Magic Pirates Exposed

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MAGIC PIRATES EXPOSED

So it’s Christmas Eve and as is normal at this time to year my mind starts to review the previous year and look forward to the next.

It’s been an interesting year for me; a new show, some great reviews and an opportunity to refocus some of my efforts in completing some of the magic projects I’ve been tinkering with. I’ve been in conversation with a dealer about the ‘exclusive’ digit rights to some of my magic writings and am preparing the hard copy versions for release to interested dealers early in the New Year.

And this brings me to the point of this post…

In the past I have been a member of numerous magic forums but over the years have gotten dismayed by the level of general conversation; some of the obvious back-biting and issues relating to exposure.

Now call me old fashioned but I do think that there is a need for a degree of secrecy when it comes to discussing the methods used to create wonder. In the past I have ‘vented my spleen’ at some of the YouTube hacks who think they can simply take a commercial effect, learn it (in a half-hearted way) and then try to have their ego’s massaged by ‘exposing the real secret’ on shaky videos posted on the net. Often comments left on their video’s which question the right to expose methods they did not create has produced little more than personal attacks and requests to ‘get over myself’.

Many magicians will remember the intense debates around the Masked Magician TV Specials and in many ways it’s funny how most of the general public have forgotten so much about what was and was not exposed on these shows. To be honest, in some cases members of the public who ‘thought they had the secret’ became the easiest to work with.

Whilst I do not condone exposure I think I can live with it a little more than I can with the blatant theft and sharing of commercial works between members of on-line forums.

As as soon to be distributed author within the magic world I decided to take a look around the kinds of spaces where people talk about magic. I was pleased to find several places where discussion of magic seemed to be at the fore, but I also came across sites where the sole purpose was to share files between its members.

One site, Magic Videos for Free, not only had members willing to share gigabytes of material which was available from dealers and working performers, but seemed to have a system whereby books, effects, videos could be ‘requested’ – which as far as I am  concerned amounted to a request to steal.

Apparently the law is a bit cloudy on this issue and seems to be playing a game of semantics. The overt sharing and distribution of copyrighted work is not theft but copyright infringement.

In a very real sense sharing of copyright work equates to loss of income to creators/producers/dealers.

Legal semantics aside, these pirates often excuse their behaviour in the following ways:-

a) Well if  ‘the man’ didn’t charge so much we wouldn’t have to look for free versions

b) Well actually sharing these books increases sales because more people will see the work

c) In the past I’ve spent a lot of money on tricks which were not that good so finding free versions is good

d) Actually sharing the secrets means that people will create better magic (This is what I call the Masked Magician Fallacy since that’s one of the excuses he gave).

Non of these are tenable positions.

If you are a magician, mentalist or mystery performer then your journey is about finding the material, authors and thinkers who inspire your art. True I have purchased magic and been disappointed with the method BUT I remember that I was captivated by the effect… and that’s the point. I many cases such purchases inspired me to find an improved method AND to always remember the effect which intrigued me.

People who are not engaged in the process of creativity often fail to appreciate the work that goes into turning an idea into a practicality and a practicality into a ‘product’. In my experience the best results come from simplicity but to explain that that simplicity comes from hours and hours of thought, experiment and research to many is not easy.

If you are a magician, mentalist or mystery performer with a professional attitude then ONE idea in a book or a video more often than not is worth the cost of the original complete material….and perhaps this is one of the differences between and amateur/hobbyist and a part-time/working professional …. the ability to recognise the real value of an idea.

Without ethics and professionalism the art and craft of magic will die. Creators will cease to share; innovators will refrain from developing and performers will become more guarded – and those seeking to learn from the experience of others will be met with caution and distrust.

It seems to me that the magic community has tolerated these file sharing hacks for far too long and so it was with some interest, and not a little excitement, that I noticed that Magic Videos Free website has been the target of a group of anti-pirates; defenders of magic copyright. Indeed their campaign has resulted in the closure of this particular site.

I’ve been following the progress of this group (whoever they are) via a new Facebook Group :

http://www.facebook.com/magiciansagainstpiracy

And the Magic Pirates Exposed team are getting press in a number of places on the net including Forums and blogs like…..

http://weeklymagicfailure.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/magic-pirates-exposed.html

Not surprisingly some of those involved in the practice of Piracy have had their moan and have fallen back on one or more of the ‘reasons’ stated above – as I have said none of which are tenable.

In my opinion anyone who wants to support continued creativity in magic; marketing of innovative ideas and sharing of inspirational ideas from professional magicians, mentalists and mystery entertainers has a personal vested interest in supporting the Magic Pirates Exposed team.

Legitimate dealers and publishers of the work of those same creators have at least an economic interest in protecting the copyright of the works they sell and in supporting the exposure of known hacks and pirates.

As magicians, mentalists and mystery performers we have the joy of bringing moments of wonder to those we interact with. Our craft requires the same dedication as the musician, the painter, the actor, the singer – we are artists working in the medium of the mind – for pirates to take the creations of the Mage without honoring the work involved devalues it for all.

All the best

Alan

 

 

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