The Workers are IN!!

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
Bob Farmer
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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Bob Farmer » February 2nd, 2010, 6:50 pm

Todd that was truly a bizarre post. I can only surmise that Close must have poured sand in your milling machine or broken your drill bits or something like that.

As to "Tsunami," this is a world-famous card trick that's been on the market since 1987 and has been compared favorably by those who should know to "Out of this World." Recently, some guy decided to put out a card trick and call it "Tsunami." Dumb.

The etiquette in the magic world is that if a title comes to be associated with a particular person or trick, it should be left alone. Anyone creative enough to think of a trick should be creative enough to think of a title. It has nothing to do with ego or arrogance and everything to do with respect and honor.

"Lassen" has a certain cachet with respect to coins -- if someone else decided to use "Lassen," I'm sure you would object and I'm sure you wouldn't see your objection as egotistical or arrogant.

Ditto Close and "Workers." Ditto "Tsunami."

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Todd Lassen » February 2nd, 2010, 8:25 pm

Yeah, I was manipulated around quite a bit when I was still wet behind the magic manufacturer's ears ..by a number of "stars" in magic.

"Lassen" is my name. I HOPE no one steals that. If they do, it would probably be their loss. :)

It's stated above that the word "workers" was established in this particular context long before Close. He popularized it, I guess, along with other magicians at Illusions. Magicians have adopted the word in it's context and use it to describe a certain quality of magic. Even I know..if it's a worker..I know what that means. It doesn't mean to me...oh, Close uses that word, so I can only think of Mike Close if I use that word. Nor does it take one iota from Close if I use that word to describe a magic routine or effect that is not his.

Now he steps up and says basically that these guys can't use that word to describe their magic. That's rediculous. And it's hardly stealing. Copying someone's work and putting a different name on it...that's stealing.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 2nd, 2010, 8:32 pm

I am not condoning Todd Lassens post, but I do want to take Bob Farmers argument to its logical extension.

So, by the extension of Bobs argument, Joe Stevens should be chastised for having the unmitigated gall to subtitle his series of videos Greater Magic.

And L&L is pushing the same ethics envelope by having the phrase Worlds Greatest Magic in the title of their series of videos. (And that was the title of a book long before it was an annual NBC magic show.)

Who was the first person to use Close-up in the title of a book? After all, Close-up was not part of the lexicon of magic until sometime in the 20th century, right? Before that it was pocket magic and vest-pocket magic. Who was that first guy to use Close-up in their book title becausebased on these argumentseveryone who comes after should be ashamed of themselves, the thieving rat bastards.

How high is our horse?

Michael Close published (and I believe marketed) a trick called Pink Floyd. Well doesnt that take some balls!?!

And Crawford Kilians novel, Tsunami was published in 1983. What year did your trick come out Bob; 1987?

Or does our horse not go quite so high that its okay to lift titles from genres outside of magic?

As Ive said before, Workerslike Close-up, Invisible Deck, Matrix, Spellbound, Triumph, Twisting, Collectors, and a boatload of other titles, phrases, and words (most coined by giants)has entered into the lexicon of magic.

How many people get to say that about something they did?

Mike Close shouldnt be pissed: he should be proud.

Dustin

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 2nd, 2010, 8:40 pm

We have the means to protect titles etc with (R), (TM) and such.

IMHO the "Workers" product is not likely to be confused with the "New York Coin Magic Seminar Volume X (workers 1,2,3)" product.

Dustin - telling someone how they should feel is even more insulting than telling someone you know how they feel.
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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 2nd, 2010, 9:24 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:...telling someone how they should feel is even more insulting than telling someone you know how they feel.


You're right JT: My apologies.

So please allow me to rephrase my opinion: If it were me, I wouldn't be pissed; I'd be proud.

PS
Another point I've been trying to make: I count Mike Close among the giants of magic. We are lucky to have him.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Steve Bryant » February 2nd, 2010, 9:32 pm

You're a good writer, Dustin. Your line was better the first time.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Brad Henderson » February 2nd, 2010, 9:36 pm

I find this an interesting discussion. And I think there is a difference between someone using the word Tsunami as a name to a trick and Workers - as an adjective describing a trick.

