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Author Topic: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)  (Read 21919 times)

SafeandSound

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Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« on: January 21, 2011, 09:00:51 am »

I am pleased to say I will be receiving a Sontec clone (with mastering modifications) quite soon now. I am very interested to see how it compares to other EQ's which I already use and love. I might even perform some of my own modifications to it so it's truly unique.
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bblackwood

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Re: Sontecs...
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 09:47:57 am »

SafeandSound wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 08:00

I am pleased to say I will be receiving a Sontec clone (with mastering modifications) quite soon now. I am very interested to see how it compares to other EQ's which I already use and love. I might even perform some of my own modifications to it so it's truly unique.

Unless it has HS1000 or HS2000 opamps, it's not a Sontec.

I don't really care for the 'cloning' of current production gear, seems an awful lot like stealing...

But yah, it has a chance to sound good.
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Brad Blackwood
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SafeandSound

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Re: Sontecs...
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2011, 10:34:18 am »

Well it fills a need Brad, the real Sontecs are rare here, the new ones with mastering mods are very pricey by the time they are in UK.

Sure I know it is not a real Sontec and I do not mind, with this baby I can enjoy improving it myself (if of course it is not wonderful when it ships) And the beauty is I have specified everything on the machine, some things which would be difficult to live without in my system which are not present on a real one, so it's as long as it's short in terms of operation/performance.

Well if it's stealing someone would have surely taken action against the people who reversed engineered the circuits by now, they have been about for ages and as you said if they haven't got the opamps you suggest then it either is one or isn't one.

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bblackwood

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Re: Sontecs...
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011, 10:49:02 am »

SafeandSound wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 09:34

Well it fills a need Brad, the real Sontecs are rare here, the new ones with mastering mods are very pricey by the time they are in UK.

Paraphrase: "theft is OK if you can't afford it."

Quote:

Well if it's stealing someone would have surely taken action against the people who reversed engineered the circuits by now, they have been about for ages and as you said if they haven't got the opamps you suggest then it either is one or isn't one.

So you only respect intellectual property under the force of law?

Frankly, as one who makes a living in a business that is constantly fighting, on virtually all fronts, the battle against IP theft, I'm still surprised that folks can rationalize IP theft if they are part of this industry.
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Brad Blackwood
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dietrich

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clones
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2011, 10:49:50 am »

I am curious what makes an Eq a Sontec clone without the Op amps.
The same functionality? which you could say the Maselec and Buzz copy as well.

I miss the sound of my 250C which has inward connection custom op amps

johnR

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Re: clones
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2011, 11:18:45 am »

dietrich wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 15:49

I am curious what makes an Eq a Sontec clone without the Op amps.


The circuit design.
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TotalSonic

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2011, 11:21:45 am »

I'm curious myself as to what extent the design that has been public on Prodigy Pro that is a somewhat reverse engineered MEP250EX is in fact a violation of ITI Audio's IP rights.  In as much as the majority of parametric eq's out there now owes in some way to MacNeal's and Massenburg's original designs - I'd still agree more towards that the idea that the opamp is what differentiates it from others of its ilk.  I'm not sure what patents are held by ITI Audio - but seems to Burgess handled this in his own way simply by potting the part and not making the design public via a patent.  Also - in that afaik no company is publicly offering Sontec clones and instead there is only occasional one offs being made either by folks for themselves with a rare build for others - seems it would be difficult to pinpoint who would end up with a cease and desist notice if Burgess did decide to pursue this via the legal system.  Again it should be noted regardless of the basic freq and Q choices that are seen on these clones - the end sound still is different from a real Sontec because of the different opamps being used by the clone makers.

Got to say that there are examples of some beautiful build outs available on Prodigy Pro - it would be nice in fact to maybe reverse the flow of "theft" and for Burgess to actually take note of some of these ideas and make them available in one of his own units - i.e. this ->

http://www.dagoosemusic.nl/temp/sontec1.jpg
http://www.dagoosemusic.nl/temp/sontec2.jpg

Best regards,
Steve Berson

TotalSonic

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 11:28:49 am »

I do want to note that I don't want my post above to be mistaken as support for IP theft of any kind.  I don't personally own any "clones" and don't really plan to commission one (although I would love to get my MEP250's guts transferred to a new chassis with switches as in the example above).  Just asking honest questions regarding the extent of how much the cases of the Prodigy "Sontec" is in fact actually theft.  Regardless - I try to be a strong supporter of designers and companies who are innovative and honest and the originators of the products that they sell.

Best regards,
Steve Berson  

SafeandSound

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011, 11:33:25 am »

I think it is the T filters.

I do find it odd that a new thread has been made of this considering the original Sontec thread was littered with Sontec clone posts (largely ignored may I add).

Maybe as you are so particular Brad you would be as fair as to migrate all such posts into this thread, or is it just me you have issue with? If so let me know instead of shuffling your board around for your own personal reasons.

