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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 101050
Experience:  Lawyer
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I have a question concerning the intellectual property

Customer Question

Hello :) I have a question concerning the intellectual property & copyright laws.
In short, I am a magician with over 10 years of experience and I have decided that I would like to release/sell a magic kit that teaches some of the magic that I've learned as an empowerment tool for the youth. The kit would come with a dvd that contains the tutorial, an empowering message or two, my own performance footage, and whatever "gimmicks" they need in order to perform the magic.
The idea is that its a way for socially awkward, insecure teenagers to learn something that will make them feel unique and allow them a fun way of connecting with others, gaining recognition, and ultimately, building there confidence. In essence, the same opportunity that life afforded me.
The thing is, I am not the creator of the effects I wish to teach.
They are secrets that are sold separately through various magic sites either by their creators or even innovators of an original effect (people who have taken an old secret and made it better).
To be clear, I feel that what I am selling is the time (and money) that I've put in to finding magic secrets that are both simple yet practical, as there are thousands and thousands of secrets that you could purchase, but finding them and finding practical ones is a job and expense within itself.
Therefore my question is, would it be a copyright or intellectual property offence for me to sell this kit or I am in the clear? (or is there a loophole I could use?)
Thank you in advance for your taking the time to answer me, your help is much appreciated :)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, you cannot sell something that has been created by someone else. The creator of the work owns the intellectual property to that work. At the same time, if there are many variations of age old magic tricks that no one knows who first developed then you could develop your own twist to these old tricks. If you wanted to use something that someone else has developed then you will have to get their consent. It may be that they will simply say yes but more often than not they will ask you to pay a licensing fee. I am sorry that this is probably not what you were hoping to hear.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hey, thank you for your clear reply, I do however have some follow up questions.Firstly, I had intended on offering a free bonus trick to the first 50 people who purchased my magic kit. Considering I'm not charging for that particular effect, do the same rules apply? Reason I ask is because on YouTube, magicians offer free tricks all the time that would technically violate someone elses intellectual property, however it seems to not be an issue seeing as it's free.Secondly, what happens when I don't know the original creator? For example, one of the tricks I intend on teaching I had learned years ago from a random magician friend, however he wasn't the creator either and I'm no longer in touch with him.It seems like there's a sort of grey zone with magic because many magicians simply sell a slight variation of an older secret (whereas the one who first developed it is known), and in many cases, they even sell something that they claim to have created on their own, claiming to have no prior knowledge of someone else having created it before.Also, if it makes any difference, I live in Quebec and will be offering this abroad via the internet.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.
It is not about making money. It is simply about using someone else's property.
You can try your best to get consent where possible and perhaps vary the tricks as much as possible too. If someone contacts you then hopefully agreeing not to use the trick again will be good enough.