Copyright, Intellectual Property, Quote of the Day, Service of Process

Teller Silenced In Court By Elusive Defendant

To date, defendant has evaded personal service and cannot be located in Belgium, Spain, or in any country in Europe.

— U.S. District Judge James Mahan failing to grasp the obvious hurdles involved with a lawsuit brought by Teller (of Penn & Teller) against another magician.

(You can see video of the trick below.)

Penn and Teller are an entertaining pair of magicians. I’ve always respected Teller more, both because his role as the silent partner is much more challenging and because he has the good sense to keep quiet about his ridiculous political beliefs while Penn goes ahead and runs his mouth about how poor people are self-righteous bullies.

So I feel for Teller when he gets shut down in court simply because his opponent performed the most basic magical trick of all and simply disappeared before anyone could serve process.

The crux of Teller’s suit is a magic trick known as “Shadows” which Teller invented when he was a teenager.

Well, a Dutch magician named Gerard Dogge put the trick on YouTube and offered to explain it for a price. Teller filed a copyright action in Nevada in a case that could help define the intellectual property rights of magicians. Teller registered the trick with the Copyright Office in 1983, proving again that the quiet ones are also the smart ones.

Unfortunately, even if they find Dogge, the trial won’t be as much fun as it could be because the judge has denied Dogge’s request to have the jury comprised entirely of magicians. I don’t understand the judge’s reasoning. Mere Muggles shouldn’t be deciding this case.

Teller Learns Why It’s Not So Easy to Sue a Magician for Stealing a Trick [Hollywood Reporter]

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