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Roland Sues Behringer

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SMASH, Mar 4, 2005.


  1. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Canada.
    http://www.mmrmagazine.com/news.html

    The above link has details of the suit and Behringer's response to some of the assertions in the suit. It's at times comical, to say the least.

    This topic has been posted before (not by me, if it matters), and those threads were closed immediately as moderators of those forums felt a discussion of this issue couldn't remain civil in light of past Behringer threads. In this forum I'll give it a go so that it'll be no work for those mods, and here it will remain civil (I'm telling, not asking) and I'd much prefer it remain civil without my intervention.

    In the sense that this "Management and Performance" forum is a business-as-it-pertains-to-music forum, the topic seems a fair fit here. If this were just about Roland vs. Behringer I wouldn't care much, but I see the outcome of this case something that will also give insight into past & future issues not only about the many Behringer products that, to be far too kind, are of extremely questionable design origin, but also to issues relating to products like the many Fender clones which constitute probably 2/3 of the basses discussed on this site.

    In that light, keep these threads in mind :
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=120253
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=118198

    So if this topic and the outcome of this trial is as interesting to you as it is to me, then discuss it here and discuss it repectfully and within forum rules.
     
  2. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Good lawyers. These are the main points of any Copyright branding dispute. For example- a company can not make a cola soda, put it in a red can, put a white dash running veriticaly and call it Koke a Kola. Actually... just putting it in a red/white can would be enough to get them in trouble. The idea is that Roland has spend money Designing, marketing, and Branding their pedals. Even if one potential customer mistakes a Behringer pedal for a Roland then Roland has a case because that is money that should be going to Roland.

    If this is true (and there is a documented letter) then It will be a pretty easy win for Roland. I can't really believe that this would happen. Designing a pedal to look just like a competators is pretty dumb- but claiming that they endorsed it is grade A mega stupid.

    All pedals have to be of some what similar construction... For example: They all have to be on the ground, they all have to have a button or pedal switch to turn on the effect, and they all have to have knobs to make it change effects. But the kicker for this case will be the question of "How close does Behringer's pedal look to Rolands?" If Roland's pedal is green, has yellow stripes, and has red buttons and a huge toggle switch- and Behringer's can be described as the same way; Behringer is gonna be paying some money out.

    Anyone have any pics of the two pedals so we can compare?
     
  3. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Canada.
  4. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I find this rather interesting, especially with all the recent TB talk of this. If Roland wins, who's to say who else will step in line next? It could get pretty ugly, I think. But, it could also remain as-is. Gotta keep an eye on this one..

    Ray
     
  5. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Yeah. I think Roland is going to win this one... Will this open the doors for Fender to sue over body style? I don't think so- since basses have to be designed a way to be practical. It would be like Ford sueing GM because his car has 4 wheels. Doesn't Fender already have a thing for their headstock? I think they tried to do it for their body style but failed.

    Are these Behringer stomp boxes in stores now? I think it is time to pick me up some nice pedals really cheap.
     
  6. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Canada.
    And yet :

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=120253
    http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/3001079.pdf
    http://www.guitarattack.com/destroyer/lawsuit.htm

    Rickenbacker has successfully done the same. Probably others too. Keep in mind it might not be just the body shape Fender looks to protect, it might be the shape along with the pickups, etc. Nitpickers will argue until they're blue, but (IMO) no reasonable person can assert that a Sadowsky, Lull, et. al. aren't as much J and P derived as the Behringer products are "inspired by" ;) Ashdown, QSC, Mackie, and now Roland/Boss.

    See here for full discussion : http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=118198

    Vaguely related article re: proliferation of copies over the years. http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=94


    Nope.
     
  7. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    You are right SMASH. We'll just have to watch and hope that this doesn't lead to Fender doesn't sue small shops for the body shape.

    Doesn't Sadosky get his bodys from Builders that have a Fender contrat? Like Mighty Mite?
     
  8. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    perhaps the crucial thing will be the colors used... the original pictures of Behringer's stomp boxes looked to be the exact same colors as the Boss pedals, which I thought was an unacceptably cynical way to do business...

