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Legality of having models of famous gear

Architekt

New Member
Hi guys

Just got an Axe FX II XL+ (YAY!)

Apologies if this has been posted before. I was wondering how it is that Fractal is able to sell a product that incorporates most amp and cab and mic gear that you could ever want to use without running into copyright issues? Is there a licensing arrangement? After using the Axe FX, I can't imagine ever buying the actual gear when I can dial in a tone that recreates it so accurately! Surely Marshall and Mesa etc are suffering a bit because of it...
 

BrainalLeakage

Experienced
I'm not going to go into the specifics, because we just had this same LOOOONG discussion in the lounge, but basically, it doesn't exact work that way.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

luke

Fractal Fanatic
You cannot copyright a bunch of other people's parts assembled together, which is exactly what an amplifier is. You could copyright a part if you are the inventor of it, thereby making your amp unique however.
 

Zwiebelchen

Fractal Fanatic
You cannot copyright a bunch of other people's parts assembled together, which is exactly what an amplifier is.
You can. It's called a patent.

There are several rules on what exactly can be patented and what can not.
For example, the patented technology must be new (as in: there must be an engineering or scientific innovation in it), must solve an existing problem and must have design aspects that are not considered common knowledge among engineers.

So, for example, you can not patent a random combination of standardized electric parts, as it does not serve a purpose and does not solve a problem. Also, it would not exceed common knowledge of eletrical engineers.

This also makes amplifier concepts hard to patent; as there's hardly any innovation involved in it.

However, amplifiers fall under the trademark law. You can not use their names or logos on a replica of said amp.


You can also patent virtual algorithms.


Btw, "rebuilding" the internal circuitry of an amp virtually is not covered by patents at all, as this falls under "reverse engineering".
 
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groovenut

Power User
Almost every guitar/bass amplifier built today is an evolution on an original but public domain design. Same goes for analog pedals. DSP is a little different because the code written is protected as intellectual property.
 

PRSfreak4

Power User
After using the Axe FX, I can't imagine ever buying the actual gear when I can dial in a tone that recreates it so accurately! Surely Marshall and Mesa etc are suffering a bit because of it...

I wouldn't necessarily agree that the manufacturers are suffering from the ingenious amount of work Cliff and FAS have accomplished with their product(s). One thing to keep in mind is that new amps are created all the time that have "THAT" tone that artists and musicians are looking for with plenty of artists/musicians who prefer real amps/cabs. The R&D for amplifiers and cabs will never end IMHO, but, the companies who standardized or pioneered a tone will have to just keep their momentum at making their specific amps unique and desirable to musicians.

I was trying to think of an analogy to relate and the best I could come up with is Sony's PS3 and PS4. They own the rights to BluRay and incorporated it in their gaming systems. There are single units that utilize BluRay technology and pay licensing for Sony's technology but it is not mutually exclusive to the device itself. The technology that Cliff & FAS have developed emulates closely the tones us as musicians are seeking in a creative and unique manner.

That word emulate is paramount to the discussion because you don't click a magical Marshall/Mesa Stack button and get a JCM800 with a half stack delivered to your house. You emulate and alter the tone of the original amps/cabs when you create a signal chain. The grid makes this product unique and removes the "gaming console" from the "BluRay player". I hope I am not perceived as a lunatic for that ;) .
 

groovenut

Power User
I believe the way Cliff chose to go about emulating those sounds is precisely what makes his products unique and protectable. It's one thing to emulate the amp as a single unit or the sound of the amp, but the Axefx emulated the components themselves and therefor is a unique approach with ultimately more precision and versatility.
 
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PRSfreak4

Power User
Actually, I believe the way Cliff chose to go about emulating those sounds is precisely what makes his products unique and protectable. It's one thing to emulate the amp as a single unit or the sound of the amp, but the Axefx emulated the components themselves and therefor is a unique approach with ultimately more precision and versatility.

Definitely agree on all points. My largest idea is that the FAS units are not mutually exclusively tied to any specific amps/cabs inferring copyright/patent infringement. I would be curious to see what FAS' approach to this conversation would be.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
Obviously the names are patented so we don't have a "Marshall JCM800" in the Axe-Fx but we have something that's "based on it" and called "Brit 800". If amp developers would sue FAS then they would be kind of saying that FAS is just as good as their tube amps right?
 

groovenut

Power User
Actually the names are trademarked not patented. Small but significant difference. Trademarks are to avoid piggybacking of brands. Patents protect invention.

I don't think that amp companies would be inferring quality by bringing a lawsuit. Any suit would be solely about the perception of lost revenue.
 

YetAnotherOne

Inspired
Apologies if this has been posted before. I was wondering how it is that Fractal is able to sell a product that incorporates most amp and cab and mic gear that you could ever want to use without running into copyright issues? Is there a licensing arrangement? After using the Axe FX, I can't imagine ever buying the actual gear when I can dial in a tone that recreates it so accurately! ... Surely Marshall and Mesa etc are suffering a bit because of it...

What'll really bake your noodle isn't so much the fact that intellectual property law would likely be of little utility to Mesa or Marshall in going after Fractal *but* the fact that if Mesa or Marshall were to enter the modelling game by reverse-engineering an Axe FX then Fractal would likely have a fairly significant number of actions against each of them. Without much embellishing that would make a glorious law school final exam question. :mrgreen
 

Promit

Inspired
What'll really bake your noodle isn't so much the fact that intellectual property law would likely be of little utility to Mesa or Marshall in going after Fractal *but* the fact that if Mesa or Marshall were to enter the modelling game by reverse-engineering an Axe FX then Fractal would likely have a fairly significant number of actions against each of them. Without much embellishing that would make a glorious law school final exam question. :mrgreen
Nah, easier to just pay someone else who's already doing it: Universal Audio and Softube Announce Marshall “Plexiâ€￾ Super Lead 1959 Guitar Amp Plug-In - Press Room - Universal Audio
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
Like this...

Marshall/Fender: You! You can't lie! So tell me puppet... where did these amp names come from?

Cliff: Uh. Hmm, well, uh, I don't know where they didn't come from
Marshall/Fender: You're telling me you don't know they came from other amps?
Cliff: It wouldn't be inaccurate to assume that I couldn't exactly not say that it is or isn't almost partially incorrect.
Marshall/Fender: So you do know these are our amps!
Cliff: On the contrary. I'm possibly more or less not definitely rejecting the idea that in no way with any amount of uncertainty that I undeniably...
Marshall/Fender: Stop it!
Cliff ...do or do not know what they would probably be, if that indeed wasn't what they aren't. Even if they weren't from where I knew they were. That'd mean I'd really have to know what they weren't.

See?
:lol
 

Sidivan

Fractal Fanatic
The cow says moo.

The Marshall goes crunch.

The axe fx goes moo and crunch.

You can't patent or trademark a moo or a crunch, but you can copy write a series of moos or crunches.
 

Zwiebelchen

Fractal Fanatic
The cow says moo.

The Marshall goes crunch.

The axe fx goes moo and crunch.

You can't patent or trademark a moo or a crunch, but you can copy write a series of moos or crunches.
Great, now I want to write a parody to Ylvis "What the fox say" with amplifier terms.

Vox goes "Twang"
Fender "Munch"
Rec-to "Fizz"
And Plexi "Crunch"

Wah goes "squeel"
Power "hum"
And the E-M-I goes "Bzzz"
Fret makes "buzz"
Pick goes "click"
And the talkbox "Eooohooheeeh"

But there's one thing
That no one knows
What does the tube do?

"Sizzle-sizzle-sizzle-bizz!
Sizzle-sizzle-sizzle-bizz!
Sizzle-sizzle-sizzle-bizz!"
What the tubes do?
"Twang-rang-rang-rang-rang-rangy-wang!
Twang-rang-rang-rang-rang-rangy-wang!
Twang-rang-rang-rang-rang-rangy-wang!"
What the tubes do?
"Flub-flub-flub-flub-flubby-flub!
Flub-flub-flub-flub-flubby-flub!
Flub-flub-flub-flub-flubby-flub!"
What the tubes do?
"Djent-djent-djent-djent-djenty-djent!
Djent-djent-djent-djent-djenty-djent!
Djent-djent-djent-djent-djenty-djent!"
What the tubes do?

Chicken-heads
Four-By-Twelve
Master-Vol
and Treble valve?

And if you turn
it Up to ten
Suddenly you have dem tonez!
Your sound is brown,
So delicate,
Harmonics in crystal lattice.
But if you have
Another GAS
Will you purchase just one
Mo-o-o-o-ore?
Mo-o-o-o-ore?
Mo-o-o-o-ore?
How much will you pay for
A-a-a-a-amps?
A-a-a-a-amps?
A-a-a-a-amps?
What does the tube do?
 
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Rotti

Fractal Fanatic
Great, now I want to write a parody to Ylvis "What the fox say" with amplifier terms.

Vox goes "Twang"
Fender "Munch"
Rec-to "Fizz"
And Plexi "Crunch"

Wah goes "squeel"
Power "hum"
And the E-M-I goes "Bzzz"
Fret makes "buzz"
Pick goes "click"
And the talkbox "Eooohooheeeh"

But there's one thing
That no one knows
What does the tube do?

"Sizzle-sizzle-sizzle-bizz!
Sizzle-sizzle-sizzle-bizz!
Sizzle-sizzle-sizzle-bizz!"
What the tubes do?
"Twang-rang-rang-rang-rang-rangy-wang!
Twang-rang-rang-rang-rang-rangy-wang!
Twang-rang-rang-rang-rang-rangy-wang!"
What the tubes do?
"Flub-flub-flub-flub-flubby-flub!
Flub-flub-flub-flub-flubby-flub!
Flub-flub-flub-flub-flubby-flub!"
What the tubes do?
"Djent-djent-djent-djent-djenty-djent!
Djent-djent-djent-djent-djenty-djent!
Djent-djent-djent-djent-djenty-djent!"
What the tubes do?

Chicken-heads
Four-By-Twelve
Master-Vol
and Treble valve?

And if you turn
it Up to ten
Suddenly you have dem tonez!
Your sound is brown,
So delicate,
Harmonics in crystal lattice.
But if you have
Another GAS
Will you purchase just one
Mo-o-o-o-ore?
Mo-o-o-o-ore?
Mo-o-o-o-ore?
How much will you pay for
A-a-a-a-amps?
A-a-a-a-amps?
A-a-a-a-amps?
What does the tube do?
...as performed by Barny the Purple Dinosaur.
 
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