Magician Dinged For Copyright Infringement For Doing The Same Trick

from the nothing-up-my-sleeve dept

A few years back, we wrote about how the magic industry was an example of a creative industry that thrived without intellectual property protection. As we noted at the time:
The magic community uses social norms to reward those who discover new magic tricks and punishes those who disclose them to non-magicians. Because magicians rely so much on their professional network of other magicians to learn about new tricks, new equipment, and new performance opportunities, maintaining a good reputation within the magic community is essential to the career of a successful magician. A magician who uses another magician's trick without giving the originator proper credit, or who reveals secrets to non-magicians, is shunned by other magicians. That kind of ostracism can be a much better (not to mention cheaper) way of disciplining wayward members than getting the lawyers involved.
But in this age where the maximalists of the world seem to think that everything creative must involve copyright, apparently that's changing. A recent legal dispute in the Netherlands has ended with a magician having to pay $16,725 to another magician for doing the same trick. The magician argued that there was no "secret" in the trick and that lots of other magicians did the same thing, but the court said it was infringing.


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    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    That article ends on a weirdly whimsical note, as though the reporter was crushing on the magician:

    Klok, whose long blond hair is constantly swept by a wind that seems to arise from nowhere, said he will reshuffle his act after Wednesday’s ruling.

     

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      Valis (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 3:41pm

      Re:

      More like he took poetic license with the translation. The original Dutch reads; "De illusionist met de weelderig wapperende haardos...". "Weelderig"="luxuriant", and "wapperende" can be translated as "windswept" :P Apparently he's famous for his hairdo, hehe.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    I'm worried

    What will happen when hookers start suing other hookers for doing the same 'tricks'? Pimps are going to have to start raising prices for legal funds! Oh the humanity....

     

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    ScytheNoire, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Copyright is way out of control

    What's next?

    Porn star sues others for doing same sexual position?
    Gamer sues because others are using cheat he found?
    Techdirt sued because they had similar editorial to another website?

    Copyright is so broken, so far gone, that it will take some extreme measures to fix it, if it can even be fixed.

    At this point, we'd be much better off in a world without Copyright, and think of all the good that wasted money could go towards. Same goes for Patents.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Copyright is way out of control

      "What's next?
      Porn star sues others for doing same sexual position?
      Gamer sues because others are using cheat he found?
      Techdirt sued because they had similar editorial to another website?"

      Hey, those are next weeks headlines!

       

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        Tech42 (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re: Copyright is way out of control

        Next week's headlines?!

        Just wait until lawyers work out the details of retroactive infringement; then we'll see some real fireworks!

         

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        slopoke (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re: Copyright is way out of control

        So, when Techdirt uses tham next week he can sue for copywrite infringement :-)

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

        Re: Re: Copyright is way out of control

        You copied the post above, you will be contacted by my lawyers. -ScytheNoire

        Now, I just need to sue TechDirt to get your "real" identity.
        Then, I'll have to sue your computer manufacture.
        Then, sue your 3rd party mouse maker.
        Then, sue your IP.
        Then, sue the manufacture of the chair you’re sitting in.
        Then, sue your parents for giving you birth.
        Then, sue….

         

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    PlagueSD (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    ...and for my next trick, I'm going to make $16,725 disappear.

    Can I have a volunteer??

     

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      Jeremy Lyman (profile), Nov 10th, 2011 @ 8:25am

      Re:

      It's an illusion, Plague. A trick is something a whore does for money... or candy.

      I just bought this new illusion called The Aztec Tomb. It cost, like, eighteen grand.

       

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    Jeffhole (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    My daughter has fun at the park. If anyone elses daughter also has fun at the park I'm going to sue their asses off.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Can I copyright masturbation techniques?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    But without patents, magicians would never reveal their secrets!!

    Oh, wait ...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    Pick a card . . . of crime!

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Well, social pressure should be put on the one who sued.

    Actually, this piece just says you've no knowledge of human nature:
    "A few years back, we wrote about how the magic industry was an example of a creative industry that thrived without intellectual property protection. ... apparently that's changing."

    Quit living in the 20th century, Mike. That was an idyllic time when The Rich were briefly suppressed, but now everyone is trying to imitate them.

    Anywhere money is a goal -- particularly when it comes easily and the basis of the biz is in fooling the public -- then it's going to bring out the typical human response to stifle competition any way that can be thought of.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 3:34pm

      Re: Well, social pressure should be put on the one who sued.

      The people dumb enough to believe that money is the answer to problems will find themselves without it.

      Real work, people producing something no matter what the conditions are the real solution, just like ants don't work for money and can create large colonies or bees or any other social beings.

      At the end of the day it all ends on the simple fact that work done equals prosperity, money is not that, it is a tool that it is showing its limitations, other countries like China wouldn't be able to grow if it was just about money, it is about work they work for way less and produce things, Americans are losing their jobs because nobody wants to produce anything without money, maybe they should rethink that or face a real threat of being thrown into the developing world class.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

      Re: Well, social pressure should be put on the one who sued.

      So.... then you support the complete abolishment of copyright and IP laws worldwide?

      I'm so proud, ootb.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 3:58pm

      Re: Well, social pressure should be put on the one who sued.

      No one said magicians wore not trying to make money until now. All thats being said is that the ways magicians normally make money don't involve copyright, that appears to be changing.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 4:07pm

        Re: Re: Well, social pressure should be put on the one who sued.

        yet more money for the lawyers, gain. Hooray? Better get that law degree then, looks like even in these hard times it's a booming business.

         

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 4:39pm

    fixed

    Where's the fixed medium now, bitches?

     

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    dwg, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 4:40pm

    Um...

    ...I don't mean to spoil the party, but this ruling happened in the Netherlands. Dutch law does contain some significant differences from US Copyright law, and those difference could at least go some distance to explaining why this ruling could happen there and not here. That's not to say it couldn't happen here, but the instant conflation of their laws with ours in order to show how stupid copyright protection is is kind of a stretch, and one folks should at least be aware they're making.

     

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      Richard (profile), Nov 10th, 2011 @ 2:35am

      Re: Um...

      Plus I think everyone missed on important phrase in the linked article.

      The plaintif was a former sidekick. This is not about one magician copying another "from the outside" this is about someone who developed a trick for his boss and (feels he) hasn't been properly paid for the work. Although it seems that copyright law has been used here - it isn't a normal copyright case.

       

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      Mark Gisleson, Nov 10th, 2011 @ 6:19am

      Re: Um...

      Also, the WaPost article was pretty thin but they seemed to describe the "act" as being protected as much as the trick. In fact, I'm not sure it was the trick so much as it was the staging.

      I'd like to learn more about this decision. Is the actual illusion being protected, or the act? Both acts used a butler. That seems to have been an easily changeable part of the act.

      Not the best news article, imho.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Now it's only a matter of time before someone goes to jail for pulling a rabbit out of a hat without a license.

     

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    Prashanth (profile), Nov 9th, 2011 @ 4:49pm

    You're a magician right?

    If you're a magician, can you make the lawsuit disappear?

     

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    Knuckles MacDonald, Nov 10th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    I'm bigger than you and I make the rules

    I've always been a bit confused re: patents vs. copyrights (thingies vs. ideas?)... whatever. I'll take the round wheels. You can have the square ones.

     

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