What to do When your Magic is Pirated

By Andi Gladwin - Sunday, September 20, 2020


Magic creators around the world share the same frustration: magic is pirated more now than ever before.

I can somewhat sympathise with those people who have torrented out of print magic books, or perhaps shared an ebook with their friends. It's not cool, but I understand why people do it.

But what I cannot tolerate is the small number of people who have made a business from piracy. They use fraudulent credit cards and VPNs to purchase products from magic creators and then immediately resell it on their own websites for a fraction of the cost. These leeches are hurting creators and making money for themselves. It's not only a selfish act, but also one that could eventually lead creators to stop sharing their work.

Andi Gladwin talking to the Chinese government about piracy Andi Gladwin talking to the Chinese government about piracy

A lot of creators ask us what they can do to stop this. And so, I have three pieces of advice:

1. Do not promote it.
I often sigh in despair when I see people post on social media: "This guy is selling my downloads. How do we stop him?" or "Check out this website - they are selling my products for next to nothing!" The more you promote piracy, the more people will become aware of it and the more customers they'll get.

2. Report it.
If the person is selling your magic on eBay, Facebook marketplace, AliExpress, or any other online marketplace, look for the little (often hard to find) "report" button to alert the company that their user is a pirate. The company legally has to respond. YouTube, Vimeo, and other streaming services have similar rules. (Etsy is way less helpful it seems — but we're continuing to try to understand their policies.)

If it's an independent website that sells your magic, report them to their webhost (that's often trickier) and the payment processors (such as PayPal) that they use.

We'll obviously do this for any Vanishing Inc. creator, but you should know that you don't need to be the publisher or copyright holder to make the report: you just need their permission. And we hereby grant every Vanishing Inc. creator permission to report your products on our behalf.

3. Spread the word about how piracy impacts you personally
These websites wouldn't exist if people didn't buy from them. So, be a voice of reason and educate your followers and friends to show how it impacts you. The more people that are aware of how piracy is having a detrimental effect on our industry, the less pirating will happen.

We'll continue to be here to advise creators how to limit piracy and hope that together we can minimise its impact.

Andi at an anti-piracy summit in Beijing Andi at an anti-piracy summit in Beijing


Reader comments:

Brian

Monday, 21 September 2020 02:03 AM - Reply to this comment

Well said. Thank you for standing up to this!

Brett

Monday, 21 September 2020 23:53 PM - Reply to this comment

I don't know where you manufacture or print your tricks and books, but if you are doing it in China--or any other country that does not enforce intellectual property, you are putting your IP at risk. If you are printing your books in those countries, it is nothing for someone to scan them or keep the original plates or files before the book is even available for sale. If you are manufacturing a trick, you are giving up the secret to the manufacturer and the employee who, if located in a country with a track record of non-enforcement of IP protections, you are asking to have it pirated.

Manufacturing in countries with strong IP protections won't solve the problem in and of itself. If someone in a weak IP area buys the prop and copies it, you will still be pirated. But at least you will have taken steps to a) not just hand your IP over to pirates as a part of the manufacturing process and b) at least have your merchandise in hand and up for sale through legit channels before the pirates start undercutting your sales.

Sean

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 00:58 AM - Reply to this comment

Thanks Andi, this will help me for all my future projects i plan to release!!!

Claudio

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 13:24 PM - Reply to this comment

Thanks for taking care to the topic.

Gareth

Thursday, 24 September 2020 07:57 AM - Reply to this comment

I hope for the reprints of older books/dvds and/or the movement to download formats. I was really happy to find that I could buy a PDF of a harder-to-find book directly from a magician recently. Not as nice as a physical book - but it came within my budget and helped me support the creator.

It's saddening to me that certain out of print books sell for £100+ but can be obtained for small change illegally. One of those prices is significantly out of reach for many students of magic.

I know "just reprint old books" isn't the easiest solution - there are contracts, printing costs, and many other factors. But the one good thing that comes from these piracy sites is we know there is a market out there for the harder-to-find stuff.

David

Thursday, 24 September 2020 19:26 PM - Reply to this comment

Most of the magic market is just reselling the same (limited) old ideas over and over again, and even "legal" magic often steal their ideas from others. Also, magic vendors are seldom honest with what you actually get with the trick and describes a dream of what they believe the audience will see when you perform it, when it in reality doesn't live up to it at all. It's become an art to desipherthe lies of the marketing magic creators use to promote their material, which often is stolen from someone else. That kind of marketing does not make you want to pay your hard earned cash to "support the artist". Also some wendors screws the creators. My point is not that piracy is okay, but magician often set themselves up for it by extremely high prizes for (at best) mediocre tricks and false marketing. An honest market would go along way to make people feel that they get value for their money and make them want to support creators. Also, maybe not every idea is worth selliejust because you can... At least not if you consider magic to be an art...

John

Thursday, 24 September 2020 20:49 PM - Reply to this comment

I have reported people on eBay that were selling copied disks
I wish things were different but it seems the problem is not going away anytime soon
As far as magic goes I unfortunately have to agree with the fellow that says sometimes we are sold things that don’t live up to the description so if you are going to sell magic to other magicians be honest and give them good value l don’t want to feel like I bought a scam from a 70s comic book

Michael

Sunday, 27 September 2020 02:24 AM - Reply to this comment

Andi looks so mad!!

Jordi

Thursday, 01 October 2020 14:11 PM - Reply to this comment

Wow, is it possible if there is a Vanishing Inc release and its pirated in another country can you stop it? Because i have found a local store that sells a pirated video of your masterclass session in my country. It would be nice if it can be stopped with legal action

Jens

Saturday, 03 October 2020 19:13 PM - Reply to this comment

One issue that adds to this: most countries' laws and sites like Youtube or ebay do not allow or empower (potential) buyers to report piracy. Happened to me, and it is frustrating when you just get replies in legal slang that translate to "we don't care, even if you're right with your suspicion, because you may not report."

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