Young Illusionist Sues Old Magician on Tricks of Trade

     MINEOLA, N.Y. (CN) – A young illusionist claims older magician and TV personality Criss Angel is cheating him of royalties for his magic tricks. Jacob Spinney claims Angel agreed to pay him 25 percent of net profits for rights to Spinney’s Chair Self-Levitation, Spinney’s Chair Self-Suspension and Spinney’s Fork-Bending gimmicks.

     Spinney claims the Chair Self-Levitation became Angel’s “most talked-about demonstration” and is featured on the how-to DVD, “Masterminds Volume 2: Self-Levitation.”
     Spinney, 23, claims that Angel, who owns the defendant companies Angel Productions and Angel Productions Worldwide, performed Spinney’s illusion on the A&E Network TV series, “Mindfreak,” and accompanying DVDs and gift sets.
     According to the complaint in the Nassau County Court, “Masterminds Volume 2” sold more than 3,900 copies in its first 6 months, grossing more than $190,000 in revenue. Spinney says eh only received a small portion of the proceeds.
     Spinney says his deal with Angel included royalties, plus a promise to keep his trade secrets. He says Angel’s release of the how-to DVD exposes those secrets and damages his business.
     “A magician’s success depends upon the secrecy of the methods, apparatus, and workings of magical effects and illusions,” the complaint states. “A magician creates and establishes his reputation based upon the originality and novelty of the various magical illusions which are proprietary information, intellectual property and constitute a trade secret.”
     Spinney claims Angel never marketed or sold Spinney’s Chair Self-Suspension and Fork-Bending Gimmicks, causing him to lose even more money. He says their agreement prohibits Spinney from marketing the illusions himself. Spinney wants all rights returned to him, and damages.
     Spinney is represented by Christine Willgoos with Kirkland and Ellis of New York, N.Y.

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