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Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action #2932523
06/13/18 09:22 AM
06/13/18 09:22 AM
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ElmerJFudd Online content OP
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Behringer threatens legal action against a site that called it a copycat
http://cdm.link/2018/06/behringer-threatens-legal-action-against-a-site-that-called-it-a-copycat/

Midifan, a top music portal and online magazine in China, has received notice from Behringer, threatening legal action over stories by Musicfan that called Behringer a “copycat.”

Midifan is a Chinese-language site, but evidently a significant one for that market. And Nan Tang, CEO and founder of the site, is also co-founder of 2nd Sense Audio, the software developer behind the WIGGLE synth and ReSample software. Nan, also known at musiXboy, contacted CDM with the news.

Nan has provided CDM with Midifan’s own English translation of the legal letter, as well as a statement in English. Translation is an important factor here, given we’re talking about libel, but Midifan’s English translations here for what they wrote are “shameless” and “copycat.”

Here’s the statement from Midifan:

Behringer sued Chinese media Midifan for saying them COPYCAT and shameless

Chinese portal website Midifan has received a lawyer’s letter from Behringer last week. Behringer claimed the fact that Midifan repeatedly reporting news about Behringer without any factual basis and using insulting words such as “copycat”, “shameless” has caused the reputation of the four clients (Uli Behringer, MUSIC Tribe Global Brands Ltd, Zhongshan Behringer Electronic Co., Ltd and Zhongshan Ouke Electronic Co., Ltd) to be seriously damaged.

The law firm worked for Behringer also claimed that they have reported to its local public security agency and plans to pursue legal responsibilities through criminal way.

A manufacturer taking legal action against music press for being critical or even calling it names is as far as I know fairly unprecedented. I’d almost call it shamel– actually, let’s just stick with “unprecedented.”

But it appears the letter is threatening criminal libel proceedings in China, not just civil charges. Criminal libel can carry more serious consequences; as reported in 2013 by The Guardian and Bloomberg, criminal libel in China can carry up to a three year prison sentence.


Ceci n’est pas une imitateur.
Behringer showed … uh… tributes to the Roland SH-101, , Roland VC-330, Roland TR-808, ARP Odyssey, and Sequential Prophet One in Berlin last month.
That said, in China as internationally, the law states that something is only libelous if it’s untrue. The “copycat” reference refers to Behringer gear shown at Superbooth, for instance, that literally was designed to look and sound like classic instruments (Roland TR-808, Sequential Circuits Prophet One, etc.). “Shameless” is a matter of opinion. Arguably, too, sending cease and desist letters to media outlets because they called you shameless and a copycat would presumably also not be a great way to demonstrate you possess shame.

Behringer Pro-One, 808, ARP Odyssey Clones At Superbooth 2018

For their part, Midifan have posted a response on their site (no English translation available):

https://www.midifan.com/modulenews-detailview-29955.htm

Midifan tell CDM that they have removed all references to the words “copycat” and “shameless” and replaced them with “more neutral words like “TRIBUTE and CLONE.”
Midifan tell CDM that they have removed all references to the words “copycat” and “shameless” and replaced them with “more neutral words like “TRIBUTE and CLONE.”

Here’s the full letter from Behringer as translated by Midifan into English.



Lawyer’s Letter
In Relation to Urge You to Stop the Willful Infringement Behavior

Dear Sir or Madam,
Upon the entrustment of Zhongshan Behringer Electronic Co., Ltd (hereinafter referred to as Behringer Corporation), Zhongshan Ouke Electronic Co., Ltd (hereinafter referred to as Ouke Corporation), Uli Behringer and MUSIC Tribe Global Brands Ltd, Guangdong Baoxin Law Firm sends you the lawyer’s letter to your company on matters that urging you to stop the willful infringement behavior.

