Announcement Let's Talk About Clones

FoskcoRS5

Designated LMG
Jan 31, 2017
355
607
Lol why develop a case when you can just come to sff forum and steal one! Some slightly tweaked case produced in countries that don’t acknowledge trademarks and patents, and then use this forum as a marketplace.
There is pretty much a "replica" of every chassis on this forum on taobao already.

Time to grab the pitchforks and burn down taobao for selling those "counterfeits!"



Joking aside. Its more constructive to all when a complaint is lodged, and alternatives are provided along side.
 
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Necere

SFF Guru
NCASE
Feb 22, 2015
1,241
2,454
There is pretty much a "replica" of every chassis on this forum on taobao already.
I don't consider anything I've seen there to be a replica/clone. They might have the same basic layout as e.g. the A4, but lookswise they're completely different.
 
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Nanook

King of Cable Management
May 23, 2016
788
764
Do we stop discussions about Taobao / Aliexpress here (posts such as "what's going on at TaoBao", or "how to order from Taobao", etc? How do we deal with Build Logs when someone posts pictures of builds in an overseas knock-off? Do we discourage folks from discussing builds? Do we call out the copycat themselves only, or also the folks who purchased a copycat case?

I'm asking a lot of questions, because I don't know what the answer should be.
 
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Flyingpepper

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jan 8, 2018
106
190
Let's be clear, @Bangle, the level of warning that you received was in return for the continued goading and nagging at admins due to your initial ban. You seem to be happy to continue calling out site staff for everything you see as unfair. I'm not sure what your end goal is.

My 2c in this conversation:

All of the site staff here are doing this as a side project. We don't do this for a living, we don't have countless hours every week to arbitrate on copyright issues (we aren't trained on this either), we have day jobs and families. We aren't all versed in the various laws in various nations on various topics - it's just not possible. We are also human, and make mistakes. Our decision to not arbitrate on any of the copycat issues is based entirely on that - we just can't be fair and reasonable on every situation.

The current "target" of the conversation may be similar, yes, but it's not up to us to police this, it's up to you, the potential buyer. As always, buyer beware.

Also, keep in mind that SFFn in no way sells any of these products, or gets any profits from the sales of such. We aren't a retailer, auction site or similar.

Edit: To clarify my side project statement - personally, I have around 10 hours a week to spend on SFFn, outside of a physically demanding full time day job, and being the solo parent of two amazing kids. This 10 hours is split between admin work, writing content and forum interactions, moderation and posting. The more I focus on forum stuff, the less content gets written, and vice versa.
I completely understand, and would just like to offer the counterpoint. Many of the creators of this platform are also just designing as a side project. As an industrial designer myself, I can tell you that many of the cases here are definitely far from very profitable given the quality vs. price. I’d argue that most of the cases are passion projects.

No one expects the staff here to be lawyers. But frankly it would take just a few seconds to lock a thread. The staff here read almost every post, if not every post, right? Otherwise how else would the forum actually be moderated for other issues such as inappropriate comments, name calling, etc? There are only 340 threads in the custom case forum. Half of which haven’t seen a post in the past year. People have been calling out the Nouvolo Steck since the day it was posted in March. That’s plenty of time to do something.

Lol why develop a case when you can just come to sff forum and steal one! Some slightly tweaked case produced in countries that don’t acknowledge trademarks and patents, and then use this forum as a marketplace.
Maybe we’ll see a Square Pro with slightly different air ventilation pattern on the top, power button moved 1”, and two notches in the glass side panel for removal. ;)


Curious question at @Flyingpepper
(Edit: or anyone else of course)

Almost all the complaints here have focused on guys in the custom case thread. Moving the focus a little bit, what about discussion on clones that don’t have a “builders” presence here?
(In this example I’m not directly accusing this company, but think they are a fair example of my question)

Say someone brings up some questions about building in the kolink rocket ( https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.overclockers.co.uk/kolink-rocket-aluminium-mini-itx-case-titanium-grey-ca-035-kk.html?template=amp ).

Should we ignore them or shut down their thread because it is a clone? And if the answer is different compared to someone here, can you give your opinion on how to handle that situation.

