Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

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Tom Stone
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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Tom Stone » January 9th, 2020, 7:15 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:I'm sorry Tom if you either did not understand, or simply decided to blur the distinction between the NON-Copyrightability of a magic trick and the copyrightability of an original performance, in Teller's case, "Shadows." You called my statement that a magic trick could not receive copyright protection "nonsense." You were clearly and indisputably wrong. I cited the court's express statement that "magic tricks are not copyrightable." Did you not read that? I understand that, above all, you do not want to do the gentlemanly thing of simply admitting you were wrong, and are going to stand, at all costs, by your unjustified (and now-discredited) attack on my statement (and that of the court) as being "nonsense." As far as I'm concerned, my discussion with you on this point is over, Dude. I am simply too busy to pursue it further, because I am arguing with Steven Spielberg right now that I know more about film directing than he does...


What the US court said makes little sense. Probably because they didn’t know the topic at hand. So you have to go after the outcome

"While Dogge is correct that magic tricks are not copyrightable, this does not mean that 'Shadows' is not subject to copyright protection. Indeed, federal law directly holds 'dramatic works' as well as 'pantomimes' are subject to copyright protection, granting owners exclusive public performance rights."


Magic routines are ”dramatic works”, so the outcome was correct. Exactly what they mean with the first sentence is unclear, since they then immediately contradict what they’ve just
Maybe they mean public domain tricks? Or simple tricks below the threshold of originality, like pulling your thumb off? Or maybe they mean sleights - in the style of ”chords can not be copyrighted, but music compositions can.”?
Don’t know, but it seems clear they have no idea what the nature of a magic routine is. But they still recognized Teller’s trick as a dramatic work, and acted accordingly.

As they would do in any other magic related case. They might phrase it in weird ways, but the outcome would be equal to the outcome any other artistic field would have.

Teller did not lose, regardless of how much you argue otherwise. His magic trick was found to be a dramatic work, and covered by copyright.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 9th, 2020, 9:15 pm

Only his performance of it was covered by copyright, not the actual trick itself, and not the method.
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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 9th, 2020, 9:29 pm

The Teller decision is available here -> https://casetext.com/case/teller-v-dogge-20

Richard's choice to exclude XX from the benefits of reference here at the genii forum makes sense. It's not indifferent silence so much as choosing not to add fuel to a fire, or give resources to a problem.

How does one write up a dramatic presentation in a way that gains the benefits of existing legal protections?
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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby performer » January 9th, 2020, 10:51 pm

Ideas in general cannot be copyrighted. It is the execution of those ideas that creates the rights rather than the idea itself.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Tom Stone » January 10th, 2020, 1:06 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Only his performance of it was covered by copyright, not the actual trick itself, and not the method.

Hm. Yes, the Rome Convention (performers rights) is open to States party to the Berne Convention, but I thought you didn’t believe the Berne Convention exist.

No, Dogge did not broadcast bootleg videos of Teller performing his piece. The case was about Dogge *performing* Tellers piece while tricking others to do the same. Tellers performance wasn’t a part of it, it was solely about his rights as a creator.

What do you mean with ”the trick itself” and ”method”? The work is the work. It is evaluated as a whole, just like any other dramatic work.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 10th, 2020, 7:49 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:This is apparently my day for having people disagree with me. .....

I agree with everything that you said in that post.

(Just realised that, in the current context, that might be taken as a flippant comment. And that's not my intention.)

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 10th, 2020, 9:35 am

Dave Le Fevre wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:This is apparently my day for having people disagree with me. .....

I agree with everything that you said in that post.

(Just realised that, in the current context, that might be taken as a flippant comment. And that's not my intention.)


You are thoughtful and gracious, Dave. Thank you!

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Bill Mullins » January 10th, 2020, 12:52 pm

Tom Stone wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Magic tricks are not protected by copyright in the United States. Magic tricks are considered "ideas," and "ideas" cannot be copyrighted in the United States. For reasons I do not pretend to understand, Tom refuses to accept this.

Ideas can’t be protected. Realised works can.

You can’t perform an idea. Once you can perform it, it is no longer an idea but a realised expression of that idea, and that expression is covered by copyright.


Not right. The work has to be recorded (written down, recorded on audio or video) to be eligible for copyright. And then the recording is copyrighted, not the thing that was recorded.

Suppose I invent a trick, and perform it multiple times. It is not copyrighted. Then I write it down, in a set of lecture notes. Those notes are copyrighted. The trick isn't.

From the statute:
"In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery," The methods of tricks (which all too often, drive the patter and effect) fall into these categories. The basic ideals of tricks are plots ("card rises to the top of the deck"; "card jumps to wallet"; "cut rope is restored"), which have never been copyrightable.

