The Moschen Triangle and the Kennedy Cone


Just in case anybody missed it, here is a link to Luke’s new video one the triangle/cone discussion.

I just finished watching it, and I now slightly agree with Luke on this matter. However I found a few lines troubling, specifically at 10:54. I don’t like to see the words “theatrically dull” and a video of Moschen used at the same time…

I congratulate Luke on making such a great video, and really diving into a topic which needs to be discussed!



Some excellent points and food for thought.

One counter-argument is that precisely because the techniques are so easy, that is what makes the routines copyrightable. It was the concept that was hard to come up with and that’s what the person gets credit for. The uniqueness of the idea and the creativity in inventing it is what gives the creator exclusive ownership. A simple example would be Dan Menendez’s bounce piano - brilliant gimmick but easy to copy. Wally Eastwood’s presentation is actually much better than Dan’s, but it’s still stealing.

What about copying peoples’ jokes - isn’t that obviously a no-no? What’s the difference? I’ve heard it said that if you copy and even improve on someone’s joke, it’s only not stealing if you could tell your version right after the original and people wouldn’t realize it’s necessarily the same. I don’t see how that could be done with the bounce triangle or conic.

I do not know how to define the line between what’s copyable and what’s not. It’s generally obvious when I see a unique act what parts are fair game to try out (even with the intent of eventually performing) and which are not. But it’s hard to put it into words. I’ll certainly think about it more now. And I think that the line is moving all the time, too. Eating the apple was probably someone’s trademark at one time, but perhaps when the originator died is when it went into public domain?


You must let go of the idea that any juggling prop or trick is copyrightable. Copyright is legal framework that applies to some pieces of work, but there are whole areas where there just isn’t any protection with copyright, and no way it can apply.

Did you know game mechanics can’t be copyrighted? Not with board games, not with computer games. The names and graphic design elements of games can be trademarked, but the core mechanics can be copied as much as anyone wants. That’s why Steam and the various app stores are full of clones the minute a certain game gets any success.

Juggling props and tricks are much more like gameplay mechanics than pieces of recorded work that can be copyrighted.

Also you have to stop using words like “copyright” and “trademark” and “public domain” and “licensing”. They don’t apply to juggling. There is no legal framework for the protection of tricks and props, there is no legislation that allows for the prosecution of people who copy them, there is no agency that enforces any rules that might exist, there are no law firms that work in the space of juggling apparatus design encroachment.

The reality of the juggling world is that professional jugglers make money for performing their skills. The way they keep making money is by being better or more entertaining than other jugglers. If a new prop helps them for a while before others make their own version of the prop, that’s great, but just because it is helping them get more gigs doesn’t mean legal protection is suddenly attached. It isn’t.

Thankfully, in the case of Cirque du Soleil, when they saw conic and wanted it in their show, they employed Greg to do all that. For the purposes of keeping good relations with Greg, and via him the world of performing artists, I’m sure they wrote up contracts with language about what is “owned” by Greg (the cone and the tricks) and what is “owned” by Cirque du Soleil (the character, the glow balls, the music, etc). This is good business on their part! It helps clarify the situation so credit is properly given, and Greg feels well compensated for the work he put in.

If Cirque du Soleil now approaches a juggler about them appearing in their show with a new prop, that juggler might ask Greg “Hey, what’s the deal here? Are you happy with Cirque?” and Greg will say “Hell yes!” Clarity in a business relationship is VERY important to keep everyone happy. Happy people means good working environments, and future employees will be more likely to come on board.

But that is a unique situation agreed in advance by all the parties involved, and is not applicable to the wider world.

I intentionally left that out of the video as it encroaches on the world of comedy writing, which has a long history of people being paid for writing, and a culture of not performing material that you didn’t write or have written for you. Also it verges into magic, which also has a history of trick inventors being paid. Juggling has no such history or culture. Unfortunately Rejean St Jules muddies the water by copying both props and material in the same act, so the issues get conflated. But they are separate arguments, in my opinion.


Also you have to stop using words like “copyright” and “trademark” and “public domain” and “licensing”.

I only meant those terms conceptually, not legally.


But those are concepts with real world legal definitions.

A juggler can’t “patent a trick” conceptually, they have to go through the real life patent office.

A juggler can’t make a trick a “trademark” unless it includes a logo or some name or word that is unique, and they register that name and logo with a trademark office.

A juggler can’t copyright a trick, though a video or picture of a trick could be copyrighted so as not to be used by others in various cases.

There is no legal framework for licensing juggling tricks like there is for other media like music, movies, images, etc. There are no companies like Getty Images for tricks. There is no company with a legal team that writes up the rules, disseminates the tricks, and then collects royalties or licensing fees, and sends cease-and-desist letters to infringers, and takes them to court if they don’t pay.

By co-opting these legal terms which don’t apply to juggling, you aren’t making the conversation clearer, you are just putting on a veneer of faux-legitimaticy which doesn’t actually help anyone understand it better.

Let’s start from reality when talking about these issues in the juggling world.

In the juggling world, we don’t “license” tricks, we share tricks. We don’t “copy” tricks or “steal” tricks, we learn tricks. We don’t “own” tricks, we invent tricks or create tricks.

This is the reality for 99.99999% of new tricks and props and concepts. Just because one or two props like the Moschen Triangle and the Kennedy Cone are held as sacred, it doesn’t mean we should bend the entire juggling world to fit it into a box where it doesn’t belong, just to please the creators of those two props.

What we should do is bring them into the world of juggling, which is based on creating, sharing, and learning, not owning, licensing and stealing. Let’s treat those creators with respect, of course, and give credit and thanks.

Choose your use of words wisely, as importing the legal terminology of other forms of entertainment would mean that 99.9999% of jugglers could be held as “guilty” for one thing or another. That’s not the kind of juggling world that exists now, and not one I want to exist.


really trying to understand your viewpoint here- are you saying that sharing doesn’t need to be consensual? so if i make a trick and show it to you, then that not only means i wanted you to see it but i also on one level want you to do it as well?

i don’t get how you can say that its ok for someone to perform the triangle or cone when michael and greg have both explicitly said they don’t want other people doing their work. i have worked out several scenarios in my head where i try to justify or understand where you’re coming from but instead of putting words in your mouth i’ll see if you have time to clarify before i proceed at guessing how this works.

anyone can do anything they want in their bedroom as long as its not physically or mentally hurting anyone. but once you step on stage and present material, there is a context where its implied that you have permission to perform whatever it is that you’re doing for any number of reasons. i have never in my life seen a situation where it wasn’t communicated in some way, but still the audience watches something and thinks to themselves “oh this person is just doing things that someone else made.” and yes, you can certainly lie to an audience, to your friends, to whomever… you keep bringing up legal status, law, terminology. i’m not talking about guns and jails and courts here. just human beings respecting each other. and so if michael says, hey i don’t think you should do the triangle, go make your own thing, well then i will go make my own thing or at the very least not do his triangle.

same goes for wes- just wondering but so then you think that every trick he shows in gumball is fair game for you to go and perform on stage without asking him and without crediting him in some way? he gets no say in the matter? his opinion is irrelevant? and yes, i understand pedantically that legally there is no structure to stop you, but i’m talking about in your heart, your conscience?

