I’ve watched this discussion from the start and had to stop myself from jumping in boots and all at the beginning, now however I’d like to try address Tim’s question with my own personal opinions.
One of the only good points from that ridiculous Café thread was that we first need to define Ethics. There is the opinion that ethics are different between individuals and that we all vary, there is also the thought that ethics are defined by a group or culture, which would infer that it doesn’t differ between all individuals. Unfortunately both are true, unfortunate as far as making this discussion easier. For those who haven’t been curious enough to visit dictionary.com
1. (used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. (usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
So with the actual dictionary definition doing nothing but muddying the waters, I’m going to put forward my own definition for the sake of the ethics in this magic discussion and what I actually think.
An individuals’ system of moral principles that define their behaviour and attitudes, these principles are shaped by and contribute to the rules of conduct recognized in respect to particular classes of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics; Magic ethics. An individual’s ethics will be shaped by the culture/environment they are raised in and throughout life, they will affect the types of groups and people an individual relates to and associates with.
With recognition that ethics are dependant on the individual, it becomes a question of what “ethical standards” could be agreed upon within the magic community, if any. I’ll ignore the fact that it is really a moot point due to non magicians having essentially unlimited access to the same information we do, and probably a completely different system of ethics, and not all magicians will play nice anyway.
So to the questions, (you may want the original blog post in another window).
1) Hmm, I’m still not decided, DVDs marked NOT FOR RENTAL shouldn’t be, and perhaps libraries should seek permission from the author or copyright holder before including others. The loss of magic club libraries, even theoretically doesn’t sit well with me.
2) Yes – if it is their trick (therein lies another thorny issue)
1) I buy the better one, there is nothing stopping the originators from getting ideas from those who rip them off and improving their product. Perhaps if we saw more Version 2 products people wouldn’t buy the better rip off.
2) Not much choice really unless we want to let items fade away because of manufacturing decisions.
1) Stand, Clap and Cheer. Ideally take nothing without researching it a little, ideally take concepts and inspiration. Definitely don’t take anything defined by the other performer’s personality.
2) Assume nothing.
3) See 2) and If I assume they wrote it why would ask where it came from.
4) Of course, it’s honest and hopefully they’ll take the compliment regardless of whether they give permission or not.
6) Hmm, depends on your respective performance arenas perhaps. Being original means doing what you do regardless of others so keep going.
7) Sure, if I know it well enough, you said generic trick, purchased stuff covers to large a variety to cover but I assume you meant the same as generic.
8) Once again yes – if it fits my personality, audience trends are constantly being affected by other performers, especially big names, and we need to please the client in the end. You’d probably just lose the gig to someone who did include it and not the one who made it famous in the first place. Generic effects!
1) To 6) I think lying in promotional claims is just wrong, I know Bish for one disagrees with this, but I just don’t think it is “right”.
1) That’s a dangerous game to play.
2) I’ve never used an entertainment agent but I do work for another agent, I’d say if they are rare bookers, add it on top, as for regular bookers, most other things are discounted for larger quantities.
3) No, it shows a lack of respect for the client and it’s another dangerous game (business wise) regards getting caught.
4) Better than them getting nothing? But see 3)
6) Just don’t do it, hmmm, lying risks you getting caught, but it could also be less insulting to the client.
7) “Once in a lifetime” is a big event, tell the client and try help with a replacement. If the clients demands you perform and it really is once in a lifetime material, drop the gig.
Agents – as mentioned I work for an agent for another job I have and it is surprisingly similar, a good agent relationship requires both parties to look after the other.
1) You held the date for the agent, therefore the agent gets it.
2) Yes, if they book you via the agent you pay commission
3) This should be covered in your contract with the agent, the agent fights for yes, you fight for no, one of those things.
4) Sadly that is the way the world seems to work, ask the IOC, if you can survive without doing that then fine, but it seems to be becoming the accepted norm, and a pseudo requirement.
1) Yes, or they need to do some sucking up
2) The latter, they might like it.
4) Yes, but see FEES 3) and 4)
1) Egad, what a question, so many choices, but so easy to piss someone off, simple card tricks are usually a safe option. I have a favourite for kids but that’s another essay.