Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
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Kevin Connolly
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Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Kevin Connolly » June 3rd, 2012, 11:06 pm

Did anyone else get this email?

Dear friend,
Thank you for your spare time to read this mail.I would like to introduce our magic tricks company to you.Here is our website: [RK: REMOVED SO THE JERKS DON'T GET MORE PUBLICITY]
Our company is a magic company, mainly engaging in global magic props, online retailing. Our headquarters is set in China, thousands of magic props with ultra-low market prices, mostly below 1/2 of the market prices. The reason why we can produce varies of props as well as a low price is that we have a great team to collect the world's latest magic props, and have a good cost control of our factories in China, therefore there is less extra-added value on our products, we hope that this platform can let magic store owners get cheaper and better magic props, and become a long-term partner and friends.
The discription about the magic products in our website is objective and real,and the price is very low indeed.If you like any products,you can just make order.We will give you an appropriate discount(20%-40%) according to the quantity of your items.

You can pay by VISA.
Contact: admin@goshmagic.com
We care about your SUCCESS
Please visit my website.
http://houdinihimself.com/
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 3rd, 2012, 11:18 pm

I didn't get it, but I've received ones like it. I NEVER click on links that come in emails. Ever.
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Kevin Connolly
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Kevin Connolly » June 4th, 2012, 5:48 am

I never do either. I don't even perfrom, but figured you guys might want to know about this BS.
Please visit my website.

http://houdinihimself.com/

I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 4th, 2012, 6:05 am

Kevin Connolly wrote:Did anyone else get this email?

Dear friend,
Thank you for your spare time to read this mail.I would like to introduce our magic tricks company to you.Here is our website: XXXXXX [Removed per Mr. Goat's advice.]
Our company is a magic company, mainly engaging in global magic props, online retailing. Our headquarters is set in China, thousands of magic props with ultra-low market prices, mostly below 1/2 of the market prices. The reason why we can produce varies of props as well as a low price is that we have a great team to collect the world's latest magic props, and have a good cost control of our factories in China, therefore there is less extra-added value on our products, we hope that this platform can let magic store owners get cheaper and better magic props, and become a long-term partner and friends.
The discription about the magic products in our website is objective and real,and the price is very low indeed.If you like any products,you can just make order.We will give you an appropriate discount(20%-40%) according to the quantity of your items.

You can pay by VISA.
Contact: admin@goshmagic.com
We care about your SUCCESS



Having the link in that post, on an authoritative site like this, will actually improve their rankings on google.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 4th, 2012, 10:36 am

Good point: I'll delete it.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby pduffie » June 4th, 2012, 10:45 am

Watch out, Richard -- that link is still available on MrGoat's post.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 4th, 2012, 11:13 am

Interesting that they are offering Joe Porper card clips and show his signature on their site. I wonder if Joe agreed to have that online and on their site?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 4th, 2012, 11:26 am

Thanks Peter!

And, no, Jonathan, they are bootlegging Joe Porper's signature as well as his card clips.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Pete Biro » June 4th, 2012, 11:47 am

And many more of Porper's and my creations, and many others.
Stay tooned.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Tim Ellis » June 4th, 2012, 7:30 pm

They, like others, are cutting and pasting copy from everyone else's sites to try to look more legitimate.

I love how they had stolen Murphy's "We care about your success" tag line

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Pete Biro » June 5th, 2012, 12:18 pm

One of the dealers at Kramien's told me he figured they would eventually steal one of his items, but was really upset when they stole his video demo and DVD instructions.

How can this be stopped? Everyone, lawyers inluded, tell me "No way."

Arrgggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 5th, 2012, 12:31 pm

That's right, Pete: There is "no way" to stop them.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 5th, 2012, 12:57 pm

Pete Biro wrote:One of the dealers at Kramien's told me he figured they would eventually steal one of his items, but was really upset when they stole his video demo and DVD instructions.

How can this be stopped? Everyone, lawyers inluded, tell me "No way."

Arrgggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!


There is no way. If you put something out there, and it is worth having, people will steal it.

However, many judges have ruled that a stolen copy doesn't equate to a lost sale. The vast majority of magic pirates are just weird collectors that simply want to own everything. I imagine most don't even look at what they steal. There is a torrent file with something like 5,000 magic books in it! Most go unread.

Even mainstream piracy isn't stopping the MPAA posting record box office sales year after year.

