View Full Version : A Reproduction of the Gibson F5?????

Dec-12-2008, 2:22pm
The title says simply "Gibson F5 Mandolin" but in the description the seller says it is a reproduction of the Gibson F5 mandolin. Is this legal? As in others that popped up last month this one has the Gibson logo, the Gibson label saying it was made in Bozeman, MT and even has a mock Fern pattern to go with it. Is this like sorta being honest from the seller? Does the use of the word "reproduction" keep Gibson from suing or stopping this sale?
http://cgi.ebay.com/GIBSON-F5-MANDOLIN_W0QQitemZ270316793458QQihZ017QQcategoryZ1 0179QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Dec-12-2008, 2:32pm
I think I seen an A model fake gibson/copy like this the other day on ebay. It had the exact same tailpiece and screened on "The Gibson" just like that one has. Crazy! Ibet it's hard for Gibson to keep track of all the fakes out there.

Dec-12-2008, 2:35pm
Looks like a really POOR reproduction of the Gibson F5? Certainly not made in Bozeman, MT; maybe Bozeman, Taiwan? I have also seen several supposed Gibson A5's on Ebay that look kinda bad; likely the same vintage? :mandosmiley:

Mike Bromley
Dec-12-2008, 3:08pm
GAWD that's a cheesy piece of work. The nerve!

Dec-12-2008, 4:02pm
Definitely a Pac-rim mandolin. I could certainly see Gibson going after whomever is bringing these into the country.

Dec-12-2008, 4:41pm
This is simply a POS Pacrim mandolin that somebody has added the Gibson logo and label to. It happens weekly on eBay. I seriously doubt they are coming into the country with the labels on them. These were coming out of Texas for a while.

Dec-13-2008, 12:41am
I reported this to ebay and Gibson Co. as a counterfit item. Later on tonight the item was closed and relisted by seller as an "imitation" Gibson F5. Just won't give up. I'm not so sure that wording is any better. Isnt' a reproduction an imitation of something original? Maybe I need to know what his meaning of the word "is" is.

Dec-13-2008, 8:46am
I just reported it again.

Bernie Daniel
Dec-13-2008, 9:43am

Here is a bit of a twist on this theme.

Suppose you had one of the 1970's era "real" Gibson F-5 copies -- there were several now famous luthiers -- who copied F-5 done the last detail.

How would you list that on eBay (or anywhere) for sale? Could you list it?

(I'm not trying to making a justification for the previous example in the OP).

Dec-13-2008, 4:33pm
I just reported it again too. Maybe another close down will send the seller a message that he ain't got a Gibson F5 nothing. No doubt the seller does not know what to call it since he can only go by what is on the mandolin. And with a Gibson label with serial number it's even more convincing that Gibson had a hand in it even as an import. After the import Epiphones have a Gibson truss rod cover. Don't forget the famous Gibson import F Norvant or something like that. Just like those fake Rollex watchs all come from the same source , these fake Gibsons in several models with Gibson logo and Gibson labels is coming from the same source. As they get passed around from seller to seller they start to spread out to people who really believe they just bought a real Gibson for $400. And that's sad. And that's why Gibson should find this source and shut it down.
Usually you list those old 70's Gibson copies as Gibson copies in the heading.
Or get creative with "Old F5 Copy Mandolin with Gibson Strings". This way it shows up in a "Gibson mandolin" search. If you don't know the maker you just say that maker unknown but quality very good.

Dec-13-2008, 5:00pm
Didn't Elderly Instruments get sued a few years ago for calling a banjo a "Gibson copy"? Gibson doesn't like it if you use their name in any way for an instrument they didn't make.

Not that there's much point in suing eBay and a quasi-anonymous seller; if there were a lawsuit generated by every eBay misrepresentation, we'd need a whole lot more courts and lawyers.

Bill Snyder
Dec-14-2008, 5:00pm
It seems to me the seller has been up front all along that this is not a Gibson, but a copy, reproduction, imitation or whatever. If he listed it as is but did not mention Gibson at all in the add it would cause confusion for some people because the photos show The Gibson on the headstock.
Short of painting over the peghead and removing the label I am not sure what else he is supposed to do if he wants to sell it. Of course I can see some saying that is exactly what should be done, and maybe it is.

Dec-14-2008, 6:56pm
It seems to me the seller has been up front all along that this is not a Gibson, but a copy, reproduction, imitation or whatever.

I'm sorry, Bill, but the heading for the eBay listing was "Gibson F5 Mandolin" which it most certainly isn't. The description was also unclear as to whether the instrument was made in Bozeman MT, or was merely a copy of an instrument made in Bozeman MT.