"Worker" has entered our shared lexicon as a descriptive term. As such, it's use and application extends to many items, by Close's definition. Consequently, I think describing an effect as a "worker" is a reasonable thing to do. I wonder if Close takes issue when people refer to tricks not devised by him as "a worker?" I wouldn't think so, but I have never asked.

re4gardless, "Worker(s)" as a title or series DOES belong to Mike Close (at least by common understanding). The risk in using the word "worker" or "workers" as a title (noun) does run the risk of creating product/author confusion and as such is probably wise to avoid.

In this case, the term is used in a sub-title, further muddying the issue.

So, does Close take issue when people use the word "worker" to describe a trick? What if it were used in a dealer write up of the trick, and not the title?

I don't know that I have ever heard him comment one way or the other.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Pete McCabe » February 2nd, 2010, 10:20 pm

This kind of thing comes up quite frequently in the real world, if you'll pardon the expression. The last time I checked, the basic test was this: will a "typical" prospective customer be confused?

So McDonald's burger chain can not bar McDonald's Bicycles from using the name McDonald's, because the typical customer will not be confused into thinking that the shop is connected with the fast-food chain.

I don't want to pile on to Mssrs. Rubinstein, Gallo, and Roth, but when I read the title, that's the first thing I thought. This is not a scientific survey (n=1), but I think this is really the bottom-line question. Will prospective customers think Mike Close is involved?

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Mike Rubinstein » February 3rd, 2010, 4:09 am

I am currently on a lecture tour in Europe, and got a chance to read this. I have a great respect for any magician who puts out tricks, DVD's, books, that advance our art. I apologized to Mr. Close for that reason, as I am truely sorry he felt I stepped on his toes. I also sent him a private apology on this PM system, but he has not opened it yet. That being said, People are using the term Workers all over the freakin place. I don't see anyone getting on Steve Brooks for his section on the Magic Cafe (in the CARD section) called The Workers. There is a guy advertising on the Cafe about worker material named Matthew Johnson. Workers is a great term to describe a type of trick, and people all over the world use that term. If Mike is the one guy who popularized it, what a great honor. I can't believe that ANYONE who looks at our DVD's will think there is an association to Mr. Close's series. They are on different aspects of magic, and from different people. The title is THE NEW YORK COIN MAGIC SEMINAR series!!! No false advertising here.
To clear things up, I am the one who came up with the subtitles, but none of the people who were associated with our seminar (including the well known magicians who attended our seminar) seemed to have a problem with it. What I resent, is that people just got on the bandwagon to trash us, and insult us, because its just so easy to sit behind a computer and take shots. Mr. Farmer, a prominent lawyer, took a cheap shot by saying that all the other volumes (over 26 hours and 140 routines were on material that didn't work. Mr. Farmer, I don't think that someone putting the name of your packet trick on another packet trick is quite the same thing, and warrants your unprofessional response to me. If you feel so strongly about the word, you talk to Brooks about getting that Workers section off the Cafe (where ther is no Mike close reference).
The other guys who got right on here and blasted our subtitle also took shots at me personally for being poorly read. As a Veterinarian, I keep up with the latest on medicine with dogs and cats. I don't read up on horses and cows, as its not the kind of medicine that I practice. I'm a coin guy, and don't read up on card material. Or mentalism. And I'll bet the same card guys who took shots at me for not knowing the Workers series have no idea what is in our own series!
I once got flack from a NY magician who didn't like the dedication in my first book. Jeez Louise! Is this what magicians focus on when they get new material????? If you want to comment on the material, say you liked it or not, that's fair game. All of that should be open to honest discussion, and the internet is a great place to do that. But to trash my group because you didn't like the subtitle? Wow. We work hard, as does Mr. Close, Mr. Farmer, and others who have published, to put out quality material to help advance the art of magic, and provide a reference source on coin magic that will be used for the years to come. The latest DVD's contain a wealth of quality material that magicians will be able to use for their friends, family, or professionally. Each DVD contains two hours of solid magic (no one trick DVD's here. No filler here. No 5 tricks and out here). Our series has almost 200 routines and over 30 hours of practical, hard hitting coin magic with contributions from guests that are tops in their field. You don't like the name Workers, Back to Workers, and Workers United? OK. But when you look for our product, you will look for the New York Coin Magic Seminar DVDs, from Roth, Rubinstein, and Gallo.
we hope you enjoy them, learn from them, and use the material.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Bob Farmer » February 3rd, 2010, 7:42 am

As I said above -- it all comes down to etiquette and respect, not legalities (nor Dustin's self-assessed logical extension that starts out fine and then goes off the rails completely).

