Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
Terrence
Posts: 203
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Van Nuys, CA

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Terrence » November 2nd, 2010, 8:42 am

Damien - Send an email to Ira_msn@msn.com

We need the help man!

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8068
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 2nd, 2010, 9:56 am

For some reason we still have folks who imagine that it's okay to do other people's tricks and who fret over guarding performance records to such an extent that they are not readily available to the student. What we wind up with is some indirect rediscovery of the wheel (so to speak) and much that could be respected in context being relegated so to the "so what - I already figured that out for myself" catagory of learning.

It's 2010. Why is this stuff not already up on a private YouTube/subscription channel?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 2nd, 2010, 10:26 am

Subscription channel is the right answer.

You can get a script to clone a tube site like youtube for a couple of hundred bucks. A dedicated server will run you about 150 bucks. Payment processing will run you around 5%.

You can get specialist companies who will do the ingestion and digitisation of ALL the content for you for a set fee, that nowadays is RIDICULOUSLY cheap.

Let's start the pricing at 20 bucks a month. Recurring. Add in cash payment like ukash options for people with no credit card/under 18s.

It's *really* easy and cheap nowadays.

User avatar
Joe Pecore
Posts: 1915
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Paul Harris
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Joe Pecore » November 2nd, 2010, 10:52 am

You might also want to discuss any options with Bill Kalush about hosting it on the Conjuring Arts Research Center's Ask Alexander service.
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 2nd, 2010, 1:42 pm

Good idea Joe, but video streaming has very special needs regarding hosting. It would need at *least* one dedicated server, probably more if it is as successful as I imagine it would be.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5103
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Bill Mullins » November 2nd, 2010, 2:05 pm

Just because the Magic Castle/AMA has copies of these videos doesn't mean they have the right to stream or otherwise distribute them.

Brian Tolman
Posts: 19
Joined: April 6th, 2008, 3:46 pm

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Brian Tolman » November 2nd, 2010, 2:05 pm

"Good idea Joe, but video streaming has very special needs regarding hosting. It would need at *least* one dedicated server, probably more if it is as successful as I imagine it would be."

I'm going to limit myself to just this comment, because, well, that's my choice.

Anywho, the AMA already has most/all the capability to stream archives. The issue is neither a technological nor infrastructure. Every year the AMA broadcasts its annual meeting, live. And members can stream the meeting later, if they like.

The issue is legal.

Like so many "collections" out there, the AMA, for the most part, does not have or cannot document the ownership of the copyrights of the performances. So setting up a dedicated server for broadcasting (even to our membership) would be an invitation to meet every attorney of every magician whose footage the AMA has.

User avatar
Joe Pecore
Posts: 1915
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Paul Harris
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Joe Pecore » November 2nd, 2010, 2:11 pm

Ask Alexander is using a commercial scalable suite of elastic IT infrastructure services. I think it could handle it if required. (if of course the copyright issues are worked out)
Last edited by Joe Pecore on November 2nd, 2010, 2:16 pm, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: if of course the copyright issues are worked out
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 2nd, 2010, 2:18 pm

Mr Tolman - has anyone ever tried to ask the living magicians, or the estates of the dead ones, if they would mind if their content was available to magician AMA members worldwide?

Not being facetious, serious question.

I wonder how many you have that would be considered public domain.

Not trying to tell anyone how to do anything, and I realise the rights issue, but just day dreaming I could feel closer to the Castle all the way over the pond...

Damian

Brian Tolman
Posts: 19
Joined: April 6th, 2008, 3:46 pm

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Brian Tolman » November 2nd, 2010, 2:29 pm

"Mr Tolman - has anyone ever tried to ask the living magicians, or the estates of the dead ones, if they would mind if their content was available to magician AMA members worldwide?"


Damian;

First off, I have no idea why you're asking my Father?

:)

In all seriousness, it would be a HUGE task. First off, all the number of magicians in the DVD library would need to be listed, then their contact information obtained.

Once that is done, an effort would need to be made to contact all of them.

Even after all that is done, there is still a chance that someone would have slipped through the cracks and they would sue the AMA to recover damages.

It would have a huge undertaking, and a huge risk for anyone that did it.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5103
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Bill Mullins » November 2nd, 2010, 2:41 pm

mrgoat: "Mr Tolman - has anyone ever tried to ask the living magicians, or the estates of the dead ones, if they would mind if their content was available to magician AMA members worldwide?"

