Regular readers of this blog know that I am fairly outspoken about piracy and rip-offs in the magic world.
As a creator myself, I know how long it takes to come up with a trick or a routine that's fairly original, and how little financial reward there is in releasing it to the magic community on sale. Which means when someone from within the community copies it, steals it or remakes it and sells it as their own it not only shows an enormous amount of disrespect to the creator, but it also eats into any small profit he or she could deservedly make from their creation.
Sure, we can simply not release the trick, but just ask Cyril how that's worked out for him. Tricks from his TV specials have been "reverse engineered" and released by copyists claiming them as their own.
Then there are the exposure sites, which generally incorporate file-sharing into their structure. You get a couple of hundred people who decide, because they can't afford to buy all the magic DVDs they want, they'll buy one each and share between them using a torrent. When you sell one DVD instead of, potentially, hundreds, the whole act of creating, manufacturing, marketing and releasing a DVD becomes somewhat pointless.
Last year, James L Clark managed to close down one of those sharing sites. Recently the owner of the site, Alex Hess, emailed me privately apologising for his past actions. It takes a lot of courage to do that and I respect him for doing so. It also looks like his ExoMagic online magic site is flourishing without the need for illegal sharing of other people's intellectual property.
Unfortunately, there are still many, many more magicians out there who simply just don't get it.
The most recent case involves the website 'Art of Misdirection'. It's owner, Duane Lundgren, is not only sharing DVDs on his site but books as well. He buys books, scans them for his site, then made the big mistake of trying to sell the originals on the Genii Forum. (The thread has now been deleted)
Now he has become the next target of James L Clark. The front page of his Black's Magic website says this:
Pirate Hunt - Duane Lungren
Our newest target is Mr. Duane Lundgren from the Twin-Cities area of MN.
As you all know, piracy has an incredibly negative impact on our community, society, and indeed our national economy.
Lundgren is a 26 year old man with a computer science background from Brown College. His details are:
We will be seeking all legal remedies to put an end to his site. Let's continue to work together as a community to stomp out magic piracy.
Pirates please be aware. There is an ever growing group of magicians who have had enough of unethical behaviour with regard to intellectual property in the world of magic. Many will argue "Oh, it's been going on forever..." Well now it's time to stop. If you choose to behave unethically, action will be taken.