Saturday, August 27, 2011

Update on Gibson Guitar Grab

The Federal Government raided Gibson Guitars in Nashville not because the woods they imported from India are illegal under US law, but because, under their interpretation, the woods may be illegal to sell in India:
“The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.”
The woods in question are ebony and rosewood for the fretboard.  It would seem to me that it would be very difficult to build guitars from wood pre-finished in India, unless you sanded off the finish anyway.

What are they trying to do, export the jobs at the Gibson factories to India?  Is there something deeper behind the Feds stretching their authority to  enforce an Indian law that even India doesn't seem anxious to enforce?
The raids forced Gibson to cease manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day while armed agents executed the search warrants. “Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC-certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.”

Further update! It seems that Gibson CEO is a GOP donor; the Martin Guitar company, whose company uses the same woods as Gibson is not being raided.  One difference however, is that the CEO of Martin Guitars is a donor to democrats...

One of Gibson’s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles. According to C.F. Martin’s catalog, several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood.” In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars.

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