Consider the first five videos in the spreadsheet linked above:

1. Carl Ballantine, Donny & Marie Show
2. Johnny Hart, Johnny Carson Show
3. Chris Calin, Channel 4 News
4. Dai Vernon & Sandy Spillman, Mr. & Ms. and the Magic Show Mystery
5. Johnny Thompson, Merv Griffin Show

Even if the magicians involved would release the material, they may not have the right to do so -- it's likely that the contracts they signed with the TV Shows give the copyright to the shows involved. And the shows won't release it.

But supposing that the magicians involved did retain the rights -- who represents the estate for the ones who have passed on? For example, I haven't seen Carl Ballantine's will -- who got his copyrights: his daughter Saratoga, his daughter Molly, or his sister? Suppose his will didn't specifically address this, and Saratoga gives an okay, but Molly says no -- would you risk a lawsuit from Molly by putting this stuff online?

Unfortunately, copyright laws have evolved to the point that a Disney, with a staff of lawyers, can manage their properties. "Orphan" works, on the other hand, are consigned to the warehouse that was at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", lost and never to be seen again.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 2nd, 2010, 3:59 pm

Mr Mullins wrote: "the shows won't release it"

Has anyone ever asked though? I know rights management is a nightmare. My ex gf was managing a large part of the BBC iPlayer project. :)

I just wondered if anyone had written a plea to the production company that made the show saying "We're the AMA, we do this. We have a very short clip of one of your shows. We want to offer it on an encrypted server to members of our society in order to preserve magical history. It will become a museum and we would love to use your 4 minute clip."

Or similar.

I may be being a totally optimistic dick, but I just wonder if anyone has actually *asked* permission?

The Castle has massively connected members (sounds slightly rude), I imagine finding the right people to talk to wouldn't be impossible. Even if it was putting 1 video at a time online from live magicians' lectures/performances at the Castle. Could be seen as an HONOUR* to be asked to be part of The Magic Castle AMA Online Archive...?

Or I'm just dreaming...


*Yes it has a u. :)

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6871
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 2nd, 2010, 5:37 pm

There are videos of lectures that took place at the Magic Castle that require special permission from the artist before a member can view them. The logistics of asking for permission (from living artists, estates of artists, and production companies involved) for all of this material to be placed onto a site such as suggested would probably be impractical.

Dustin

User avatar
David D. C.
Posts: 21
Joined: April 10th, 2008, 2:32 pm
Location: California
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby David D. C. » November 2nd, 2010, 5:45 pm

Just a small correcttion:

"It involves Milt Larsen, *Jim Starr*, Diana Zimmerman, CBS studios, Tim Holly, Mark Felicetti a whole cast of characters, and these are just a few of the ones Bill mentions."

Not Jim Riser, who just wants Rich Cowley to dissapear from the Castle and magic altogether. Thank you for who pointed that out.

David Alexander
Posts: 1550
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Aurora IL

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby David Alexander » November 2nd, 2010, 6:01 pm

Clearances & Rights - The way a great many copyright owners think is: somebody wants this so that makes it valuable...an asset to the company. If I grant rights, especially in this digital age, this potentially vaulable company asset that we MAY be able to do something with in the future will end up in the wilds of the Internet, devalued completely.

Or,we may own rights of some kind but the company lawyer will have to find the contract and give us an opinion. To grant permission may put us in danger of being sued by the performer or their heirs.

Taking the responsibility for a decision like one of those isn't something many executives are willing to take especially if there's no money involved.

Bill McFadden
Posts: 621
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Villesville-on-the-Chesapeake

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Bill McFadden » November 2nd, 2010, 6:57 pm

Greetings! And sorry to be so late to this conflict.
If anyone requires the services of an experienced mediator, my schedule is flexible and my fees are reasonable.

Brian Tolman
Posts: 19
Joined: April 6th, 2008, 3:46 pm

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Brian Tolman » November 2nd, 2010, 8:41 pm

David D. C. wrote:
"It involves Milt Larsen, *Jim Starr*, Diana Zimmerman, CBS studios, Tim Holly, Mark Felicetti a whole cast of characters, and these are just a few of the ones Bill mentions."

