McBride: Best way to fight theft is to support ethical ones; keep practicing

April 5th, 2013 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

“The internet has a lot to do with piracy. And prevention.”

Yesterday BBC released a report about theft in the magic industry. Featuring legend Jeff McBride, the story covered how he handled a copycat performer of his well-known mask routine in Thailand, and also covered the theft suffered by creators such as Kevin James and Losander. (Full disclosure: has also seen its products and training videos pirated, copies and sold by other unauthorized dealers.)

But for those who argue that the Internet has ruined magic, McBride said it has also strengthened it. In a quick break in his schedule, the founder of Magic and Mystery School told us that the Internet and social networks have become a form of magic police.

“Our fans blow the whistle, and our fans are global. All of a sudden we get emails and Facebook messages, and situations get handled pretty quickly.”

McBride said he reached a quick resolution with the Thai performer, who turned out to be a fan. Rudy Coby discovered, a day after getting cut on “America’s Got Talent,” that a Russian performer lifted his act for a similar TV show.

But those are problems that the pros deal with. Those who are learning, or those who are working performance gigs in their communities, what can they do to help?

McBride said it’s a combination of supporting the ethical companies and ignoring or boycotting the copycats. Additionally, they should continue to polish their performances.

“I spend as much time with masters such as Eugene Berger, Johnny Thompson, Juan Tamariz. I travel around the globe to study with them. The best thing is to get a really good guide. And because of the Internet, students Skype with me from all over the world. They can spend time getting expert instruction by masters.

Also, spend more time practicing, polishing, taping and reviewing than you spend with podcast or in magic chat rooms. They maybe are making you more informed, but they are not making you a better magician. In ‘Outliers,’ Malcolm Gladwell invokes the Anders Ericsson study on virtuostic performance and the 10,000 hours rule. How are you spending those 10,000 hours?”

We’ll post more of our interview with McBride in the coming days.

Comments are closed.