Besides which, if you have an item that's clearly a counterfeit (or "knock-off," the somewhat more acceptable euphemism for "counterfeit"), you had better be pretty explicit in your listing as to its pedigree. In fact, I would say you'd be better off not selling it on an auction site at all, where many people can determine that you're misrepresenting your merchandise, and decide to complain to the site management about you.

Dec-14-2008, 7:55pm
It's gone again.
"What is the guy supposed to do if he wants to sell it?" Well, most likely not sell it in a public medium like eBay, since it is illegal to own it or sell it in the first place. That's what copyrights are supposed to prevent. You cannot copy the logo and apply it to anything legally and of course you can't sell it. Gibson could have them ordered to send them that mandolin for destruction or face legal consequences. It may seem trivial, but since Gibson pays money for the protection and makes their living making instruments with the logo applied to it, I can see where they would get ornery about such things.

Bill Snyder
Dec-14-2008, 9:14pm
Read my entire post people.

Dec-14-2008, 10:10pm
Read my entire post people.

Read it, which is why I responded. You said "the seller has been up front all along." But the listing was headed "Gibson F5 Mandolin," not "Gibson Copy" or "Fake Gibson" or "Unknown Asian Mandolin With 'Gibson' Label."

True, those listings would make it harder to sell, but I can't see how listing this mandolin as a Gibson F5 is being "up front" at all.

There are a lot of "Gibson copies" out there, some made (in the past, mostly) by excellent, reputable luthiers. I started a thread, which became heated and fairly nasty, asking how many builders would still put a "Gibson" logo on one of their instruments, if asked to build an F-5 or F-4 copy. I myself have a GB-3 Mastertone guitar-banjo that I've had Bernie Lehmann make a 5-string neck for, and he inlaid "Gibson" and "Mastertone" into the headstock and fingerboard. But the "pot" and resonator are authentic Gibson, and I don't think this transgresses the rules seriously. True, I could have asked Gibson to build the neck, but instead I went to a local craftsman. I have a Martin 00-42 conversion, that started life as a 1940 00-28G classical, and had a new top and neck put on it. All that's left of Martin's work are the back and sides, but the luthier who converted it put a "Martin" decal on the headstock, and copied Martin's inlays and ornamentation.

So there is a "gray area," where parts of Gibson and Martin instruments are kept, other parts are replaced, and the product is still called a "Gibson" or "Martin" instrument. Slapping a "Gibson" decal and label on an Asian mandolin, and listing it as an F-5, is not in that gray area; it's right in the black, IMHO.

Bill Snyder
Dec-15-2008, 11:05am
Allen, you are right. The listing should not have had Gibson in it or should have in some way indicated that it was a copy (a poor one at that).
Like I said in a previous post, perhaps he should in some way cover up or remove The Gibson from the headstock and remove the label.

Tom C
Dec-15-2008, 12:53pm
I say ignore it. It's Gibson's problem and do not care enough to do anything about it. If the buyer does not do their research, it's their fault.

Dec-15-2008, 3:01pm
The Gibson script logo is a Registered Trademark. Amongst other activities, attempting to sell a non-Gibson mandolin with the Gibson script logo on it is an infringement on that Trademark. It is up to Gibson to defend their Trademark and they have a lot of people who do that. As far as I know Gibson does not reveal their methods to the public.

If you currently own a non-Gibson mandolin with the Gibson script logo on it you are probably not going to be bothered by any of Gibson's lawyers. Registered Trademarks protect "use in commerce" and owning is not commerce. Selling is commerce.

If you decide to sell your fake Gibson mandolin eBay would not be the place to do so.

Dec-16-2008, 10:41am
IMO...who cares ?

Dec-16-2008, 11:10am
I care. I hate to see some begining mandolin player thinking he just got a sweet deal on a real A5/F5 Gibson only to find out the first time he takes it out in public it's a fake. Not to mention it probably plays like c#ap. If you can do all you can do to prevent such scams I think it's worth it just for us lonely little mandolin pickers if nothing else. The mandolin community is a small world we survive in and we need to help each other in matters like this.
True that Gibson,INC. should be the ones most concerned and should take their corporate efforts to squash these scammers. But when the fakes are turning out more product then the real deal how do you stop it.

Dec-16-2008, 11:23am
OK...I can see helping to protect an uninformed buyer....good point. Folks need to do their research, for sure.

Dec-16-2008, 11:27pm
I vote for removing the silkscreen off the peghead and pealing the label. :popcorn:

and then a good old fashion tar & feathering

Jun-01-2011, 4:31pm
They used to have listing of fake les pauls on ebay all the time from China. They had Gibson logo, serial number and mad in USA stamp. They would sell for 99 cents with 300 dollar shipping. Some of them were remarkably good copies that would fool many people including 2 guitar repairmen I know. They finally ran them off ebay but you can find them at other places on the web.