If this gets made into a movie, I will hold out for Ted McGinley to play me.

houdini's ghost
Posts: 434
Joined: September 24th, 2008, 7:23 pm

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby houdini's ghost » November 2nd, 2010, 9:15 pm

Here's what I advise anyone to do with any footage of magicians they might have that was made before video tape came along.
Have it digitized, then, send it to everyone you know. Forget about who owns the rights.
Get it out there. Share it. Film footage of magicians is dying as I'm writing this.
Preservation is not enough. Proliferation is absolutely necessary.
Most of the film rarities that were thought lost and were later found, at least in part, turned up in private collections.
Larry Weeks sat on Houdini footage until it turned to an explosive goo while Bill McIlhany was begging him and offering him a lot of money to have it preserved.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6871
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 2nd, 2010, 10:13 pm

An interesting if not controversial point of view. I wonder, Patrick, if Houdini were alive today, with todays technologies and laws, what he would think of that point of view.

Dustin

Larry Horowitz
Posts: 432
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: L.A.

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Larry Horowitz » November 2nd, 2010, 11:30 pm

To Mr.Goat's point,

Streaming video may generate cash flow.

Start with living performers and lecturers at the castle this coming year. Ask to stream their performances. Those that give permission, great. Those that do not, do not.

If Mr. Goat's premise is correct, members outside of LA will pay to watch. Others will join for the same reasons. This should generate money. If it generates enough money, someone could then be hired to work on gaining permission or rights to older video. This if it works will bring in more money, and the cycle continues.

Should we inadvertently show a video to which permission has not been granted,(I am not a lawyer) I would imagine a letter to cease and desist will end the problem without protracted legal entanglement.

Ted M
Posts: 990
Joined: January 24th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dani DaOrtiz
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Ted M » November 2nd, 2010, 11:52 pm

I wonder, Patrick, if Houdini were alive today, with todays technologies and laws, what he would think of that point of view.

Houdini hardly seems to have been a steadfast observer of copyright. From the first page of the 1947 reissue of Burling Hull's 33 Rope Ties and Chain Releases:

"It is true that a book DID appear with the name of Houdini listed as the "author," which did steal the entire contents of my book. It purloined the original "Patter" and the original tricks, the original presentations for the tricks and even reproduced exactly several of the illustrations. In addition this counterfeit book deliberately changed the names of the original tricks bearing my name and avoided giving any credit to the original author and inventor, though many of these tricks had been advertised by me for years in magical trade magazines and were listed and catalogued by leading dealers under my name as originator for some years."

User avatar
JohnCox
Posts: 964
Joined: March 21st, 2009, 3:03 pm
Favorite Magician: HOUDINI!
Location: Studio City, CA
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby JohnCox » November 3rd, 2010, 12:07 am

I like Houdini's Ghost's thinking on this.
Visit my blog Wild About Harry

houdini's ghost
Posts: 434
Joined: September 24th, 2008, 7:23 pm

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby houdini's ghost » November 3rd, 2010, 12:11 am

If you look at both books, there is considerable duplication. But, Houdini--or his scribe--wasn't stealing it from Burling Hull. Both books relied on the same sources--the same drawing of the Chefalo knot, for example, that had been in this book and that for years. And, of course, Hull purloined almost the entirety of the text of Houdini's Defiance Handcuff Act instructions (ghosted for Houdini by Ralph Read).
In fact, Burling Hull stole from everybody.
How would Houdini feel if he knew that his relatives would entrust a very sincere fan--who happens to be a nutcase and always has been--with the only print in the world of "the Grim Game" which is supposed to be his best film, and that he would refuse to make it available to the public. I wouldn't know if it's his best or not. I've never seen it.
That's because that miserly little kook, who shall remain nameless (Larry Weeks), has sat on the film for 60 years--if indeed it still exists. Most of the footage of magicians Larry had has gone the way of all nitrate film. Explosive goo.

Smurf
Posts: 520
Joined: May 31st, 2010, 11:23 am

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Smurf » November 3rd, 2010, 12:33 am

I understand the Grateful Dead had a rather liberal policy regarding the taping of performances and actually encouraged people to do it. They even provided a special section so that the recording woud be done more efficiently. I am told they viewed their public performances as something akin to public domain. They still survived financially wihtout having a tight control over their performance material.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 3rd, 2010, 5:51 am

@ Larry - EXACTLY! Start with the people working the castle next week. I know a lot of the shows are recorded and I think all of the lectures.

