GERMANY/CHINA: CAMCO, one of Germany's leading amplifier manufacturers, has become the latest victim of piracy stemming from the People's Republic of China. The company, which produces a wide range of branded and OEM amplification products, had had a near-perfect copy of one of its items returned for repair. However, after closer internal inspection, the team of engineers at the CAMCO HQ surmised that it had not manufactured the unit, writes Rob Speight.
"This is a very good copy in terms of the aesthetics," says Reiner Sassmann, CAMCO managing director. "They have even copied our serial numbers, yet some of the electronic components, transformers and cabling are cheaper versions. They have even copied some of the early circuit boards that we have since improved upon."
Yet, as with so many other manufacturers facing the same problem, CAMCO is almost powerless to stop the copies, with legal proceedings taking months, costing huge amounts of money and time, and with little or no chance of success.
CAMCO, in an effort to stop the counterfeiting, will be making technology integrated into their higher- end amplifiers available inside their models lower in the range. The technology, which powers the amplifier up using protected software built into a micro-processor rather than electrically, should make it harder for the pirates to copy circuit boards directly.
With Shure, Outline and Funktion One among the other high-profile companies to have been affected by the influx of cheap copies and/or even blatant theft of trading names, one wonders how long the industry can be expected to fight this corner on its own.
The March print edition of Pro Sound News Europe will carry a full profile of CAMCO as it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary.