Today we ask for your support with raising funds for a cause that concerns all of us. PANArt, the swiss company that created the Hang, claims to have copyright on the shape and the defining aspects of the instrument and wants to declare handpans illegal copies. Their claim states that the Hang is not primarily a musical instrument, but a piece of ‘fine art’ and therefore eligible for copyright protection. Musical instruments are usually not protected under copyright.
If this claim stands uncontested, it will have far-reaching consequences for the handpan world. Makers could be forbidden from creating handpans as we know them. It would be impossible to purchase handpans in their current form within the affected countries. In the worst case scenario this could also affect the right to public display through live concerts, videos, workshops, etc.
Handpan Community United, a non-profit organisation, was created to contest PANArt’s copyright claim and protect the future existence of the handpan instrument. HCU hired the high profile international law firm Bird & Bird, as it is of utmost importance to have the best lawyers available to ensure our goal. From recent events, it is clear PANArt has spared no expenses on their own legal representation.
The seriousness of adequately funding and defending this cause cannot be underestimated. PANArt’s recent Cease & Desist, warning letters and court proceedings against shops in Germany (World of Handpans and Yatao Shop) and a maker/material provider from the Netherlands (Ayasa Instruments) clearly show what is at stake. This is just the beginning...
The funds required to defend this instrument are substantial. However, the effect on our lives will be even greater if the handpan instrument ceases to exist as we know it. A serious and well-defended response requires expertise and funding if we are to effectively protect the handpan industry from the very real threat of being shut-down.
The court procedures can potentially last several years and the current estimate of legal costs from Bird & Bird from start to finish is circa 250,000 Euro.
All raised funds will be placed in the trust account of HCU, a registered non-profit organisation, to be used only for purposes as defined in the HCU Mission Statement. (www.hcu.global)
A huge thanks for everyone's support!