11.03.13

Justifiable theft of intellectual property — guitars

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Made in China at 5:22 pm by George Smith

Today, a short return to a common subject here, the bifurcation of “American” goods, following the rise of inequality, a study in contrast.

The video is of major US guitar and western guitar brands being made in China. You can ascertain the different brands by headstocks. But it’s an omnibus factory that does work for virtually all the majors.

On the other end of the stick, you have guitars made domestically in the Fender “custom shop,” in this video (do view part of it to get the flavor of worship and the custom manufacture of “worn” high-end instruments), for the haves/lawyers/bankers and upper middle class shoe-shiners not yet totally obsoleted by economic decline and digitization.

Here, the Culture of Lickspittle is in the fawning over he who already has everything, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

American companies that have outsourced a great deal of manufacturing regularly complain about Chinese theft of their intellectual property. In fact, as readers know this was one of NSA director’s Keith Alexander’s big claims/hobby horses before the Snowden affair shut him up on the matter.

Does corporate America deserve concern and sympathy, even action, over this? Not anymore, I’d argue.

There is now a good business in the sale of Chinese counterfeits, guitars sold as cheaply as the licensed copies of the big names made in China, but with “Made in USA” and copies of the US trademarks on them. With Gibsons, they’ve come to be called “Chibsons” and there are quite a few videos on YouTube by WhiteManistan dudes who’ve bought them. Unsurprisingly, Chibsons are made by Chinese salesmen gone off the range who’ve availed themselves of the training and parts available from Gibson’s licensed manufacturing of Epiphones in China.

They are not of the same quality at all as the domestic-made high-end models. But it doesn’t really matter because people who buy them know what they’re getting and seek them out, primarily because they are cheap copies, with infringed trademarks that look like the high end goods.

Fundamentally, you should not care if corporate America loses its intellectual property to China. It made that deal along with one to sell out American labor for the sake of shareholders long ago. What’s the morality or even reason to support intellectual property for domestic goods made for the upper tiers because that’s where the purchasing power is?

I say there’s a fairness in encouraging a global environment in which American corporates are increasingly ripped off. Sadly, it’s far from crisis level yet. And the idea that NSA, or the intelligence and defense structure be empowered to defend them is appalling, the equivalent of protecting the gold of kings in a feudal society.

(First published, in shorter form, on Facebook.)

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