Some people feel that we are being a little hard on Dave J Castle.
They feel that he's "just a kid" and we're better off ignoring him. They don't think he's doing any harm at all and we're the big bad guys picking on him.
- Dave J Castle is not a kid. Despite his boyish appearance and the fact that he lives with his mum. he is 28 years old.
- He earns his income by performing shows at children's birthday parties and family events in Michigan, USA, and the rest of his income comes from his registered company 'Learn Magic Tricks'.
- His company is in the business of revealing the secrets of magic tricks. Many of these are revealed by clips that he's made himself and posted on Revver, YouTube, Myspace and all over the internet. These clips direct the viewer to his website. On his website he sells a selection of ebooks which "Reveal the secrets the magicians don't want you to know". The rest of his website is comprised of a collection of exposure clips made by kids and adults, revealing the secrets of any and every magic trick you can think of. He even has a forum on his website where he encourages readers to request the secrets to their favourite tricks so that others can post explanations.
He created his website in October 2006, and it's been growing ever since, despite numerous magicians who have contacted him and told him what he's doing is unethical.
Is it unethical?
The IBM and SAM, the two largest associations of magicians in America combined to create a code of ethics. Note items 1, 2, 3 and to some extent 5, below:
All members of the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians agree to:
1) Oppose the willful exposure to the public of any principles of the Art of Magic, or the methods employed in any magic effect or illusion.
2) Display ethical behavior in the presentation of magic to the public and in our conduct as magicians, including not interfering with or jeopardizing the performance of another magician either through personal intervention or the unauthorized use of another's creation.
3) Recognize and respect for rights of the creators, inventors, authors, and owners of magic concepts, presentations, effects and literature, and their rights to have exclusive use of, or to grant permission for the use by others of such creations.
4) Discourage false or misleading statements in the advertising of effects, and literature, merchandise or actions pertaining to the magical arts.
5) Discourage advertisement in magic publications for any magical apparatus, effect, literature or other materials for which the advertiser does not have commercial rights.
6) Promote the humane treatment and care of livestock used in magical performances.
Magicians are all frustrated by the wilful exposure that takes place on YouTube everyday. Most shrug their shoulders and ignore it, or accept it as a part of life. Dave J Castle says
"magicians think they can invent a trick and the idea will not get shared all over the world for free, they must be living in a fantasy world, whether this is right or wrong it is occuring not just in the magic niche but in many industries and the smart people will adapt to the new paradigm."
Okay, so what is Dave J Castle doing about the wilful exposure of magic on YouTube? Is he opposing it like the code of ethics recommends?
No. He's created a place where the exposers can gather together, support and encourage each other, and he's asking them to expose more tricks so that he can post them on his site and draw more potential ebook buyers his way.
Not only is he breaking the IBM/SAM Code of Ethics, he's encouraging others to do so.
Here is the difference.
I noticed one of the clips posted by one very young kid (Magic Pig) on Dave J's website was an exposure of D'Lite. This kid is one of the 200+ "Official Teachers" on Dave J Castle's site. Rather than throw my hands up in the air with frustration, or ask Dave J to remove the clip - which he has done in the past only to put it up again later - I emailed Roger Mayfarth, creator of D'Lite, who emailed the kid. 'Magic Pig' removed the video clip from the internet completely.
As Roger said:
"The kid just needs direction, I guess. These kids on the internet don't get it. They don't understand the Art."
Why doesn't he understand the Art?
Because the only direction he's getting is from Dave J Castle.
Dave J Castle has been given direction repeatedly, by many, many magicians, but he refuses to take it. Dave J needs to learn a lesson from 'Magic Pig' and wake up to himself. He's going to go a lot further in the magic business with the SUPPORT of other magicians rather than their animosity.
To be honest, I think the only thing going on in Dave J's head is "the numbers game". He's got 200+ "Official Teachers" who he probably sees as his "employees", and he's got literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of other kids who write into him telling him how great he is for explaining how the magic tricks work.
If enough magicians actually contact him and re-affirm that they are not happy with what he's doing, maybe, just maybe it will get through to him.
We need to send a message that this sort of behaviour is not tolerated in the magic community.
The IBM and SAM Ethics committee need to release a statement.
Yes, we can approach each of the YouTube posters individually (Dave J even recommended we do that himself "If you have a serious concern about the distribution of magic videos that reveal magic you should probably contact the actual distributors, however, since teaching magic is not illegal, I am not sure that your time and effort will yield the results you would like.") but if they see that Dave J is shunned by the very community he says he's a part of, then maybe they'll choose to join up with a local magic club instead - and actually learn the REAL secrets of magic.
Magicians misunderstand the power of industry pressure. This misused it in the case of The Masked Magician TV specials and inadvertently made his PR claims that "magicians hate me for revealing their secrets" true. Many think that we'll just give Dave J extra publicity too. This is not the publicity he wants. He genuinely thinks he's teaching magic, and does not see himself as the pariah that he is. If you shine a light into the darkness, you cause the cockroaches to scatter.
As far as Dave J Castle as a creator of exposurer videos goes, he has 64 different video clips on his MySpace page exposing the secrets of the following tricks.
- These are available to anyone to view, no restrictions, so he is breaking Ethic rule 1.
- By revealing the secrets to these popular effects he's making it harder for magicians who use these tricks in their shows to earn a living, so he's breaking Ethics rule 2.
- He doesn't have permission from the inventors of the tricks, so he is breaking Ethic rule 3.
Dave J Castle, once again I ask that you please show respect to your fellow magicians and remove these clips. If you feel you "must" teach these effects, at least place them behind a password protection system to protect them from the casual observor.
Finally, though many of your clip expose public domain magic secrets, many expose marketed effects. Do the right thing and either get permission from the creators of those effects or remove them completely. Until you do, 'Magic Pig' has a lot more respect in the magic community than you do.