This is a small community. We need some understandings so we don't bang elbows. It is so easy to do a Google search on a name -- it takes seconds. In fact, I'm marketing an effect that I decided to call "Off With Her Head" -- but a quick search showed that at least two people (David Regal and someone eerily named "Magicbob") had beat me to it -- so I came up with something else (though David Regal graciously said I could use the title).

P.S. Legally, Pete McCabe has it right.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby skmayhew » February 3rd, 2010, 3:58 pm

Mike Rubinstein wrote: But when you look for our product, you will look for the New York Coin Magic Seminar DVDs, from Roth, Rubinstein, and Gallo.


I found those DVDs by looking for Michael Close's Workers series. Your method might work, too. Not really needed, though.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Bob Farmer » February 3rd, 2010, 5:34 pm

Apparently, Mike's new dvd is called, "New York Close Magic Seminar."

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby mrgoat » February 3rd, 2010, 5:47 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:Apparently, Mike's new dvd is called, "New York Close Magic Seminar."


I heard the new coin DVD is called More Inner Secrets of Coin Magic.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 3rd, 2010, 8:25 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:it all comes down to etiquette and respect, not legalities (nor Dustin's self-assessed logical extension that starts out fine and then goes off the rails completely).


Bob,

What you call going off the rails I call a legitimate question begging for an answer.

So please allow me to rephrase: Where do we draw the line?

I will concede to your point that we (the niche magic community) need to show respect within our own boundaries (thus, apparently, making it okay to stray into the larger realms of music, film, mainstream literature, etc. for some of our creativity, but I digress).

But I am still waiting for youor anyone for that matterto refute that Workers, like all of the other examples I have given, has transcended being a mere title: That it is on the same level of all those other words and phrases that are now, for lack of a better phrase, of common usage in magic.

And am I alone in thinking that this is a major accomplishment in someones careerworthy of legacy-making? I dont think anyone is disputingat least I certainly am notthat Michael Close is the guy who took that word to that level by defining it and, just as significantly, publishing material that lives up to that lofty definition. Frankly, anyone who is not in awe of Michael Close simply doesnt get it.

So I ask again, where do we draw the line on such words and phrases? When does it become okay to start using them in our language?

Do we wait until the source dies (such as with Greater Magic, thus taking Joe Stevens off the hook)?

We cant really do that because the relevant precedent is already set: Vernon was very much alive when the vast majority of Triumphs, Spellbounds, and various Twistings were published and those titles came to define entire categories of effects. I never heard him complain about thatnot that he would have to me. But neither have I heard of him ever complaining about it.

Okay, Don Alan was not too happy about the whole Invisible Deck thing; Ill give you that one. But its still part of his legacy (which reaffirms the importance I place in my reviews on proper crediting in the printed and visual record; if we dont, things like Don Alans legacy disappear).

No offense, but Tsunami doesnt quite hit the same mark as Workers (it doesnt, by itself, define an effect or genre in magic), so I can only say that the guy who put out a trick with that name is a putz.

As much as Id like to, Im not sure we can draw a line. Time seems to be the arbiter; its been almost twenty years since Michael Closes Workers series was first published. In that time, the wordand there is simply no disputing ithas become what it is. And like time, theres no stopping it.

Respectfully,
Dustin

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 3rd, 2010, 8:39 pm

IMHO the arbiter is simple courtesy. Taking someone's work or branding for ones own use without obtaining prior permission is ... perhaps less than we'd like for our ethos.
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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Shawn Farquhar » February 3rd, 2010, 9:15 pm

A little research never hurt anyone. Google is our friend at times.

I created an effect called "Tagged" in the late 90's and now a quick google will show you two additional effects created in the past couple of years with the exact same name by Richard Sanders and Rich Ferguson. I have to agree with Mr. Farmer that if the creator of the effect can be so creative on with their magic ... why not the name too?

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 3rd, 2010, 9:26 pm

My brain hurts. My point is either being missed completely or ignored outright.

Shawn, has "Tagged" become a word in magic's unpublishedbut certainly existingdictionary that defines whatever its effect is?

If we had an Oxford Magic Dictionary, Workers would in fact be an entry. It would have three definitions: 1. Proper noun, the title of a series of books by M. Close; 2. Noun, a category of magic routines; 3. Adjective, a trick or routine described as a worker.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Shawn Farquhar » February 3rd, 2010, 9:30 pm

I didn't disagree with you Dustin, I agreed with Mr. Farmer.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Brad Henderson » February 3rd, 2010, 11:12 pm

Heads you win, Tails I loose.