In accordance with the information and statements from four aforementioned clients, MUSIC Tribe Global Brands Ltd is the registered holder of the trademark “BEHRINGER”. On the basis of the authorization of MUSIC Tribe Global Brands Ltd, Ouke Corporation has the right to use the “BEHRINGER” trademark to engage in production and business activities within the scope of relevant authorizations. Behringer Corporation,whose English name also includes the word “Behringer”, is an affiliate enterprise of MUSIC Tribe Global Brands Ltd and Ouke Corporation.

Since 2017, you have continuously published articles such as “Exclusive breaking: Behringer’s recent crazy copycat stems from a trap of imitation chip more than a decade ago.” “, Can’t stop copycat: Behringer will make the Eurorack module next?” , “Shameless: Behinger exhibited copycat of TR-808, SH-101, Pro-One and Odyssey” on the website “https://www.midifan.com/”

and

Tencent WeChat public account “Midifan” without any factual basis, claiming that the above four principals have plagiarized the products of other companies. Beyond that, the fact that you repeatedly used insulting words such as “shameless”, “copycat” has caused the reputation of my four clients to be seriously damaged.

In view of this, Ouke Corporaiton has reported to its local public security agency and plans to pursue your legal responsibilities through criminal way. Meanwhile, the four principals entrusted me with this letter expressly:

Please be sure to remove all the insulting infringement articles four principals involved and other related information posted on the internet platform such as “https://www.midifan.com/” and Tencent WeChat public account “Midifan” , etc. within seven days of receipt of this letter, and issue a clarification announcement within the above-mentioned period to eliminate all adverse effects caused by the negative reputation of the four principals due to your inappropriate comments.

If you fail to perform the above obligations within the time limit, the four principals will continue pursuing your legal liabilities (including but not limited to
the criminal responsibility for defamation) through legal ways. All consequences and expenses resulting from this shall be borne by you.

In order to avoid inconvenience, please weigh the pros and cons and perform the above obligations in a timely manner!
Best regards.

CDM has reached out to Music Tribe / Behringer for comment via their public contact form, but has not yet received a response. Curiously, I found many of my colleagues don’t have direct, current media contacts with the company.

Oh, also – it seems Germany has criminal libel laws, too. So, naturally, let me then reiterate – what I saw at Superbooth were … meticulous recreations of famous electronic instruments of yore by a …. manufacturer of equipment that is … Behringer.

Now, please, I don’t want to go to German jail. Aber wenn ich ins Gefängnis gehe, wird sich mein Deutsch verbessern.

http://midifan.com/


Live: Casio PX-560, Roland VR-700
Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Yamaha S90ES
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Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2932531
06/13/18 10:04 AM
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Spider76 Offline
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Truth hurts.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Spider76] #2932535
06/13/18 10:38 AM
06/13/18 10:38 AM
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Behringer is doing a great job on these clones. I don't see why Behringer even cares about being called a copy cat.

Really aren't most keyboards copy cat? I'm talking clonewheels, stage pianos, and ROMplers?

They are all about creating the perfect B3/Acoustic Piano/Rhodes/Wurly experience. And with ROMplers, strings, synths and percussion.

Obviously clonewheels and stage pianos are purely nothing but copy cat boards.

Behringer has been doing some awesome stuff of late but to get their panties up in a bunch over this is weak.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: MojoGuyPan] #2932538
06/13/18 10:49 AM
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Just release the OB-Xa and all will be good.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: bennyray] #2932544
06/13/18 11:02 AM
06/13/18 11:02 AM
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Markyboard Offline
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My highly offended cat wants in on this lawsuit.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: bennyray] #2932547
06/13/18 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted By: bennyray
Just release the OB-Xa and all will be good.

Yes, but wait until after I've rehabbed and sold mine! smile

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2932549
06/13/18 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted By: Markyboard
My highly offended cat wants in on this lawsuit.


So does mine. If enough copycats offended felines join, it would grant class action to the lawsuit.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Markyboard] #2932550
06/13/18 11:13 AM
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A Chinese company calling someone a copycat...oh the irony.

