If you’ve read this blog, you’ll know that I’ve learned a lot about protecting the magic that I sell and that I’ve been very successful in keeping knock offs of my magic products off of sites like ebay and aliexpress.
I think this is something that all magicians should read, it not only covers the different types of intellectual property (IP), but how it applies specifically to magicians. Hopefully it will inform idiot magicians who don’t know about IP from commenting in social media groups with factually inaccurate information about IP.
My favorite is when a magician says a trick is protected as a “trade secret”. Sure it can be, but if I’m not a party to the trade secret agreement and can figure it out, I’m (legally) free to use it. Trade secrets only apply to those who have signed the agreement.
If you’re a creator, I hope if gives you a base for where to start to protect an idea for a trick and the different processes for doing it. For example, I personally don’t want to patent a trick due to time and expense. I choose to copyright the art and instructions. That allows me to remove knock offs from popular sites because they are using my text and art. Most of the people knocking off don’t want to spend the time it takes to write ad copy and create art, so it narrows down the amount of knock offs out there.
If someone uses my idea and creates their own art, text and ad copy they are legally free to do make my product. Sure, I’d rather they don’t, but I’ve accepted that’s how it is based on what I was willing to do to protect my products.
I’m always amazed at how many magicians have taken the basic step of registering the text and art of their instructions and ad copy. It’s less than $100 and easy to do online.
Ugh, so the idea of “cultural appropriation” in magic has popped up recently in a social media group for magicians. Personally I’m against people using props that depict things they don’t know about. A good example is the classic magic production boxes that have a Chinese character on them. At the very least, know what it actually says.
Yes, there is an artistic choice there use them and not know what they say. However your artistic choice says something about you.
Luckily those boxes and wearing Asian robes have mostly fallen out of fashion for younger performers. Right now it’s the older performers who are the ones that are (still) doing it. I try not to judge the past by modern standards, but if you are in modern times still doing things that may have been acceptable in the past, you need to get with the times.
Someone like Ian Adair who I respect as a creator still sells his Fu Ling Yu trick:
That style of imagery doesn’t belong in a modern magic show. I also understand he lives in a different country and what may be acceptable there may be different from where I live. I also understand he probably had a ton of these made 20+ years ago and doesn’t want to throw them away. I wish he would realize that sometimes you have to let go of the past, that trick really can’t be a good seller anymore.
I’ve been keeping notebooks for idea for magic since I was a teenager. Most of the ideas from the early ones are horrible, but every now and then I’ll flip through them and find something interesting. About 10 years ago I had an idea for a trick, but it was missing something that would make … Continue reading “Ideas Become Reality…”
I’ve been keeping notebooks for idea for magic since I was a teenager. Most of the ideas from the early ones are horrible, but every now and then I’ll flip through them and find something interesting. About 10 years ago I had an idea for a trick, but it was missing something that would make it functional.
I was running at the gym and notice something triggered an “ah-ha moment” that made the idea work. When I got home, I created the two parts on my 3D printer and printed them up. Here’s one of them in the CAD Program:
And here’s the other one that’s printed out:
Now that I have these two pieces, I’ve assembled the trick and am happy to report that the trick works!
The sad news is that in the 10 years since I had the idea my performing style has changed a lot and this really doesn’t fit how I perform. However it’s been in my head for so long, I’m going to keep developing it at home and try to figure out a way to make it work.
TLDR: Always keep an eye out for solutions to a problem