|Steven Frayne, aka Dynamo|
However, it is a difficult area: The leading Us case involves Robert Rice, aka The Mystery Magician, who failed in an attempt to sue Fox over its Breaking the Magician's Code TV specials in 2003 which he alleged infringed his act. The 9th Circuit wrote: "The mere fact that both The Mystery Magician and the [TV] Specials reveal the secrets behind magic tricks does not by itself constitute infringement. Rice's claim, therefore, may only succeed if the [TV] Specials infringed upon the presentation and stylistic elements of The Mystery Magician." In 1943 Charles "Think-a-Drink" Hoffman sued Maurice Glazer for violation of his the copyright and trademark rights in his "Think-a-Drink" act. The Supreme Court of Florida upheld the trademark decision for Hoffman, but held that Hoffman's act did not qualify for copyright protection as a dramatic work in US law; a 1998 joint claim led by Joseph Harrison against Fox's 'Masked Magician' series also failed on the ground that whilst it did indeed breach the Magician's code of honor, that could not form the basis of an action in Louisiana,
|spot the difference - the original is on the right|
Alongside 'trade secrets', Patents have been taken out by magicians, but the magic community say that as the 'secrets' behind the trick then enter the public domain on publication, the application can be self defeating and counter productive, and that the cost of enforcement of patents is a real barrier. So back to copyright!