An Intellectual Property Case Study

Let’s talk a bit more about protecting your marketed magic creations. I’m amazed at how many creators and magic companies don’t take the most basic step of copyrighting the art and ad copy for the magic tricks that they release.

Before we go any further, let me say that I do understand that technically you have the copyright to whatever art/ad copy as soon as it’s created, but you can’t enforce that without registering it with the copyright office. It costs about $65 to register a copyright, so it’s not a huge hurdle.

Once you have that copyright registration number, you can actually enforce it.

It’s been a while since I’ve gone onto AliExpress to have knock off products removed. I did a search and there were five knock off products.

evaporation by louie Foxx

There’s one listing that was blatantly using my copyright protected Evaporation artwork, so I filed a claim and that was taken down the next day. That left these four knock offs of my Evaporation trick.

evaporation by louie Foxx

All four of them use “Louie Foxx” and I own the trademark to that. Trademarks are like copyrights in that you technically have a trademark when you start using it in business, however you can’t really enforce it until you have it registered with the government. This cost about $300 and took some time to be approved, but it wasn’t difficult for me to do by myself without a lawyer.

My next step was to file a trademark violation with AliExpress and they immediately took down three of the four listings, and a new one popped up.

evaporation by louie Foxx

The new one that used my Evaporation artwork was pulled the next day, but there was still one listing left.

evaporation by louie Foxx

I’m not sure why this one wasn’t taken down by AliExpress with the rest of them as it’s a clear cut infringement on my trademark. I took a peek at the listing and noticed that in the listing they show my copyright protected instruction sheet.

evaporation by louie Foxx

That let me file a copyright claim as well as the trademark claim on the listing. The next day that listing was taken down and as of this morning there were no more products on AliExpress that I could find that used my trademark or copyrights!

knock off magic

It’s an easy process, I had probably 30 minutes total put into getting the listings pulled. It’s not hard to do, and I’m really surprised more magicians don’t take the very basic step of copyrighting their artwork. Sure you shouldn’t have to do this, but actually doing something is better than just whining about it!


Not Always Glamourous!

Recently I was performing at an outdoor event where it dumped rain all day. My stage was covered so that was nice, but getting around the event I was frequently getting soaked. This the glamourous side of show biz:

magic show backstage

In between shows I would go to my dressing room to dry off my socks and shoes so that I’d be comfortable at my next show! There’s nothing worse them stepping onstage and having something like wet shoes bug you. No one in the audience can see the discomfort, but it’s something that takes you mentally out of the show.

Keeping yourself comfortable in the show is important!


Marshmallow Sponge Bunnies!

marshmallow peeps

I’m a little bit late on this thinking as it’s May and Easter was weeks ago, but I’m surprised that no one is making Easter Peeps as sponges for the sponge ball/bunny trick. The make total sense and the marshmallow has a sponge like visual texture.

If you didn’t want to do a traditional “in their hands” style vanish and productions, you could use them more like multiplying bananas. They’re topical, visual and really wouldn’t take any additional skill to learn if you already do the bananas.

They really wouldn’t be hard to make a mold of, assuming the ingredients in the Peeps don’t have a bad reaction with the mold material. For me this is a deep back burner project, maybe I’ll get to it by next easter…


Are We Still Doing This??

The other day I popped into my social media and it suggested I be friends with this guy. He’s rocking the “Yellowface” to do the linking rings. This a super lazy presentation approach, and definitely not a modern one. He puts on the outfit to do the Linking Rings.

Let’s take a step back and look at him trying to honor Asian culture. He didn’t do any research on it. There’s no evidence that the lining rings came from china (source: Genii online). So aside from the rings being from China, why is he wearing the clothes? Based on this article which reviews him doing the rings, I can’t find any reason why he’s wearing that robe in his presentation. I hope he wasn’t using any of the “I learned this from a great Chinsese magician…Fu Ling Yu” lines.

We as magicians need to move past this sort of stuff. You can do the Linking Rings without putting on robes.