it baffles me literally beyond my ability of comprehension what is so wrong with my suggestion that we all just respect each other and talk to each other. i see you do some juggling or music or comedy or dancing or whatever and i want to perform it myself- so i talk to you and say hey man is it cool if i do this? and yes, this is not the world we live in now. you really think its so hard to put this in place as an attitude? you don’t see any benefit of this? i can name one right away in that i don’t need to see another shitty copy of dan’s bounce piano, or of the triangle, or of anyone else who rips shit off without any further thought. and that’s kind of the thing isn’t it- that the kind of people who see no problem copying these things (i say copy because sharing to be implies that the person who created them would be fine with others doing them on stage) are usually the kind of people who don’t have the desire or skills to actually innovate on them and push the conversation forward. it just dilutes the culture for everyone, performers and audiences alike.

i’m all for every single person in the world having a triangle and cone in their basement… and learning greg and michael’s routines throw for throw… and then keeping going, to the point where they go beyond what the original artists have done, where it turns into something new that is relevant to the world. a great example of this is viktor moiseev taking pendulum juggling to a new place so it built upon jorg mueller’s creation so much that it became its own thing. this is the kind of world i want to live in, where energy is spent in this direction. and that is why i write comments like this and share my opinion when i can on the topic. in my mind it starts with a discussion and then an eventual agreement on a direction to go. i can’t do it alone, i am part of a larger community. it looks to me right now that half of the people think its fine to steal as a moral and ethical issue in general, and the other half has a different definition of what the word stealing means in these situations (invoking rhetoric about lack of laws and police and courts and jails and guns). which brings me back to my original question for you above: what’s the definition to you of all those qualifying words you highlighted? for example, no one says “i owned a trick today,” but they do say “i created a trick today.” so maybe more clarification on your part can strengthen your argument?


To clarify: I didn’t bring up legal status and law terminology. In this thread, Scott did so. In other places, other people have done so. I made an entire video without ever talking about patents, copyright, trademarks, and only mentioned licensing to say that it doesn’t exist in the juggling world outside of, maybe, some secret contracts between private parties.

Instead, I am trying to use the language that I want to see used in the future world of juggling.

When I say “share not license” I’m trying to encourage what I want to see in the future of juggling. I don’t want to ever get into the situation where, if someone wants to learn a new trick or perform it, they ever have to worry about licensing.

I want people to say “you’ve learned a trick” not “you’ve stolen a trick”. I want people to say “You’re performing with this person’s invention” and not “You’re ripping off this other juggler.”

As soon as you bring in the concepts of licensing, copyright, trademarks, patents, etc, that brings with it the language of “stealing”, “infringing”, “ripping off”, etc. If this is to be a moral issue, not a legal one, you have to stop using the legal language, especially as none of those concepts apply to juggling tricks, inventions, props, or concepts.

If these concepts DID apply to juggling, then there would be clarity about what is okay for new jugglers to learn and perform and what isn’t. But there isn’t that clarity. As I said in the video, for 99.999% of new tricks and props, it goes from one person’s invention to being used on stage by others just as soon as people learn the tricks or make the props, and then put them in their show. That’s typically about a year or so, and everyone is fine with that. It’s a good thing.

You say that Michael Moschen and Greg Kennedy said they explicitly didn’t want anyone to copy their inventions. Let’s agree that they did. But if so, where? When? What record is there of this?

If a juggler wanted to find out if the inventor of a trick or prop was okay for them to make their own version, where do they go to find out?

I’m 100% serious with this question. How is a new juggler meant to know what is okay to copy or not? Is there a single registry, like a trademark office or a patent office? That’s the only way I could think it would work.

If you want people to just happen to know or hear stories about someone maybe saying in the past that maybe they don’t want people to copy some invention, that’s not going to help new jugglers.

And not only new jugglers. I mentioned on facebook when someone asked about S-staff and crystals that “those controversies were settled years ago” and someone asked “what controversy over crystals?” That wasn’t a new juggler, but someone who has been a professional for something like 30 years or so. I had to point to the FAQ of rec.juggling as hosted on the Juggling Information Service website.

Is THAT the kind of research you want all new jugglers to do when buying or making props to perform with? Do they all have to magically gain knowledge that was only available to people who happened to read Jugglers World magazines in the 1990’s?

And as John Blanchard posted on YouTube, he knew about Michael Moschen’s attitude towards copying, and tried to get in contact with him, but never heard anything back. You might say “well that means he shouldn’t have made a triangle of his own then” but that brings me back to one of my main points: If there is to be an attitude that some props are only being used with permission of those who invented them, there MUST be a clear way to either get that permission, be denied that permission, or only get permission with licensing fees attached, or other clear answer.

And if Moschen’s opinion of copying his triangle is assumed to be the same as his opinion of copying his use of crystals… as in, it doesn’t matter what he thinks, as everyone now does contact with crystals if they want to, and very few people even know there was any controversy, how are they meant to think the triangle is any different? They’ll just assume that the no-copying request was also in the past, and Moschen has moved on now. The fact that there are a dozen other examples of people using bounce triangles doesn’t make it more clear, only less clear.

If they watch In Moschen with Michael Moschen, and see bounce juggling, contact juggling, s-staff juggling, something with hoop isolations, and something with a triangle, how are they meant to know that the triangle is the one they can’t perform themselves, even though all the other things are performed all the time… and the triangle is performed all the time? What is the clear communication that the triangle is so different?

Let’s say Duo Zdenek Supra watched Greg Kennedy’s TED Talk, where he said “I used to be precious about my inventions, but with Conic I put it out there and it led to all this good stuff” and closes the talk with “I want people to look at what I do, learn from it, build upon it, and eventually create their own work”. How are they meant to conclude that Greg actually means “I want nobody to copy this prop without my express permission, and if they do I want licensing fees, and if they copy without my permission I will sue them.” How can they know about any contract or license between Greg Kennedy and Cirque du Soleil, when that is secret and only between those two parties?

Seriously, how is the unique permission-based-don’t-copy-these-props situation communicated with the world?

I think the idea of a trick and prop registry, contact forms for permissions, licensing agreements, etc is all totally pie-in-the-sky. It’s never going to happen. And nobody wants it to happen. But if you want to live in a world where everyone assumes they have to check to see if a new prop isn’t allowed to be recreated, there must be a clearly communicated and centralised way for people to find out about the status of every new prop or trick.

If the FIRST way that is communicated is by you and others accusing jugglers on Facebook of stealing and being immoral, that isn’t helpful for anyone.

If you want to accuse people of stealing and being immoral, it is up to YOU to communicate the special status of these unique props BEFORE some jugglers from Eastern Europe who didn’t read rec.juggling in the 90’s spend maybe thousands of euros making their own version.

You can’t tell them AFTER they’ve spent the money making the prop, and after they’ve spent a year or so learning it, and after they’ve brought in a director, and after they’ve done their premiere, and after they’ve released a video, and after they’ve been booked to perform at a circus festival. And you can’t assume they should do the research, because that research isn’t needed for any other prop except for these two ball juggling apparatus, including for other props invented by these same two inventors.

My conclusion is that there is a better, easier middle ground between the world we live in now, where these props are recreated and performed without knowledge about the original creator’s opinion about copying (which is near-impossible to know, guess, or find out its current status), but also without credit to the original creator.

The middle ground is encourage people to give credit. If Duo Zdenek Supra present or promote their act as a “Juggling act featuring the Moschen Triangle and Kennedy Cone”, nobody is going to think it was their invention. So far they are probably presenting themselves as “Performing a unique juggling act with innovative new props”, and then the assumption is that they probably did invent them, and that’s really not cool.

