simpson material without authorization or permissions being sought but suspecting that he did it is not evidence and it isn't up to anyone here to ask Mark Shortland to account for his use of it or to prove his innocence.

But we are entilted to ask Mr Goat to prove that Mark Shortland is a thief.

So lets see and hear what evidence you have.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Joneseymagic » April 16th, 2014, 9:31 pm

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup painting is regarded as a masterpiece. Prints and posters are easily available. Is this a copyright violation?

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Jeremy Greystoke » April 16th, 2014, 11:10 pm

MJE wrote: Which seems crazy, but not quite as crazy as selling a DVD of effects and telling you (AFTER you've purchased it) that you are not allowed to perform the material. And exactly that did happen last year.


I hadn't heard about that one. What was the DVD in question? PM is fine if you don't want to announce the title...and the person responsible in public. Though that should be made known so any purchaser can make a reasoned decision as to whether or not to buy it, given that caveat.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby erdnasephile » April 16th, 2014, 11:43 pm

MJE:

Are you talking about Helder G's Red Mirror DVD?

There was a bit of a dustup about that at the Green Place, but Helder subsequently stated that "...Legally, you can perform the routines in the DVD. Period."

However, to briefly paraphrase, he then stated his position that people shouldn't just be copycats and perform the routines as presented on the DVD but rather, they should be original!

For more details see: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view ... 1&start=30

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 17th, 2014, 4:40 am

John Bowden wrote:The undertaking that if they can prove that they are innocent I'll apologize is a very hollow promise.


It's very simple to do though. Just post the agreement with Fox showing they agreed their IP could be used in a magic trick. As this has never happened before, it would be groundbreaking and very exciting for the magic community.

John Bowden wrote:Are you a thief Mr Goat? Can you prove that you are not?


How does one prove a negative?

John Bowden wrote:No one is guilty unless proven so.


Nonsense. Lots and lots of people are guilty of many things and it is never proven.

John Bowden wrote:But we are entilted to ask Mr Goat to prove that Mark Shortland is a thief.

So lets see and hear what evidence you have.


None. Hence me asking about it.

Well, none aside from the fact that The Simpsons has been on air since 1987 and have never licensed their characters for a magic trick to my knowledge.

I'll be asking the circle council to investigate.

Thanks for your interest.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby John Bowden » April 17th, 2014, 5:22 am

So without any proof whatsoever you come here and call someone a thief?

Genii Forum needs people like you.

I never stated that Mark Shortland was not guilty of using the Simpson material illegally but he is entitled to be considered innocent until someone can prove he is guilty.

It is not up to Mark Shortland to come on here and prove he has permission to use the Simpson material just to satisfy you.

You have certainly not proven anything other than the fact that Genii Forum allows you to post any sort of accusations against anyone because you have some shared hatred of the same people.

Your credibility is questionable without facts to back up your statements regarding Mark Shortland.

Cheers
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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby mrgoat » April 17th, 2014, 6:41 am

John Bowden wrote:I never stated that Mark Shortland was not guilty of using the Simpson material illegally


I didn't say you did.

John Bowden wrote:It is not up to Mark Shortland to come on here and prove he has permission to use the Simpson material just to satisfy you.


Again, not something I demanded.

John Bowden wrote:You have certainly not proven anything


Again, I've not stated I have. This is getting dull now.

John Bowden wrote:Your credibility is questionable without facts to back up your statements regarding Mark Shortland.


Sigh. I don't claim to have any credibility. I just point out the fact that in 27 years Fox's IP has not been licensed for a magic trick.

Now, try and make a post without these tedious straw men and ad hominem attacks and you might be taken a little more seriously. As it is, you just seem like a fan boy of Shortland who has his knickers in a twist because I had the AUDACITY to ask if pirating IP was as bad as selling pirated DVDs.

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Re: Magicians stealing

Postby Kent Gunn » April 17th, 2014, 9:18 am

Nimrods on magic boards are not bound to presume someone is innocent until proven guilty. That meme is reserved for courts of law. We, the unshaven masses, can make accusations all we want to. Our Satyred friend, here on the Genii forum feels strongly about thievery in magic. That's a good thing. He's like a insane keeper of the flame, on this topic. He has a strongly moral stance here. Stealing stuff is wrong. He doesn't like it and within the bounds of libel laws he's pretty much free to rant on.

Twisting up one's knickers and demanding proof shows you too are passionate. Damian's writing style, with it's open-handed sarcasm irritates a lot of people. He does that on purpose.

Damian, speaking of thieves, you've stolen my heart.

KG


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