Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
User avatar
Q. Kumber
Posts: 1648
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Manchester, England

Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Q. Kumber » November 24th, 2014, 8:27 pm

“There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,” said Ms. Hegemann in a statement released by her publisher after the scandal broke.

The world of fiction has its own battles about originality: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/world ... html?_r=3&

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4274
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby erdnasephile » November 24th, 2014, 8:40 pm

I wish they would have asked her to define the term, "plagiarism".

User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 1038
Joined: April 11th, 2008, 5:52 pm
Location: Savannah, GA

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Brad Jeffers » November 24th, 2014, 11:03 pm

Although both are shameful acts, plagiarism of a written work seems even more egregious than the type of plagiarism we sometimes see in the magic community.

If I were to see someone doing an exact rendition of Ricky Jay's Exclusive Coterie, I might be appalled by the thievery, but I would have to admire the artistry and mastery of difficult technique that would be required to successfully accomplish this particular piece of plagiarism.

Also, by the very nature of performance art, something of the performers' personality would have to come through.

He could not be a total Ricky Jay clone, even if that were his goal.

On the other hand, stealing of another's written work requires no talent. You don't even need to be able to write. You merely need to be able to transcribe.
However, it does appear that Miss Hegemann has some writing talent.

The article says that she defends herself as "the representative of a different generation, one that freely mixes and matches from the whirring flood of information across new and old media, to create something new".

I don't believe this to be the case.

She represents no one but herself.

User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 1038
Joined: April 11th, 2008, 5:52 pm
Location: Savannah, GA

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Brad Jeffers » November 24th, 2014, 11:18 pm

This topic brings to mind the movie The Words with Jeremy Irons and Bradley Cooper.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4274
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby erdnasephile » November 25th, 2014, 1:13 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:Although both are shameful acts, plagiarism of a written work seems even more egregious than the type of plagiarism we sometimes see in the magic community.

If I were to see someone doing an exact rendition of Ricky Jay's Exclusive Coterie, I might be appalled by the thievery, but I would have to admire the artistry and mastery of difficult technique that would be required to successfully accomplish this particular piece of plagiarism.

Also, by the very nature of performance art, something of the performers' personality would have to come through.

He could not be a total Ricky Jay clone, even if that were his goal...


Unfortunately, the exact scenario you describe already has occurred. The perpertrator, an outstanding magician in his own right, admitted his wrong doing and apologized for the plagiarism publically.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6903
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 25th, 2014, 1:28 am

There is no question that Ricky "owns" that patter; now. But most of it was written by Erdnase.

Way "back in the day," I'm pretty darn sure that Martin Lewis used the patter as well (who did it first is up for debate). Once Ricky did it on the Doug Henning special, all bets--and debates--were off.

I will never forget the first time I was plagiarized. It was a very creepy feeling. And then I got mad.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8302
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 25th, 2014, 8:37 am

Q. Kumber wrote:“There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,” said Ms. Hegemann in a statement released by her publisher after the scandal broke.

The world of fiction has its own battles about originality: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/world ... html?_r=3&


Borges touched upon those themes (mix and match and textual identity/critical review) in his stories "the book of sand" and "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote".

as to "owning" that patter from the erdnase text... it works for Ricky Jay's manner of performing. Good for him.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5348
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Bill Mullins » November 25th, 2014, 8:44 am

It seems like I read somewhere that Michael Skinner used to do the Exclusive Coterie. Is that so? Did he do it with double-facers, or did he do it as described in Erdnase?

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8302
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 25th, 2014, 9:10 am

Owning a text that's long out of copyright protection... tiresome. Makes for a cute one liner about playing a part in Midsummer Night's Dream. What do you have that improves on the Hofzinser trick?

Her story - at a glance reminds me of this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiane_F. without a pretension of autobiography.

Offering a text that includes parts of another work without citation or permission - especially one that is in print and protected by copyright ... questionable on the part of the publisher.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8302
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 25th, 2014, 10:28 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:...the type of plagiarism we sometimes see in the magic community...


