Teller sues to protect his magical work of art

Teller of ‘Penn and Teller’ fame suing alleged magic-trick thief

Raymond Joseph Teller filed a federal complaint against a Dutch entertainer, Gerard Dogge, who has allegedly misappropriated Teller’s “Shadows” routine, according to Courthouse News Service. Dogge has been offering to sell the secret of Teller’s “Shadows” performance to the highest bidder.

According to Teller’s complaint, Dogge has been performing the trick without permission. Teller first copyrighted the trick in 1983.

Before filing the complaint, Teller contacted Dogge by phone and offered an undisclosed amount of money in return for Dogge not revealing the details of his trick. The two were reportedly not able to reach an agreement. Dogge was offering to reveal the trick to anyone who paid him $3,050.

When Teller registered a copyright for his trick in 1983, he even included a detailed illustration explaining the details of the routine, during which he appears to clip the petals of a rose from a distance while interacting with the rose’s shadow.


Having seen Teller do this piece in person, I can tell you it is a beautiful thing, it’s art. Art can be copyrighted. It’s a creation. Someday, the copyright will expire and it will be revealed for all to try.

But it’s not only that someone tried to perform it for money without permission, he tried to sell the secret for cash. Dirty.

I found it endearing, and not unexpected, that Teller investigated it himself before the suit.

  2 comments for “Teller sues to protect his magical work of art

  1. April 18, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    That’s awful. Teller did some great work with the David P. Abbott book (billions of tricks in those) and the three P&T collections, all available for people to use.

  2. Benjamin Panarella
    April 24, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    It’s a shame that it had to end up as a lawsuit. Lawsuits make both parties look bad and should be avoided at all costs.

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