In the real world, as it is now, without the expectation that a tiny minority of “new props” are off limits for performers (“new” meaning from 28 or 10 years ago), and without a way to find out which tricks allowed or not, the change I can make in the world encouraging people to give credit. There is no legal reason to give credit, of course, but it is morally the right thing to do, instead of passing off an invention as their own.

To be clear, the future of juggling that I want is no licensing, and nobody being accused of stealing and immorality just for making their own versions of juggling props or performing tricks they first saw 10 years ago. I also want creators to get proper credit, and not have people pass off past inventions as their own.

I spent two weeks writing and editing a video to try and achieve that. It’s just a small step, but hopefully it’s more effective than moaning on Facebook.

If you want to educate the juggling world on a different approach, I’d like you to make an opinion video rebuttal and post it on your YouTube channel. This debate should be done in public, and in a format that shows more thought and rigour than Facebook or YouTube comments, or even forum flame wars.

If my position needs any further clarification, or if it changes or evolves, I’ll release another video in the future.


here’s a future i envision-

when someone taught me how to juggle 3 balls, they showed me the cascade… after i learned it, then they said “and its also possible you can make your own tricks!” maybe they would have even had a little “mental tool kit” of examples of how to make tricks. that would have blown my mind when i started!!! i had no idea i could create my own patterns. as well they could have told me “and when you make a new trick, you can show it to other jugglers, who might show you their tricks. and its on this method where juggling grows and you can learn more… jugglers are famous for talking to each other about where tricks come from and how they expand.” and then, built into each new juggler, is a culture of caring where things come from… and also therefore eventually where they are going.

but the first thing needed is a common attitude, that its valuable to respect where technique comes from and how it evolves. i personally want this because it will speed up the progressions of new tricks, and i want to see all the new tricks i can before i die!! i have been playing a game for a few years now where if i see a trick i like, i will go and talk to the person doing that trick. i’ll say “great trick!! did you make it yourself?” and there are 2 possible answers usually- if they say “no” then i’ll ask where they saw it. if they say “yes” then i’ll ask what process they used to make it. if they did not make the trick themselves and then tell me where they saw it, i will try to track down that source and ask the same original question. if they did make the trick and perhaps part of their process was a reference to another resource, i’ll try and go track that down.

for example, if someone is doing a trick which they made and they said they were watching a lot of snooker videos online… it might open my eyes to that as a source of inspiration which i never thought of before. if someone tells me that toby walker made the trick… well then i’ll facebook toby and ask him how he made the trick, etc. for me this process is not laborious, on the contrary, its fun, gives me inspiration and energy, and connects me to the community. it allows me to have more conversations and grow much more efficiently. however, i must say, 99% of the time when i ask where a trick comes from, the answer is “i don’t remember.” but what is also implied in that is “i don’t remember, and also i never even gave it a second thought.” which is fine… but just imagine if people did actually care about where tricks came from, i’m talking about on a hobbyist level. its like baseball cards- i don’t collect them but so i’ve heard that the people who are into that subculture know all the statistics about the players on the cards… that doesn’t hinder the enjoyment of collecting the cards, on the contrary, that’s the whole point of it?

there’s also a strange thing in that just because something doesn’t exist, or we can’t immediately point to a perfect solution, then therefore it isn’t worth investigating, its not a valid idea. i mean, its up to us, together, as a community to decide where and how to focus and harness our collective energy (if we even want to do such a thing). and if we can agree that it might be a good thing to start to investigate and become aware and conscious of where our tricks come from and how they spread… even if that hasn’t been done before… and even if there is no current solution on how to do that best… then we can start to see how to proceed. but it starts with that first agreement- that we want to collectively take action, and what exactly we are taking action about. once the problem or issue or topic is generally defined, then solutions can be proposed. we are not even at the first step, the agreement that any action is needed on any level.

i think it would be cool to have a website which is a log of all the tricks ever. i don’t want this for external reason, rather i’d love to have it for myself! i think about wes and all his videos of tricks on his laptop, and how he has to organize folders and folders of them. i don’t know how anyone else does it, but for me personally its a major pain and i never do it. consequently i end up forgetting tricks, or having to make things again… but beyond that i also don’t get to experience the arc of any process, its always just immediate damage control over documentation. this website would allow videos to be uploaded and tagged very clearly, i.e. “3 balls” “box variation” etc. i could have different accounts for different projects i’m in, and i could choose to make the content private or public, or shared in a private group if i was creating a group show. and this whole thing would also be an app on my phone, very much like instagram with simple editing features built right in. personally i’d keep all my uploads public… not only to be transparent in the evolution of techniques (which i would hope others would be too since we would all benefit from this sharing), but also to help triangulate the proportions of certain trends, to try and see where to go next… to fill in the holes as it were.

if i had such a system, i could then make a 3 ball box variation, and then look online, search “3 ball box” or whatever and find out that actually you had made the same variation 10 years ago already! then i could also see all the other variations everyone else has made and shared publicly on the site. and then, i could react however i wanted- i could learn all of them one at a time. i could remix them into something new, or i could try to investigate new 3 ball box territory none of the other variations have covered so far. and my practice would be light years ahead of where it is now. all the information would be easily accessible to anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection. and if my search led to a cool box variation from you, i might also see you uploaded some club tricks based upon anti-spin. i could search by user, prop, pattern, site swap, or whatever else we all dream up together.

is this any different or worse than when i started juggling?? here’s a book of how to juggle 3 balls… 10 months later my father drives me 3 hours to spend 1 hour with a 90 year old man who doesn’t quite remember how to pass balls so tries to teach me 1 count passing. 2 years later my father drives me 4 hours to buy 4 beanbags for the first time so i can start to learn 4 balls after learning the 20 or so 3 ball tricks in the book or whatever. everyone today is in such a panic that having conversations with people about tricks will limit their freedom, i’m talking about creating a sustainable culture of sharing and awareness. and the thing is, if someone wants to upload a public video on some sort of creative commons license, that’s great too!!! i’d much rather have michael moschen upload the triangle and say “i would like to share this with you all but i’d rather you didn’t also perform the triangle,” than to have him look at the culture and think “oh shit, the way things are everyone just takes whatever idea there is without asking, without caring, without attribution, without consideration, without respect… hmmmm maybe i won’t put up this triangle video after all since i’d rather no one else did this technique for now.” creative commons license allows for any different versions of sharing, on many different levels.

i’ve never talked about licensing the triangle or cone in terms of money… though that could and would be completely valid it if existed- which, by the way, side rant: why can’t juggling please catch up with the rest of the world?? wouldn’t it actually in the end be amazing if you could make al living off of licensing tricks??? what if wes could just support himself making tricks all day long and selling them to people? if a dancer wants to make a new dance, they get a choreographer… if a juggler wants to make a new show why in the world not to get someone to sell them tricks?? comedians have writers… it would be amazing if greg could be in his workshop all day, cranking out new inventions if that’s what he wanted to do, and being supported by the people who use them. anyway, i never suggested its an issue if money, its just about respecting their wishes. you’re asking where people can find out about their wishes, but also at the same time condemning me for writing about exactly this on facebook. well here’s one place you can find out about their opinions on these 2 specific props = me! i’m telling you right now i have personally talked to them about the triangle and the cone and they don’t want people performing with those props. i wrote it now here. i’ve written it on facebook. i’ve told people in person. you have an issue that there’s no system in place so new people can learn this? ok. so therefore greg and michael’s opinion isn’t valid? you know it makes me mad on my facebook newsfeed when i get alerts that says someone has posted a video to jugglingrock, juggling home, european jugglers, japan jugglers, all magicians and manipulators on facebook, ring juggling, ball juggling, and its the exact same video!!! so there’s no central resource online for juggling these days… does that mean people shouldn’t share their videos because i’m a member of all those groups and its annoying to get so many notifications of the same thing? that’s just the state of the juggling community these days. i called out what i consider to be an injustice immediately when i saw it on facebook, using the resources at my disposal. you made a youtube video with great effort and you taken your time to write your thoughts here. cool! i appreciate it. i agree the youtube video is way more worthwhile than some facebook conversation which is now already lost and here we are again rehashing all the same things. i personally don’t make videos, though i will take the time to write here when i can, that’s the limit of my ability currently.