Yes you are right it we work in an area where you need to be a fighter. I have never seen the Sontec clone eq's as intellectual property theft myself. As you said either it has the opamps or it does not. This is very prolific and it seems the SSL/Pultec clones are similarly on the market these days. It is clone central so to speak.
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bblackwood

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011, 11:57:49 am »

SafeandSound wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 10:33

I do find it odd that a new thread has been made of this considering the original Sontec thread was littered with Sontec clone posts (largely ignored may I add).

Maybe as you are so particular Brad you would be as fair as to migrate all such posts into this thread, or is it just me you have issue with? If so let me know instead of shuffling your board around for your own personal reasons.

Yah, I don't really have the time to go back through the thread and find all those, or they'd be here, too.

I have no particular issue with you, but do feel an IP theft-based copy of a product shouldn't be in the thread discussing the genuine, currently in production piece.

I actually initially separated this thread to close it as an example of another form of IP theft we'd not discuss here, along side the current ban on discussions promoting cracked software or stealing music, but felt it might be nice to discuss this here first so folks would stop and think before doing it themselves.

If you believe my moderation of this forum is suspect, please feel free to PM Fletcher your concerns.

Quote:

Yes you are right it we work in an area where you need to be a fighter. I have never seen the Sontec clone eq's as intellectual property theft myself. As you said either it has the opamps or it does not. This is very prolific and it seems the SSL clones are similarly the market these days. It is clone central so to speak.


Yah, SSL clones are IP theft as well, imo. Changing one or two little bits doesn't mean you haven't stolen the basic circuit design of a currently produced product.
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Brad Blackwood
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SafeandSound

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2011, 12:05:20 pm »

All designs for commercial sale based on passive / pultec eq circuits too?

So if I may ask that the thread be re-titled to something rather less sensational, considering the allowances made for the other handful of people speaking of their cloned equipment.

That would be much less work for you Brad if you cannot be bothered.

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bblackwood

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 12:11:12 pm »

SafeandSound wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 11:05

All designs for commercial sale based on passive / pultec eq circuits too?



The Pultec is no longer in production - buying a Pultec clone takes no money out of anyone's pocket.

Sontec's are in production, so making / buying a Sontec clone is taking money out of Burgess Macneil's pocket.

SSL buss compressors are in production, so making / buying an SSL buss compressor clone clone is taking money out of Peter Gabriel's pocket.

Look, you can rationalize this all you want, but you know that you're stealing Burgess's work. The least you can do is stop deflecting and own up to it.
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Brad Blackwood
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24-96 Mastering

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2011, 12:41:26 pm »

Interesting ethics discussion. Assuming no patent laws are knowingly broken, I have mixed feelings on this. Thinking out loud:


- If it's an exact clone of an in production model (that is actually available to buy***), made and bought to be cheaper than the original, then that doesn't feel right.

- If it's an exact clone of an in production model self-made for the hobby of audio electronics DIY and reverse engineering, then that's ok in my eyes, so long as it doesn't get used in a professional facility in place of the original.

- If it's not an exact clone, but a purposefully modified one that seeks to change/enhance sound or functionality, making it a variation that isn't and can't be offered by the original manufacturer or achieved with an original unit... then there's some ethic legitimacy to that endavour imo.


In any case, I think none of these "clones", regardless of how faithfully recreated they are, should be labelled or referred to by the SONTEC (or SSL, etc) brand names. Not even as SONTEC clone (or SSL clone). Using the name on a front panel or company web site imo seeks to gain an advantage from another company's reputation and is hard to justify ethically.



*** Some Sontec models, for example, are very hard to come by

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lowland

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2011, 12:48:41 pm »

TotalSonic wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 16:21

I'm not sure what patents are held by ITI Audio - but seems to Burgess handled this in his own way simply by potting the part and not making the design public via a patent.

That's an interesting point, Steve. This essay, with which I imagine you're already familiar

http://www.massenburg.com/c/gml/parametric_invention.html

has the sentence 'We never thought of patenting or copyrighting anything; Jack Best [ITI chief exec. for whom Massenburg evidently has little love] couldn't claim the slightest use to anything I was doing.'

Whether that extends to all ITI/Sontec activities past and present isn't clear, but it seems at least possible that ITI held/hold no patents. That, of course, is no excuse to lift their intellectual property though.
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bblackwood

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Re: Clone Wars: IP theft (was Sontec thread)
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2011, 12:52:33 pm »

24-96 Mastering wrote on Fri, 21 January 2011 11:41

- If it's not an exact clone, but a purposefully modified one that seeks to change/enhance functionality, making it a variation that isn't and can't be offered by the original manufacturer... then there's some ethic legitimacy to that endavour imo.

I'd suggest if you wish to do this, the legitimate thing to do is to buy the unit and modify to your heart's content. Otherwise, you're still stealing the designer's IP - the original design...
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Brad Blackwood
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