I will say I'd prefer Behringer do their own thing and put the whole copycat thing to rest. They have been putting out some nicely-built products lately, use that know-how to make something undeniably yours and shut everyone up. I have one of their interfaces and love it, it's worth at least twice the $79 I paid for it.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Reezekeys] #2932551
06/13/18 11:20 AM
06/13/18 11:20 AM
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zeronyne Offline
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Keep in mind that IP and Libel laws in China are very different than in the U.S. or Europe. And we don't really know how the translation of "copycat" plays out there.

Behringer used to play fast and loose with other people's patents. There was the infamous Mackie lawsuit, and there was also the incident at NAMM 2005 (the year that the KC hang was visited by Bob Moog and paid for by Chuck Surack) where they showed a wall of Boss pedal clones (only the font was different). By the time they made it to market, they had made some key changes.

But I think Uli has found several sweet spots lately. His digital mixers are used by a ton of sound reinforcement companies here in Chicago. Just a few years ago, no serious engineer would touch a Behringer mixer. And then there is the OEM chip manufacturing and the cloning of out-of-patent synth designs. They also changed their supply chain structure and their deals with mass-market retailers like Guitar Center in a way that their brand no longer floods the market. That's pretty astute long-term thinking. I'm guessing that like Moog in the early 2000s, Behringer has engaged either consultants or a new CFO/COO that knows what (s)he is doing.


"For instance" is not proof.
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: zeronyne] #2932553
06/13/18 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted By: zeronyne
there was also the incident at NAMM 2005 (the year that the KC hang was visited by Bob Moog and paid for by Chuck Surack) where they showed a wall of Boss pedal clones (only the font was different). By the time they made it to market, they had made some key changes.


"Key changes" were made because Roland threatened legal action over trade dress infringement. I was at that show and I remember the wall of Boss pedal imposters.

Quote:
Just a few years ago, no serious engineer would touch a Behringer mixer.


Maybe in Chicago. I'm a serious engineer by career and I won't touch any B******** product period. I refuse to patronize chronic plagiarists whose products are refused for repair and for consignment. I know of one popular store (not GC) where brand new B******** rackmount products sat unsold for at least ten years.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2932561
06/13/18 12:09 PM
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Excellent......


We haven't had a thread started that will end up as the usual rant against Behringer in awhile. Thank you for posting this grin


David
Gig Rig: Casio PX-5S | Komplete Kontrol S61MK2 |Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 | GigPerformer 3|

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: EscapeRocks] #2932573
06/13/18 01:32 PM
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So.. a company, in a country where copyrights are used as toilet paper, is sued by another company notorious for dancing along the edges of copyright infringement, for calling them a copycat?!
Pot/Kettle: both black.

I don't mind Behringer products - just bought a new mixer and am really pleased with it, but it's a BLATANT RIPOFF of the Mackie Pro Fx 12. For them to take umbrage at someone actually calling them out on what we all know they've been doing for years is a bit disingenuous.


Muzikteechur is Lonnie, in Kittery, Maine.

HS music teacher: Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Music Theory, AP Music Theory, Music History, Musical Theatre, Piano, Guitar, Drama.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: MuzikTeechur] #2932589
06/13/18 03:00 PM
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The Behringer X32 is almost taking over the mixer market. That thing is everywhere.


You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

Forte7, Nord Stage 3, XK3c, OB-6, Arturia Collection, Mainstage, MotionSound KBR3D. A bunch of MusicMan Guitars, Line6 stuff
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Iconoclast] #2932592
06/13/18 03:16 PM
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Behringer are definitely copycats. Whether that is good or bad, I don't know. But threatening someone with Chinese prison for simply stating a fact on a keyboards-oriented website... that is bad.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: keyman27] #2932593
06/13/18 03:20 PM
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Behringer used to make my favorite Mackie 8 bus board....

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: area51recording] #2932595
06/13/18 03:30 PM
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Pointless drama that will cost a lot of money to no end, everyone knows they're a copycat business.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: BigJPatton] #2932598
06/13/18 03:49 PM
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ElmerJFudd Online content OP
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I imagine having made some in roads with products like the X mixers and DM12 (largely through Midas acquisition) they would like to cultivate a new image for the brand. 25 years from now Behringer could be as ubiquitous with mixers and synths as Yamaha or Roland. Few people will remember the stories about how the company started as a knock off house. I guess that starts with protecting the brand. Personally, owning Midas and other brand names, I’d have released those mixers and synths under those brandings, but I haven’t accomplished what Uli has in business so, if he wants his name on everything that’s his call.