and for the record, personally in my opinion, its not ok to perform contact juggling with the crystal balls, or the s-shapes, or anything else someone is doing that michael created and performs. or anyone else for that matter. its not so hard to do, its just an attitude to be aware of and get into the habit of caring about. just this last week @ZakMcAllister wrote me and asked if it was cool that he did some stuff on a table since he had originally seen me doing a video with work like that. first of all, it was cool to hear from zak. second of all, it gives me the chance to connect with another generation of jugglers. i can give him my references for work with juggling on a table. maybe some he wasn’t aware of before and will save him some time from having to reinvent the wheel. but most of all it was part of his process, and wasn’t a big deal to put into practice as far as i could tell.

it seems me and you actually agree on quite a few things here, but perhaps both of our language is not clear enough. as you suggest, language is very important here, and for that i completely agree with you there. so then, to try and clarify my position-

i personally have no problem with any level of structure in the future with money or licensing. i would guess that there would be all levels of accessibility, some tricks available for free, some for money. and i have to say yet again- anyone can do anything they want in their bedroom. put it on stage and its a different matter entirely.

well yeah… i want people to use that language when its appropriate and applies to the situation truthfully. but let’s please stop being abstract for one moment in time- between me and you, here and now, what do you honestly say to the fact that michael has personally told me he does not want others to perform the triangle? you can think that i’m lying he has told me this, but i would believe me and you are good enough friends with a long enough history that you probably know i am telling the truth. even play devil’s advocate if you must- michael says to perform the triangle goes against his wishes. your response is when talking to me about this? and if you were talking to michael in person what would you tell him? because, in my mind, if michael tells me he doesn’t want people to perform it, and then i see someone else performing it, then in my mind that other person is ripping michael off. i will concede that they might not know they are ripping michael off, but then i can gladly tell them and inform them of this. and i will use the language which applies- “actually, you are ripping michael moschen off.” that’s how i see the situation there in the moment. yes, i can take many different tactics and approach the person in many different ways. i could say to them “hey that’s cool a triangle, how did you come up with that?” and i might do just that depending on the situation. what i saw on facebook was clearly not at that level. and i responded in the most appropriate way i thought i could- to call out a thief… because they should have known better. other side rant: you want to be a juggler? how about being into juggling and finding out as much about juggling as you can? but i digress…

i’m with you on this point- but just confused… stealing and ripping off are ethical and moral terms to me, not legal ones. so please tell me, what is the moral and ethical language to use instead of these words? isn’t stealing a concept outside of a legal structure? maybe i’m confused.

this doesn’t quite make sense to me- so because there isn’t clarity, therefore its justification for those concepts to not apply to juggling? its just such a weird argument- its like me saying, “ok whew we all finally agreed that we need some clarity here on these issues so then… what should that clarity be?” and you respond “but there isn’t any clarity already now so the whole endeavor is invalid.”

i’m not fine with that. i know lots of other people who are not fine with that. i’m not negating your world view or personal experience that everyone is fine with that. but i’m telling you straight up right now in this conversation that i’m not fine with that. i also personally think its a terrible thing. but that’s fine, because its simply a different opinion than yours, its not a fact.

the record of this is in my brain. at least between me and you this information should have a valid transmission since we have known each other for years, grown to be friends, and have previous experience with each other which gives some context and basis for communication. i have hung out with michael and discussed this exact topic on various occasions over the past 20 years. times that pop out right now is in 2010 in st. louis, 2009 in stockholm. with greg i have an even more recent memory- just the few weeks or months ago on the facebook discussion about the triangle and the cone, he personally posted publicly that he would prefer people to make their own work and not perform his work. at the same time i talked to him privately about the matter where he voiced similar opinions.

this is a great question in the larger conceptual sense… in that i would absolutely love for there to be a central place online i could point you to for this answer. but for now, i think i have to stick with the most obvious thing which comes to mind- how about asking the inventor of the trick directly as a starting point? not a rhetorical question put for emphasis, but literally why is that such a hard concept to champion?


i’m with you here! right now the community’s opinion on the subject is a mess! so there’s not even a clear starting point of which attitude to take on the matter. let alone how a collective process might look like. but just because there’s no clear path currently in place doesn’t mean there couldn’t be or shouldn’t be one in the future?

personally i look at it more as an attitude which permeates the community. a kind of mutual respect we would all have for what we did and how we did it. and as you point you, your example above is the only way you can think of something working… but the thing is, collectively maybe we could come up with something that none of us could think of on our own. but this will never happen if we don’t first all agree that its a discussion even worth having.

you mean that the process will be chaotic? then yes, i agree. that’s where we are now. is that how i want it to be in the future? no.

again i feel i’m missing the larger point here- so you’re saying that because people are ignorant, we shouldn’t endeavor to educate them in any way possible? and again, i feel i must point out in context that the s-staff and crystals has not been settled in my world. i mean all this just leads to what i was talking about before, that we have a general attitude in our community where we care about these things. if this older juggler had been brought up inside of that kind of attitude, maybe they would have known much more about juggling art as a whole and been that much better off for it?

yeah! i’d love it if jugglers everywhere cared where things came from and where they were going!! we would all evolve so much more quickly and at a higher rate of quality!!! it would be amazing!!! and now there’s not even any magic to this kind of work… IJA just release all the juggling magazines to be available online. not only that but there is social media to let you have a more efficient process. i don’t think any of this will be mentally easy for the older generation of jugglers, but for people just starting out, to make it part of their habit and juggling world, to have an interest in the evolution of juggling technique, that’s super easy… as long as we all champion the idea together and teach it to the people the same way we teach them the cascade.

look, am i saying every single person has to be the world’s leading expert in the history of juggling? no way. am i saying that every single juggler could expand their consciousness about where the things come from which we all do? yes. and also, may i point out again, i don’t get the problem with it- if i like music, let’s say a particular band, i will find out who plays in that band. maybe what other side projects they have, etc. i don’t need to collect their out of print first vinyl single and play it on a vinyl player made a year the record was released. but at least i could know that paul mccartney used to play in a band called the beatles?

um… must i point out that if he already knew michael’s attitude then what’s the problem here?? the real issue is that he didn’t agree with michael’s attitude. no wonder he didn’t get a response. and also, just to say, i’m not any more special than john blanchard when it comes to first contact with michael moschen in my life. i guess i just tried harder than john? or got lucky?

indeed. why couldn’t he at least have made an octagon? i haven’t seen that one yet. at least an octagon is more motivated than trying to contact michael and getting no response and making a triangle anyway.