We don't need EVERYTHING in the archive done at once.

Start small.

EMC proved people will pay to access magic online.

OK, I want to see the Vernon lecture, but if we cannot get clearance for that, let's start with something current where the magician is asked and says yes.

What if it was put into the performing contract that one show WILL be recorded and made available online for AMA members to watch?

I understand getting rights clearance from everything in the archive would be hard. Asking the performers next week would not.

Also, going back to my original question, does anyone know if anyone has even ever TRIED asking the production companies?

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8068
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 3rd, 2010, 7:31 am

JohnCox wrote: I like Houdini's Ghost's thinking on this.

Look up about a dozen or so posts.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8068
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 3rd, 2010, 7:35 am

Larry wrote: Streaming video may generate cash flow.

IMHO the income from such is truly minuscule compared to that (product sales/video) which can be earned from a few live performances. A more genial venue which provides service without so much snobbery might generate more cash flow.

The copyright thing ... pretty much moot when it can be argued that the magicians copy from eachother all the time and have a market which not only permits such but actively encourages such. What right to what copy then when "if the trick's a classic, you must not sass it" may well suffice as legal defense? Hey look, someone's offering a new version of The Power of Faith using gaffs invented by the same person as invented the trick but in a slightly different order of procedure closer to their Recalled or Forgotton. Progress in the market.

Now, if you want to get serious for a moment - CBS and the other program copyright holders might take kindly to the small excerpts of their works being used for academic and critical purposes as long as proper attribution and permissions are sought. Perhaps a watermark on the video to indicate its source?

I still suggest letting what's been preserved have the best chance of staying preserved by way of propagation rather then just hoping a few folks at hogwarts don't let a few hard drives and containers full of volatile material pay the price for their shortsightedness.
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on November 3rd, 2010, 7:50 am, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: Now under Sharia law the matter is much simpler...

User avatar
David D. C.
Posts: 21
Joined: April 10th, 2008, 2:32 pm
Location: California
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby David D. C. » November 3rd, 2010, 2:34 pm

@Larry: The goals of better quality taped footage at the Castle may be realized sooner than many think, considering the efforts of the current Multimedia Committee.

Distribution and copyright, though, is always a tricky deal. The acquisition and preservation of magic footage benefits the community more than just in lucrative terms. So lets figure how to unearth and preserve any missing footage before we all figure how to rip it off.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6871
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 3rd, 2010, 3:18 pm

Damian, you are making me a believer.

Unfortunately, not all shows and lectures at the Castle are recorded. Thats a deal that is between the artist(s) and the videographer, however

thinking on this, I can see how moving forward, there could be a clause in the contract that allows/disallows a recording to be placed on the member-only site. And then a committee formed to start the arduous task of getting permissions for existing archival materials.*

And this would be a terrific boost toward doing something I proposed many years ago (but it went ignored as far as I know): a new level of AMA membership for those who wish to join the academy but are unable or unlikely to make it to the Magic Castle except maybe once a year.

Without going into great detail (I created a complete proposal which I gave to the BOD), that level of membership would give the member the following benefits:

Ability to say that they are members of The AMA/Magic Castle on promotional materials.

Ability to hand out guest passes.

Receive an electronic copy of the newsletter.

Receive one visit to the Castle per year without paying a door charge (meal required).

(This would be a non-voting level of membership)

So now access to a video archive could be added to that list, and it wouldnt increase the administrative costs of the new level. It certainly would be an attractive benefit!

The cost to members of this level (Magic Castle Supporter or something along those lines) could be minimal since the cost of administering it would be very low. I foresee it being a good revenue source for the AMA and a possible point of pride for magicians. (As I said in the proposal, I believe every magician in the world should want to be a member of the Academy of Magical Arts/Magic Castle and a very low cost level of membership with limited benefits should be created to give them that opportunity.)

*Whats the saying: A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step?

So now I guess the question is, Why not?

Dustin

Bill McFadden
Posts: 621
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Villesville-on-the-Chesapeake

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Bill McFadden » November 3rd, 2010, 3:41 pm

Dustin, I would join today under the conditions you describe. Excellent work; hope it passes.

User avatar
NCMarsh
Posts: 1222
Joined: February 16th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Devant, Wonder, Richiardi, Benson, DeKolta, Teller, Harbin, Durham, Caveney, Ben, Hoy, Berglas, Marceau
Location: Orlando, FL
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby NCMarsh » November 3rd, 2010, 3:46 pm

Seconded.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 3rd, 2010, 5:07 pm

Dustin, that is EXACTLY what I meant. Just writ eloquently.

I am coming over in January. More than happy to meet with anyone at the Castle to offer help with this. I am not the expert, I just do marketing. But I certainly know *lots* of people to speak with about encoding, distribution, hosting, and I am pretty good at selling memberships to sites where people can stream videos. Albeit usually of a slightly different nature.

I just can see that we are RIGHT NOW at the time where we should be getting as much content as we can online. For preservations sake. Also, I would propose releasing much of the performance sides of stuff to the public as possible. To publicize coming to the castle. My industry, and others before it, are now having to compete with 'free' content. Much of this is stolen and people are not even aware it is nicked. Many people have no real idea what happens at the Castle. The people I have brought as guests who LIVE in LA, have consistently been astounded. These are well connected people. So there is also the though that this process could increase footfall to the castle, increase revenue for overseas members, and start the most amazing online archive of magic ever conceived!

And yes, it has to start with the step of asking Doc Eason if you can tape him this weekend, as opposed to trying to get rights cleared from the tonight show.

:)

Damian

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 3rd, 2010, 5:07 pm

When people want to see an example of how threads twist and turn and change on the internet, this thread would be a good example!

Brandon Hall
Posts: 375
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: North Hollywood, CA
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Brandon Hall » November 3rd, 2010, 5:58 pm

Dustin, Currently, does a member have to audition before he has the right to reference membership in the AMA in promotional material?
"Hope I Die Before I Get Old"
P. Townshend

User avatar
Brian Morton
Posts: 393
Joined: March 12th, 2008, 11:43 am
Location: Bawlamer, Merlin
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Brian Morton » November 3rd, 2010, 6:22 pm

I think it would be appropriate to move the discussion of a new level of castle membership to a new thread, as it's not necessarily germane to the topic at hand.

But on that subject: I was a non-resident magician member of the Castle from 1996 to 2005 (#10943, one number behind Andrew Goldenhersh, who auditioned right before me). I let my membership lapse due to two reasons:

1) I wasn't making it out to LA as often I had been before, and there was no time in the future where it appeared I might be going out again (I used to visit two or three times a year as part of business trips), and it made no sense to be paying several hundred dollars a year for the privilege.

2) The internal political infighting, combined with the remote chances of performing there due to said internal political nonsense dried up much of my enthusiasm.

Frankly, the cost to a non-resident member is peanuts compared to the cost to a resident member. I remember Dan Sylvester telling me he hadn't seen me before, and when I told him I was an East Coast member, he replied, "Ahthe cheap dues."

I'd support a category such as what Dustin proposes, but the "one visit per year" is a little steep. When I came out to LA, I'd typically spend every evening I was in town at the Castle (or as I called it, "amortizing the membership"), sometimes five or six nights in a row.

But I'll say this, if I were in circumstances that had me traveling to LA again more than once a year, I'd renew my non-res membership in a heartbeat. Even for the couple hundred a year, it was totally worth it.

brian :cool:

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24883
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 3rd, 2010, 7:36 pm

Larry Weeks had Houdini's film The Grim Game transferred to 16 mm safety stock years ago (I asked Larry about this myself a few years ago).
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5103
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Bill Mullins » November 3rd, 2010, 8:03 pm

mrgoat: "does anyone know if anyone has even ever TRIED asking the production companies?"

I tried one time to get access to part of a TV show that had some Emile Clifton footage. The only license the owners would give was a non-broadcast, no copies allowed (essentially a videotape copy for my own viewing) for the whole episode of the show for something like $1000.

Also, several years, ago, I emailed the Carson people about getting some episodes of the Tonight Show with magicians. Got no response.

Look at it from their perspective. The owner of, say, the Merv Griffin Show has very little to gain by releasing any footage. But if a portion is released, that may screw up a deal in the future. They (and any other owner of copyrighted footage featuring a magician) has very little to gain by saying
"yes" and nothing to lose by saying "no".

mrgoat: "What if it was put into the performing contract that one show WILL be recorded and made available online for AMA members to watch?"

Again, playing devil's advocate here. Suppose I do a lecture at the Castle (yeah, right) and allow it to be filmed and made available online. Suppose a month later I see it on one of the torrent sites. This represents a damage to my ability to sell my own lecture DVDs. Again, there is no advantage to me to allow someone else to release videos of my performances, and a potential cost.