So, no, there isn't anything we can do to stop it, but it's debatable the degree of actual harm in terms of lost sales it does to legit traders.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 5th, 2012, 1:07 pm

Damian, I think there may be a demonstrable difference between the piracy of digital information (music, movies, books) and the copying of actual magic props.

Since we don't have the ability to do the mathematics for our small portion of the world , we will have to rely on anecdotal evidence of dealers like Collector's Workshop, Losander, and Joe Porpor (just as examples) of businesses who've seen their sales adversely affected as the copying of their exclusive items becomes more widespread.

When people can buy a prop for $10 instead of $100, many magicians will buy the $10 version. Since many magicians buy items essentially to collect (or acquire) rather than perform them regularly, the fact that these items don't necessarily function as well, or are more poorly manufactured, isn't a big issue because the item is purchased, looked at, and then placed on the shelf. That's just an assumption, but it's based on my own empiracle evidence over the past 40 years.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 5th, 2012, 1:07 pm

Even Gossip Girl knows the product is attention. That includes the self-absorbed sort where an imagined audience is imagined to be impressed by a thing described only by what it is not, and after the purchase a sort of learning occurs where a lesson is studiously ignored and new cravings found.

What sort of attention do you wish to sell and what benefit would that attention realize for the buyer? Is there an artifact? How does that artifact relate to the utility of the product?

Has contact been made?

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Tom Gilbert » June 5th, 2012, 1:09 pm

A while ago, I posted looking for a certain magician's materials, now out of print. I received an email from a foreign
county asking for a Paypal for the full set. Managed to talk him into just three of the manuscripts and he agreed. After quite a while, nothing showed. He had all sorts of excuses, he was on vacation, his brother was supposed to ship them, the post, etc.
Then he offered me the full set of manuscripts in digital format.
I explained it wasn't acceptable to buy or sell copies of someone's work. Still he offered the set again in digital format. It appeared to me he probably didn't own originals. I finally did get a Paypal refund. But, it comes down to being told it was poor practice, he still wanted me to take the download. People just don't get it.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Bill Mullins » June 5th, 2012, 1:29 pm

mrgoat wrote: However, many judges have ruled that a stolen copy doesn't equate to a lost sale.


But a lost sale isn't the only issue to many magic creators. Some, like Jim Riser, prefer to sell only to people whom they believe will use their products with respect. They intentionally lose their own sales. If a magic creator's rights mean anything, they should be able to limit dissemination of their products (whether or not they are making money).

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 5th, 2012, 4:45 pm

Again, there's a difference between digital products and physical props, however we should note that Real Secrets also chooses to whom it will sell its products.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Bill Mullins » June 5th, 2012, 6:18 pm

I used Jim Riser as an example because he came to mind easily. Maybe a better example is Guy Hollingworth, who limited initial sales of his torn and restored card video "Reformation". (not a digital video, I know, but the principle applies).

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2012, 3:17 am

Bill Mullins wrote: If a magic creator's rights mean anything,


Sadly, they don't.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Matthew Field » June 6th, 2012, 4:23 am

And, as has been mentioned, the effect on a creator can be substantial. Angelo Carbone told me (in a cover interview for The Magic Circular) that, at a FISM some years ago, he saw many knock-offs of his "Out of Order" in the dealers' room, he complained, and nothing happened. He actually bought one of each of these and showed it to the FISM authorities, and still nothing was done.

Money almost always wins out over idealism.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2012, 5:21 am

I wonder if it actually does damage the creators much. Is someone that is willing to spend 50 bucks on a knock off losander table the same as the guy willing to spend 800 on one (or whatever it costs)?

Is it a lost sale, as such?

Or, like the rest of the world, has the massive economic crisis we have been in for the last x years meant that people are buying less 800 buck tables in general?

It's really easy to blame piracy/knock offs for a fall in sales, rather than look at underlying problems with the state of the economy as a whole, your attitude towards customers, your website, your adverts, your CRM, your whole MO...

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Tim Ellis » June 6th, 2012, 10:10 am

mrgoat wrote:I wonder if it actually does damage the creators much. Is someone that is willing to spend 50 bucks on a knock off losander table the same as the guy willing to spend 800 on one (or whatever it costs)?

Is it a lost sale, as such?

Or, like the rest of the world, has the massive economic crisis we have been in for the last x years meant that people are buying less 800 buck tables in general?

It's really easy to blame piracy/knock offs for a fall in sales, rather than look at underlying problems with the state of the economy as a whole, your attitude towards customers, your website, your adverts, your CRM, your whole MO...