I think this heated discussion is a good thing. Now that more people than ever before are pumping out product, it's only inevitable that names start being co opted from one trick to the next. (I mean, we're already co opting tricks, how many one word names can there be, right?)

I have seen this name copying occurring more and more lately. Perhaps it's time we as a community (I know, I know) consider the issue.

Part of the problem is that not only is there no means of enforcement, there is no consistency among concern.

Shawn's Tagged example is a good one, as is the Garcia/Kimlat Warning title. Unless the original "namer" complains, then there is rarely any commentary at all.

Consequently, some people claim that this is selective enforcement (as if there were ANY enforcement) or it is a case of popular people bullying others.

I would hope we could move beyond that.

So, what should the rules be?

I think Dustin's point is valid: Is there a difference between a trick name and a term of art? Would Workers qualify as the later or only a title of a series? Can it be both and would the rules apply to both? We don't confuse Spellbound the show with Spellbound the trick with Spellbound the state of being . . . but I am inclined to agree that "titling" a product with the word "worker(s)" does infringe upon Close. But calling something a worker should be fair game, yes?

Can different types of tricks be given the same title? While naming a coin trick "triumph" would be stupid (in my opinion) it makes me wonder how different must something be before it could share the same name?

If you had a magic wand and could legislate the rules, what would they be?

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby the Larry » February 4th, 2010, 2:06 am

In a keyword driven world ala Google we have to learn to build new habits and guidelines. Gotta agree with Mr. Farmer. Do a Google search and find a unique name. To claim that coin magic occupies a different market space to card magic is a hard argument to make in a small field like magic. Both are close-up magic and most close-up magicians I know study cards and coins and not exclusively one or the other.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 4th, 2010, 8:53 am

the Larry wrote:In a keyword driven world ala Google we have to learn to ...


What is this "we have to learn" tact? Children in grade school know how to use google to search for things. Children are usually taught to ask for permission to use other people's work and property.

How about folks stop taking those "magic pills" which put you in "performer" mode when not working for your audience (of laymen) and get back to our shared world of common courtesy?

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 4th, 2010, 8:55 am

Bob, how might one confuse the Kelvin's four card transformation routine with your tsunami routine? Also how did you go about securing the title by way of TM, SM, R or such?
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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Bob Farmer » February 4th, 2010, 9:51 am

Trademark rights arise by use and association. When you register a trademark you are registering what you already own.

It doesn't matter if a word is a term of art: if by use and custom it becomes associated in a particular field for a particular product or service, it can become a trademark for that product or service.

However, as I said above, this is a matter of etiquette, not of drawing bright lines, fine lines or no lines or of arguing legalities. In the tiny demi-monde that is magic, etiquette dictates that I own "Tsunami" and Mike Close owns "Workers." Others must respect that and act accordingly.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 4th, 2010, 9:54 am

Understood and agreed about trademarks. That is what I feel best practice - is it expensive to impliment?

But getting back to the etiquette aspect:
Others must respect that or what?
Really. Or what?

I argue that till one can't find a work which contradicts that etiquette there's little reason for anyone believe it. Hoffmann puts that presupposed etiquette to rest as a lie via Hofzinser and Dekolta. As does Expert Card Technique via Vernon and Miller and any work which contains ... other such.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 4th, 2010, 10:33 am

I will say this only one more time: Yoo-Hoo is NOT chocolate.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby mrgoat » February 4th, 2010, 10:40 am

Bob Farmer wrote:It doesn't matter if a word is a term of art: if by use and custom it becomes associated in a particular field for a particular product or service, it can become a trademark for that product or service.


In the UK, at least, trademark is a very specific legal term and certainly never can be applied because of the number of people who use a word.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 4th, 2010, 10:47 am

Dustin Stinett wrote:I will say this only one more time: Yoo-Hoo is NOT chocolate.


They sell other flavors where you are?

