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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Teller Sues to Protect Rose-Pruning Illusion

LAS VEGAS (CN) - Teller, the silent half of magician duo Penn and Teller, filed a federal complaint against a Dutch entertainer who has allegedly nicked his copyrighted performance piece, "Shadows," and offered to sell the secret to the signature illusion.

Gerard Dogge, who performs under the name Gerard Bakardy, has been performing the trick that Teller copyrighted in 1983, according to the complaint. Calling his version "Rose & Her Shadow" in a YouTube video, Bakardy allegedly offers to sell the secrets behind the trick for $3,050.

Teller says he offered to buy the trick "as it could be more efficient than filing a lawsuit," but Bakardy wouldn't bite. Instead of accepting Teller's terms, Bakardy "countered with a much higher sum that he would accept in payment for him to cease use and sale of the infringing work," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit does not say how much Bakardy requested.

Shadows, Penn's name for the act, "is the oldest, most venerated piece of material in continuous use in Penn & Teller's Show, and while other material has come and gone, it has remained as a universal favorite," the lawsuit states.

The act involves a spotlight trained on a bud vase containing a rose. The light falls, and a shadow of the real rose is projected onto a white screen behind it. Teller then enters with a large knife and severs the leaves and petals off the rose's shadow while the corresponding leaves on the real rose fall to the ground, "breaking from the stem at exactly the point where Teller cut the shadow projected on the screen behind it," the lawsuit states.

Teller wants the court to bar Bakardy from performing the routine and selling its secret. He also seeks unspecified damages for alleged copyright infringement.

The lawsuit doesn't reveal Teller's full name, another component of the duo's shtick. The alleged YouTube video has since been removed.

Teller is represented by Mark Tratos with Greenberg Traurig.

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