I figured, with the all the heat my comments generated in Bigfan’s recent NGD, that I’d start a separate discussion about copying existing designs here. I'm surprised how many people haven't thought about what it is cool to copy, and what it isn't, given that our hobbies/jobs in music literally requires us to create new ideas. In the other thread, Bigfan bought one of the Chinese Blackmachine clones. I said I thought it was uncool, because that is stealing Doug's design (presuming Doug plans on making these again). Others said then I should not buy any guitars, because all guitars are copies of the original guitar designed way back when. And that I have to buy a Mercedes, because Benz invented the engine. And that I support pharmaceutical firms jacking up their cancer drug prices. So, let's debate this. For me, I think it's totally fine to copy other people's ideas, provided it's not in whole. In other words, I am well aware that the Blackmachine headstock is a derivation of the Parker headstock. Artists borrow and tweak things to come up with new designs. I think it's important to encourage that, and I think it would be weird to allow Parker to block all variations of inline headstocks with minimalist designs. I also think it would be ok to copy certain features of other guitars. Like, Kiesel has bevels on loads of guitars now. And Tosin's new shape has a bevel. I have zero problem with that. I also like the way IP is handled in the US, for the most part, in that patents have an initial number of years where they are in force, and after that they expire. And the Public Domain laws are good to help older things be allowed to be copied later (because of the copyright or patent, etc., expiring). This might have provided an easy solution to the Blackmachine dilemma. And, if I hear a line in a song I like, and I want to use that as my band name (like Between the Buried and Me), or I hear part of a bass line I want to use, I also have no issue with that. But, when someone copies everything, so it appears to be the same as the original, then I start getting a antsy. That seems less about art, and more about opportunism. To me, that would be the equivalent of another band releasing a song that is exactly the same as your song, just recorded by someone else. (And, in fact, that does happen. You can find loads of those online.) I also think it would be wrong for Ford to release a car that looks exactly like a ferrari, but had no branding on it, and a lesser engine. I don't expect we can get to the bottom of this, actually, since not even the US Patent Office has an idea of how to walk the line between allowing completely piracy, and being held hostage to patent trolls. What do you guys think? Whenever I see a thread where someone writes, "I want guitar X, but can't afford it, so I got a copy," I usually chime in and say I disagree with supporting those who create fakes. But then everyone else piles on. But I always FEEL like we'd all be on the side I'm taking, because I have to think that if any one of us recorded an album, and then found out that another band recorded the exact same songs, and released it under a different name for cheaper, that we'd be steaming mad. But maybe not? Weigh in, folks. I want to see if I'm just getting old or what.