Teller's copyright was recognized because he structured and recorded it as a dramatic work, with a script and choreography. If the guy had done the same basic effect, but with substantially different pacing, blocking, and dramatic beats, it still would have been the same trick (cutting the leaves off via the shadow), but a different "play", and the decision may well have gone differently.

The films Ten Things I Hate About You, McClintock!, Deliver Us From Eva; the musical play Kiss Me Kate; and the TV episode of Moonlighting "Atomic Shakespeare" are all based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, and carry the same plot -- for our purposes, they are the same trick. But they are different expressions of the work, and don't infringe each other's copyrights. Likewise, Kenner/Liwag, Townsend, Kohler, Garrett, and Daryl all have versions of the same trick (visual chest-high coins across), but they didn't violate each other's copyright by re-imagining it.

Tom Stone wrote:Magic routines are ”dramatic works”, so the outcome was correct.

Only if the routine is precisely defined, scripted and recorded (as Teller's was), and the possibly-infringing work follows the recorded version closely enough that it is seen as a performance of that specific recorded version, or is a derivative the specific creative elements that were copyrighted. If the trick is loosely defined, without specific script or blocking or choreography, or if the magician performs it in a different style, or packing, or as a different persona would do it, then not so much.

Teller's situation had a number of very specific circumstances that all worked to his advantage. A generic youtube performance of, say Hollingworth's "Waving the Aces" isn't comparable and wouldn't have the same result.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Tom Stone » January 10th, 2020, 3:41 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Not right. The work has to be recorded (written down, recorded on audio or video) to be eligible for copyright. And then the recording is copyrighted, not the thing that was recorded.

Ok, so when a playwright writes a play, only the script have copyright? If you copy a live production of said play, you can produce the play yourself without permission, under your own name, without any repercussions?
Same with music then? Only the sheet music have protection, not the actual music?
Intriguing! That is not how it works outside USA.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 10th, 2020, 5:04 pm

Tom, why can't you understand that the law you espouse does not exist in the USA, and is not enforceable in the USA. Most of us here are not outside the USA--we are IN the USA.
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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Bill Mullins » January 10th, 2020, 5:55 pm

Tom Stone wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:Not right. The work has to be recorded (written down, recorded on audio or video) to be eligible for copyright. And then the recording is copyrighted, not the thing that was recorded.

Ok, so when a playwright writes a play, only the script have copyright? If you copy a live production of said play, you can produce the play yourself without permission, under your own name, without any repercussions?
Same with music then? Only the sheet music have protection, not the actual music?
Intriguing! That is not how it works outside USA.


The difference between plays/music and magic tricks is that plays/music are done verbatim. Each word in a play is specified, and each note in musical composition (or word in the lyric of a song) is the same each time it is performed. The dialog for "Death of a Salesman" is the same now as it was when Miller wrote it down 70 years ago. We sing songs by Cole Porter today with the same lyrics and melody as when he wrote them. Often, these works are significantly lessened if we don't follow them exactly. Change or add a word out in a Shakespeare soliloquy, and it sounds "off" -- every syllable is important. Play a song with a note out of tune, and it sounds bad. Add or subtract a word to the lyric, and the tempo goes off.

Not so with tricks. Get 10 magicians doing Dunbury Delusion, and you will have ten different performances -- different patter, difference blocking and choreography, they will have different beats of interest, possibly even different sleights and methods to accomplish the effect. But still, to a layperson, they have performed the same trick. Dunbury Delusion is a plot; it is not a specified sequence of words and moves. While it is created, it is not authored. Your specific performance of Dunbury Delusion may be authored (and copyrightable), but unless I copy it word-for-word and move-for-move, I haven't infringed your copyright. The impact of a trick is a singular moment of surprise. The card's identity changes. I can get to that point any of a thousand different ways, and from a copyright perspective, each of them is an independent work.

Teller's genius was that the effect was novel (which weakens arguments that the trick is just his "take" on a standard plot) and that the effect tells a story much more than most magic tricks do; that to do it well, you should do it very much like he did it (so the things a copyist copies are very specific things that Teller "authored" -- script, choreography, staging, prop handling, blocking, etc., and not just the basic plot and standard sleights); and that when he originated it, he recorded it in forms similar to recognizably-copyrightable preexisting works (i.e., a play), which made it easy for judge/jury to say "this is similar to things I know are copyrighted, so this is copyrighted" (most tricks don't look and feel like a "dramatic work", and aren't "fixed in tangible form" like a dramatic work, so courts have to work to shove them into the named categories in copyright law). In addition, he had the means to pursue the infringement in court (which is hugely important).