Plagiarism in magic... perhaps showing a dupe of a selected and signed card that has your signature instead of the volunteer's?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25458
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2014, 11:34 am

Nobody "owns" patter from public domain books.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Chris Aguilar
Posts: 1843
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Chris Aguilar » November 25th, 2014, 11:52 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Nobody "owns" patter from public domain books.

+1

User avatar
NCMarsh
Posts: 1223
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: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby NCMarsh » November 25th, 2014, 11:56 am

I watched the far less ambiguous case of a performer taking Jay's Cups and Balls routine, word for word in a paid performance for the general public. Here was my response from that night (via Facebook):

Awkward experience for the week: sitting next to the family of a performer after having a great chat with them (I should point out this was NOT either of the gentlemen in the poster I posted earlier -- this was someone filling in) while watching him do, virtually line-for-line, Ricky Jay's cups and balls and a piece of Francis Menotti's.

They were the only pieces he did solo, and they were blatant, paint-by-numbers ripoffs of other people's work (and not just any pieces, but identity pieces for these performers -- things they've worked long and hard at that are expressions of who they are and their unique perspective on the world). Didn't know what to say after the show -- especially in front of his family -- so settled on "Good to meet you" and striking up small talk that had nothing to do with the show. I long ago promised myself that I won't say "Great show" to someone just because it is the expected, socially easy thing to say...

What I wanted to say was "who do you think they were applauding tonight?" And that's the sad part, watching the originators this audience would have laughed all the more -- because the lines, the premise, the whole thing fit so naturally with those personalities -- and here the material sagged and stretched like he was wearing someone else's suit...but it got just enough of a reaction, just enough positive reinforcement, that I think this guy can fool himself into thinking he is doing his job

That's the saddest part for me. This guy has the tools to be entertaining on his own -- a "character" face, decent presence, a sense of humor. But it is only when he has the courage to step out from behind the mask of other people, to take his own creative risks (even if they are measured ones based on classic, public domain material) that he is going to fully become a performer

I'm not a fan of novelty for its own sake -- quality suffers and this craft is a collaboration that goes back centuries, each of us is standing on the shoulder's of others -- but we have to develop (and that's a key word!) material with two levels of integrity:

1.) that we have the ethical integrity to only adapt others' ideas where we have their permission or where they have long been public domain (note that "adapt" and "imitate" are not the same!)

2.) that we have the aesthetic integrity to do material that fits who we are -- as an audience sees us -- and not who we fantasize being...this was clearly someone who, by the kinds of routines he chose, wanted to be seen as erudite and fiercely intelligent...and yet at other points in the show he is doing kiddie gags about how "dumb" he is....and when we look at him -- both his natural characteristics and what he chooses to wear on stage -- we see the good natured IT guy elbowing up at the bar after work...it was a total clash and made for a confused mush...we didn't know who he was because he sent all of these mixed signals, so we couldn't build a relationship with him or care about him...he was hiding from us...

So this is a plea, on many levels, not just to have the courage to be yourself...but to stay the @#$! away from the material of other professionals, especially if they have not given you permission to perform it!

If you're just starting out, by all means do the Don Alan chop cup line for line and beat-for-beat...it's the best education you'll get in how to perform, and what audience's want...and you need that experience before your own material will be worth anything...but otherwise:

LAY OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6903
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 25th, 2014, 12:08 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Nobody "owns" patter from public domain books.

And that is why I put the word own into quotes. While I might be a idiot, I am not stupid. (Oh, wait, Mike Caveney "owns" being an idiot.)

Of course Ricky does not own it as in it is his personal property. But the presentation has become so much a part of his known repertoire that anyone else doing it would just look foolish. In that sense, he "owns" it. It's not unlike the many people who believe that Sean Connery "owns" the character of James Bond or no one else can sing "There's No Business Like Show Business" the way Ethel Merman did because she "owned it."

