Saturday, 14 April, 2007

Magicians to vanish patenting

The modern day's mantra of ‘patenting everything’ seems to have no place on the magic stage, at least in India. The idea of patenting props, principles and practices in the art of awe was thrown away without ado during a meeting of 30 magicians who has assembled at Magic Academy today (14/04/07). The magicians were there from different parts of Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu to take part in the 40th Perfect Performer Course, the monthly orientation class led by the young magic master from Karnataka, Nakul Shenoy.

Art and its aim
Art to be art should soothe, told Mahatma Gandhi decades ago. ‘Basic definition of the art is that it should entertain the hearts and its fundamental objective should not be to engage its performers in a war of titles and credits’ opined in unison, magicians M.P. Sadasivan and Chandrasenan Mithirmala, the moderators of the debate. Sighting the history and evolution of various art forms, they argued that patenting rules will only bring the curtains down curtailing prosperity of the art.

Composite form
Magic was an art that has strong roots in contemporary science and technology. To establish a patent right for particular equipment was immaterial, the meeting observed. “It [magic show] is a composite effort. Nobody can claim that a particular magical effect is due to a single invention or routine or even a particular sleight of hand”, said magician Darius. He challenged those who cry for patent protection for their tricks saying that any trick of the present is a composite creation of that of the past. “Modern tricks are evolved as a natural sequel to the routines and sleights handed down by our predecessors to whose favour records of evidences are totally absent” he said. Who was there to care the age old masters of yester years, he asked.

Appeasing the affluent
“Patenting is meant for protecting the interests of an affluent minority. What majority of today’s magic practitioners need is a sense of mutual respect and trust and a free world to prove their showmanship”, said magician Sasindranath of Kochi. “I’m in praise of David Copperfield. I recollect one of his videos carrying due credit lines in favour of Andrecol or so, who were behind his illusions”, said the Academy Director Rajamoorthy. “Nurturing mutual respect and offering due credits to the contributors of the past and the present are the need of the hour”, he reminded.

Unanimous conclusion was that the patenting will only protect the undue pride of a select few and curtail the growth of magical art. Even as magicians were heavily down on patenting, a warning gesture against the annoying breeds of copy cats was conspicuous in the air.

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Nakul Shenoy said...

Interesting discussion there. But I can't help and wonder if the discussion would have been totally different if some of the participants were also inventors. A Patent is the inventor/innovator's way of protecting his intellectual property. And (although it has his flaws) is the only way an inventor can claim originality or ownership of his efforts.

I look forward to see your next blog entry regarding the master class and it's reviews.


Magic Academy, India said...

Dear Nakulji,
Thanks for your immediate response! Seems you have got down from the flight and right away switched on your reply!!
First, our sincere thanks are there for your wonderful class on 'Mentalism' that was rated excellent by the partcipants. It was as great that you have overcome the delay in beginning the session through your exceptional mastery in mind magic.
Regarding Patenting, all the magicians were of the opinion that to pate an artistic invention will only stop the propagation of the art form. They emphasised that there should be a broadminded and respectful approach to acknowledge the predecessors and guides than insisting for patenting that it self has been a process demanding financial input.
As vivid in the report, they opined that modern magic is a composite presentation where there is an essential mix of ancient routines and concepts. Who is going to give patenting credits to those unsung heroes of the past?
Rather, we, especially in the world of an art, should honour all the past masters by duly recognising them whenever we evolve a new routine or trick than making use of the modern patenting jargon.
Since magic is a composite art, what about the patent rights of scientists and technologists who has contributed that part of the magic?
The issue attains more complex a nature.
Patenting may safeguard egoistic interests, but never endurance of art.
Art is some that should propagate through a path of no boundaries. Let us respect inventors, acknowledge them duly, but never constrain the transitions of inventions.
Now a days, even in Indian classical dance and music, there are many talented ones who take Doctoral degrees for their inventions. If we patent these 'raagas' and other musicians keep away from using the new contributions, what after all the use would be!
Hence the meeting concluded that patenting is a process applicable only for safeguarding the intellectual properties of scientists and technologists. In their fields, there are very specific, disputeless measures to decide whether the finding is new or not.
But let us not lock the intellectual contributions in the sphere of art in caskets of patenting. Let it continue an endless flow through generations. Pertinent thing here always will be whether the coming generations have the insight to give due credits to original inventors - the meeting observed.
When we weigh these facts one after the other, they seem pithy.