Live: Casio PX-560, Roland VR-700
Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Yamaha S90ES
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Iconoclast] #2932612
06/13/18 05:18 PM
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Zalman Stern Offline
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Originally Posted By: Iconoclast
The Behringer X32 is almost taking over the mixer market. That thing is everywhere.


I recorded a digital board mix off a X32 last month. Plugged an iPad running Auria Pro into the USB port and pulled 10 or 12 tracks off the mixer using the USB class compliant audio interface. Seemed to work flawlessly except all the tracks are glitchy. Sounds like dusty/scratchy vinyl. My guess is the board was setup at 48kHz and that I was recording at 44.1kHz, which resulted in the mixer doing resampling and that support is completely broken.

(I expected the setup to fail entirely if the sample rates didn't match so once I saw it was recording audio I went back to getting setup to actually play the gig. Lesson learned... Would be a very convenient way to get a good quality documentary recording if it worked.)

-Z-

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Stokely] #2932615
06/13/18 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted By: Stokely
A Chinese company calling someone a copycat...oh the irony.

.


I also found this to be a big ROFL.

china, as a factory industry , is well known for having copycat factories.
Their IP laws, if any, are nothing like US and other countries.

US IP laws are not enforceable. A US co can try to pursue the copycat operation but its mostly a lost cause.


Innovation is never a single event. It is a long process of discovery, engineering, and transformation.
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Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: GregC] #2932617
06/13/18 05:41 PM
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timwat Offline
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Off the top of my head - if I wanted to build the Behringer brand over time, I'd generally take the path they're already on: Build high value product (value = hitting the sweet spot of features, quality and affordability for any given product type) in as long an unbroken string as possible, provide exemplary customer service when something breaks, get my product visible in use with high profile users.

Not so sure I'd aggressively go after Chinese music portals claiming 'copycat', but 1) I don't know how influential Midifan is in that market, and 2) every organization's leader is going to have a different response to this kind of thing based upon the nexus of rational maturity, emotional makeup, trusted advisors surrounding him, and their own calculation of what's to be won / lost.

Behringer has the history they have, and you can't erase that. Some folks have very long memories, others could care less.

Some folks would love to see Behringer go their own path and create nothing but brand new creative product that doesn't nod to (or mimic) the past. Others want a $200 Oberheim OBxa because they couldn't afford the real thing in 1981. I have no idea what the relative market size is between "seeking new ideas" and "seeking re-created old models" is.

But I would think the long-term for Behringer is on the "new ideas" path, and that one of the great ways to jumpstart all-important R&D down that direction is getting the Midas folks to keep producing new ideas, and possibly acquire another similar small-isn house with smart engineers and a need for a capital infusion.


"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: timwat] #2932638
06/13/18 08:56 PM
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Zalman - that's not your issue - conversion is done at the PC end. More likely, you didn't have enough disk bandwidth (thermal recalibration causing issues, etc). Get an X-Live if you're going to be doing this often, well worth it.


Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3
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Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: WesG] #2932682
06/14/18 04:03 AM
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Zalman Stern Offline
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Originally Posted By: WesG
Zalman - that's not your issue - conversion is done at the PC end. More likely, you didn't have enough disk bandwidth (thermal recalibration causing issues, etc). Get an X-Live if you're going to be doing this often, well worth it.


Auria Pro is a DAW that runs on an iPad. In this case it's serving as an up to 24-track digital recorder. It records to the SSD in the iPad and with any of the newer ones, there's plenty of bandwidth. It is possible Auria or iOS has a bug doing resampling during recording if the sampling rates are mismatched. I'll try and do an experiment soon.

