When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Keith
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Keith » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:53 pm

One reason why homage guitars, say the 51 Barbero or the 37 Hauser, do not fool buyers is that they have the label of the maker and not Barbero or Hauser. If someone makes a guitar to resemble a Barbero or Hauser and slaps in a Barbero or Hauser label then that is fraud--be it to impress friends, or worse, to sell. Intent is everything. There are plenty cases where fake guitars make it to the market. I believe Donn Pohren, or was it Brune, who said there are more Santos Hernandez guitars for sale than he actually made. Probably the most famous fake is the" LaLeona".
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by ddray » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:06 am

Keith wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:53 pm
One reason why homage guitars, say the 51 Barbero or the 37 Hauser, do not fool buyers is that they have the label of the maker and not Barbero or Hauser. If someone makes a guitar to resemble a Barbero or Hauser and slaps in a Barbero or Hauser label then that is fraud--be it to impress friends, or worse, to sell. Intent is everything. There are plenty cases where fake guitars make it to the market. I believe Donn Pohren, or was it Brune, who said there are more Santos Hernandez guitars for sale than he actually made. Probably the most famous fake is the" LaLeona".
Well that's a good point. When I think "knockoff" I think of an intent to deceive somewhere down the line. Personally I have no problem with replicas or "homages", if you will. The only ethical question I could think of pertains to the propriety of using someone's name who is close in time to the one "paying homage".
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Michael.N.
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:17 am

I could be wrong. I've never heard any sort of complaint, not from Smallman, Hauser or Friederich. Presumably if they had a problem with other luthiers using terms like 'Hauser model' we would have heard more about it. Perhaps they think of it more in terms of how it cements their name in history. After all how many luthiers would complain about having the world's luthiers naming their model after them. I think it's the difference between single luthiers and factories. The factory would certainly try to defend their name, the individual luthier would more likely feel flattered.
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Beowulf » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:47 am

Michael.N. wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:17 am
I could be wrong. I've never heard any sort of complaint, not from Smallman, Hauser or Friederich. Presumably if they had a problem with other luthiers using terms like 'Hauser model' we would have heard more about it. Perhaps they think of it more in terms of how it cements their name in history. After all how many luthiers would complain about having the world's luthiers naming their model after them. I think it's the difference between single luthiers and factories. The factory would certainly try to defend their name, the individual luthier would more likely feel flattered.
And why would Smallman, Hauser, Freiderich or their descendants complain? If anyone could make a "replica" that was deemed better than the original, it would be cause for celebration and time to choose a new name for the instrument. So far I haven't heard of any replica that was evaluated as better than the original...but who knows? :wink:
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by ddray » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:40 am

Beowulf wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:47 am
Michael.N. wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:17 am
I could be wrong. I've never heard any sort of complaint, not from Smallman, Hauser or Friederich. Presumably if they had a problem with other luthiers using terms like 'Hauser model' we would have heard more about it. Perhaps they think of it more in terms of how it cements their name in history. After all how many luthiers would complain about having the world's luthiers naming their model after them. I think it's the difference between single luthiers and factories. The factory would certainly try to defend their name, the individual luthier would more likely feel flattered.
And why would Smallman, Hauser, Freiderich or their descendants complain? If anyone could make a "replica" that was deemed better than the original, it would be cause for celebration and time to choose a new name for the instrument. So far I haven't heard of any replica that was evaluated as better than the original...but who knows? :wink:
Such evaluation being subjective, and inevitably bound up with prior opinion of the maker, you probably never will. A Stefan-Peter Greiner violin may be "just as good as" a Strad (it at least has the original parts intact)...but it'll never be acknowledged as such.
Michael.N. wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:17 am
I could be wrong. I've never heard any sort of complaint, not from Smallman, Hauser or Friederich.
Probably because it's not done on a massive scale. But then I'm not sure the ethical issue depends on whether the original maker objects or not.
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:52 am

It's a craft that has a history of a free and open exchange of information. It's not corporate America. The clue might be in how these makers openly encourage others to copy them. Romanillos has been consistent in this throughout his career. Here's the quote from Courtnall in respect of Friederich and the plan in the Making master guitars book: 'Daniel Friederich himself sent me his hand drawn plan listing every strut dimension'. Thar doesn't sound like the actions of a person who does not wished to be copied. On the contrary they seem to imply 'copy me, I'm the master'.
It's the nature of the craft. These people would be insulted if you were to make a copy of one of their instruments without acknowledging their name.
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by ddray » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:37 am

That's terrific, and I agree. But why copy, i.e. "replicate" at all? Unless, like your specialty, you're keeping older instrument designs alive. I think my ultimate objection is to the whole mindset that seems to ascribe almost mystical qualities to certain instruments and instrument makers to the point where they fetch obscene prices. Then they're out of reach for most, and then the replication. They're good, but not *that* good. I believe it's one of the things that has led to classical music being a hopelessly niche thing.
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by prawnheed » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:00 am