It is hard to argue that piracy creates lost sales because any examples I could offer (people I spoke to at FISM Beijing who bought WOW for $1 and Floating Tables for $50) would be dismissed as anecdotal evidence.

On the flip side, if we don't blame piracy/knock offs for any negative effects, can we find any positive effects from piracy/knock offs?

I doubt it.

So the bottom line is piracy has a possible negative but absolutely no positive. It's indefensible.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby El Mystico » June 6th, 2012, 10:13 am

Out of Order isn't a Losander table - it goes for about 15. Yes, the economic crisis probably didn't help, but if there are rip offs on the dealer tables, that is surely going to hurt sales. Particularly if you don't know they are rip offs.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Tim Ellis » June 6th, 2012, 10:17 am

Matthew Field wrote:And, as has been mentioned, the effect on a creator can be substantial. Angelo Carbone told me (in a cover interview for The Magic Circular) that, at a FISM some years ago, he saw many knock-offs of his "Out of Order" in the dealers' room, he complained, and nothing happened. He actually bought one of each of these and showed it to the FISM authorities, and still nothing was done.

Money almost always wins out over idealism.

Matt Field



Same thing happened at FISM Beijing but to be honest, it wasn't money winning over idealism, it was the people in charge being too afraid to "rock the boat". They didn't want to create a scene, despite the fact that these few dealers were breaking the agreement they had signed with FISM.

From what I hear, this will NOT happen again. A lot of people are sick of seeing knock-offs in convention dealer rooms and those people are slowly starting to take charge of conventions. Should be interesting to see if they can do what they set out to.

Blackpool FISM will be the first big test as Derek has promised he will not tolerate any knock offs in the dealer room full stop.

My favourite experience was encountering a dealer selling "IS THIS YOUR CARD?", a knock off of Penn & Teller's card stab through hand, at a Las Vegas convention. I was delighted to be able to return to the dealer's booth with Penn & Teller in tow and watch Penn verbally destroy the guy. I guarantee he NEVER offered a knock-off product again.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2012, 10:19 am

El Mystico wrote:Out of Order isn't a Losander table - it goes for about 15. Yes, the economic crisis probably didn't help, but if there are rip offs on the dealer tables, that is surely going to hurt sales. Particularly if you don't know they are rip offs.


Good point. So low ticket items might represent a lost sale. So what to do?

This happens in every walk of life, doesn't it? From printer ink knock offs, to DVD piracy, to sneakers.

So, do we waste time and money fighting an unwinnable war like the US government on the war on drugs, or do we concentrate that time and effort on making better products? I saw a knock off WOW the other day, it was really [censored]. So do people that buy that, realise it's crap then go seek out the original? Or do they just learn to do a decent top change?

Clearly there is a limited amount of time in the day. Spend it making your stuff better, or spend it futilely (sp?) playing whack-a-mole?

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby El Mystico » June 6th, 2012, 10:34 am

...but why would you spend your time and effort on making a better product if it is just going to be ripped off?

I think I'm right in saying that both John Cornelius and Steve Dusheck are creators who just aren't releasing new stuff any more because it will get immediately ripped off.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 6th, 2012, 10:36 am

Folks are unlikely to duplicate, using sleight of hand alone, the closup girl-to-gorilla type transformation effect that a WOW permits.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2012, 10:53 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Folks are unlikely to duplicate, using sleight of hand alone, the closup girl-to-gorilla type transformation effect that a WOW permits.


It's interesting.

Here is a card. Now watch, I put it in this really odd plastic sleeve, and lo, it changes.

Versus

Here is a card. Now, hold your hand out, I place it on your hand. Look, it's changed.

I think that's much stronger. But a discussion for another time.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2012, 10:54 am

El Mystico wrote:...but why would you spend your time and effort on making a better product if it is just going to be ripped off?


Why make anything as if it is good it will be ripped off or pirated?

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 6th, 2012, 11:04 am

Tim Ellis wrote, "My favourite experience was encountering a dealer selling "IS THIS YOUR CARD?", a knock off of Penn & Teller's card stab through hand, at a Las Vegas convention. I was delighted to be able to return to the dealer's booth with Penn & Teller in tow and watch Penn verbally destroy the guy. I guarantee he NEVER offered a knock-off product again."