I’m not familiar with them and don’t really have an opinion on it. My main concern is when a case originates from this forum, is obviously copied, and then also posted on this forum. It basically tells me that original design isn’t appreciated and that SFFn doesn’t care enough about their community.
 
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loader963

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
566
501
I completely understand, and would just like to offer the counterpoint. Many of the creators of this platform are also just designing as a side project. As an industrial designer myself, I can tell you that many of the cases here are definitely far from very profitable given the quality vs. price. I’d argue that most of the cases are passion projects.

No one expects the staff here to be lawyers. But frankly it would take just a few seconds to lock a thread. The staff here read almost every post, if not every post, right? Otherwise how else would the forum actually be moderated for other issues such as inappropriate comments, name calling, etc? There are only 340 threads in the custom case forum. Half of which haven’t seen a post in the past year. People have been calling out the Nouvolo Steck since the day it was posted in March. That’s plenty of time to do something.



Maybe we’ll see a Square Pro with slightly different air ventilation pattern on the top, power button moved 1”, and two notches in the glass side panel for removal. ;)





I’m not familiar with them and don’t really have an opinion on it. My main concern is when a case originates from this forum, is obviously copied, and then also posted on this forum. It basically tells me that original design isn’t appreciated and that SFFn doesn’t care enough about their community.
I was just using them as an example. I guess i should have used this actual case. My question still stands though, if that case had not originated here, should some consumer who has purchased it be allowed to post about it here, whether asking for help or just to discuss his opinion on it.
 

Bangle

Cable-Tie Ninja
Apr 12, 2018
147
112
Thank you for articulating a good post. So am I fair in my reasoning that if that guy wasn’t a member here, that you wouldn’t have a problem with discussion on his case?
not strictly saying that. I would still have an issue to the case design because its a 'replica'. I would still say its a copy. Saying that the replica came from a member that hasn't even bothered to look at ways of setting their 'product' apart from another product that came 1st; because it was never really their intention to gain feedback. Their intention was to make a quick buck through promotion of their 'unique product'. Mods official line is take it up with the vendor. And to be honest I'm not sure how many post the mods have been deleting.

Perfectly fine if as member looking to make their own case for commercial purposes use that basic principle of another case idea, but they have to offer something that most people would say, yes that's different, i like it, well done/ bravo.
 

SilverFox18

Trash Compacter
Sep 29, 2017
41
47
And as an addendum: the question of respect, in the context of forum moderation, only really makes sense if it involves active members of the forum. If a guy showed up tomorrow hawking his MCASE N1 or Davecase B4 that's 99% identical to the M1/A4, you can be 100% sure I'd support banning them. But if someone comes in with a clone of some Corsair case, well, I'd let Corsair's legal team worry about that. But we for sure shouldn't let some of the most valuable members of the community be abused like that.

Whether that applies to the Steck/Ghost situation, I can't say. Patrik hasn't seen fit to be active here in a long time, so it's hard to call him a member of the community at this point. That's a judgment call though.
@Necere Further to your recent comments - I would like to suggest a couple of points of view… and they are primarily rooted in 'respect'. (I have held back until now because this thread has been very heated - but hopefully cooled down a bit now?)

The SFF Forum is a really powerful and in depth resource - in terms of solutions for small format PC, the creativity and quality of knowledge shared by independent designers and builders of all manner of hardware (not just cases)… plus the community willing to freely share insight and advice. Because it is so successful, well-regarded and referenced - I think it has a reputation to protect and could be (has been) hijacked by an unscrupulous individual. (I would like to make a suggestion to help prevent this happening in future - if possible)

Hijacked
I say this because I think the 'SFF Forum' (and I mean the whole community - not just the Moderators) effectively 'validates' an obvious 'clone' by continuing to comment and offer advice to that clone project, when it is clear the 'cloner' intends to carry on regardless and not heed the advice given to modify design etc. Demonstrating a lack of respect for the designer who has been copied and the SFF Forum.

I think the Moderators (the originators of SFF Forum) are incredibly noble and exhibit a genuine passion for creating this forum (thank you - I really look forward to discovering new ideas, pretty much every day) - and I understand that they do not want to limit the 'output' from the community - but that 'fairness and generosity of spirit' is being taken advantage of (imho - sorry).

