September 8, 2011

Play it again, Gibson

Filed under: Bureaucracy, India, Law, USA, Woodworking — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:59

Allahpundit posted the video clip above, saying:

If I’m understanding the applicable law correctly, Gibson is as much a victim of Indian protectionism as they are federal meddling. Watch the quickie John Roberts segment for the gist of it. The wood they use to make guitar keyboards is sufficiently rare/endangered that it can’t be exported legally from India unless it’s already been finished by Indian workers, and under U.S. law, if the export is illegal under Indian law, then it’s illegal here too. The governing statute, the Lacey Act, was passed in 1900, but only in 2008 was it expanded to include plants as well as animals, which is why Gibson’s now being hassled about the wood. All of which is jim dandy — except for the question of why Gibson seems to be getting so much federal attention vis-a-vis other firms. Roberts touches on that.

H/T to Jon, my former virtual landlord, who commented “I like the way he pulls the finished guitar fret out of his ass.”

Update: Speaking of Jon, he’s all over this issue with another link and extra commentary:

CHRIS DANIEL: Mr. Juszkiewicz, did an agent of the US government suggest to you that your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of American labor?

HENRY JUSZKIEWICZ: They actually wrote that in a pleading.

[. . .]

He’s even warned clients to be wary of traveling abroad with old guitars, because the law says owners can be asked to account for every wooden part of their guitars when re-entering the U.S. The law also covers the trade in vintage instruments.

As Jon points out, this is more than just an issue for the musical instrument makers and musicians:

It’s only a matter of time until this is applied to tools and furniture.

I wonder where [hand tool maker] Lie Nielsen’s politics lie — but he should be safe, using domestic cherry for his totes and knobs.

Lee Valley might have a problem exporting to the US, what with bubinga and rosewood components and being based in Ottawa, which is now a hotbed of hard-right conservative political thought. (A co-worker is wondering why I’m giggling to myself here).

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