Dear Handpan Community,
Below is an update on all the fronts that HCU has been working on since our last newsletter. Thank you for your continued support as things continue to unfold.
Table of contents:
- Numerous Swiss Handpan Makers and Retailers received letters from PANArt’s Lawfirm
- Two New Actions filed at the Court of Bern by HCU
- More funding needed (The Outcome of these proceedings will determine the future of anyone who builds handpans – help us to continue)
1. Numerous Swiss Handpan Makers and Retailers received letters from PANArt’s Lawfirm
Around the 15th of December of 2020, numerous Swiss handpan makers and retailers received a letter from PANArt’s lawfirm. The letters required the receivers to stop all of their handpan related activities by the 31rst of December 2020. We are happy to say that, as far as we know, everyone who received a letter got in touch with HCU and were offered support. Read more below.
2. Two New Actions filed at the Court of Bern by HCU
The HCU filed two more actions against PANArt – one for mainly German handpan retailers and one for the Swiss makers and retailers that received letters from PANArt in the past (mentioned above). This way we want to avoid that smaller makers or retailers are singled out and targeted in court separately.
These two new actions include all the argumentation and documentation from the first action filed at the Court of Bern, (the parties in the first action are Ayasa Instruments, Yatao Shop and World of Handpans), plus the individual documentation of each handpan maker and reseller including each handpan that were offered for sale. As written in an earlier newsletter the goal of the actions in Bern are:
“The aim of this action is to clarify once and for all that PANArt and its shareholders do not have a copyright on their instruments, and most importantly that they also do not have any claims against other people making, selling or playing handpans. We are confident that the Court of Bern will come to the right conclusion and will hold that there is no copyright and that PANArt’s claims are unjustified.”
3. More funding needed (The Outcome of these proceedings will determine the future of anyone who builds handpans – help us to continue)
HCU continues to defend those who are receiving legal threats from PANArt but this is still just the beginning. After even more individuals received letters from PanArt last month, there are now many parties defended by HCU with potentially more to come. In order to continue our work, we will need more funding. Daniel of Soma Sound Sculptures, a recent recipient of a legal letter in Switzerland, said it best:
“The widely spread written warning letters issued and sent by Panart‘s top-tier lawyers to handpan builders and distributors in Germany and Switzerland make it seem very likely to me that Panart is serious in their determination to stop the distribution of handpans, at least in Europe. This would mean that no more handpans could be distributed within the continent and handpan building and distributing would be considered an act of illegal piracy within Europe.If Panart wins the legal dispute here, who knows, they may want to continue elsewhere in the world too.
In just a few months time, exceptional legal work done by HCU and its team of lawyers has created a temporary umbrella of protection for global handpan builders and distributors. The real challenge in the pursuit to save the handpan, however, is yet to come: the decision in the court case in Bern/ Switzerland will be a very important milestone for either side in the legal dispute. It is therefore of paramount importance to be at least equally well prepared as our legal opponents. Hence, more funding is unfortunately necessary. If the handpan is close to your heart, please consider donating to the crowdfunding campaign.”
HCU will continue ‘to safeguard and protect the growing international handpan community, through the commitment to preserve the playing, fabrication, availability and the further development of the handpan musical instrument’ but in order to do so we need continued financial support. If you have yet to make a donation please consider doing so now to the HCU GoFundMe campaign. For making a direct donation please read our previous newsletter.
The HCU administrative group