The mere presence of this clone on the SFF Forum also, by association, infers an undeserved 'approval' of the design.

The thread documenting the 'design' and development of a clone also provides a powerful marketing tool to generate interest and future sales… hence why this individual has been so 'brass-necked' in his behaviour.

I am not an expert in IP - but it does not have to get to the level of 'legal minutiae' to identify a clone - as a community - there is enough knowledge to spot a clone in a heart beat (certainly within a couple of hours!). If a forum member feels a copy (of anything) appears in a thread - that it is brought to the attention of the moderators (pm) and if they believe there is a reasonable likeness to an existing product - a 'forum poll' is created to decide if the thread should be removed? While this is happening the thread in question is 'suspended'. This can all be done very 'calmly' and without the heat that has been generated to date.

By delegating this process of identifying potential clones to the 'forum/community' - I feel it is democratic and to a great extent self-regulating - as a forum should be? This also helps minimise the time required by the Moderators and Contributors to deal with this sort of concern. An extra paragraph would need to be added to the 'Members Terms of Use' stipulating what will happen to obvious 'clone' threads.


@Necere - you also mentioned Patrik (Louqe) - busy as you can imagine sorting out 1st batch of the Ghost… he was on Slack Q&A this afternoon… he is aware of the Ghost/Steck debate - and I quote: "regarding the Nouvolo Steck... What can I say, imitation is the best sort of flattery. Right?"

So he appears fairly 'cool' about it - but I believe we should be vigilant and protect the reputation (and property) of our 'originators' and the SFF Forum.

Don't all shoot me at once : )
 

loader963

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
566
501
@Bangle i also owe you an apology for my last remark to you. I’m sorry for being rude just because I felt it was out of line to keep searching other forums, following him. It wasn’t right of me and waking up earlier i realized that I let my passion get the better of me.

Just to clarify, you also believe both the creator and the design should both be banned?
 
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Bangle

Cable-Tie Ninja
Apr 12, 2018
147
112
I was just using them as an example. I guess i should have used this actual case. My question still stands though, if that case had not originated here, should some consumer who has purchased it be allowed to post about it here, whether asking for help or just to discuss his opinion on it.
Yes its ok for that in my opinion. People can purchase what they want, and if they are asking for tips to mod their purchase thats fine too. That's what the forum is essentially for - to give advice, and share their own projects.

If the case originated from the forum, i still won't shit on whoever bought it, and i would still give the consumer tips. However, the overarching issue is that the origin of the replica case came from the forum, its not the consumers fault. If they want to buy the case that's fine, but that doesn't mean i should be happy/ accept the replica into the fold.
 

loader963

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
566
501
Yes its ok for that in my opinion. People can purchase what they want, and if they are asking for tips to mod their purchase thats fine too. That's what the forum is essentially for - to give advice, and share their own projects.

If the case originated from the forum, i still won't shit on whoever bought it, and i would still give the consumer tips. However, the overarching issue is that the origin of the replica case came from the forum, its not the consumers fault. If they want to buy the case that's fine, but that doesn't mean i should be happy/ accept the replica into the fold.
Great answer. It makes me feel better on your stance. And I’m definitely interested in what the staff has up their sleeve!
 

Bangle

Cable-Tie Ninja
Apr 12, 2018
147
112
@Bangle i also owe you an apology for my last remark to you. I’m sorry for being rude just because I felt it was out of line to keep searching other forums, following him. It wasn’t right of me and waking up earlier i realized that I let my passion get the better of me.

Just to clarify, you also believe both the creator and the design should both be banned?
Nope. people can make up their own judgement. My main issue is to how genuine concerns from forum members are being handled. I feel that if you are perceived to use the wrong word to describe something, what will happen to your post. will it stay or be axed, and will you get a message form the mods like 'i'm sick of this '[insert word]' BS'. Its an antagonizing message sometimes. Personally, maybe an official message on the said transgressors thread like:

'We are aware of community members (including other case vendors) concerns over the design similarities between your commercial product and another, and the perceived lack of genuine discourse to discuss and resolve said concerns. As our rules set out, this forum is for like minded SFF connoisseurs to exchange and share ideas for not only their custom builds for personal use, but also to exchange ideas for planned commercial ideas. It should not be a place for replicating the ideas of others for commercial gain.....'

