It is currently Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:40 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 84 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Author Message
 
 Post subject: Help! Ethical Dilemma!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:12 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
Posts: 2292
Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
As you may know, I offer a package of information - drawings, charts, photos - that enable a suitably skilled person to make a flute based on the popular Pratten's Perfected - http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Plans.htm. It is intended to be the most comprehensive such package available, the next best thing to being there. Most of the purchasers are probably amateur flutemakers, but some are intending and maybe already making copies for sale.

You will also be aware that at least one Pakistani-based company offers Irish flutes of very low quality, marketed via regular music outlets and more recently Ebay. I have been asked by someone in Pakistan that I suspect is associated with this manufacturer to purchase a copy of these plans. I have not yet responded to this emailed request but need to do so.

On the bright side, I can see that this might lead to a substantial improvement to the quality of flutes offered by this company. Certainly, the model of flute offered is one of their problems. On the less bright side, I can imagine that, if the quality of materials and construction continues to be as bad as the current offering, even more innocent beginners will be lured into buying unworkable flutes, possibly with the additional lure of the Pratten name. Further, the large output of this operation, powered by cheap and clearly unskilled labour, might increase competition for more serious makers elsewhere, forcing down prices and reducing their viability. These are matters that should concern a musical community.

I'm looking for your advice on what the ethical thing to do is here. Should I sell, or should I refrain from selling? Please be aware that the person requesting the plans may well be monitoring this site, and it is not my intention to cause them pain, so please keep responses moderate.

Terry


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 214
Location: four lakes in the midwest
Sell to all or sell to none.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:35 am
Posts: 1755
shoner wrote:
Sell to all or sell to none.


Second that. Pakistani-made flutes won't become better if you don't sell the plans, but they might if you do. And I don't think that the availability of a set of well-made plans will cause them to overflow the world market, to be honest. ;)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:37 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 3731
Location: Lawrence, KS
I agree with Shoner as well. Plus, maybe they will improve what they're making.

Eric


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:37 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2003 4:53 pm
Posts: 577
Location: Nuremberg, Germany
As the information is theoretically out in the world already (as everybody could go and take measurements from old flutes) I don't see a problem with giving them the plans.

You might want to come to some agreement with them in writing that they may not use your name in advertising just because they have the plans from you.

_________________
Shut up and play.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:29 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:07 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Gainesville, FL
skh wrote:
You might want to come to some agreement with them in writing that they may not use your name in advertising just because they have the plans from you.


I second this motion.

_________________
www.jigtoamilestone.com


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:35 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16992
Sell it to Pakistan. It may improve their flutes.
Real potential for good to folks who need it.
It's a good idea to gamble on the third world.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:42 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:47 am
Posts: 6937
Location: N.E. Wales, G.B.
Ouch! That is a bit of a dilemma, isn't it?

Ultimately, however, if the people involved are serious about improving their model (if not their production standards) and are prepared to do a bit of leg-work, they can assuredly get hold of a decent flute to copy or full technical drawings and specifications by other means. You offer a short-cut for them, Terry, is all. Whilst I know you intend it for amateur or craft use, not commercial production, you can't ever be sure that someone buying the specs from you won't go into serious competition with you, or indeed zonk off to India or China and go into exploitative, low quality production. In the end, you sell the specs, presumably for some kind of return on your effort and expertise in acquiring them. You may as well take that profit in this case. After all, in the end you can't stop them, and if they flood the market with slightly better products than the present ones, they still won't make that much headway, and at least they'll be better than the current ones! The ones people like "Sparkomusik" sell could already have the "Pratten" label attached if they wanted - and knew enough about their stock-in-trade!

I find it interesting that such folk are even starting to bother to research the field enough to have hit upon what you offer! Perhaps it is a sign of how the commercial cultures in such countries are in fact becoming more savvy? That too may be an inevitable process. If they got it right, I'd welcome it - I doubt they would ever seriously rival the established top-end makers, but they could seriously challenge the low to lower mid range products (e.g. Dixon, Seery, M&E etc.). If the quality and performance were right, I'd have no qualms about that - it would be unfortunate for those in the current market who specialise in that range - they would have to upgrade their product, or drop out - but just commercial reality.

I actually had a short correspondence with the guy from Empire Brass in India after he posted on the Sticky about "Pakistani" flutes - quite interesting, but ultimately a bit of a "horse to water" situation!
Perhaps I should post copies here? I might get hung, drawn and quartered for treason though!

