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Gibson raids FYI Ribbon Microphones
Old 6th September 2011
  #31
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by autodidactic View Post
Can you provide a single instance of an individual's instrument being confiscated due to customs enforcing the Lacey Act? This thread is about what we as individuals need to know about complying with the laws so we don't have to have headaches with customs agents. With all due respect, we need facts not political rallying cries.
Bump.
Old 6th September 2011
  #32
I personally know of ivory instruments that have been confiscated by customs/border police, and that's been going on for a while, but have never heard an actual instance of an instrument containing a piece of ebony or rosewood being confiscated from its owner due to lack of documentation about its origins. Perhaps it's going on and I haven't heard of it, or perhaps this is like the mass panic that accompanied the revelation that border officials can scan laptops without a warrant and confiscate them if they are suspected to have infringing content - that border officials can do this doesn't mean that they actually do this.
Old 7th September 2011
  #33
Gear Addict
 

Maybe it's payback for buying Opcode and scrapping Studio Vision Pro? ;-)
Old 7th September 2011
  #34
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junior's Avatar
 

Now THAT'S funny! heh
Old 7th September 2011
  #35
Lives for gear
We have affidavits from the finest government officials our agents could buy.

If Henry cared so much for his workers, he would give them full time positions with benefits instead of the FedEx model of part time contract agency temps.
Old 7th September 2011
  #36
Lives for gear
 
thepilgrimsdream's Avatar
 

Ha, i just read the posts above me, i feel stupid. haha
Old 7th September 2011
  #37
Gear Nut
 
msyno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretsch 6120 View Post
I don’t claim to know all the facts here….not sure anyone does….but based on what I do know something doesn’t add up.

On November 17, 2009 federal authorities seized six guitars and several pallets of alleged endangered/illegal, ebony woods, purchased by Gibson and stored at the company's factory.[

In June 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil case against Gibson, stating: "Gibson sourced its unfinished ebony wood in the form of blanks (for use in the manufacture of fingerboards for Gibson guitars) from Nagel (in Germany), which obtained it exclusively from Roger Thunam (a supplier in Madagascar). Madagascar prohibits the harvest of ebony wood as well as the exportation of unfinished ebony wood."

Chris
This 2nd quote above has one more line in it: "The filing also made mention of internal emails from 2008 and 2009 that discussed ebony species from Madagascar and plans to harvest it."

Well this is of course going to be hearsay, but take it for what its worth

I know the owners of 2 different, large music stores here in Texas. They have both told me that at least half the problem, lies solely with Henry. They wouldn't reveal how they know he is complicit, but they insist that he should be sent to prison. They believe that based on the company's performance during his tenure, he is incapable of heading the company and together with the above events (besides what they wont tell me), proves that he got desperate.

I am not that harsh on the guy and kinda think its silly to enforce other countries' laws, draconian-style like this (if we're going to throw execs in prison, why don't we start with the damn bank CEOs who never were, and who continue to get stupidly-high bonus pay?) On top of that, the issue of uncommon woods going extinct is indeed very real (a luthier had warned me about it about 15 years ago). Below is just one short article on it, quoting Henry

http://www.musicradar.com/news/guita...quickly-485554

Last edited by msyno; 7th September 2011 at 11:32 AM.. Reason: link didnt show up
Old 7th September 2011
  #38
Folks, the union angles are speculative at this point, so please keep 'em out of the thread, the posts I've had to remove could already be considered inflammatory with their passive aggressive tone - partisan without admitting it.

Facts only at this point please, and even then I can't guarantee this thread will not be removed. Almost every other gear forum I frequent on the internet is deleting these threads as well because they spiral out of control fast with hearsay and conjecture. Yes, we all know those are kinds of evidence, but they're not good enough for this court. heh
Old 7th September 2011
  #39
lds
Gear Nut
 
lds's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post
If Henry cared so much for his workers, he would give them full time positions with benefits instead of the FedEx model of part time contract agency temps.
Several of my friends and former band mates are full-time Gibson employees. They are actually a fairly large employer here in Nashville. They even do their IT fully in-house, something rare these days.
Old 7th September 2011
  #40
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitecat View Post
Folks, the union angles are speculative at this point, so please keep 'em out of the thread, the posts I've had to remove could already be considered inflammatory with their passive aggressive tone - partisan without admitting it.

