Category: Magic Law

Free Magic Summer Reading from Conjuring Arts Center!

We love to read magic books and love to read free magic books even more.

There are two types of  free magic books: 1) those in the public domain; and, 2) those that are not in the public domain but are being illegally copied and distributed by some evil person or persons.

We shy away from illegal anything and especially illegally copied books.  Perhaps it is our day job as an Intellectual Property attorney that has biased us against counterfeit and knock-offs.

Maybe if we were not so aware of how authors and inventors dedicate so much of their lives to creating the property others hope to steal, we would be all for the theft.  Maybe not, though.  It still seems wrong.

But what are you going to do, the cynics ask.  Everyone steals and books cost too much and they are only stealing a single, virtual copy and they pay for almost every book other than this one and they were raised by Honey Badgers so they don’t really care.

We know readers of Inside Magic are not like Honey Badgers.

Our readers do care about doing right and avoiding doing wrong.  Our readers are good people.

That’s why the news from The Conjuring Arts Research Center is so exciting to us.

The Conjuring Arts  folks are launching their perfectly timed summer reading program today.

At Conjuring Arts we believe that some of the greatest secrets of magic can only be discovered by reading great books. Every week until the end of the summer we will be giving away a FREE! PDF download of a great magic book. The book will be available for download for absolutely free from the beginning until the end of the week at which time a different free book will be given in its place. Please enjoy reading these classics of magic and spread the word about our FREE Summer Reading Program with your friends!

We promise that if you download each book each week you will have the beginnings of a Great magic library.

We just downloaded their fully bookmarked edition of The Expert at the Card Table.  It looks great and even has line and chapter numbers like you would find in a bible for those who treat the book like the bible of card magic that it is. Continue reading “Free Magic Summer Reading from Conjuring Arts Center!”

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The Mystery of the Magic Castle Trademark

What do magician Richard Bloch, a highly (pun intended) rated medicinal marijuana dispensary and the world famous home to the Academy of Magical Arts have in common? They each use the phrase “Magic Castle” in their names.

Mr. Bloch recently sought federal registration for the trademark “Magic Castle at Sea” to identify his particular brand of magic shows designed for cruise ships.

Magic Castle Solutions describes itself as a “North Hollywood Marijuana Dispensary” where customers can order a variety of different strains of the drug pursuant to their physician’s prescription.

“The Magic Castle” private club is also in Hollywood, California but likely does not sell any strain of marijuana with or without prior approval of one’s physician. Rather, the club is a place to enjoy the performance and teaching of the art of magic.

We support our magic habit by our day job as an intellectual property attorney and so the confluence of these three trademarks was the kind of thing about which we become giddy. We feel spiritually uplifted now that we have admitted we become giddy by such things and feel our relationship with you, the reader, has become more meaningful by our sharing.

Or maybe it’s the airplane glue we have been using to perform “Smoke from Fingertips” all night long.

But trademark law is fun with or without fumes of glue.

The purpose of a trademark is to identify the source of goods or services. That’s it.

Anyone can make bread, but a consumer looking for the taste and quality of Wonder Bread will look for loaves bearing that trademark first used in 1921. Consumers are confident Wonder Bread brand of will be the same when purchased in Los Angeles, California; Mystic Hollow, Michigan or DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Consumer confidence in the trademark is supported by civil and criminal laws to protect against counterfeiters; like rogue bakers selling bread with the Wonder Bread trademark.

Consumers interested in magic as a performing art have similarly associated the trademark MAGIC CASTLE with certain qualities. The castle offers visitors a chance to see magic performed from at least three different disciplines (close-up, parlor and stage) after enjoying a fine dinner and taking in the grand collection of magic memorabilia.

Continue reading “The Mystery of the Magic Castle Trademark”

Magic Patents Don’t Help: Learn from Horace Goldin

We uploaded into the Inside Magic Library, the 1938 decision by the federal district trial court in the Southern District of New York dismissing Horace Goldin’s lawsuit against R.J. Reynold’s Tobacco for an injunction blocking their alleged exposure of Goldin’s trade secret for Sawing a Woman in Half.  You can see the decision here.

The Court’s decision was correct — Goldin was wrong and apparently didn’t even appear for the hearing.

The Court buys R.J. Reynold’s defense that it did not take Goldin’s secret.  The tobacco folks claimed they got their version of the secret by reading a book written by Inside Magic Favorite Author Walter B. Gibson.

We are publishing the decision to demonstrate an unfortunately frequent mistake of magicians.   A patent only keeps others from making the exact same illusion — it cannot protect the secret or even the idea behind the secret.

Mr. Goldin also failed to understand what is meant by “Trade Secret.”  This is still a common mistake made by magicians.   True, one can protect trade secrets under US intellectual property law but a trade secret must be secret first and foremost.

The method of performing a magic trick is not a trade secret if it is known by others — even if it is known only by magicians.  It may be a secret of the trade but that does not make it a trade secret.

A magician can protect a trade secret only if it is truly secret, he or she has taken the steps to protect the secret, and the person being sued had some agreement or contract with the magician to keep the secret.  Unless there was an agreement between the parties or there was some sort of special relationship between the parties where a court could conclude all agreed the secret was to be kept, there is no basis for a lawsuit.