Terry, if you go the right way about it, you could even try to set yourself up as a consultant to them - insist on decent quality control and get an ongoing income for your retirement??????

My 2 pennorth.....
Cheers!
Jem.

_________________
I respect people's privilege to hold their beliefs, whatever those may be (within reason), but respect the beliefs themselves? You gotta be kidding!

My YouTube channel
My FB photo albums
Low Bb flute: 2 reels (audio)
Flute & Music Resources - helpsheet downloads


Last edited by jemtheflute on Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:54 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2004 5:46 am
Posts: 1768
Location: Boston
I'm not sure I agree. My first instincts are that info should be available to everyone.

That said, I think Terry is interested in flute quality. Selling plans to home flute makers who are trying build better flutes than they could with the help is a commendable thing to do. It reasonable to expect buyers to use the plans to try to produce quality flutes.

Also Terry isn't under any moral obligation to sell to potential competitors, from Pakistan or anywhere else.

While it would be completely unenforceable, you might ask for some assurance that the plans are "for personal use only".

This is a completely un-regulated market. If your instincts tell you that sale to a particular buyer will result in more, slightly less bad flutes in the marketplace, then don't do it. You really don't want to see poor-playing Terry McGee knock-offs popping up on e-bay.

It's not a moral issue. The plans are you intellectual property and you can dispense them as you see fit. Of course once you've sold one set of plans, or one flute for that matter, you have very little control over it if someone wants to copy it.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:21 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 01, 2003 2:49 pm
Posts: 933
Location: Hampstead, NH
Hi Terry.....been there done that........a poor maker will make poor flutes, plans or no plans.........

The happy story here on this end is that my "customer" never could get the quality up and I now (and for some time) have done all his work in addition to what I would have been doing on my own.....(subsidized my nice big building)

see: www.sputtercoat.com

_________________
603/329-7322
"I fail to see why doing the same thing over and over and getting the
same results every time is insanity: I've almost proved it isn't;
only a few more tests now and I'm sure results will differ this time ... "


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:49 pm
Posts: 3829
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
If I had detailed plans for a product that I was also making myself, I would not sell them to someone who I knew in advance was intending to use those plans for commercial production of the product. I don't think that this is unjust; it just seems prudent, to me.

Of course, the interested person in question could get the plans through a third party. Once it is released, you cannot control the dissemination of information in the age of the world-wide internet. I would make the interested parties work for it, however.

_________________
http://ie.youtube.com/user/dougsflutes
http://tippleflutes.com


Last edited by Doug_Tipple on Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:00 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:31 pm
Posts: 1411
I think as long as they do not sell their flutes as Terry McGee flutes there's nothing wrong with selling them the plans. They cannot ruin the Pratten name since it's more of a category now, but they could ruin your name.

_________________
~ Diane
Flutes: Tipple D and E flutes and a Casey Burns Boxwood Rudall D flute
Whistles: Jerry Freeman Tweaked D Blackbird


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:11 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 9029
Location: forever in the old hills of Arkansas
Make sure you read their fine print. Make sure you can still legally sell copies of the plans to others after you sell a copy to them.

--James

_________________
http://www.flutesite.com

-------
"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending" --Carl Bard


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16992
Projects in the third world have to start somewhere,
they are, of necessity, out to make money. Third
world countries have lifted themselves by their
own bootstraps by making copies of sellable
items here. The orginals suck, quality is poor,
then they improve...

Helping that process along is a good thing to do.
There may be a down side but helping to lift
people out of poverty is a big plus.

The flutes made to these specs will be an improvement.
So consumers will get a better flute. The producer
interested in buying these plans is wanting to make a better (hence
a more sellable) flute.

Whatever the risks, the potential benefits far outweigh.
This is a contribution to a better world. You're a lucky
guy, Terry. Not everybody gets these opportunities.

Definitely a chance worth taking.


Last edited by jim stone on Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:45 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 639
Location: off key, mostly
Sell the plans to them for a "very high price". You can ask anything you want because your plans are for amateur and hobby use as they stand.

Then do what Colonel Sanders did with KFC. Make them buy a franchise and you keep all the rights to quality control, etc. If they are making trashy flutes under your plans, you can go in and do what the Colonel used to do - Come in, throw out all the unapproved equipment, all the stock, and lock them up until they complied. It won't be as easy across continents, but if you are interested in keeping your good name from being sullied by its association with these firewood makers, you will have to insist on some kind of controls. I'd sell the plans starting at seven figures. :twisted:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 84 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.105s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)