La Vista, NE asked in Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Nebraska

Q: If a magic trick is being sold by someone else, can I make that same gimmick and sell it as my own?

If someone is already selling the gimmick needed for a magic trick along with instructions on how to do the trick am I able to make the gimmick and instructions myself and sell it as my own? Basically I would be rebranding an already existing magic trick product. I've heard that magic tricks cannot be copyrighted.

1 Lawyer Answer
Brandon Baum
Brandon Baum
  • Silicon Valley, CA

A: While I don't know the specific gimmick, the general rule in the U.S. is "yes." Unless it is patented (very unlikely for a magic trick) or copyrighted (available only for the "patter" or pantomime surrounding the trick), then it is free to copy for anyone who knows the secret. Apparently France is more protective of its artists and magicians, as David Copperfield successfully sued a copyist in France over his flying trick.

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