User avatar
NCMarsh
Posts: 1223
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: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby NCMarsh » November 25th, 2014, 12:26 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Nobody "owns" patter from public domain books.


Ricky Jay owns "The Exclusive Coterie" in the same sense that Marcel Duchamp owns urinals.

Duchamp didn't build the urinal, urinals were certainly around (and under) other artists and anyone else could have created "Fountain." But if an artist today were to put a urinal in a museum it would pretty universally be held to be plagiarism.

Likewise, if you're reading Erdnase and thinking -- this "The Exclusive Coterie" could make a compelling, dramatic, and engaging presentation for a contemporary audience (because of course we all first read it and thought "damn that's commercial!"); it's been done.

Neither owns the text, their contribution is the context.

N

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8302
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 25th, 2014, 12:34 pm

Imitation is a part of learning. Usually before notions of choice, context and precedent in ones craft. Not so sure cut-and-paste merits consideration as literature more than as collage. Or perhaps publishing such as performance art? Is one then expected to take a few pages and send them off to be autographed by other authors and have the lot rebound to form a new work?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4274
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby erdnasephile » November 25th, 2014, 2:52 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Nobody "owns" patter from public domain books.

And that is why I put the word own into quotes. While I might be a idiot, I am not stupid. (Oh, wait, Mike Caveney "owns" being an idiot.)

Of course Ricky does not own it as in it is his personal property. But the presentation has become so much a part of his known repertoire that anyone else doing it would just look foolish. In that sense, he "owns" it. It's not unlike the many people who believe that Sean Connery "owns" the character of James Bond or no one else can sing "There's No Business Like Show Business" the way Ethel Merman did because she "owned it."


Speaking of Mike Caveney, he's written some words which I think might apply: (edited for space)

"Harry could not believe that any working magician would actually want to perform the Needle Through Arm...He has done thousands of performances...[and he]...has performed it repeatedly on television...In Harry's own words, "I have done the needle to death'...And yet, there are those who will memorize this routine word for word...and endeavor to become 'wise guys'. Harry's feeling is that these guys are not a threat to anyone but themselves."
(Harry Anderson Wise Guy: from the Street to the Screen, page 129.)

User avatar
NCMarsh
Posts: 1223
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: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby NCMarsh » November 25th, 2014, 5:06 pm

erdnasephile wrote:
Speaking of Mike Caveney, he's written some words which I think might apply: (edited for space)

"Harry could not believe that any working magician would actually want to perform the Needle Through Arm...He has done thousands of performances...[and he]...has performed it repeatedly on television...In Harry's own words, "I have done the needle to death'...And yet, there are those who will memorize this routine word for word...and endeavor to become 'wise guys'. Harry's feeling is that these guys are not a threat to anyone but themselves."
(Harry Anderson Wise Guy: from the Street to the Screen, page 129.)


+1

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25458
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2014, 5:19 pm

The overwhelming majority of lay people have never seen Ricky Jay perform his Ace routine using the Erdnase patter. And if they did, do you honestly think laymen remember the patter to most tricks?

If your line of reasoning held, then no actor would ever be able to play a role made indelible by an earlier actor. Patter = script. No difference. And every script is portrayed time and time again by many different actors, each bringing their own qualities to the same lines. Did anyone say to George C. Scott, or Dustin Hoffman, or Brian Dennhey, or Phillip Seymour Hoffman: MY GOD, HOW DARE YOU SAY THE SAME LINES THAT LEE J. COBB MADE FAMOUS IN THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION OF DEATH OF A SALESMAN! No, of course they didn't. The mere idea is absurd.

So, anyone is free to use the patter from Erdnase: it's great patter if you have the character to pull off a performance of that sort of over-written verbiage. The patter is not Ricky Jay's--never has been, never will be.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
NCMarsh
Posts: 1223
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: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby NCMarsh » November 25th, 2014, 10:28 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:The overwhelming majority of lay people have never seen Ricky Jay perform his Ace routine using the Erdnase patter. And if they did, do you honestly think laymen remember the patter to most tricks?


