No copyrights?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Woodchuck, Nov 4, 2001.

  1. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Just out of curiosity, there are a crapload of copy cat, or unliscenced knock offs in bassdom. From the MM's, & CT's to Ray Rogers' basses that look simular to Foderas. Outside of some headstocks, doesn't anyone copyright their designs?:confused:
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Can't copyright a design. Can only patent or trademark a design. Patent protection is extremely narrow; even minor modifications to the design will get you off. Trademark protection is a little better, but you have to show that your design is distinctive rather than generic. Some designs pass that gauntlet, ie. Fender's headstock. You can loose the opportunity to protect a design using a trademark if it becomes so widespread that it becomes generic. I think this is generally true of the P-bass and J-bass.

    Design wackos like Steinberger probably still have a shot at trademarking their designs (and probably have). Fodera would have, with their single cutaway designs, if they hadn't consented to Roger's lookalikes being on the market.

    Would you want everyone to protect their designs? Would you rather be paying $5000 for a Fodera or $2500 for something that looks as good? Most luthiers are just trying to scrape by and don't have the budget for legal fees.
  3. That`s very interesting Christopher.I`ve often wondered how various companies can get away with copy cat basses/guitars.A bit like Public Domain
    I guess(Trademarks excepted).Hmmm.....
  4. One thing to consider is novelty. To the untrained eye, the difference between an MTD 535 and a Jazz Bass is "one has a piece of plastic on the front, the other doesn't."