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Magic Newswire » February 4th, 2010, 11:15 am

Current Flavors:
Chocolate
Lite Chocolate
Double Fudge

Discontinued:
Milk & Cookies (Christmas Special Once a Year Offer)
Island Coconut (same as Koko Blanco)
Vampires & Cream (Halloween Edition)
Eggnog
Chocolate-Banana
Chocolate-Strawberry
Chocolate-Coconut
Chocolate-Mint
Chocolate-Pomegranate
Chocolate-Grapefruit
Chocolate-Raspberry
Chocolate-Apricot
Chocolate-Orange
Chocolate-Cinnamon
Chocolate-Lemon
Hot Chocolate (Winter Special)
Koko Blanco
Banana
Chocolate Cow
Chocolate Extreme
Cookies & Cream
Chocolate Vanilla
Dyna-Mocha
Mocha-Choka (Limited offer)

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Pete McCabe » February 4th, 2010, 11:39 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Children are usually taught to ask for permission to use other people's work and property.


When and/or where are children taught this? Because I can tell you with some authority that it is not taught in schools in America. Children are taught not to take other people's property, but they are not taught that a name is property.

And they are not explicitly taught to ask for permission to use other people's work, because when you're a child it never comes up. At most students are taught to mention sources when quoting or paraphrasing other people's work.

So if we want magicians to do this, we need to teach them.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby mrgoat » February 4th, 2010, 11:42 am

Pete McCabe wrote:
And they are not explicitly taught to ask for permission to use other people's work, because when you're a child it never comes up. At most students are taught to mention sources when quoting or paraphrasing other people's work.


I am afraid that since the internet, kids have certainly been taught not to just rip stuff off wiki and pretend they wrote it.

Teachers are clearly wise to this and specifically teach their children they cannot just take work someone else wrote and try and pass it off as their own.

At least in the UK.

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 4th, 2010, 11:51 am

Magic Newswire wrote:Current Flavors:
Chocolate
Lite Chocolate
Double Fudge...


you mean Chocloate, More Chocolate and Chocolate United? :D

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Ted M » February 4th, 2010, 3:40 pm

Laws

Legal arguments aren't really helpful.

Even if "Workers" was a registered trademark, it would no longer apply.

When a (U.S. legal) trademark is established, the owner is then responsible for defending it against dilution. If "workers" has entered the general conjuring lexicon as a general term rather than the specific tricks of Mike Close, then it is diluted to the point where it no longer distinctly marks the goods of Close's trade, and the trademark is lost. (Unfortunately that means that the folks who most credit Close's influence on the lexicon are the ones who would most undermine any claim to a trademark.)

And there's no legal protection for book titles, which get recycled all the time.

Social Laws: Etiquette and Crediting

However, within communities there exist additional rules, like social laws, but with social punishment instead of punishment via force. These social laws are called etiquette.

Crediting is an increasingly important rule of etiquette in the magic community, and that's what was violated here. Mostly it's trick plots and sleights that are credited, but Close's precise description of the qualities of solid tricks usable by working professionals and the coinage of the term "workers" as a one-word handle to conveniently talk about that concept was an important work of theory, and theory deserves crediting too.

These days any ignorant teen who reinvents well-known sleights and tries to publish them will meet with scorn from the magical community. Similar scorn will greet any careless magician who tries to publish tricks without crediting the component sleights or the original trick creator.

I think part of what we're seeing here is the same standard applied to the uncredited appropriation of a bit of theory. As with sleights, the community standard seems to be that when somebody is publishing, ignorance does not excuse the offense.

The scorn serves a useful purpose in the community, to reinforce the need for crediting where it is due. After all, before one can credit, one must do research and increase one's knowledge of the field. And raising the community's level of knowledge benefits the community.

(The other part of what we're seeing here is tension over money and confusion in the marketplace, which is exacerbated because the community is so small. That part has been pretty well explored by others in this thread.)

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Bob Farmer » February 4th, 2010, 4:09 pm

Ted M rules. Ok?

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 4th, 2010, 4:58 pm

Okay, so lets recap:

The NY Coin Guys could have done a better job of subtitling their new DVDs.
Michael Close is god-like.
Workers is a word.
No Coke, Pepsi.
No Pepsi, Coke.
American chocolate Sucks.
Ted M. Rules.
Yoo-Hoo has multiple flavors, none of which are really chocolate.

Can I lock the thread now?

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Re: The Workers are IN!!

Postby Michael Close » February 4th, 2010, 5:55 pm

Yes. Lock this thread.

I am only a God of War I and God of War II, but I'm waiting for God of War III.

But before you lock the thread, I should let everyone know that I feel regret that my new L&L two-DVD set is titled Michael Close - Devious: Spay or Neuter Your Pets.

It's a misleading title.


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