The Fake Gibson Thread

kevinpaul

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They all have copies made for touring. Billy Gibbons had copies made of Pearly Gates my a builder who's name escapes me. Hollowed out body and neck. He had his oun name on the head stock in Gibson script. The real one was to heavy to work with. The stuff he had done to it made it more to his taste. Same deal with those ugly Gretsch Billy Boe things. That the jobs he put hair around. That I don't get, hair around a guitar, mercy!
 

filtersweep

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Our company refuses to do any business in China until our IP can be properly protected.

I see two BIG issues with fakes-

1. The IP for the maker- maybe not such a big deal on a 50-60 yr old design.
2. Branding- I actually buy Gibson's for the 'brand.' I don't want Epiphone or any other legitimate brand- and I definitely don't want an illegitimate brand 'Gibson.'

I own 4 Fenders- 3 are stock- one is a partscaster with a licensed neck- with a F decal. It seems so obvious that it is not the real deal- it doesn't fill my branding needs.

This is where the real Chibson issue lies- would they sell ANY with a blank headstock? Any takers on these 'great' Chinese knockoffs- absent the logo?

If not, they are fully exploiting the brand- and that is clearly wrong.

And how does it feel, owning a fake? I would feel like a real poser.
 

rockstar232007

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I love reading this kind of *justification*. If it says Gibson, and it isn't a Gibos...it's a FAKE. Intent? BS. It's still a fake, nothing else.
No justification intended.

There is a very clear difference between the intentions of counterfeiters (building/selling guitars AS "Gibson" guitars), and luthiers building "one-offs", which are intended as "replicas".

Yes, replicas are still technically "fakes", but they are not built with the intent to deceive, which is the sole purpose of counterfeits.
 

rlefty

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No justification intended.

There is a very clear difference between the intentions of counterfeiters (building/selling guitars AS "Gibson" guitars), and luthiers building "one-offs", which are intended as "replicas".

Yes, replicas are still technically "fakes", but they are not built with the intent to deceive, which is the sole purpose of counterfeits.

To be fair, the Chinese knock-offs are never -- at least not from the original manufacturers -- sold with an intention to deceive. If you go to one a site like ********* or ******, they sell for dirt cheap and they never claim to be Gibsons. The sellers pretty clearly represent what they sell as knock-offs. The real scumbags in that sense are the people in this country (USA) who buy them and THEN try to rip people off by claiming they're real on ebay, craigslist, etc.

I'm not advocating for these guitars, btw, but it is what it is.
 

martin H

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While I'm not a lawyer, I would not want to argue the use of the word 'uses' to NOT include playing one on stage in public, for instance. And while I understand the specialized definitions of words within the context of the law, it seems unlikely that 'using' a guitar in the primary manner one 'uses' a guitar would not constitute 'use' in the content of this statute; at least, I would not want to argue that.

My main concern is your (IMHO, overly broad) statement that owning a counterfeit isn't illegal; I believe that in at least some jurisdictions (including Illinois) it either is, or may well be. Hate to see someone get hung up unwittingly.

Larry

We'll just have to disagree on that one Larry. The statue itself doesn't make possession/ownership illegal unless it it is for the purposes of distribution. Given that the Illinois Legislature has previously prohibited the possession/ownership of certain items using those exact words, as a matter of construction you can't read them into another statute where the same Legislature chose not to use them.

As to what use means in the context of this statue, we'll have to disagree on that too, but a statue that criminalizes all use of a product without also criminalizing its possession is an unusual one indeed outside of the field of environmental/safety regulation.

It is an interesting discussion. I've put a watch on the statute in Westlaw to alert me if it is interpreted by a court, and sooner or later we'll know what the Legislature intended, although, IMO, whether playing an instrument is "use" under this particular statue will likely remain unresolved for decades if it is ever resolved at all.


Cheers

MH
 

rockstar232007

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To be fair, the Chinese knock-offs are never -- at least not from the original manufacturers -- sold with an intention to deceive. If you go to one a site like ********* or ******, they sell for dirt cheap and they never claim to be Gibsons. The sellers pretty clearly represent what they sell as knock-offs. The real scumbags in that sense are the people in this country (USA) who buy them and THEN try to rip people off by claiming they're real on ebay, craigslist, etc.

I'm not advocating for these guitars, btw, but it is what it is.
When they're labeled as "Gibson", and even come with stickers (which is the first red flag), that claim "OEM", yes they are meant to deceive.

