UM E-Theses Collection (澳門大學電子學位論文庫)

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The closer you look, the less you see : intellectual property rights and magic performances : insights from the EU and China

English Abstract

Magic, also sometimes referred to as “illusion”, is a fantastic and mysterious phenomenon in the world. Judged by the literal appearance, magic is an area which, at first, appears to have little relevance for the legal field. One may in fact ask what the two worlds of law and of magic do have in common? Depending on the viewpoint, there is in fact many more similarities or contact points between law and magic than it is widely assumed. One area, where there may be clear relevance of law for magic, is the one of magic performances and their possible protection by intellectual property rights, which is the prime focus of this thesis. The essential part of magic is its secrecy that seeing may not be believing. Magicians usually refuse to reveal their methods behind their tricks to the audience and other magicians. Although the intellectual property right law seems to be the best solution to protect magician’s rights, the possible existence of legal loopholes and limitations in this area still cannot be ignored. This thesis aims to discuss a particular aspect of the relationship between law and magic. It will specifically focus on the intellectual property rights protection of magic performances and its legal limitations. There exist however other possible legal and non-legal ways to regulate the magic industry, such as by the magician community adopting their own standards, a so-called lex magica, which will also be discussed. However, such protection regime may still have several loopholes or other problems. By reviewing and analyzing relevant law cases and legal practice, the thesis examines different possibilities for establishing a proper intellectual property protection regime for magic performances. But the fact is, there is little evidence for arguments or efforts that have yet suggested a proper or satisfactory solution for this question. Therefore, this thesis takes a broader view and advocates that for such creative industry as the one of magic is and for the filling of the lacunae of the relevant law, government institutions or culture departments have the obligation of giving support by adopting adequate laws or regulations that can protect magicians against various violations of their rights both as related to the person and the work. Furthermore, for the magic industry to flourish, the magician community must be given both a certain autonomy and freedom but also adequate levels of protection for their creative works.

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Zhang, Xiao Shi


Faculty of Law




Intellectual property -- China

Intellectual property -- European Union countries


Neuwirth Rostam J.

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