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.