Something at least that sets out the ideals of the forum, that both seeks to protect the principle of idea sharing, whether that be for personal use or commercial ideas.

At the moment it just feels that the official response is simply '...take up your concerns with the IP holder. Nothing we can do'. Its like closing your eyes, covering your ears and shouting blah, blah, blah at the top of your voice, in the hope that the issue will go away. It will still be there, you just won't be able to see it or hear it.

Ultimately I welcome 'Dave' hoping to make a successful case business. But at the moment 'Dave' is making us all look like mugs (guild members and masters) by so blatantly ripping-off Louqe's original concept.

BTW no need to apologize its fine. It did look like I'm stalking. But i literally just google the original name of his thread, it used to be called EG something or the other; before it changed to Streck.

More of a question for the mods. Have you actually sought Louqe's views?

-----

Mod edit: Posts merged. Also, no, we haven't - for the reasons laid out in the first post.
 
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loader963

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
566
501
Well it will be interesting to see the staffs role in it. I do like a hands off approach, but am also very open to finding ways to make this place better.

My only fears are:

1- if an overzealous crowd comes down too hard on a new guy trying to protect their brand. I remember last year two “console style” creators had an altercation where one was calling the other a copycat. That particular time he was wrong as that design was different and I felt did rightfully have merit. I went back to look at it today and there was some cleanup along with an edited intro post helping to clarify the issue.

2-Blaming consumers for their purchase. Everybody that’s posted here is an enthusiast. Not to the same level as creators, but not as far off as an outsider would imagine. We are interested in not just the case, but the stories and people behind them. As a community we know that and may hold ourselves to higher standards. However, most consumers are not enthusiasts. They just want a product, and that is their right, and they should not be punished for it.
 
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Bangle

Cable-Tie Ninja
Apr 12, 2018
147
112
@Necere Further to your recent comments - I would like to suggest a couple of points of view… and they are primarily rooted in 'respect'. (I have held back until now because this thread has been very heated - but hopefully cooled down a bit now?)

The SFF Forum is a really powerful and in depth resource - in terms of solutions for small format PC, the creativity and quality of knowledge shared by independent designers and builders of all manner of hardware (not just cases)… plus the community willing to freely share insight and advice. Because it is so successful, well-regarded and referenced - I think it has a reputation to protect and could be (has been) hijacked by an unscrupulous individual. (I would like to make a suggestion to help prevent this happening in future - if possible)

Hijacked
I say this because I think the 'SFF Forum' (and I mean the whole community - not just the Moderators) effectively 'validates' an obvious 'clone' by continuing to comment and offer advice to that clone project, when it is clear the 'cloner' intends to carry on regardless and not heed the advice given to modify design etc. Demonstrating a lack of respect for the designer who has been copied and the SFF Forum.

I think the Moderators (the originators of SFF Forum) are incredibly noble and exhibit a genuine passion for creating this forum (thank you - I really look forward to discovering new ideas, pretty much every day) - and I understand that they do not want to limit the 'output' from the community - but that 'fairness and generosity of spirit' is being taken advantage of (imho - sorry).

The mere presence of this clone on the SFF Forum also, by association, infers an undeserved 'approval' of the design.

The thread documenting the 'design' and development of a clone also provides a powerful marketing tool to generate interest and future sales… hence why this individual has been so 'brass-necked' in his behaviour.

I am not an expert in IP - but it does not have to get to the level of 'legal minutiae' to identify a clone - as a community - there is enough knowledge to spot a clone in a heart beat (certainly within a couple of hours!). If a forum member feels a copy (of anything) appears in a thread - that it is brought to the attention of the moderators (pm) and if they believe there is a reasonable likeness to an existing product - a 'forum poll' is created to decide if the thread should be removed? While this is happening the thread in question is 'suspended'. This can all be done very 'calmly' and without the heat that has been generated to date.