The really sad thing is, I'd hazard a guess that there are more people who buy them, knowing exactly what they are, than those who are legitimately getting duped. Because, most of them are so obviously wrong, that unless the people questioning, and/or buying them are blind, deaf, or completely mute, they should be relatively distinguishable from the real thing.

The same applies to replicas, but on a much stricter scale.


We'll just have to disagree on that one Larry. The statue itself doesn't make possession/ownership illegal unless it it is for the purposes of distribution. Given that the Illinois Legislature has previously prohibited the possession/ownership of certain items using those exact words, as a matter of construction you can't read them into another statute where the same Legislature chose not to use them.

As to what use means in the context of this statue, we'll have to disagree on that too, but a statue that criminalizes all use of a product without also criminalizing its possession is an unusual one indeed outside of the field of environmental/safety regulation.

It is an interesting discussion. I've put a watch on the statute in Westlaw to alert me if it is interpreted by a court, and sooner or later we'll know what the Legislature intended, although, IMO, whether playing an instrument is "use" under this particular statue will likely remain unresolved for decades if it is ever resolved at all.


Cheers

MH
The legalities start with the puchaser. This is where the "intent" part plays a big role.

Here in MI, not only is illegal to sell counterfeit goods. It is also illegal to buy/own them.

Now, if you want to build your own, complete with *insert random guitar brand here* on the headstock? Have at it. Just don't and try to sell it. Especially, trying to pass it off as the real deal.
 

rlefty

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When they're labeled as "Gibson", and even come with stickers (which is the first red flag), that claim "OEM", yes they are meant to deceive.

My point is that the sellers on those sites don't say "this is a Gibson". They say "this is copy of a Gibson made in our factory in China". There is absolutely no intent to deceive the buyer whatsoever. Now, yes, what they're doing is against (at least) American law, but it's not deception, it's just illegal.

Deception is the guy who buys one and lists it on craigslist as a "vintage Les Paul" and lists it for $3500.

Forget about guitars for a second. Someone offers to sell you a fake Rolex for $15, specifically telling you that it is a fake made in a Chinese factory. Is that deception? It's certainly illegal, but no, it's obviously not deception. You are not being deceived.

Now, you buy it, walk down the street and try to sell it to someone else as a Rolex for $2500. Is that deception? Yes. And, it's also illegal.

You see what I'm saying?
 

rockstar232007

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My point is that the sellers on those sites don't say "this is a Gibson". They say "this is copy of a Gibson made in our factory in China". There is absolutely no intent to deceive the buyer whatsoever. Now, yes, what they're doing is against (at least) American law, but it's not deception, it's just illegal.

Deception is the guy who buys one and lists it on craigslist as a "vintage Les Paul" and lists it for $3500.

Forget about guitars for a second. Someone offers to sell you a fake Rolex for $15, specifically telling you that it is a fake made in a Chinese factory. Is that deception? It's certainly illegal, but no, it's obviously not deception. You are not being deceived.

Now, you buy it, walk down the street and try to sell it to someone else as a Rolex for $2500. Is that deception? Yes. And, it's also illegal.

You see what I'm saying?
Gotcha.

Misread/interpreted the first time.:thumb:
 

martin H

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Here in MI, not only is illegal to sell counterfeit goods. It is also illegal to buy/own them.

Which MI statue are you referring to? The only thing I can find is Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.263. It outlaws possession with the intent to distribute, and creates a presumption that anyone with more than 25 counterfeit items in their possession is holding them with intent to distribute. It does not appear to outlaw simple possession:

Sec. 263. (1) A person who willfully counterfeits an identifying mark with intent to deceive or defraud another person or to represent an item of property or service as bearing or identified by an authorized identifying mark is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who willfully delivers, offers to deliver, uses, displays, advertises, or possesses with intent to deliver any item of property or services bearing, or identified by a counterfeit mark, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or 3 times the aggregate value of the violation, whichever is greater . . .

Unless "use" equates to possession there is no ban that I can see on simple possession. Indeed, given that the statue explicitly prohibits possession with intent to deliver, "use" cannot mean possession in this context, as if all possession is illegal, the language making possession with intent to deliver illegal would be surplus, and the legislature is presumed not to have enacted any surplus provision in a statue.

