International Harp Fraud Update
Let me begin by thanking all those of you who have been alerting us about incidents they have encountered. It is incredibly kind of you to take your time to fill us in.
I want to emphasize something I have touched on previously, but perhaps not in enough depth. These copies are not just theft, they are theft from my family. We are a very small company comprised of one family and a few friends. We are not a massive corporate monolith. William spent over a year (and many prototypes) in the initial design of the Harpsicle® Harp and then sixteen years since in steady improvement. People who steal William’s design may or may not have any real skill in lutherie, but what they don’t have is the creativity to come up with their own unique design. No one who is good enough to create their own harp wants to copy the design of a competitor, and no one who copies understands the nuance of the design well enough to do it as well as the original.
This isn’t a small thing. It isn’t casual. To us it is a truly heartbreaking violation. We ask you personally, from our hearts, to help us to put an end to this theft in the harp community by refusing to purchase copies and by asking your harp friends to do the same. This is not the kind of thing a small company or a family can combat in international courts. Instead, it is something we can act on by the choices we make as a community. Together.
Toward that end, here are some of the things we have learned about in the past two weeks.
Remenyi House of Music in Toronto, Canada
The purple harp which we included in our original alert, seen here, was built in Pakistan several years ago by a lutherie which has said they no longer are making these copies. The harp was sold by a music store, Remenyi House of Music, to the customer who contacted us. She tells us she purchased it in November of 2017 and it immediately started breaking strings. More than eight have broken since November which, for a monofilament-strung harp, is pretty odd. More ominously, a pin just fell out of the arch! She tells us she asked Remenyi to take the harp back and to refund her purchase. She says she even asked them to take the harp and refund half the purchase price. They again declined It appears that Remenyi refuses to stand behind the product it willingly sold. You can draw from that what you will.
The other fraud to which we previously alerted you has continued to spread and we heard from quite a number of you who had been contacted by the entity calling itself “Peter Anthony.” This fraud is an internet-based scam and it is still spreading. The best way to combat it is to alert your friends. Please share accordingly.
RB Guitars and Harp
There is a small lutherie which is defending its obvious copies of our harps by claiming to have made small changes and using three arguments which are entirely specious.
The first is that he claims to have altered the design. Folks, if you write a song, publish it on CD’s, iTunes, etcetera and someone takes it, changes a couple of notes, and then calls it their song – that is theft of intellectual property. Courts worldwide have ruled accordingly. RB Guitars and Harp has done the lutherie equivalent of this.
His second argument is drawn from the guitar world, the “everyone builds Fender look-alike guitars” line. That’s right. They do. And it is theft. For some reason, theft of intellectual property has been allowed to thrive in the guitar world. The harp community does not have to make the same decisions. Each of us makes individual purchase decisions which are reflective of our personal integrity and our intention for our community. I doubt the “everybody’s doing it” argument holds much water with you and we should all make that clear to RB Guitars and Harp.
Finally, and this one made me laugh out loud, he claims that all harps are copies of King David’s harp. Well, first of all, none of us really know what that harp looked like so copying it would be a trick. Secondly, if all harps are essentially the same, then Harpsicle® Harps would not have created such a ripple when they came on the scene. It is disingenuous to say otherwise and he knows it but, you know, that’s how thieves operate isn’t it?
And, finally, from South Korea we have seen this harp. We don’t yet know where it came from but it is not ours. If you know anything about it we would appreciate hearing from you.
Again, to all those who have responded with your kind words of support, we thank you. We love bring part of the harp community precisely because it is filled with so much good will.
From all of us to all of you – thank you!!!