Tim, you can't guarantee anything, and you don't know if the guy is going to sell that item again in the future or other copies, because you are not following him around every day to see what he does!
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 6th, 2012, 11:10 am

Masuda's "WOW" creates a visual effect that cannot be duplicated through sleight of hand. "WOW" was always too expensive, as were all of Masuda's products, because he and his family sit at the kitchen table and make them all by hand. And they're basing their retail prices on the Japanese market, where everything is more expensive.

So, "WOW" was ripe to be copied and mass produced, which of course is a terrible thing because it was one of the really great marketed items to come along. I still love it. I'm glad I don't live in China where it's sold on the street for $5. But within not too many years, it will be in kid's magic sets. That is the eventual "graveyard" of many great tricks.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2012, 11:34 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Masuda's "WOW" creates a visual effect that cannot be duplicated through sleight of hand.


Indeed it does.

However, I still feel that between the choice of changing a card with nothing and having that card lie on a spectators hand, or changing a card with a funny little odd plastic wallet thing will, for me, always be an easy choice to make. The wallet makes the magic of changing the card into a puzzle about how the funny little plastic thing works.

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 6th, 2012, 12:08 pm

mrgoat, if you have not tried the item on a lay audience - do so with a poker face and watch their eyes :)
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Jim Riser » June 6th, 2012, 12:30 pm

Re: the OP's original rip-off supplier

I looked over the site. Virtually everything is a rip-off. Yet I did see one item which was not stolen. Assuming that this is the only outfit in the world making this item and assuming that the item will require a rework to do its job properly/reliably and assuming that the parts to make this item are only easily found in China, does the budding Magician still buy from this rip-off supplier knowing that he will be supporting a thief?

This type of thinking and questioning must be considered by anyone even thinking about making a purchase. If only legit items were purchased from this supplier, would the unpurchased items vanish over time? In most places yes. In China probably not.

Will the magician's desire for unobtanium outweigh his desire to do the right thing and not support this supplier? My guess is yes - he will buy the item. He might even buy ten to get a big discount and become another internet dealer of questionable goods. This is how the situation spreads.
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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby El Mystico » June 6th, 2012, 1:01 pm

mrgoat wrote:
El Mystico wrote:...but why would you spend your time and effort on making a better product if it is just going to be ripped off?


Why make anything as if it is good it will be ripped off or pirated?


Well, there is the question. And is why Apple is suing Samsung for producing a phone that looks a bit like an iphone.

Do you want to tell apple it is fighting a battle it can't win, and should just stop trying?

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby mrgoat » June 6th, 2012, 1:27 pm

El Mystico wrote:
mrgoat wrote:
El Mystico wrote:...but why would you spend your time and effort on making a better product if it is just going to be ripped off?


Why make anything as if it is good it will be ripped off or pirated?


Well, there is the question. And is why Apple is suing Samsung for producing a phone that looks a bit like an iphone.

Do you want to tell apple it is fighting a battle it can't win, and should just stop trying?


I'm not sure patent lawsuits and stealing non-patentable IP are similar enough to discuss.

Apple have patents they should defend. And they are winning some of the battle at least http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2012/04/2 ... ment-case/

A magic trick idea is not the same as 'swipe to unlock'.

Should you fight fights you know you are never going to win?

No. You shouldn't.

Do you think the American War On Drugs is good?

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby El Mystico » June 6th, 2012, 2:02 pm

Your question was "Why make anything as if it is good it will be ripped off or pirated?"
I was answering that, since it was easy to knock. Rather than sticking to the general point of the discussion.
I thought that was your rule?

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby El Mystico » June 6th, 2012, 2:13 pm

Oh, and before I go away; what is the point of your american War on Drugs comparison? Where is the comparison? Are there rip offs involved? No. Are there American creators who are suffering? No.
I might as well say - well, the Americans beat the communist threat from Russia, didn't it? So if they can do that, magicians can stop rip off merchants.
It's a nonsense argument.

(And, OK, what I really think? Let's say the war can't be won. Does that mean you shouldn't fight it it? I think you should; I think we fight it in the limited way we can. Fight it enough so that people who come up with good ideas can make enough profit from it that it was worth their investment. It is the fight big brands have every day, from mobile phones to detergents.
And part of that limited fight ought to be at minimum making sure dealers at conventions aren't carrying rip offs, as per the Carbone quote above.)

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Re: Speaking Of Knock-Offs

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 6th, 2012, 4:37 pm

My comparison (which preceded Damian's) is that billions of dollars have been wasted in the American government's war on drugs and it has made very little difference in drug use. Wasn't that obvious?

We don't do politics here, and this all veers dangerously close, so let's just cut it off now.
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