(Auria is surprisingly good. I have a some issues with the UI design and it is ultimately constrained by limitations of the iPad architecture -- e.g. moving audio off the iPad is a pain and it doesn't the breadth of plugins available to desktop DAW apps, but it is a lot simpler to use and beautifully portable.)

Mostly the point in this thread was re: the Behringer X32 (and family) mixers being common and that they have USB out as a standard feature. (The X-live is not.) If USB out works correctly, it is an easy way to pull a full board mix at a variety of venues where one isn't in control of the FOH at all. (And one expects the general idea will be ubiquitous across many vendors' products going forward.)

-Z-

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Zalman Stern] #2932975
06/15/18 05:49 PM
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I'm tired of all this copycat nonsense. When is someone going to accuse someone of being a Copy Dawg?


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Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2933032
06/16/18 03:27 AM
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J. Dan Offline
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People seem to believe that a design begins and ends with what you see. It doesn't seem that most folks on here, with all due respect, know the first thing about manufacturing engineering. What Behringer does well is finding ways to redesign for mass production, in particular in ways that leverage their manufacturing strengths.

Let me give you a very different personal example that illustrates the same concept. 14 years ago I sold custom control panels. These are the large enclosures at industrial plants that control everything and often provide the user interface for the operators.

Our shop had a high labor rate. There were "mom and pop" shops that would charge very little by the hour to do fabrication. Large companies had good volume pricing for all the hardware and would buy it themselves and ask for labor-only quotes to put it together, per their design by their engineers. I was successful by leveraging our strengths. We also got good pricing and had engineering resources. So we would redesign panels and provide drawings in a way that leveraged our own pricing and reduced the total hours of labor needed. As an example, we might use hardware that would be more expensive, but because of our pricing wasn't a big increase, yet reduced labor hours significantly.

Let's get back to Behringer, if they were copying everything they would cost just as much as their competitors.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: J. Dan] #2933146
06/16/18 05:58 PM
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Maybe the Chinese web guys can counter sue by claiming B. tries to blackmail them against using freedom of the press. I wonder what would happen if someone would bring out the HighBrain 160 and freely uses electronics manufacturing competition rights at will, using their designs as example.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Theo Verelst] #2933683
06/19/18 07:18 PM
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The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Joe Muscara] #2933690
06/19/18 08:30 PM
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Well that's very enlightening - he said, typing it into a public internet forum.


"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Joe Muscara] #2933692
06/19/18 08:37 PM
06/19/18 08:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,433
Solder Huffer's Gulch
D
David Emm Offline
Platinum Member
David Emm  Offline
Platinum Member
D

Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,433
Solder Huffer's Gulch


Okay, now the whole thing smells like a vulgar metaphor I don't want to post to a family group. Its one thing for them to offer clones based on familiar designs and another to get their panties in a bunch over a few comments on a very esoteric bulletin board. More and more lawsuits seem like bald admissions of pettiness. If you can't handle catty Internet blather, its going to limit your reading options. hitt


"You shouldn't have killed my Mom and squished my Walkman!"
~ "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"

https://soundcloud.com/david-emm-1
Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2933700
06/19/18 09:07 PM
06/19/18 09:07 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,543
out in the sticks
A
Al Coda Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Al Coda  Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
A

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,543
out in the sticks
Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
I'm tired of all this copycat nonsense.


Now Ulli should copy exactly this,- the (WEM) Copycat ...
Same behaviour, less hiss and longer delay time,- in eurorack format and perfectly matching Model D.
Vintage MXR Flanger, Oberheim SEM, Phaser and Ringmod as eurorack modules too please !

Tom is too old.
SEM X (plus), Phasor and Ringmod in eurorack format still vaporware

smile

A.C.

Re: Behringer accused of being copycat, threatens legal action [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2933746
06/20/18 03:34 AM
06/20/18 03:34 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,183
CLASSIFIED
DulceLabs.com Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
DulceLabs.com  Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,183
CLASSIFIED
Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
I'm tired of all this copycat nonsense. When is someone going to accuse someone of being a Copy Dawg?


Why bring animals in at all? Why can't they just say "copy"? laugh

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