He’s repping the Society of American Magicians in his Facebook cover, which is a bad look for the association.

I will say that I do have an out of context view of what’s happening as I’m just seeing a facebook picture, however the article I read seems to confirm what I’m thinking. In my heart, I hope he’s doing a thought out presentation that’s respectful…


King of Conjurers book

Over the last month or so I’ve been trying to get through the book King of Conjurers: Memoirs of Robert-Houdin. This is the biography of Robert-Houdin and for me this is a hard read. It’s probably that it was translated from French and it’s not the best translation is what’s making it a hard read.

It’s an interesting book and one that I feel I should read at some point as everyone loves to quote Robert-Houdin as saying, “…a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician…

While reading the book, I found this advice (bottom paragraph) about working slowly:

I think he’s right in many instances, but not 100% of the time. Yes, working slowing has it’s place, and most magicians could benefit by working a little bit slower. Someone like Hans Klok whose style working fast works for him.

I’m heading out to a show in a bit and I’m going to try to slow it down a bit…


Human Calendar Stunt…

The other day I was at the Pike Place Market and walked by a street performing pitch and saw this:

Unfortunately Mr. Unity wasn’t there, so I can only form my opinion based on his milk crate stand.

It looks like he does the day of the week birthday calculation. This is something that I’ve personally never understood why is impressive. It’s clearly a math calculation, not a memorization feat (at least when I’ve seen it). And the end result is something that I didn’t know or have any connection to.

I think if it was reversed and you told the magician the day of the week you were born on and the year, and they told you your birthday, it’d be much cooler. However, I’m going to imagine that would ultimately give the magician a 20-25% success rate, unless there some some fishing for where in the month the birthday is.


More Take Out Boxes!!!

Woo hoo! The first batch of my Take Out Box has sold out at Hocus-Pocus and I’ve got a new batch of them on the way! Thanks to everyone who has ordered one!

If you don’t know what the Take Out Box is, here’s the video:

What I really like about this prop is that it’s like a classic production box that would have been put out by Abbott’s or Davenport’s, but it looks like something that actually exists in the current world…unlike those older boxes metal boxes, or the ones that have funky Chinese characters on them. However, if you’re into the Chinese characters, you could draw one on it and it would totally make sense on this prop!


Audience Interaction Tricks…

Last night I went out to see the band The Interrupters and one thing I noticed was that they use a lot of things to tell the audience what they want them to do. This is something that in my show I try, but subtly. After watching this show, it made me realize that asking an audience to do something isn’t bad. It can be repetitive, but not necessarily bad.

the interrupters

Something like telling the audience how to respond when a trick happens is effective, because sometimes they don’t know how to respond. If you want people to clap along to a song, you need to tell them.

I need to reevaluate my show and look at places where I’m not getting the desired audience response and try to find spots where I can tell the audience what to do!


New Book Day!

I’m always trying to expand my knowledge about magic and magic techniques. I just had four news books arrive!

Magic books

These four books are on vary different things within magic! I think it’s important to be well rounded and know as much as you can about as much of magic as possible. It makes you better in an impromptu situation, and it makes you a better creator.

Knowledge is power and sometimes you can find a technique from a style that’s something you wouldn’t normally do, but can find a way to apply it to what you do!


Comedy Bar Gigs

A couple of nights ago I performed in comedy show at a bar. I used to do a ton of these, but don’t do very many anymore. It’s also fun to work with the younger comics.

One of the things about these shows is that usually sound is limited, so I do the show with just a handheld mic, not a lapel or headset mic. I do use one of Nick Lewin’s Microphone Holders for tricks where I can’t use a mic stand and need both hands.

This particular bar had a lot of sound options, but I still used the handheld. I really do prefer a handheld mic as you can use it to gesture and emote. I also try to not use music in my show if I’m not doing a 45+ min headline set. The other night I was just doing a feature (middle) spot, so it was very low tech for me.

It’s fun to go out and flex my bar show muscle to make sure I can still do them!