Is it illegal....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DarkCherry, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. DarkCherry


    Feb 21, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    Is it illegal to build a "homemade" bass or modify an existing bass that resembles a production bass even if it is not done for money?
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters

    You can do anything you want.

    Just don't try to sell it as the "real" thing. That's the no-no part.
  3. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    My brother is a patent attorney and I asked him your question. It could be considered illegal but it really depends on how much is copied and whether or not people could be fooled into thinking it is the "real" thing. You would definitely be violating the law if you tried to profit from it. The chances of being prosecuted for it is pretty slim though.
  4. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    A perfect example is Slash's "Appetite for Destruction" Les Paul; Gibson based their Slash signature model on an instrument that was a "copy":

    o a Gibson.

    You can make a "replica" of anything you like... Just don't go into production and start selling them.

    Moonshine :bassist:
  5. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Only if you copy a Ric!
  6. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    Only in California......
  7. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007
    As long as it doesn't resemble, in any way, a Rickenbacker, go your hardest
  8. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    There's "illegal" in the sense of being in violation of a criminal statute, and then there's open to being hit with a civil suit. A copy for your own use isn't going to be illegal in the criminal sense, but the US civil tort system is seriously diseased, and you can get sued for damned near *anything* if the other party has enough money for the lawyers.
  9. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Worse than that. Even it it's a REAL Rickenbacker, replacement parts are illegal because they MIGHT be used to build a copy...
  10. tobias3469

    tobias3469 Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    West Los Angeles
    I didn't check your link.. but I know a few of Slash's Les Pauls were built in Redondo Beach at Musicworks. They're still in business and do amazing work. Jim has set up most of my basses there.

  11. I've been hoarding odd Ric bits for years, one day I will have enough pieces to build one! Now that I've made that public it's time to change my name and move country yet again...
  12. Splods


    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Move to Tassie, no one cares about that little island.
  13. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    If the situation's that serious, I'd rather do what has already been done before and do a Jaguar Bass with properly positioned Tele bass pickups. The tone you can get has every bit of the Ric vibe and none of the guilt. And for most people it's an equally pretty instrument.
  14. mr.mow


    Feb 11, 2009
    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    It's ok, Ric have no representation in Australia, go at it!
  15. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

  16. DarkCherry


    Feb 21, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
  17. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member


    I was thinking NYC, but yeah...
  18. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
  19. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Not so!

    Anyone like to explain why it's ok to copy one company's designs but not another's?

    To the OP:
    technically it's illegal if you are violating a trademark.

    If you're making one such copy for yourself, no one's going to bother you.
    If you try to sell it as a copy, likely no one will bother you.
    If you try to sell it as the real article, that's fraud, and someone should bother you.
    If you try to make a living selling them, then someone is going to bother you with a cease and desist order if you're within the jurisdiction of the law that their trademark is registered.

    Hope that helps.
  20. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    If you watch the old PBS series on Youtube about Ned Steinberger, you will see he goes to the (I think 1980) NAMM (or something similar, cant remember off the top of my head) and there are Asian ripoffs of the L series basses there!