"... Or we will be forced to report your content and take legal action against you."
Then she blocked us. A blatant act of defiance. And in my opinion, acknowledgement that what she'd done was wrong - and she didn't care.
Okay, let's rewind.
Ekaterina, who exposes magic in 1 minute videos across YouTube and Instagram just blocked us.
We've now sent 7-day copyright takedowns to her YouTube channel for teaching content we own the rights to.
She's been on a meteoric rise lately - and that's fine, if she was doing it the right way. But the desperate need to feed the algorithm has forced her to take from our cookie jar.
Back in May I wrote a blog post about Exposure in Magic.
"The sad reality is, the fastest way to gain likes and subscribers online is exposing magic or showing your ass.
Mix magic exposure with a pretty girl and you’ve got jet fuel for your fame fire."
Although Ekaterina's content is all tasteful, it's clear to see the first part is the playbook. Expose secrets to build an audience, then sell that huge audience on her playing cards.
And we wouldn't have a problem with it, if all the secrets she was exposing were with permission. But they're not.
Ellusionist maintains royalties or buyout contracts with artists. So either we pay upfront to own the tutorial video, or the artist can opt to take a share of every sale.
When Ekaterina teaches something we sell, she's stealing from us, or the artist - or both.
I think there is a right way if you're hell bent on exposing magic online:
- if it's public domain
- created by the artist who's teaching it
- owned contractually by the person distributing it
- or shared with the permission of the creator themselves
But Ekaterina isn't always doing that. She's sharing published items, that are owned by us (or by the artists we pay royalties to).
Every view for her is money stolen from our or the creator's pocket.
... AND STOLEN FROM YOUIf I make you pay for a drink... but the next 100 people get to sip it for free, then you're out of pocket too.
As a legitimate, honest, supportive buyer - you're being stolen from.
Because your moral code made you pay to learn it and others are getting it for nothing.
That in itself should motivate you to help police this community.
It's definitely something we're not going to allow.
COMPETITORSYou may think the world's biggest magic companies, like Murphys, Theory11 & PenguinMagic are our biggest competitors. But they're not even on our radar, YouTube is.
Because in a poll we did about 'where people learn magic if it's not from us?' the response with over 30% of the vote was YouTube.
Now YouTube is great, if you're subscribing to Daniel Madison for example. A guy who's been there, done that - and has the skills & decades of teaching experience to back it up.
Or it's great if you're on a budget and you want to learn something that's public domain, like a double lift, or a pass. We have no issues.
But when it's used to teach content that's behind our paywall (or the paywall of other artists) - it's crossed the line.
Here's what we're going to do.
We're going to pay the magic community to Police itself.
"A bounty hunter is a private agent who captures criminals for a commission or bounty."
Submit links from YouTube or instagram to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'Bounty Hunter' if you feel like someone has infringed upon a secret we sell, or they're just using our videos.
We will add it to a spreadsheet and give you an official 'bounty'. It could be $20, $50, $100 or $1,000 - depending on the size of the offender.
Report it, follow-up and show us proof that it's been taken down - and we'll pay you via PayPal.
Now I must express, you cannot weaponize the copyright strike or takedown process. These need to be greenlit by us to ensure they are actually infringing upon our content. So don't go reporting everyone's videos for fun. It won't result in a payout.
It's also worth mentioning...
Ellusionist isn't the arbiter of justice for all of magic. We can only pass judgement on the legal infringements of our content. So let's remain cold, but kind when it comes to these takedowns. We will take what's rightfully ours - and leave the rest be.
If other magic shops want to join in, they can contact me (Geraint Clarke) directly - they all have my number/email.
p.s. for any copyright infringers, if you want to avoid copyright strikes, you can remove the offending content yourself.
p.p.s. We won't be paying out bounties for channels or profiles with zero (or close to zero) views or subs. So you can't just upload and report on yourself to collect cash. These need to be legitimate offenders.