Credit Where It's Due

by Kevin Gallagher

I recently found myself involved in a dispute, I would have to say not for the first time, after publishing an item in a magic magazine to which I have contributed regularly for almost seven years not, I should add, for any personal gain.

Whilst I have a very healthy respect for intellectual property and would agree whole-heartedly that original thought or method should be correctly accredited where possible, ‘magic’ does seem neurotic to the point of unparalleled obsession at a level that is nothing short of trivial. A classic example would be that of the ‘Schneider-Dingle’ pick-up move, that most profound of all sleights- ‘picking up a card and coin at the same time’, a battle of giants over something that the average hobbyist would likely discover for himself within five minutes of first placing a playing card on top of a coin. 

The Si Stebbins stack, for whatever reason, has propagated right through magic and anyone claiming to have newly invented it would probably be jumped on from a great height however, is the idea of adding three to the face value and rotating the suit order really so profound that no-one else, not privy to the idea, would be able to come up with what is essentially a system of schoolboy simplicity?

With card magic in particular, the sheer volume of available material is overwhelming and it would be impossible to keep astride of every new move or subtlety. If someone comes up with an idea or development which they believe to be original, should they sit on it in the fear that someone, somewhere might have sometime published something similar? Personally, I would say that this would be a great shame, and detrimental to the furthering of magic as a whole. Much better would surely be to publish it and simply acknowledge and thereon accurately reference any other articles that come out of the woodwork.


© Kevin Gallagher October 2000