The overwhelming majority of lay people have never seen Duchamp's "Fountain" -- that doesn't mean that my imitating the piece would be any less plagiarism. The overwhelming majority of lay people never read the novel which the young woman in the piece that started this conversation took from -- that doesn't make it any less plagiarism. And if I stole your TV, and invited my friends over to watch, the fact that they didn't know it was yours doesn't mean it isn't theft.

Richard Kaufman wrote:If your line of reasoning held, then no actor would ever be able to play a role made indelible by an earlier actor. Patter = script. No difference.


No, there is a huge difference. Arthur Miller is recognized as the genius whose work is being interpreted in each of those performances; but more importantly, he has consented to have other people interpret his work through live performance and he received royalties for each of those performances.

Ricky Jay -- keep in mind his contribution is the context, not the text -- has not consented for others to perform this piece, he is not compensated when they do, and -- at the most important and basic level -- the idea to perform the piece in a formal setting for contemporary audiences is not yours (or mine) to appropriate for ourselves.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25458
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2014, 10:38 pm

There is nothing to compensate Ricky Jay for, and his consent is not required. He did not author either the patter or the trick. Your analogy to Arthur Miller is a legal one, and there is no legal issue here.

It's not "plagiarism," which is a legal term defining theft.

It's not "plagiarism" to do the same style of magic trick and public domain patter as someone else.

He didn't write the patter.

He didn't invent the Ace Assembly (or Queens, in this case).

He had the good sense to see that the Erdnase patter fit his character, and he combined it with a different Ace Assembly. The only thing that Ricky can rightfully claim is the combination of that patter with that particular Ace Assembly. But it's not a legal claim, simply a moral one.

Do I think people should use the same patter and the same handling of the Ace Assembly as Ricky? No--you won't do it as well. Not many people can say that patter without sounding like a boob.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
NCMarsh
Posts: 1223
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: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby NCMarsh » November 25th, 2014, 11:20 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:It's not "plagiarism," which is a legal term defining theft.


"Plagiarism" is not a legal term and does not appear in any current statute, criminal or civil (source: Green, Stuart P. (2002). "Plagiarism, Norms, and the Limits of Theft Law: Some Observations on the Use of Criminal Sanctions in Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights". Hastings Law Journal 54 (1). SSRN 315562.) (and yes, I shamelessly swiped this from Wikipedia)

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1924
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 26th, 2014, 12:53 am

Bill Mullins wrote:It seems like I read somewhere that Michael Skinner used to do the Exclusive Coterie. Is that so? Did he do it with double-facers, or did he do it as described in Erdnase?


Skinner did Al Leech's "Sleeve Aces" with Erdnase patter. You can see him perform this effect in The Legendary Repertoire of Michael Skinner videotapes.

Max Maven
Posts: 484
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollywood, CA
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Max Maven » November 26th, 2014, 2:14 am

"Legal" and "ethical" are not synonymous.

There used to be something known as Professional Courtesy.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25458
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 26th, 2014, 10:44 am

I'll revise my statement to "Plagiarism is illegal because it violates copyright law."

And, Max is correct.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8302
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 26th, 2014, 10:54 am

Q. Kumber wrote:“There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,” said Ms. Hegemann in a statement released by her publisher ...


this is through the publisher.

odd how on one hand we don't have the tools for making magic taught reliably and on the other we have folks well worn material getting into print long after it was useful to them and likely no longer useful to others. a knack is not the same as a transmittable skill. cigarette and thimble routines don't make sense when folks no longer sew or tolerate smoke (well maybe now that marijuana is getting de-illegalized).

the muses are not likely amused at this vain bonfire.

mmmm maybe time to re-explore Robert-Houdin's Etherial Suspension presentation with cannabis smell?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


Return to “Buzz”