let’s first all agree this is something we want to do. and then let’s work on a solution together.

the triangle isn’t any different than the crystals. let’s educate everyone. let’s voice our opinions if we believe in them and think they matter.

yes, even more reason for me to get worked up over this, not less. i will tell everyone i can about this. that’s been my attitude for years now. i am for sure sad that the conversation is exactly the same now as it was 25 years ago.

the triangle isn’t different. all those other things have the same issue as the triangle.

i guess we both just interpret this very differently- when i heard greg say that i thought he meant “i want people to be inspired by my creations, to take their own risks, to look at my process, and to find their own way as i have.” i don’t think he’s ever talked about suing anyone. its not a legal matter. its not about money. he’s just fucking sad. he’s bummed out. he’s not inspired by people copying him, he’s not motivated by that to make new work (which other’s might like to see).

i honestly never considered that to be relevant to this conversation in any way.

i guess it starts with us? why not? my students in DOCH know about this now. i’ve told people over the years. maybe they told others?

i think we can all share. but i think we can also all have some basic respect for one another. i still haven’t heard a single person respond to greg to his face about his opinion that he wishes others wouldn’t perform the cone.

i can take your point of what you mean in the larger picture here. but otherwise, i didn’t see this kind of conversation happening with the performers in question there… who i still think stole the material and are thieves. as well, if not on facebook then where? and it was also helpful in that thread had over 800 comments i think??? so it did quite a lot to bring awareness to this topic that is rarely talked about.

ah ha ha, that makes no sense?? so you rob a bank. i find out later you did this and you tell me “well its your own fault for not telling me beforehand it was wrong!”???

what? what are you talking about here? what do you mean i can’t tell them? i just did. if i had known them during their creation i would have told them them. if i would have known about them before they made the act at all i would have told them then. and why the hell didn’t anyone else tell them either at any point along the way? shame on the director who should not have gone along with the theft, and shame on the festival for promoting such values in the community. it sounds like you are implying this idea they are thieves is my own personal secret opinion. i am following the way i was raised inside the community. in the way i think is best and in the way i think will lead to a better future. i am not alone in this opinion and i’ve been way more vocal about these ideas than lots of other people who think the same thing.

but if we are going to encourage them to give credit, why not just go ahead and encourage them to talk to the inventors? what’s the difference? since they are not giving credit, and we have to push an idea that does not exist, why not respect the inventor’s opinions? to just give credit is a lazy way out- its all that stuff out there now which calls itself “a tribute to pina bausch,” its not a tribute, its just a rip off without permission. or the other great one is that people think in writing “inspired by blue man group” that they are then absolved for having ripped off blue man group. giving credit is not the same as having permission.

ok! so there is something going on here that you think is really not cool. on that level we both agree. we don’t agree yet on what that thing is, but we agree something here can be changed. then i don’t understand why you are not subject to the same context you give me for my opinion- so if its really not cool that they present themselves as they do, how can you say that now? after they have made the act? etc. etc. its the same thing i’m doing, just pointing out a different issue?
but yeah, i’d love for them to give credit. and also to have permission.

but hang on- if you’re talking about morality here… why doesn’t permission enter into the equation? or at least the opinion of the inventor? just because its not logistically clear how that can happen easily at this point?

i completely 10000% agree with you here… the only problem being that me and you might have a different idea of what “their own versions” means! and if we can just get to that point where we understand we agree up to that point, then maybe we can start to discuss what it means to make something your own version?

amen! i’m with you brother!

yeah! i hope its more effective too! respect you took so much time to stand behind what you believe in. damn i wish i had so many hours of each day so i could do the same.

yeah i feel you- its like over on facebook i kept wanting people to respond here on object episodes just so the conversation wouldn’t get lost. but making video for my youtube is beyond my means right now. however i can luckily take the time to write all this out here now.

i agree. respect. i struggle with this all the time- thinking i should do something better, up to the standard that i think it needs. or then just not doing it at all. in the end i struggle through the process.

i look forward to it!!


In the large grey area, I don’t know yet where I stand exactly. But I wanted to share some observations with all of you nonetheless.

Property/possessions - material or immaterial - is a social construct. Its definition and application varies from culture to culture. It seems to me that we, the juggling community/culture need to discuss the definition of ownership. Can one own a trick/prop/concept/routine, and if so what does that mean? If it turns out that we believe ownership does not exist in juggling context, it will be a lot less relevant what the “first performer” has to say about if he/she likes to be copied or not.

If you “create” a trick/prop, you have a different relationship to it than when you “discover” a trick. Creators might feel more inclined to claim ownership. I’m glad that all siteswaps are “discovered”, therefor nobody feels bad for using them.

People juggle and perform juggling for many different reasons. Although in Jay’s ideal world the tutor would encourage creating new tricks, I don’t believe this is everyone’s ideal world. I know quite a few jugglers who have no or little interest in creating tricks, but a lot of interest in juggling nonetheless. I myself enjoy creating juggling from time to time, but my main interest in performing is applying juggling, finding the best juggling for a specific purpose. This is most often not juggling I created myself.

In who’s interest should our copying ethic be? Solely in the interest of creators, or in the interest of the community? Copyright was introduced by the community because they believed they would ultimately benefit if writers had a bigger incentive to write. Where is the balance for juggling? What would be most beneficial the juggling community? Jay gives the example that Michael might perhaps not post a video online afraid that his tricks get copied. That would be a loss for the community. On the other hand, I would think it would be a huge loss if we now stop seeing any contact juggling with “crystals”.

Again it comes back to the concept of ownership. Is there an owner who can say what is and what isn’t allowed with a certain prop/trick? Or are we better off if we all agree there is no such thing as ownership but only a “first discoverer”, or only temporary ownership?

Any barrier of any kind has the potential to inhibit creativity. If there was no barrier, and everyone was able to get their own triangle by snapping their fingers, I’m sure we would see a lot of new creative ideas appear from there, among some copies. Maybe the inevitable copies can be worth it considering the new creations that appear from this new freedom? Some barriers are unavoidable, like the barrier of juggling skill. You can’t perform 7 balls on stage until you practice. But do we really want to construct new artificial barriers such as “you need to contact the first discoverer of the trick before you’re allowed to present your experimentation” or “your trick needs to be different from the trick it was inspired by”? Are the benefits of such barriers outweighing the consequences? For who?

And in the end, what is copying? As humans, we fail to make perfect copies of anything. Any recreation will ultimately be influenced by the uniqueness of its performer, and will write a memory in the minds of its audience that could have never been placed there exactly like that by the originator of the trick/prop/routine. Accepting that nothing is a copy and everything is inspiration, is it even possible to draw a line for what enough deviation from the original is and what not?

I hope some of the above made sense, it’s not the best time of day for writing down ideas but I wanted to be involved in the conversation as I find it a very interesting and important one!

@instantjuggler, We spoke briefly about this at the NJF already last year: I’m also dreaming of a central video hub, and recently started dreaming out some designs in my head again, based on another nice art community (non juggling) that I moderate. If your plans/ideas ever crystallize, or need another eye/brain/hand, do let me know, I’m very interested in making an effort for this.


I’m not going to respond to all your points, but a few quick clarifications:

I wrote: “If there is to be an attitude that some props are only being used with permission of those who invented them, there MUST be a clear way to either get that permission, be denied that permission, or only get permission with licensing fees attached, or other clear answer.”