Facts only at this point please, and even then I can't guarantee this thread will not be removed. Almost every other gear forum I frequent on the internet is deleting these threads as well because they spiral out of control fast with hearsay and conjecture. Yes, we all know those are kinds of evidence, but they're not good enough for this court. heh
That is a comment on the general state of political debate in this country.
Old 7th September 2011
  #41
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autodidactic's Avatar
 

I just found this: Press Release

It seems that the EIA is mainly concerned with importers not individuals. I'm still going to ask around, but considering that this law has been around for over a century and nobody I've asked seems to know of anybody who has had their stuff confiscated, I'm a little more hopeful than I was before.
Old 7th September 2011
  #42
One thing that's annoying me is the instant retailer spin - "Gibson guitar shortage!!" - and subsequent hard-sell - "buy your Les Paul now, there may not be any come Christmas time!" emails and Twitter and Facebook messages I'm getting - when the reality is the litigation will probably go on for a long time and guitars will continue to be churned out.
Old 7th September 2011
  #43
Gear Maniac
 

Just saw a interview on the news with Henry from Gibson . He is hell bent on winning this one.

Last edited by Whitecat; 7th September 2011 at 04:33 PM.. Reason: mod edit: removed speculative quote
Old 7th September 2011
  #44
Lives for gear
Gibson raids FYI

This guy is pretty universally blamed for the demise of Gibson quality. As bad as it was, it got worse under his "leadership".

Did you see him get all shifty eyed when a reporter asked him how confident he was about the legality of the wood he had in stock? There was this glint of anger typical of arrogant businessmen when they don't hear what they want to hear. Looks to me like this was set up for him to make a speech and he was pissed att getting a direct question. All consistent with the previous post suggesting he knows what he's doing and considers himself above it. I've known a few of these mousy looking tycoons. Don't let the good old boy bit fool you. They're looking out for number one and could care less if the rest of us are left with number two. I certainly wouldn't want to go on a hunting trip with him.
Old 7th September 2011
  #45
Lives for gear
Not to change the subject, but it appears one of my posts from yesterday was erased…What’s up with that?
Old 7th September 2011
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretsch 6120 View Post
Not to change the subject, but it appears one of my posts from yesterday was erased…What’s up with that?
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/7007825-post38.html
Old 7th September 2011
  #47
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junior's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post
This guy is pretty universally blamed for the demise of Gibson quality. As bad as it was, it got worse under his "leadership".
Sorry, but what does that have to do with the topic at hand? You heard Whitecat - let's try to keep the discussion on track...
Old 7th September 2011
  #48
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
If this is political, I'll apologize in advance, and whitecat, please delete it or let me know and i'll delete it if you find it so, but......

I am much more concerned about the way in which these raids were conducted and the way the government is responding than whether or not Henry is a ********.
Old 7th September 2011
  #49
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
If this is political, I'll apologize in advance, and whitecat, please delete it or let me know and i'll delete it if you find it so, but......

I am much more concerned about the way in which these raids were conducted and the way the government is responding than whether or not Henry is a ********.
This is the crux of the biscuit.
A lot of that concern seems to based on speculation.
Lets get the facts straight before we start to form opinions.
Whitecat- same as above if that's too political.
Old 7th September 2011
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autodidactic View Post
Can you provide a single instance of an individual's instrument being confiscated due to customs enforcing the Lacey Act?
Same law, different "contraband":

"Consider the recent experience of Pascal Vieillard, whose Atlanta-area company, A-440 Pianos, imported several antique Bösendorfers. Mr. Vieillard asked officials at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species how to fill out the correct paperwork—which simply encouraged them to alert U.S. Customs to give his shipment added scrutiny.

There was never any question that the instruments were old enough to have grandfathered ivory keys. But Mr. Vieillard didn't have his paperwork straight when two-dozen federal agents came calling.

Facing criminal charges that might have put him in prison for years, Mr. Vieillard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act, and was handed a $17,500 fine and three years probation."


Guitar Frets: Environmental Enforcement Leaves Musicians in Fear | Postmodern Times - WSJ.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On whether the Lacey Act applies to individuals or just businesses:

"(b) The term “import” means to land on, bring into, or introduce into, any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,
whether or not such landing, bringing, or introduction constitutes an importation within the meaning of the customs laws of the
United States.
"


U.S. Code - § 3371. Definitions

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Civil Penalties:

"(1) Any person who engages in conduct prohibited by any provision of this chapter (other than subsections (b), (d), and (f) of section 3372 of this title) and in the exercise of due care should know that the fish or wildlife or plants were taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of, or in a manner unlawful under, any underlying law, treaty, or regulation, and any person who knowingly violates subsection (d) or (f) of section 3372 of this title, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $10,000 for each such violation: Provided, That when the violation involves fish or wildlife or plants with a market value of less than $350, and involves only the transportation, acquisition, or receipt of fish or wildlife or plants taken or possessed in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States, any Indian tribal law, any foreign law, or any law or regulation of any State, the penalty assessed shall not exceed the maximum provided for violation of said law, treaty, or regulation, or $10,000, whichever is less.
(2) Any person who violates subsection (b) or (f) of section 3372 of this title, except as provided in paragraph (1), may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $250.
(3) For purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), any reference to a provision of this chapter or to a section of this chapter shall be treated as including any regulation issued to carry out any such provision or section.
(4) No civil penalty may be assessed under this subsection unless the person accused of the violation is given notice and opportunity for a hearing with respect to the violation. Each violation shall be a separate offense and the offense shall be deemed to have been committed not only in the district where the violation first occurred, but also in any district in which a person may have taken or been in possession of the said fish or wildlife or plants.
(5) Any civil penalty assessed under this subsection may be remitted or mitigated by the Secretary.
(6) In determining the amount of any penalty assessed pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2), the Secretary shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the prohibited act committed, and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require."