    I've just had a look at the Behringer site and the pedal illustrations now look to be different colors than the Boss ones, so maybe they've recived legal advice that they wouldn't get away with it...

    if Behringer really can produce a good product for a good price, they shouldn't have to rely on giving their pedals a 'Boss pedal aroma' in order to sell...
     
  9. Justice

    Justice

    May 24, 2002
    Houston TX.
    Not only has the color of the pedals on the Behringer web site changed, so has the "design" of the pedals. But still, what we are seeing on the Behringer website are still artists renderings and not actual product.

    My 2 cents says that this will never go to court.
     
  10. Corbis

    Corbis Guest

    Feb 19, 2003
    Wamego KS
  11. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Yeah I just noticed they changed their pedal designs too. Regardless of whether or not they are rip-offs, I would buy a cheaper Behringer pedal if it was as good as a more expensive Boss pedal.

    I respect the choices of some to not buy Behringer products, but like others have mentioned, this is no different than someone making a "Jazz" bass, or someone making a cabinet with 4 10s and a tweeter. The business world thrives on people seeing a product and either:

    A. Finding a way to improve on that product.

    or

    B. Finding a way to replicate that product and sell the replicas for a lower price than the original.

    Everyone steals ideas from everyone. There's no rule that says amps have to have knobs on the front instead of the side or the top. It works, so every amp company has borrowed that configuration. Car companies have adopted many of the same features to compete, such as leather seats, power windows, CD players, etc. They do whatever they can to replicate what they perceive to be their competitors' biggest advantages.

    Sure, Behringer could be called names and everything, but the bottom line is, if (and this is a big if) their products are as good as their competitors', and they're cheaper, why would anyone not buy them? If I can get a Behringer rack tuner comparable to a Korg for $60 or $70, I'll surely do that before I'll pay several times that much for the "real deal" product.

    I'd love to live in a world where every businessman came up with unique ideas, but if that was the case, every one of those unique ideas would be costing consumers a lot more than they are now. Because when one company has a "unique" product, said company has a monopoly and can charge whatever it wants. With clone products come lower prices and with lower prices come satisfied consumers. It's good business sense to copy another's product. You get to skip the expensive R&D process.

    As long as Behringer isn't forcing anyone to buy their products over the Boss pedals (or whatever other products they're competing with), I see no harm. And as long as Behringer is not, in fact, misleading people to believe that its products are somehow endorsed or otherwise affiliated with Roland's (or anyone else's) products, there is no fraud. No force, no fraud, no problem.

    Also, be real. The people who care to buy the real thing will still buy the real thing. And the people who would be somehow "confused" by the similar look of a Behringer product are probably not smart enough to go and buy the real deal anyway. These are the kids who are using Rogue pedals. And then, you have the people who will buy Boss just because of the name, regardless of whether it's the best out there or whether there's a cheaper alternative. People still buy Fenders because "they're the best basses in the world" without even considering that there are luthiers out there making instruments that put Fenders to shame. There are people who would rather have an MIM Fender than a Sadowsky because they've heard of Fender. All I'm trying to say is that the people likely to be "duped" by the Behringer products are probably not worth saving from the whole thing anyways.

    Just my civil 2 cents. :)
    Jake
     
  12. FireAarro

    FireAarro

    Aug 8, 2004
    austr-
    Hm? I know a lot of non-Coca-colas with red/white cans, so...

    It'd be pretty fearsome if Fender started killing everybody. Wonder what shapes Sadowsky basses would be, eh?
     
  13. speaking of soft drinks, how about all the supermarket own-brand rip-offs of Red Bull?
    eg. Blue Bolt, Red Rooster.....:D
     
  14. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Canada.
    Did you read these threads from the initial post?

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=120253
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=118198


    Are Behringers better? Is it legal to "replicate" and "steal"? That's what this thread is about.


    That's hardly the point. Behringer seems to have deliberately ( IMO :rolleyes: ) copied hallmark looks exactly, which a company has as much right to as the interior component design and makes up a significant part of their "branding" or "trade dress". Same reason Fender headstocks aren't copied (legally), there are no Rickenbacker copies, etc.


    That's been covered extensively in other Behringer threads and the initial post expressly states this thread will not go down that route. There are many compelling reasons, and if you care to read about it you can find them via the "Search" function.