By delegating this process of identifying potential clones to the 'forum/community' - I feel it is democratic and to a great extent self-regulating - as a forum should be? This also helps minimise the time required by the Moderators and Contributors to deal with this sort of concern. An extra paragraph would need to be added to the 'Members Terms of Use' stipulating what will happen to obvious 'clone' threads.


@Necere - you also mentioned Patrik (Louqe) - busy as you can imagine sorting out 1st batch of the Ghost… he was on Slack Q&A this afternoon… he is aware of the Ghost/Steck debate - and I quote: "regarding the Nouvolo Steck... What can I say, imitation is the best sort of flattery. Right?"

So he appears fairly 'cool' about it - but I believe we should be vigilant and protect the reputation (and property) of our 'originators' and the SFF Forum.

Don't all shoot me at once : )

Just read your comment. Good idea.

I’m not familiar with them and don’t really have an opinion on it. My main concern is when a case originates from this forum, is obviously copied, and then also posted on this forum. It basically tells me that original design isn’t appreciated and that SFFn doesn’t care enough about their community.
me too.

-----

Mod edit: Posts merged.
 
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Bangle

Cable-Tie Ninja
Apr 12, 2018
147
112
And as an addendum: the question of respect, in the context of forum moderation, only really makes sense if it involves active members of the forum. If a guy showed up tomorrow hawking his MCASE N1 or Davecase B4 that's 99% identical to the M1/A4, you can be 100% sure I'd support banning them. But if someone comes in with a clone of some Corsair case, well, I'd let Corsair's legal team worry about that. But we for sure shouldn't let some of the most valuable members of the community be abused like that.

Whether that applies to the Steck/Ghost situation, I can't say. Patrik hasn't seen fit to be active here in a long time, so it's hard to call him a member of the community at this point. That's a judgment call though.
Interesting point. I'm not a mind reader but could it be that may be he's avoided SFF because of the Streck issue?
 

loader963

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
566
501
@Necere

I was curious. Thinking back to what you said about cases not having a builders presence here, I wanted to ask a question since you clearly are the target of what I do feel is a copycat, not just a clone. I only mention it because you yourself brought it up and that there is no “builder” here I can offend.

How do you not feel the Cougar QBX is a straight rip off of your design? I have stated my case here trying to make sure the silent, small, actually trying to make something innovative guys have some protection, but I wouldn’t dare defend cougar in that. They remind me of other “big time” case makers (hint: TT and also Klnk) that I think have ripped smaller guys designs and used them.

Edit: and by this question I meant are there any design cues like material, size differences, etc. I know it looks a little different, and the size is a bit off, and of course the obviously cheaper material. I just want your opinion in what you yourself, as a “builder” look for in judging these matters.
 
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TheHig

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Oct 13, 2016
870
1,065
The solution to the "clone" problem is easily solved by the court of Forum Opinion. If someone posts a case design and you feel that is just too close to existing designs or a "clone" even...

1. Make a short and sweet post in said creator's thread about how you feel without being a jack wagon.

Something easy like --I feel your proposed design is too similar to case yadda yadda and are you willing /trying to separate your iteration with some fresh ideas etc? Or just shut them down by simply and politely stating that since your proposal is , in my opinion, too similar to an existing case we have here I wont' be a customer..

2. Use the report feature to let the Mods know that you feel something is not right, ethical or so on.

3. If you strongly feel that something is WAY over the line make your point and move on. The best way to combat someone who you feel is up to no good is to just walk away.

Not too hard right?!

We can self govern just fine without calling for votes and tons of regulations on what is the BEST hobbyist, enthusiast,educational site for SFF on the planet. Lets not let something like "one guy is ripping off another guys case" pit everyone against each other.

Creators need consumers to further their creations right?. Wallet voting works a lot of the time. If someone wants to buy a knock off because its cheaper and or readily available then so be it. If you don't like the knock off... buy the real deal yourself.

@loader963 The Couger QBX is the poor man's M1 as @Necere has said. If someone is looking to get into SFF and doesn't want to go all in on a 200 dollar case... Cases like the QBX exist to fill this gap and they need to exist. These two share a VERY similar layout but are leagues apart in terms of craftsmanship, design aesthetics and class.