Michael.N. wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:52 am
It's a craft that has a history of a free and open exchange of information. It's not corporate America. The clue might be in how these makers openly encourage others to copy them. Romanillos has been consistent in this throughout his career. Here's the quote from Courtnall in respect of Friederich and the plan in the Making master guitars book: 'Daniel Friederich himself sent me his hand drawn plan listing every strut dimension'. Thar doesn't sound like the actions of a person who does not wished to be copied. On the contrary they seem to imply 'copy me, I'm the master'.
It's the nature of the craft. These people would be insulted if you were to make a copy of one of their instruments without acknowledging their name.
I am sure that is true in certain cases where they wish to see the tradition continued, but what happens when a factory starts 3d printing guitars vaguely based on the plans, calling them a Hauser 1937 model and selling them for $99.99 in the supermarket? Would they be honoured or insulted?

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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:16 am

You'd be better asking them that hypothetical question but I have the suspicion that they won't see that as being part of the tradition, the craft. I'm just giving the attitude as it relates to other individual luthiers and how it has been that way for a great number of years. There's a strong sense of passing on the knowledge and the skill when it comes to most musical instrument making. Of course there have been patents on certain aspects of guitars going back a long time - Lacote's enclosed gears, the Heptachord, Coste bridge? Thompson's enharmonic guitar. Most of those ideas seemed to have very limited success.
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by bacsidoan » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:33 am

Michael.N. wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:52 am
It's a craft that has a history of a free and open exchange of information. It's not corporate America. The clue might be in how these makers openly encourage others to copy them. Romanillos has been consistent in this throughout his career. Here's the quote from Courtnall in respect of Friederich and the plan in the Making master guitars book: 'Daniel Friederich himself sent me his hand drawn plan listing every strut dimension'. Thar doesn't sound like the actions of a person who does not wished to be copied. On the contrary they seem to imply 'copy me, I'm the master'.
It's the nature of the craft. These people would be insulted if you were to make a copy of one of their instruments without acknowledging their name.
Jose Romanillos & Son gave quite a few international classes teaching people to build guitars his way. It is possible that some his disciples' guitars are better than the master's. However, I have not seen any of them sold at 20k+ yet. As far as I know, his son, Liam Romanillos, is doing pretty well himself, and has not felt much ill effect from the open exchange tradition either.

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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by prawnheed » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:14 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:16 am
You'd be better asking them that hypothetical question but I have the suspicion that they won't see that as being part of the tradition, the craft. I'm just giving the attitude as it relates to other individual luthiers and how it has been that way for a great number of years. There's a strong sense of passing on the knowledge and the skill when it comes to most musical instrument making. Of course there have been patents on certain aspects of guitars going back a long time - Lacote's enclosed gears, the Heptachord, Coste bridge? Thompson's enharmonic guitar. Most of those ideas seemed to have very limited success.
So less hypothetically, what about the Cordoba Hauser model?

You've not really addressed the original question of when something becomes unacceptable. It is partly for a luthier to decide as to whether his reputation is damaged or enhanced, but there is also the question of whether a buyer is being mislead into thinking he's getting something he is not.

Patents are a relatively modern (industrial revolution) concept to protect industrial inventions and were not intended to be applied to an evolutionary craft. However, the concept of a maker's reputation and using marks as a means to protect both manufacturer and consumer from unwanted imitation has been around for thousands of years - ancient Greek potters for example, but there are probably earlier examples.

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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:26 pm

I've no idea about the Cordoba Hauser. You are asking me questions that I don't know the answer to. You could always email the Hauser relatives. I've answered giving my understanding as it relates to individual luthiers.
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:14 pm

Interesting responses everyone. What I find most interesting is how many of you feel that the lutherie industry is somehow more altruistic, “open source”, less protective of their innovations, more “Apple” and less “Microsoft”, if you will, than most or all other businesses, for the good of the art. Refreshing yes. Maybe naive. I’m dubious. Apple is fierce about their designs, down to the radius of their corners on the iPhone, in the competitive cell phone market.

And the size of the market is the other argument. Too small to matter? Tell that to Taylor, Yamaha, National.

Anyway, that’s about to change, and GV Rubio should be upset if he doesn’t get his fair cut. Lawyer up! :D

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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by Beowulf » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:24 pm

I've only come across a strong proprietary attitude in the story of Santos Hernandez who did not want to train apprentices for fear of his designs and methods becoming food for the competition. Had he done so however, we might have a SH school of luthiers today. Mind you, he trained with Ramirez and then set out on his own after acquiring considerable experience...ironically... :wink:
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Re: When is a “Replica” a “copy” or a “knock-off”?

Post by simonm » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:57 pm

Keith wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:53 pm
... I believe Donn Pohren, or was it Brune, who said there are more Santos Hernandez guitars for sale than he actually made. Probably the most famous fake is the" LaLeona".
It is usually on these lines: "Of the 300 guitars SH constructed, at least 600 are still in existence."

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