If you were to invent a trick, record exactly what you say when you perform it, with very specific stage directions as to how to accomplish the moves and methods of the trick, that is your trick. And if I copy it verbatim, move-for-move, with the same background music, then yes I have probably infringed your copyright (plus the copyrights of the composer and performers of the music . . How do you address that in performance?). But I could watch you do "Benson Burner", and then go out the next day and do a sponge ball routine where a huge number of balls appear at the end, and with trivial changes to music and handling, and the addition of patter I won't be infringing (from a copyright perspective) what you created.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Tom Stone » January 10th, 2020, 7:05 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Tom, why can't you understand that the law you espouse does not exist in the USA, and is not enforceable in the USA. Most of us here are not outside the USA--we are IN the USA.

Ok, so you are not party of the Berne treaty. And Teller did not win his case. What’s next? Your views on the flat earth theory?

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Tom Stone » January 10th, 2020, 7:12 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:The difference between plays/music and magic tricks is that plays/music are done verbatim..

So your artistic work can never be protected, only the documentation of it?.
That is not how anything works.
But I could watch you do "Benson Burner", and then go out the next day and do a sponge ball routine where a huge number of balls appear at the end, and with trivial changes to music and handling, and the addition of patter I won't be infringing (from a copyright perspective) what you created.

Only trivial changes? Then please do.
To make it easier, I do not grant you any performance rights for any of my work. If I’ve happened to grant permission in the past, it is withdrawn now.
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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Brad Henderson » January 10th, 2020, 7:16 pm

According to WIPO one of the basic principles of Berne is:

(1) The three basic principles are the following:

(a) Works originating in one of the Contracting States (that is, works the author of which is a national of such a State or works first published in such a State) must be given the same protection in each of the other Contracting States AS THE LATTER GRANTS TO THE WORKS OF ITS OWN NATIONALS. (principle of "national treatment") [1]. (Emphasis added)

Does this not suggest that copyright laws are NOT universal - Only that a country is obligated to treat a work according to its own laws regardless of which participant country the work originated in

Yes ?

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby performer » January 10th, 2020, 7:18 pm

You don't have to have copyright anyway. You can work wonders PRETENDING you have copyright! I have done it many times. I won't explain here how though just in case I need to do it again!

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Tom Stone » January 10th, 2020, 7:25 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:According to WIPO one of the basic principles of Berne is:

Yes ?

Correct. Continue reading.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Brad Henderson » January 10th, 2020, 8:18 pm

Why?

It says that a piece of work is protected only to the degree of the country in charge of enforcing it. So RK would be correct when he states that in the US your claims hold no legal merit.

Correct?

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Jack Shalom » January 10th, 2020, 8:59 pm

What follows is "MINIMUM STANDARDS OF PROTECTION [that is, a country can make more stringent rules, but it must at least agree to the following]...protection must include "every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever the mode or form of its expression" which I assume includes public performance--not necessarily only scripted ones.

Let's say I go out on a stage and give an extemporaneous original comedic riff on The Lone Ranger. The next night someone else gives substantially the same riff [he was sitting in the audience recording it]. My interpretation would be that the Berne Convention which the US ratified in 1988 would forbid that without authorization.

Contrast that to someone who comes out the next night and does a comedic riff about The Lone Ranger, but it is not a word for word copy--just similar ideas. That, I think, would not be subject to the Berne Convention.

When does the second situation become the first? That's why you have courts.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Tom Stone » January 11th, 2020, 11:20 am

Brad Henderson wrote:Why?

Because the next part is the relevant part. See Jack’s post.
The next part is the main reason Teller won his case.
It says that a piece of work is protected only to the degree of the country in charge of enforcing it. So RK would be correct when he states that in the US your claims hold no legal merit.
Correct?

No. You’re ignoring the minimum standards on purpose.

In other parts of the world, it is enough that your work have a fixed form; that consequtive performances are largely the same. (I.e, The trick that cannot be explained, Mnemnocosis and the like are out of bounds for copyright).

USA have the extra requirement that the work must also be documented, detailed enough so that the work can be duplicated by following the documentation. That doesn’t cut into the minimum standards, so that regional variant is allowed.

That means that if I have an undocumented work, it doesn’t matter that I have copyright protection at home - if the transgression happens in America, there’s nothing I can do.
Therefore, as soon as a piece is ready, I film it and put as an unlisted video on Youtube.

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Re: Magic Community in TOTAL SILENCE as Youtube Magician EXPOSES Hundreds of Magic Tricks

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 19th, 2020, 8:45 pm

There are better ways of managing your brand. But copyrighting the play/vignette you perform is a good idea. Here's some more for folks who like to read: http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/777340/T ... +From+2018
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