Larry Horowitz: "Should we inadvertently show a video to which permission has not been granted,(I am not a lawyer) I would imagine a letter to cease and desist will end the problem without protracted legal entanglement."

Google "righthaven copyright".

Righthaven is a company which has obtained copyrights (legally) to various newspapers, and then sues blogs and other online sites which have copied bits of the copyrighted material. After suing the "infringers", they send a letter saying either we go to court, or you send us a check for $XXXX. Most people settle, rather than risk the suit.

A situation like this is exactly why the AMA shouldn't risk making stuff available to members. In a reasonable world, a C&D letter would be the solution. But the world isn't reasonable.

Jonathan Townsend: "The copyright thing ... pretty much moot when it can be argued that the magicians copy from eachother all the time and have a market which not only permits such but actively encourages such. What right to what copy then when "if the trick's a classic, you must not sass it" may well suffice as legal defense?"

Copyright isn't moot because one magician performs a trick that another does on a copyrighted recording. The copyright follows the recording, no matter what the magician is, or if he is performing original material or not.

Jonathan Townsend: "Now, if you want to get serious for a moment - CBS and the other program copyright holders might take kindly to the small excerpts of their works being used for academic and critical purposes as long as proper attribution and permissions are sought."

CBS won't take kindly to it. Period. End of Story. Full Stop.

But if the material is being used as you describe, then this is exactly what "fair use" covers, and CBS's blessing isn't necessary. But that isn't what most of this discussion is about -- The AMA making distribution to members of copyrighted material is far outside the bounds of Fair Use.

houdini's ghost
Posts: 434
Joined: September 24th, 2008, 7:23 pm

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby houdini's ghost » November 3rd, 2010, 9:02 pm

To Richard,
"Larry Weeks had Houdini's film The Grim Game transferred to 16 mm safety stock years ago (I asked Larry about this myself a few years ago)."
Yeah? Where is it?
This piece of movie history is one crack-brained old weirdo from being lost forever.
You'd think, as a fan of Houdini, and Larry is certainly that, he'd want people to see it.
Disgraceful!

Max Maven
Posts: 456
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollywood, CA
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby Max Maven » November 4th, 2010, 4:28 am

Bill Mullins is right. And, for the record, the better part of a year ago this very topic was discussed in depth by the AMA Board of Trustees. The AMA was and is not set up for the purpose of being a video distribution company.

In addition, several of the Trustees did informal surveys, asking various Castle performers how they would feel about having their work made available on the Castle website. Essentially, the response was universally negative. In addition to a variety of other objections, most noted that once a clip is uploade onto the Internet, even with password protection or other attempts to restrict circulation, within days it can and likely will be being tossed around on open sites.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: Castle Grievance filed against Bill McIlhany by Rich Cowley

Postby mrgoat » November 4th, 2010, 4:57 am

Mr Maven said: What if my lecture appears on a torrent site?

Well, it will. Anything you publish will be stolen. Unarguable fact. It would take me around 2 minutes to rip your DVD of Nothing I have here, and then a couple of hours to upload it.

If your lecture was on an encrypted flash stream at the AMA, I would REALLY have to want to get it. Yes, I could use a screen recorder. Yes, I could output the sound as an mp3. Yes I could sync the mp3 and the screen recording, but it would be a massive PITA.

Your DVDs are MUCH easier to pirate than the sort of stream I am proposing the AMA use to share your thoughts with members worldwide.

I hear you about the copyright issues, ok, let's pause that thought, and concentrate on the idea of starting asap to record some content from the Castle and working a way to add value or increase revenues for the AMA by releasing it to members somehow.

I know some very clever people who can do some very clever things to protect the videostream. I assure you it will be so very difficult to pirate, people will be unlikely to bother.

I also have a contact with a brand new technology that puts a pixel hash in the stream that is invisible to the user, but recognisable by a computer. This means the IP and membership number can be encoded as a hash in the stream on the fly. So if anyone WERE to go through the laborious steps to rip the stream, the AMA could easily find out who did it.

All the best

damian

PS to stress, if you publish something, it is inevitable someone will nick it. I am not claiming to have halted piracy. That is impossible. But you can make it really bloody hard.


Return to “Buzz”