You wrote: “let’s first all agree this is something we want to do. and then let’s work on a solution together.”

Our fundamental difference is that you want a world where people ask permission to use tricks and pay for tricks or license them. I do not.

I don’t want the future of the juggling world to be based on that of music licensing, or any other media licensing. I lived though years of “This video is blocked in your country due to a copyright claim by BMG/Sony” and all that shit. When I released my two music albums, because I live in Germany, I had to pay money to a central authority, just to be able to list them on Apple music and sell CDs. It’s just bullshit bureaucracy. I don’t want that invading the juggling world.

I’m much happier with the current state of juggling, which is a lot closer to the fashion world or the gaming world. There is no copyrighting of clothing fashion or game design mechanics, which means unfettered copying of all the new tricks and styles and designs. It’s great! There’s constantly new and fresh takes on what has come before.

So when you say that Michael Moschen has told you personally that he doesn’t want people to copy his tricks or props, it’s not that I don’t believe you, nor that I don’t think you or he cares about it, but that the juggling world has, collectively, decided that the original creator of a prop just doesn’t get to dictate what happens with their invention. That they even have wishes doesn’t percolate through the juggling world, let alone that their wish is for nobody to copy them.

You might think that everyone learning a new trick or prop should drill down into the history of the prop (and people like you and me enjoy that) but the reality is that 99.99% of jugglers just don’t. To them, that they can buy crystals and buugeng and all those other props from any number of websites, that’s all they care about. As I said, even a professional of 30 years didn’t know there was a controversy about crystals, so I can’t expect that of new jugglers from Eastern European countries who don’t speak English, or whatever.

To reach the future you want, you’re going to have to put in waaaaaaay more work than just telling people “Someone once told me something, and now it exists in my mind, so the whole juggling world should be like so-and-so.” You’re trying to steer a juggernaut, and change its course by 180 degrees.

To reach the future I want, I’m trying to make a minor course correction.

Like with Duo Supra. If I had my way, they’d rename a YouTube video, change a bit of their website, and in the future change the billing or description of their act.

If you had your way, starting now? First, your complaining on Facebook is already too late for them to not make their entire act and be booked to perform it.

Second, this is not like robbing a bank and not knowing it is illegal. It is more like entering and working in the fashion industry for many years, then finding out there are a few guys years who, decades ago, decided that different rules applied to them, and now want the entire fashion world to work like the music licensing industry.


“i still haven’t heard a single person respond to greg to his face about his opinion that he wishes others wouldn’t perform the cone.”

He messaged me and said he’d be happy to discuss it in private. I’m not interested in discussing it in private. Private conversations between famous jugglers helps nobody understand what is going on. The only way I’ve ever heard of Greg’s or Michael’s opinions about these issues is second or third hand reports about conversations sometimes from decades ago. Greg’s TED talk video does nothing to clarify his opinions on the matter, so much so that I used his conclusion as the conclusion in my own video, and he clarified my own views, and I wasn’t even taking his words out of context.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts clearly and publicly.

I just want to add something that seems close to the subject to me.
There is a society of authors called SACD in France that defends their rights under French law.
It is a form of legal protection similar in my opinion to what you have been discussing.

You can read more about it here :

I know that a lot of french juggling shows have been registered there.
It’s pretty obscure to me and I don’t have an opinion whether it’s working well or not, but I just thought that it is very close to the discussion here. It already exists and works somewhere.

This is how they define the work of authorship on the website : “The Code of Intellectual Property (CPI, in France) protects the rights of authors on “all works of the mind” whatever their kind, form of expression, merit or purpose (art. L 112-1 CPI). This code lists the works eligible for such protection including, but not limited to books, pamphlets, dramatic or dramatico-musical works, etc. (art. L112-2 CPI). This list is intentionally non-comprehensive so that all new creations liable to be considered works of mind criteria may benefit from the relevant protection.”
It for sure doesn’t apply to tricks, but I guess that it could apply to routines, and maybe special props?

From what I’ve understood, it’s a double-edged sword.
You need to pay to be part of the society and to claim your rights on a specific work.
It gives you protection, rights and remuneration when the work is being used.
It also adds your work to the author creations repertoire.
It’s pretty complicated bureaucracy in which you can get stuck and not always fair but I guess that it’s the closest form of legal protection for juggling pieces that exists.


Hey all
To develop Florence’s message I’ll give details from inside the system.
This author rights society SACD is good when you are touring “official” theaters, who also are in the system. for example when you are replaced in a show, you keep the author rights (if you were given some in the beginning). Practically in the circus domain, it never happens that a show is put together again by a company that has not created it, so in this sense it would not be useful.
When registering, you typically register a stage work with a title and at least one author. Then anywhere this title is seen by SACD in theater programs, SACD enforces the rights. You can also declare your dates in advance to help them work. You must also mention this in your contract with the presenter.
If you only tour small or unofficial places, or simply places that are not part of the same system, I would not recommand you go through this system. One big side is political, it has to do with the recognition if circus as an art, also as an economic activity, and then the “corporation” of circus artists can claim more support, regulations changes, etc.
If nobody says he’s an author by going through the author right system, nobody is going to believe that circus is anything else than a hobby or a business.
If somebody else makes a copy of a show under a different title, which I have never seen in circus, there might be a chance for him to run away with that. If the original author wants to sue the plagiarist, it will cost him so much compared to the lost revenue that I doubt it would be worth.
Note that Jerome Thomas has been administrator of SACD twice (he is now finishing is second mandate). He has been struggling real hard for circus recognition since at least 25 years. He especially made that now you can see a “circus” checkbox in the declaration forms side by side with theater and dance.
Also note that juggling is the first circus discipline by far in terms of author right generation.
Hope this helps.


I have another small story about Vincent Bruel around 2006 (he had died already), when his family discovered videos of the “Tac-Tac Tango” act from Vincent copied by an ukrainian juggler move by move. They managed to contact the agency who proposed these acts, and they kindly removed the videos. But we will probably never know if this juggler actually performed the pieces.


Is not what you suggest here in place already? Let us say I have invented something and you contact me to get the permission to do it. If I do not reply, then that is a clear no. If I reply, I will do so with my wishes for the situation. I do not see anything unclear about that, and I can’t think of a situation where it has been unclear. If such situation has occurred, please tell us about it. You can of course say its not the nicest way, but nice and clear/unclear are different things.


yes, that could be the difference. but i want to clarify- its not just about permission and money or licensing, its about the overall attitude of the community of having respect for each other. and i literally can’t see the respect if someone asks greg what he thinks, greg responds, and then there is just no answer to what greg says… silence and a continued use of his idea.

yes, i also don’t want bullshit bureaucracy invading the juggling world. who does?? its ridiculous for you to suggest that i want to make a system or have a concept for the community which doesn’t work or function in reality. you seem to only gravitate towards negative examples here, which surely champion your point of view. but let me give you one real life scenario which might make this easier to understand- i went to see palazzo in stuttgart. andreas wessels was performing mark hayward’s routine with rat traps and marshmallows and juggling balls. during the act i called mark who was back in america. i asked him if he knew about this and if he had given permission to andreas. he did not and had not. after the show i confronted andreas at mark’s request and asked him what was going on. after a half hour chat, andreas got in touch with mark using the contact details i gave him. he worked out a deal with mark where mark got some money, andreas got to keep performing the routine and in the end everyone was happy. now, you could say, who the fuck cares, let andreas do whatever he wants and mark can fuck off. but the situation is like this: andreas got to have some material to perform that he didn’t have to spend the time to research and test and create, andreas gets to not be an asshole anymore and is now a productive and positive member of the community, and mark gets some extra money… which, in theory, he can use to have some free time from not performing himself. and in that free time he can create even more original material… which andreas might like to buy more of in the future.