    :rollno:


    Again, see the above quotes. Thankfully (IMO!), you're not a the lawmaker or the judge.


    In your opinion.


    Could be they simply prefer their Fender. In any case, that has nothing to do with the thread.


    Whether people are duped or not, companies have a legal right to protection for their designs and unique appearances. That's what this thread is about as it pertains to the Roland/Behringer case or other relevant cases, and will remain so.
     
  15. It scares me that people find that kind of theft acceptable.
     
  16. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    If it's theft, then it's illegal and I don't find it "acceptable." But in all seriousness, I wasn't aware that you could copyright the color scheme of a pedal or the layout of knobs. Forgive me for my mistake, if those are in fact copyrightable.

    I'm not advocating theft. I'm just saying that the borrowing of ideas is the foundation of enterprise. Behringer is taking heat because they're borrowing on a much grander scale than the average company making a jazz knock-off.

    Like I said in my other post, if we're gonna come down on Behringer, we need to come down on all the manufacturers who make a cab with 4 10s and a tweeter, because they're all stealing from the original. With the exception of a name badge, most of them look extremely similar. It's horrible that the thieves out there couldn't make their own cab designs like Jorg Schroeder or the guys at Accugroove did.

    And all the people who've made tweed guitar amps over the years to emulate (and gain financially from) the success of the early Fender tweed amps should be put on trial as well.

    We should also bust every manufacturer of electric bass strings for ripping off the original designs for wrapping wire around a core and putting a ball end on the thing.

    Please note: I'm not trying to be sarcastic or cause trouble for the sake of causing trouble. I'm just taking the side of the accused and trying to show the fundamental hypocrisy involved in bashing Behringer. If you find my posts to be "uncivil" then delete them. But if you find them hard to stomach simply because you disagree, I see no reason for their removal.

    Jake
     
  17. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    It's one thing to simply copy and sell off. No harm, no foul. Especially if we benefit from it, and can get it cheaper. :hyper:

    Now, when a company copies pedals down to the circuit board used, that's stealing. Just like taking software. You take 10 lines from Microsoft's kernal, watch out.

    I love how you keep bringing up the 4x10 etc. EVERY cab company does their R&D on their cabs!! They put effort into making theirs different. How can you prove this? Plug one bass and one amp into one makers 4x10, and then into a diff 4x10. Tell me their excatly alike. Please.

    Also, it's still really yet to be seen, but Behringer absolutly HAD to cut corner somewhere to get us these "savings". One is obviously R&D, since I don't think they've ever done a bit on their own. Secondly, they may or may not use cheaper components.

    I suggest your read this link:
    http://groups-beta.google.com/group...e7?q=behringer&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&rnum=2&ic=1

    Ray
     
  18. Justice

    Justice

    May 24, 2002
    Houston TX.
    And after you have read the above link, you can read this one..

    http://groups-beta.google.com/group...40f989249?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&rnum=67

    I still don't think the Roland/Behrigner suit is going to make it to court. But if it does, what will the Roland people say when Behringer brings out a set of stompboxes that look nothing like the Boss pedals?
     
  19. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    To all those who are happy to see designs stolen/copied - I sincerely hope one day you invent or design something from scratch, spend money researching, prototyping, and testing it, only to have someone with a photocopier pull the rug out from under you! If this becomes standard business practice, why would you bother inventing anything?

    Behringer will sort itself out. All the music retailers I speak to have stopped stocking it because the amount or customer returns, while acceptable at first, are way too large now to make it viable. What's the old saying - "You pay peanuts, you'll get monkeys!".
     
  20. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Excellent thread, SMASH - good to see a Behringer thread that hasn't devolved. The pics comparing the Behringers to the E-H and Boss pedals are jaw-dropping.

    I own one piece of Behringer equipment (some autocom BS expander/limiter rack unit that really does very little, IMHO) and, upon learning of the reverse-engineering practices on this board, I vowed not to buy any more.

    It will be interesting to see if Ashdown eventualy follows suit (if they can, given their financial position). You had to know that Behringer would get bitten if they copied a large enough manufacturer/distributor.