Okay, let me continue yesterday’s rant…
As you may have noticed, I have several issues regarding the consumer rights of magicians. Second on the list is “limited performance rights.”
A big name magic star was once quoted to have said, “If a trick, complete with patter and routining, is published in a book or DVD and does not contain the words performance only’, then it is assumed that you may use the entire trick, taught, as is.”
He is correct. But, pray tell me, when and where does the seller advise the prospective buyer of the limited rights? Isn’t it proper and fair that the disclaimers be made known to the buyer BEFORE he pays for the product?
In most cases, that is not the case. Many buyers of instructional DVDs and books are unaware of the limited performing rights—because they are not pre-advised of such limitations.
Look at ads of any instructional DVD. It doesn’t matter whose DVD or about what trick it is. Can you see the part where they say “limited performance rights”? Or its permutation, “You can perform the tricks before the mirror or show it to your relatives but not to the public, else I’ll sue you!”?
Where are those disclaimers?
You can use telescopes or microscopes reading the ad. Chances are, you will not see them there. They are not written in English, Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian hieroglyphics or Da Vinci Codes. They are just plain not there.
So when you buy these instructional media and literature you assume you can perform the routines beyond and outside your family circles. But no, you can’t do that, the seller tells you. The materials have limited performance rights. It says so in fine print on one of the pages of the book or on the DVD cover where it is camouflaged in the design.
So very convenient. They tell you of the limited performance rights only AFTER you paid for the materials. Why wouldn’t they make full disclosures (or haven’t they heard of this term before) on their ads as regards the limitations and other disclaimers? Why do they spring the surprise on the buyers only after the sales is consummated?
I have one plausible explanation why glossing over the pre-purchase disclaimers is widely practiced (not always, but widely). Putting performance rights disclaimers on the ad will drive the sales down. So most product publicity materials keep mum of the limitations.
That practice looks to me like a case of “having their cake and eating it too.”