i’m guessing that if you had seen the show instead of me, and let’s pretend here that you are friends with mark and know about his repetoire, you would not have thought anything of it at all when andreas whipped out the rat trap, marshmallows, and beanbags. then andreas keeps going forward being a vampire, sucking money and work from mark using mark’s material. maybe mark would have been fine. maybe mark would have had to quit performing and started working at macdonald’s because all his germany contracts dried up since andreas kept undercutting him. either way, its super shady business. and i just can’t see what good would come out of it in the long run? usually my overarching conceptual point is that if everyone is free to take from everyone else, eventually there won’t be anything worth taking… if michael moschen had been like everyone else who stole his stuff, then he himself would have just done kris kremo’s cirgar box routine or something and there never would have been a triangle to steal. i’ve heard a counter argument to this that there will always be people who are happy to invent and give away their creations so that eventutally there will be a balance in the world between those who like to take their material from others, and those who like to create material to be given away. the funny thing is, 100% of the time which i’ve heard arguments like this, the person making it never has anything of value to give away. you don’t see people coming up with ideas like the triangle every day of the week. and all of these people who are so quick to say its ok to take materail from others… what have they ever offered up that’s of any value back to michael?

at least in fashion, are you forgetting about the entire black market bootleg scene!?!??! the one that’s completely illegal? where you can’t make a fake louis vitton handbag and not get arressted? where there are brands and labels and anyone who copies those things without permission is a criminal???

and one more time you and i arrive at the same place- yes, in fashion there is a constant new and fresh take on what has come before! exactly like when viktor moiseev makes pendulum juggling his own… i’m hard pressed to find more examples in the juggling world though… every triangle i have seen, every bounce piano i have seen, every cone i have seen, outside of the original creations have all been derivitive and added nothing to the progress of the juggling art form. i would even settle for a “new take” on the triangle, and no, adding some techno music or black light is not what the triangle was missing, let alone two triangles side by side. its just the most complete utter laziness i have ever seen. there seems to be some sort of mental capacity or attitude where if you are the type of person who sees no problem with copying the triangle, then you also have no interest or talent to actually do anything progressive with it. all the people who are actually into creating things and have the skills to do so end up making their own invention, why is that?

well so that’s the thing, isn’t it? has the juggling world collectively decided that? if it had, my orignal facebook thread a couple of months ago wouldn’t have had over 800 comments would it?

you bring really good points here. i agree with you for sure- and i have to say it makes me sad. its the overall attitude thing i was talking about before. that you can buy buugeng… well, actually there’s one thing we haven’t touched on yet which i’ve been meaning to ask your thoughts about- so far no one has really mentioned the whole amatuer vs. professional thing. most of us start out as hobbyist jugglers and then become professional performers. if someone wants to buy crystal balls and sit in a park and jam, that is really awesome i think. if you want to buugeng in the gym at EJC, that’s also a fine way to spend your time. but if you want to go on stage and present buugeng as something you have created and you are just doing derivitive work from michael moschen… then i have a problem there. so there’s something in our culture to where we have these habits of our past, being hobbyists, and when we enter the professtional life we just don’t think about things as much as maybe we should. there are definitely differnet rules with professional perfoming than when you are an amateur juggling chilling around your backyard. what those rules are, and how you find out about them, i don’t have a clear answer for. i don’t think anyone does. and yet i would guess you agree they exist. i learned about a lot of those rules through trial and error (the phrase “paying your dues” may have something to do with this?). and i would guess this controversy over the triangle and cone (and crystals and buugeng, etc.) has something to do with these undefined, unspoken, and unclear rules… which surely vary from region to region?

the funny thing i find in the whole copying the triangle and cone from duo supra, is that i’m guessing 99.9999% sure they saw the original versions on the internet. and so if you have access to the internet, you also have access to ideas and concepts that aren’t from a hundreds or thousands of years old traditional circus attitude towards plaigarism. its like a circus i saw in iceland a few years ago… they were inspired to start their own circus in reykjavik. they saw videos on youtube of cirque du soliel and all the other resources you can find online these days. in the show they did a teeterboard act where they pretended to be russian and drunk on vodka. and its like, yeah, on one hand that’s where you start with your first show and you have no idea what you’re doing. but on the other hand, how can that even happen in 2014 or whatever year it was? they have youtube!!! look around at what’s happening in the world! no one is doing racist circus anymore. i just find it a weird juxtoposition that this new technological age allows ideas to be spread around the world, only for those ideas to be prisoners of ancient attitudes and prejudices. it seems like with the new technology would come a new attitude?

i can see your point, but again you’re making it sound like i’m alone in my opinion on this topic here. and i can tell you very easily that i’m not alone. i’m just more vocal than anyone else in this discussion presently. i can see then by your viewpoint that i’m a lone voice harping on again and again about this same point in what seems to be a losing battle. however, i received easily 100 private messages from different people during the facebook debate a few months ago, and in the end i was actually encouraged by the outcome of the facebook conversation on jugglingrock. it seemed to me, with a cursory evaluation, that “my side” was “winning” in the end. i personally don’t like to frame it in such a way… for me i usually just think about it as the voice of reason or common sense. that’s not some backhand attack on anyone else who thinks differently, but that’s just how ingrained these ideas are inside of me.

maybe you’re right in that these topics need to be taken in small steps so the community can have a chance to agree on smaller points and then later on get together for the whole picture.

you raised some really good points before- how should they know about your opinion of this? you might be right that its going to be impossible to have a clear general attitude (either way) throughout the entire community about these issues… though on the other hand, how does the community intuitively know about anything? for example, when i first went to a juggling festival, i somehow understood that even though there were literally hundreds of props laying all over the gym floor, i wasn’t supposed to just walk about the room randomly picking up whatever prop there was even if it didn’t belong to me. i guess i just followed everyone else’s example and kind of kept track of my stuff or then asked people around me who’s club it was laying on the floor which i wanted to borrow for a club passing session. so for me now i also try to lead by example on lots of things. one of them is crying foul whenever i see someone stealing material from another performer. another thing is to try and have a respectful process when creating or learning new things.

they have many options now- they could stop performing the act and make a new one in the proper way with their own material. they could put in the work needed to progress both the triangle and cone to the territory where its not just a derivative copy of the originals. they could get in touch with greg and michael and get permission to keep performing the act how it is or an edited version as needed, and that permission could be a conversation, it could be a licensing deal with percentages or a one time payment, etc. they could say fuck you to anyone who has a problem with their act… which in one way is fine by me because then at least they are admiting they are doing something wrong, and we will all know they are doing something wrong by that admission. that doesn’t make it ok, but it does prove that there are these unwritten rules out there which we all agree on… even when we are breaking them (you have to agree they exist to know you are breaking them).

and, yes, all my complaining is too late for me to stop them from having done this mistake… but its certainly not too late for all the acts that will be created by anyone reading this in the future! that’s the whole point in my mind- to raise awareness of the topic, to have these discussions, and ultimately find where you stand on the issue and behave accordingly. my thread on facebook wasn’t only about that duo, it was about everyone who acts the same as them.

