Over on facebook a magician posted a video where she performs a mask to winged creature effect. In the comments a fairly well known magician couldn't help himself and make a snide comment amount that seeming familiar. He did this because he used to do a mask to dove effect himself albeit using a totally different method.
So this got me thinking about method vs. effect. In cases like this you can argue it down to "Well you are just turning an object into a bird just like (insert any number of people here)". No one has the monopoly on any certain kind of magic for the most part. Sure some people are known to have "Squatters Rights" to an effect where they are so well known for it that anyone else doing it seems like a rip off but where do we draw the line?
In this case the two methods to accomplish a similar effect were entirely different. If you ask me (which no one did) it's whichever one is the most magical looking and gets the better response. Of course there is no real way to judge that as they are both solid methods.
If there is anything to take away from it all it might be this: Don't be a bully or a douche to others unless they are directly ripping you off. Otherwise you just end up looking like the bad guy and some weirdo might talk smack about you on the internet.
It could happen.