News just in via CDM is that an online Chinese music technology magazine called Midifan is being sued by Behringer for “using insulting words such as “copycat”, “shameless”” to refer to Behringer products. Midifan is a Chinese language website and we are relying upon the translation offered by CDM via their contact with site founder Nan Tang.
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.
Criminal libel in China can carry up to a three-year prison sentence.
Much of this revolves around the recent reveals of Behringer interpretations of vintage synthesizers at Superbooth such as the Roland TR-808, Sequential ProOne, Roland SH-101 and ARP Odyssey. Although Midifan has been similarly critical of much of Behringer’s synthesizer activity.
This all raises a few questions. The first being how does “copycat” differ from “clone”? I was under the impression that Uli Behringer himself had referred to their desire to re-create vintage synthesizers in similar terms. Perhaps it’s all about intent and certainly the word “shameless” has far more negative connotations. The second question is the wisdom behind taking legal action against a news website that criticises your product. And what that could mean for yours truly.
CDM suggest that Behringer may be giving Midifan special attention because they reported on striking workers at a Behringer owned manufacturing facility.
Midifan have now replaced the inflammatory words with milder, more generic terms such as “Tribute” and “clone” in an effort to meet with the lawyers’ demands.
My role on Gearnews is to offer opinion on music technology products, marketing and associated going ons, and part of that does involve criticism and maybe even some banter. It would be a shame if debate within an industry we love is squashed or tempered by the threat of legal action. Although we should always guard against criticism turning into insulting statements.
In the meantime, I love how Behringer is re-imagining vintage technology in unique and highly original ways.