"Owning it" with Ricky Smith
While hanging out with Lee Asher at a Convention at the Capitol in the late 90s I learned an important lesson that has made me a better part of the magic community and also a better magician, as I would later learn.
He was showcasing Ambitious Explosion, if memory serves, but wasn’t doing the whole ambitious routine, just starting with producing the first ace using Srechko Howard’s Float-Flip-Flight and then doing the explosion. It was amazing.
I asked about him teaching me Float-Flip-Flight, and he asked me if I had a certain book that it was described in. He was making the point that if you are going to learn and use something, you should own it. This forced me to go and acquire one of the books wherein the sleight was described.
As a result, I’ve always tried to own anything that I end up using. It will reward the creator, you’ll feel better about using something that wasn’t obtained nefariously, and very often learning from the original source will help you find details you are missing or even lead you to other versions and ideas that will improve your knowledge and understanding.
This doesn’t always mean buying something. If the creator has put up the idea as a free tutorial, and you decide to start using it, maybe a simple "comment" or "like" is all that is required, or making sure a friend you taught the move gets a link to the original.
You don’t have to go and buy the nifty ace assembly that your friend showed you while hanging out, if you don’t ever use it. Just be conscious of the stuff that you do end up using all the time and do your best to make sure that you are using it legitimately. It is better for magic, and the process of acquiring and studying something you use all the time will be of great benefit!"