i understood what greg said at the end of his TED talk in an entirely different way than you did. he litterally said “i want people to look at what i do… learn from it, BUILD UPON IT, and eventually CREATE THEIR OWN WORK.” emphasis my own there of course. i don’t see how much more clear you can get than him saying to make your own work!!! that is not what the duo did… they did not create their own work, they didn’t have to- they stole greg’s.

this is the same old thing as ever- look, everyone who comes to DOCH wants to be wes peden. they want to know what the secret was that i told him so they can juggle like he does. and the funny thing is, if you want to copy wes peden you have to… guess what??.. drumroll… you have to… be yourself!!! what??? hey wait a minute, that’s not a secret! that’s not what they are asking- they want to know how to make cool tricks and cool moves and crazy patterns. yeah, and the way wes did that was that he found himself, who he was, and how he wanted to juggle. and that’s the real method behind his juggling. that’s what greg is talking about- look at his cone… study how he came up with the idea. maybe it was from watching michael’s triangle and thinking how he could be inspired by the triangle without just copying the triangle. that’s not how the cone came into being but its a good example of what could have happened. then, build upon it- hmmmm, he’s rolling balls in a cone, let’s see, what if the balls were cubes and the cone’s wall was textured. what if the cone wasn’t upright but was free to roll on the floor on its side, etc. and then finally… create your own work. so maybe you end up with a bird playing the accordian. and the bird is the silicone balls and the cone is the accordian. i don’t know what twists and turns the process took. but there has to be a process where you first obeserve the world, then you reflect on what you saw, then you are inspired to make something out of those thoughts, and finally you create something.


You are missing my point. Even if it was possible to contact people, and silence means “a clear no”, you have the problem that there is NO clear way for anyone to know which props are “owned” by someone else or not. If crystals and S-staff and other props can just be bought from a juggling shop, there is no expectation of permission needed. The same with building big props like bounce tables.

So if there is no expectation of needing permission with 99.99% of juggling props, in fact if most new juggling props you see, the inventor is encouraging people to try them out, or selling them to be used, how is anyone meant to know that in 00.01% of cases, they need to ask for permission?

Like I said, you have to do waaaaay more work before you can say “I can’t think of a situation where it has been unclear” because the entire juggling world works to a different set of assumptions EXCEPT in the case of the Kennedy Cone and the Moschen Triangle. THAT is what makes the situation unclear.

You’d think that, if 99.99% of jugglers are fine with something, but just two guys think different rules should apply to them and their props, that maybe those two guys are the abnormal ones?

You think the rules in your head apply to everyone else, but most jugglers don’t even know those rules exist. You’re not going to convince the juggling world those rules apply to them if the best you can do is say “no response is a sign that the system is working”.

There either has to be rules and a system, which means you’re going to have to start publicising the rules in a formal way and put a system in place, or there aren’t rules and a system, which means you can’t be upset when people don’t follow the rules.

Meanwhile, I don’t think anyone who THINKS they want such a system has thought it all through.

This system MUST encompass ALL props, new and old, or else it is meaningless. People can’t magically know that this set of props they buy from a shop is different from this other set of props that they buy from a shop. The system has to encompass juggling shops and stores even, say with signs and symbols denoting which props can be used on stage with permission, like TM or ®. You have to put in place an automatic licensing program, maybe with a cut of the cost of each juggling prop sold going back to the original inventor.

I don’t want to live in that world. The juggling world we live in now is working JUST FINE, including the fact that thousands of people have performed with crystals, and that I’ve seen amazing buugeng and s-staff acts, and nobody has felt like they had to ask permission or even know who invented the prop in the first place.

If the only downside of the current state of the juggling world is the hurt feelings of some privileged white guys and their famous juggler buddies, looking at the alternatives, I’m more than happy with that tradeoff.


As I said before, I don’t want to keep replying to you here, as I see nothing interesting or useful coming from such a conversation. All I can do is clarify my position as you continue to push it into areas and subjects where I didn’t intend it.

  1. I don’t care about the issue of people copying comedy routines, as that isn’t someone making their own version of a single prop or apparatus. Its a different argument to the one we are having. Comedy has its own culture of writing new material or paying for material other have written. I don’t see prop inventing as in the same category as writing comedy material.

  2. Fashion houses have logos, which are trademarked. Anyone can copy any design in fashion, except for the trademarked logo or pattern, which is why those logos and patterns are used so prominently. The bootleggers are only in trouble for passing off the copied design as being made by the original by inclusion of the trademark, not for making a handbag that has the same overall design. Nobody cares if the sunglasses are the same size, shape, or function, only if they have “Hugo Bozz” on them. Think about it and you’ll see this backs up my own point.

  3. If the juggling world had decided something already, there wouldn’t be a thread with 800 comments. You wouldn’t need a thread at all.

  4. You keep saying “there are rules” and “I’m sure we all agree on the rules” but I’m not sure you grasp that I don’t think there are the rules you seem to want to exist, nor do I think there should be these rules you want to exist.

  5. I do NOT think that Duo Supra has done anything wrong in making their own cone and triangle routine.

  6. I do NOT want two guys to have exclusive ownership rights over who can perform with two geometric shapes. I do not want for anyone to have to ask for permission to build or use any prop they may want.

  7. I do NOT want Greg Kennedy’s and Michael Moschen’s cone and triangle routines to be the last ever versions anyone can see until… when, they die? I think both are BORING and I prefer many other versions. Duo Supra’s act is more entertaining than both.

  8. I DO see the addition of music as a distinct improvement over the original. I think new performance elements are as important as any other part of the juggling world. That’s the entire point of my video.

  9. I don’t agree that “making your own work” is just about new geometric shapes to juggle in. I think that “making your own work” is finding new ways to perform juggling and make it interesting. This is a GOOD THING because, watching that same TED Talk with Greg Kennedy, he kept saying “here is a piece I wrote” and all I could think was “Let me guess, a series of patterns performed with no soundtrack, with no character, with no choreography, with no facial expressions, with no humour…” and I was right every time! I don’t see that as “writing a piece” I see it as a technical demonstration. Anyone who can build on that, and add ANYTHING one of Greg Kennedy’s props, I see as a win. I don’t see it as stealing his work, I see it as improving the juggling world by creating something new based on what someone has built before.


I agree with this, but think it is a strawman since it requires a bunch of people ignoring the situation to begin with. It is not unclear who is the author of the cone, if Greg is the only one who does it. So, the ”unclarity” that you speak of is not actually inherent to the situation of authorship, but to the dishonesty of the juggling world. Also, in the specific topic of the conversation, I am quite certain that in regards to the cone, most everyone still knows Greg is the author. With the triangle it has unfortunately become a bit muddy, but again, it is not unclear who is the author because of the inherent situation of when it was created and then seen. It is unclear because people have copied it and ignored credit, and ignored seeking permission. To those who ignored that initially, the situation was crystal clear.


Nope, I’m not buying it. There is no inherent dishonesty in the juggling world. I honestly don’t care if it was clear or not that Greg is the original “author” of rolling balls in a cone or not, I STILL don’t think anyone needs to, nor should be expected to, ask for permission to make their own version of the prop.

This is my entire point! This is why I made the video in the first place! I want people to create their own versions and see how much more interesting they can make the original idea.

The only change I’d like to see is the correct attribution of credit for the original invention. Calling it the Kennedy Cone is good enough.