U.S. Code - § 3373
Old 7th September 2011
  #51
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junior's Avatar
 

FWIW, looks like NPR has made a correction to their initial reporting:

"UPDATE: September 6, 2011 1:45 p.m.: Andrea Johnson, director of forest programs for the Environmental Investigation Agency, wrote to NPR to express concern over two points in this story. First, the word "verify" more accurately reflects the requirements placed on end users of endangered wood. The Lacey Act, Johnson wrote, "does not require any 'certification' at all per se. In the forestry world, 'certify' implies independent third-party certification, or government stamps, neither of which the US government recognizes as 'proof' of legality."

Johnson also says she mis-spoke when she said that Gibson "was on the ground in Madagascar getting a tour to understand whether they could possibly source illegally from that country."

"I used 'illegally' when I meant 'legally' in talking about the trip to Madagascar," she writes. "I didn't realize I'd done this until I was listening to the piece. I really wanted to be clear: the objective of that trip's organizers was to look into whether there were opportunities for 'good wood' sourcing, and in the end after seeing the risks, only Gibson continued to purchase."


Why Gibson Guitar Was Raided By The Justice Department : The Record : NPR

Kind of a BIG deal in regards to the reporting of the story...
Old 7th September 2011
  #52
Lives for gear
Quote:
This is bizarre to me, considering that nothing in my post could be construed as “political” in nature. In fact, all I said was “I wouldn’t speculate one way or the other” concerning political motivations, as I was simply responding to someone’s speculation. Ironically, you and I were basically saying the same thing. The only difference was you somehow have the authority to delete my post.

So, what criteria are you applying to “political in nature” here? I see people mentioning Congress, NPR, DOJ, etc. You can’t really discuss this subject without mentioning federal agencies, but I digress….just seems very arbitrary from where I stand.

Chris
Old 7th September 2011
  #53
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post
This guy is pretty universally blamed for the demise of Gibson quality. As bad as it was, it got worse under his "leadership".

Did you see him get all shifty eyed when a reporter asked him how confident he was about the legality of the wood he had in stock? There was this glint of anger typical of arrogant businessmen when they don't hear what they want to hear. Looks to me like this was set up for him to make a speech and he was pissed att getting a direct question. All consistent with the previous post suggesting he knows what he's doing and considers himself above it. I've known a few of these mousy looking tycoons. Don't let the good old boy bit fool you. They're looking out for number one and could care less if the rest of us are left with number two. I certainly wouldn't want to go on a hunting trip with him.
So hit posts like this on the Gibson CEO are ok but no one can blame the raids on a political vendetta against Gibson being a non-union shop or your comment will be deleted.

@whitecat: Before you delete my comment for "no facts to back up claim" again, please Google the words "Gibson union raids"; you will find the raids have nothing to do with the wood. Also, it's really odd you're deleting comments regarding the motivation behind the Gibson raids in a thread titled "Gibson raids FYI". An open discussion about this should be encouraged here instead of threatening to delete the thread IMHO. Two years after the 2009 raid, charges still have not been filed. Something stinks.
Old 7th September 2011
  #54
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by gweto View Post
So hit posts like this on the Gibson CEO are ok but no one can blame the raids on a political vendetta against Gibson being a non-union shop or your comment will be deleted.

@whitecat: Before you delete my comment for "no facts to back up claim" again, please Google the words "Gibson union raids"; you will find the raids have nothing to do with the wood. Also, it's really odd you're deleting comments regarding the motivation behind the Gibson raids in a thread titled "Gibson raids FYI". An open discussion about this should be encouraged here instead of threatening to lock the thread IMHO. Two years after the 2009 raid, charges still have not been filed. Something stinks.
Here's the problem. I Googled Gibson union raids and did not see a single link to anything other than far right websites.
Not convincing.
Old 7th September 2011
  #55
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRobb View Post
Here's the problem. I Googled Gibson union raids and did not see a single link to anything other than far right websites.
Not convincing.
It doesn't get any more further from the "far right" than MSNBC:

Gibson CEO says wood is properly imported - Business - msnbc.com

The conclusion that these raids have nothing to do with the wood can easily be reached after reading the AP story.
Old 7th September 2011
  #56
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by gweto View Post
It doesn't get any more further from the "far right" than MSNBC:

Gibson CEO says wood is properly imported - Business - msnbc.com

The conclusion that these raids have nothing to do with the wood can easily be reached after reading the AP story.
That is actually a fairly balanced news story.
It tells you what the president of Gibson said (and what did you expect him to say "we're guilty as hell"?) and gives the response of the agent who led the raid. Fact based reporting.
And I didn't see anything about unions.
Your conclusion is absolutely not supported by that article.
Old 7th September 2011
  #57
Quote:
Originally Posted by gweto View Post
It doesn't get any more further from the "far right" than MSNBC:

Gibson CEO says wood is properly imported - Business - msnbc.com

The conclusion that these raids have nothing to do with the wood can easily be reached after reading the AP story.
No, it can't "easily be reached." I'm not necessarily getting that at all. What Henry J says and what is fact are not necessarily the same thing, because there are two sides to every story, something which people who discuss politics rarely remember. The word 'union' never appears.

The rules of Gearslutz are pretty clear - political discussions are forbidden, full stop. Any posts which at all allude that direction are gonna get deleted - and that's only if someone more senior than me decides to let the thread live at all. Previous threads that I was happy to let go for a while were deleted by guys who are higher in the pecking order than I am.

If you guys keep complaining about deleted posts etc, then sorry, we'll kill the whole thing. It's not worth our time - you can take it to Facebook/Twitter.
Old 7th September 2011
  #58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretsch 6120 View Post
So, what criteria are you applying to “political in nature” here? I see people mentioning Congress, NPR, DOJ, etc. You can’t really discuss this subject without mentioning federal agencies, but I digress….just seems very arbitrary from where I stand.[/FONT][/SIZE]

Chris
If it's an opinion (rather than a proveable fact) about the current government, or if it feels partisan in any way, either directly or passive-aggressively, then it goes. There will probably be collateral damage, stuff that is well-intentioned but gets nuked, I'm doing my best to keep this thread open for you guys - other mods would just as quickly kill it.
Old 7th September 2011
  #59
Lives for gear
Gibson raids FYI

My apologies for taking the easy pot shots at Henry. When the subject is how Gibson conducts it's business, I believe he's fair game from a business/management viewpoint.

But I do believe it is beneficial to musicians to discuss and come to an understanding of the impact of these laws on existing personal instruments. Also to warn folks that purchases from small luthiers may be at risk.

Back when RoHS hit I was deeply involved in the documentation for proving conformance of the product of a large multinational company I was working for. I also has some side discussions with the fellow who built my boutique guitar amp, who does sell some limited amount of stuff into the EU. He had been told by a consultant that a fairly limited degree of documentation (compared to what the big companies were requiring of us) was enough. So far, I've not aware that he has had any trouble. But all it takes is someone being really fastidious about a bit of legal code and you've got a problem on your hands. 20 other people not having had a problem doesn't save you.
Old 9th September 2011
  #60
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junior's Avatar
 

Looks like Congress is getting involved now:

"WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee leaders are seeking answers from Obama Administration officials on the recent government raid of an iconic U.S. guitar manufacturer, Tennessee’s Gibson Guitar Corporation. Armed agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently conducted raids of Gibson’s corporate headquarters and factories and seized raw materials, guitars, and computer files. The apparent reason for the raid was to determine whether Gibson was importing wood from India in violation of the Lacey Act of 1900, which makes it unlawful to import certain items taken in violation of the laws of the source country. However, the deputy director general of foreign trade for India has stated that India would allow the exports.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) are concerned with the hostile treatment of a leading job creator.

In the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Fish and Wildlife Services Director Daniel Ashe, the Committee leaders write, “We are deeply troubled by the suggestion that if Gibson had the skilled work done in India, using the same wood, instead of here in America, then the importation would have been legal and the Department of Justice would not have carried out this heavy-handed enforcement action. If this is true, it is hard to conclude anything other than the fact that your agencies and this Administration are actively pursuing regulatory and legal policies that discourage job growth in the United States and encourage shipping those very same jobs overseas, through the selective enforcement of laws enacted over one hundred years ago. This is unwise in the extreme.”

The leaders also questioned the Obama Administration’s treatment of a leading job creator, writing, “The policies of this Administration should actively support American companies that create jobs at home. The Gibson Guitar Company appears to have done just that. The Financial Times, in reporting on the raids, noted: ‘In recent years, Gibson has hired 600 new workers as the US economy struggled to add jobs.’ While we respect your right to defend the signature legislative accomplishment of President McKinley, we are not so sure this was the proper instance in which to exercise that right.”"


Letter to DOJ Interior Fish and Wildlife
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