The word "use" in this context probably means the same as it does in Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 429.42

"Use, without the consent of the registrant, any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation of a mark registered under this act in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of any goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive as to the source of origin of such goods or services; "

i.e. use for any of the enumerated purposes of sale and distribution.

These statues most closely resemble the prohibition statutes that prohibited the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, but didn't actually prohibit drinking them.
 

rockstar232007

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Which MI statue are you referring to? The only thing I can find is Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.263. It outlaws possession with the intent to distribute, and creates a presumption that anyone with more than 25 counterfeit items in their possession is holding them with intent to distribute. It does not appear to outlaw simple possession:

Sec. 263. (1) A person who willfully counterfeits an identifying mark with intent to deceive or defraud another person or to represent an item of property or service as bearing or identified by an authorized identifying mark is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who willfully delivers, offers to deliver, uses, displays, advertises, or possesses with intent to deliver any item of property or services bearing, or identified by a counterfeit mark, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or 3 times the aggregate value of the violation, whichever is greater . . .

Unless "use" equates to possession there is no ban that I can see on simple possession. Indeed, given that the statue explicitly prohibits possession with intent to deliver, "use" cannot mean possession in this context, as if all possession is illegal, the language making possession with intent to deliver illegal would be surplus, and the legislature is presumed not to have enacted any surplus provision in a statue.

The word "use" in this context probably means the same as it does in Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 429.42

"Use, without the consent of the registrant, any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation of a mark registered under this act in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of any goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive as to the source of origin of such goods or services; "

i.e. use for any of the enumerated purposes of sale and distribution.

These statues most closely resemble the prohibition statutes that prohibited the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, but didn't actually prohibit drinking them.
The law is written with the assumption, that if a person buys/owns a counterfeit item, that it is eventually going to be resold, which is where it starts to get tricky.

I went to HS with a guy who sold counterfeit "RayBan" sunglasses, and not only did he get in serious trouble for possession/distribution, but so did everyone who bought them from him.
 

ajay

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If I was dumb enough to buy a piece of Chinese crap, I would have my name put on the headstock, and I would pay extra to have them do a good job on the inlay. Seeing that You can buy a real Gibson Les Paul, like my LPJ, fo $400, You're crazy to spend $300 for a Chinese guitar unless it has vanity plates.
I sometimes wonder if Gibson didn't put out their dirt cheap line of Les Pauls to take some of the business away from the Chinese. And my LPJ is the last guitar that I'll sell. It's a great guitar, and I have almost no money invested in it. In 12 years, when I'm 70, if someone wants me to fill in for a night, at least I'll still have my own axe. It's time for me to get down to one Les Paul, one acoustic, the Gibson Bass that I bought when I was 15, and my Dad's Dobro. Keith Richards has 3000 guitars. I think he should start running some auctions. He could make a mint, probably enough to buy another castle. I'll bet none of them are Chinese either.
I really miss the good ol' days when a Gibson was a Gibson.
 

MikeyTheCat

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Like a bitch. A bitch that got shammed, but a bitch not nonetheless. Wait until Dave's Guitar gets a piece of my mind.

See, I was smart, I bought a genuine copy of a fake Gibson, not some questionable guitar off the interweb.
 

MikeyTheCat

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I sometimes wonder if Gibson didn't put out their dirt cheap line of Les Pauls to take some of the business away from the Chinese.

The LPJ, whose existence is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. A guitar guaranteed to eat into Gibson's next higher models. A guitar with the goal to put a Les Paul into the hands of anyone who has wanted a Les Paul without saying Les Paul on the guitar. A guitar good enough to sound like a Les Paul but still allow the cork sniffers to pity you. A guitar with so many satisfied customers that it was sure to get someone fired. An American made Gibson that stepped on the same price points as Gibson's Epiphone brand.

I've never been able to figure out the why's of the LPJ being build, I just know that a lot of guys love them and if Gibson is still around in 15 years will make reissues of them once some famous band plays them.
 

wesbo

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I have a belief that, Korean made guitars will become the new Japanese guitars, then China will become the new Korea, and then become the new Japan, maybe in 5 years 10 years 20 years but it will happen. And Japan are already at US level (and sometimes above) IMO (and not just concerning guitars).

But counterfeits will always only be that, and most if the time not even worth the price paid, the QC that already isn't A one perfect in china is probably (or should I say definitely) even worse on a counterfeit.
And personally I don't mind purchasing Chinese guitars once I've tested them. But i'll never have a counterfeit even if someone paid me.
 

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