Thursday, April 4, 2013

Magician Theft & Gold's Carter Beats the Devil

From yesterday's BBC article "The magicians who steal other conjurers' tricks:"
Magicians have stolen each other's secrets for as long as the art of magic has existed. But the interconnectivity of today's world is making it easier - and magicians can't always rely on the law to protect them. 
Jeff McBride is one of the most accomplished magicians in the world. Seeing him perform, it's easy to fall under his spell - you half think he might have magical powers. His most famous routine is an intricate series of transformations, with a variety of masks, taking the audience through the entire history of magic. 
But, one day, McBride discovered he was not the only one performing this particular act. He spotted a clip on YouTube of a Thai magician doing his entire routine on local TV - move for move - along to his music. He'd even cut and dyed his hair to copy McBride. ... 
This dispute ended amicably, but that is often not the case, and magicians complain that their tricks are being ripped off like never before. ... 
You might well think that a magician would be protected from this - that they could sue, or that they would have some sort of recourse to the law. But there is little they can do, says Sara Crasson, a lawyer specialising in intellectual property rights, and a magician herself. Magic tricks fall into, if not a black hole, certainly a legal grey area.
For a novel about magicians, try Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold:
The response to Glen David Gold's debut novel, Carter Beats the Devil, was extraordinary. He hypnotized us with his portrait of a 1920s magic-obsessed America and of Charles Carter -- a.k.a. Carter the Great -- a young master performer whose skill as an illusionist exceeded even that of the great Houdini. 
Filled with historical references that evoke the excesses and exuberance of Roaring Twenties pre-Depression America, Carter Beats the Devil is a complex and illuminating story of one man's journey through a magical and sometimes dangerous world, where illusion is everything.

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