Gibson Guitar to pay big fine related to wood...

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On 8/7/12 1:49 PM, Swingman wrote:

Brilliant.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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There is a pattern...
The whole Randy Weaver/Ruby Ridge case involved what was arguably less than a 1/4" variance from "legal length. " People were murdered over that so Gibson got off easy with loosing $265K of product, $300K of fine and as I recall $50K of community contributions... they didn't have their staff shot up by the armed government agents during the raid. See the enlarged version of the photo at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903895904576542942027859286.html Those weren't brad nailers on their hips.
There is no "reasonableness" test in this stuff.... regulators run amuck.
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"Swingman" wrote in message
On 8/7/2012 12:55 PM, Bill wrote:

And mine for those who speak without bothering to inform themselves of the particulars.
Once again:
To illustrate the ridiculousness and overreaching of this action by the DOJ against Gibson, you have to read the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant:
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/arts/GibsonWarrant.pdf
The seized wood is described in the affidavit as in the form of "sawn logs" 510-530 x 75/70 x 10mm.
IOW, each of the 1250 pieces seized is roughly 20" x 3" x 13/32".
Read paragraph 14, page six of the affidavit and you will see that India allows export of this particular wood up to 6mm thick (due to the high complexity of involved in cutting these thin sheets to a uniform commercial quality)
IOW, it must be cut to that thickness by Indian workers at Indian factories, insuring Indian jobs.
IOW, the raid on Gibson's facilities, disrupting the production and jobs of workers at one of the few American companies still "manufacturing" products is based on a difference of 5/32" of thickness, AND TO PROTECT INDIAN WOODWORKING JOBS.
How many of you, experienced woodworkers, could look at bundles of these pieces and tell that there is up to 4mm (5/32") difference in thickness in the pieces? ==================================================================================I could.
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On 8/7/2012 2:49 PM, Swingman wrote:

If it means the difference between legal and not, I think I'd be measuring it and reject the shipment if it fell out of specs. That much wood has serious value, maybe you should have a local employee checking it when you buy it.
If I opened a box and found it full of marijuana, I wouldn't just stick it into the storeroom.
These woods are regulated, if you want to use them, you need to know the regulations and stay within them. Ignoring the rules isn't the way to win in business.

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Exactly what I was talking about with regard to being ill informed, even when presented with the link that lays out the purported facts according to the governments own affidavit.
Had you bothered to read the affidavit before commenting you would have seen that the 1250 pieces in question were picked up at Dallas customs, addressed to a shipping agent's facility, _BEFORE_ they got anywhere near a Gibson's facility.
(Just hope someone doesn't ship some of that marijuana you spoke of via FedEx with your name on it.)
--
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On 8/7/2012 4:44 PM, Stuart Wheaton wrote: Snip

So don't you think that they should have actually been in possession before being charged?
Let's say you are the guy in charge of ordering materials at Gibson and place your order. It is confiscated in route and found to not have legal sized contents. Should you be arrested?
It is a very common occurrence for the contents of any shipment, regardless of what the contents is, to not exactly match the packing slip. Mistakes are a daily fact in shipment preparation.
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And India's gov't either: 1) didn't know about it. 2) didn't care about it. 3) allowed it to get exports made. or 4) allowed it to permit later prosecution.
My guess is 5) All of the above.

Roughly ALL experienced woodworkers could have seen the difference. 10mm is nearly double the thickness of 6mm. Any inspector at Customs or an export company could have easily told, too. They look for that type of thing on a daily basis. This means that noone (in every company and gov't) cared to do their job, all the way around the world. Why couldn't Gibson just ship the excess sawdust back?

Absolutely not.

That appears to be the motive of some gov't agencies. <grrrr>
-- Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise. -- Margaret Atwood
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Seems to me Gibson chose the lesser of 2 evils:
from the BBC article referenced above: <quote> "As a result of this investigation and criminal enforcement agreement, Gibson has acknowledged that it failed to act on information that the Madagascar ebony it was purchasing may have violated laws intended to limit overharvesting and conserve valuable wood species from Madagascar, a country which has been severely impacted by deforestation," said Assistant Attorney General Moreno following the settlement.
The ebony was mainly in the form of strips that would be fashioned into fretboards for guitars, mandolins and banjos. </quote>
Apparently the DoJ evidence was such that Gibson decided not to fight it further.
--
Best regards
Han
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On 8/7/2012 12:33 PM, Bill wrote:

...
...
I'd say the actual facts are indeterminate as others have noted--that Gibson was in the crosshairs of DOJ pretty much forces their hand to find a way to settle irregardless of the actual facts of the case.
Gibson president also wrote the following -- now, again, how much has been conveniently left out of this narrative is also unknown--it doesn't mention Madagascar, only India.

Again, the fact is that once you're a DOJ target your only real choice is to cut a deal 'cuz you'll go broke before you can defend yourself owing to the disparity of resources and the punitive measures they can take.
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So, this statement by the President of Gibson Guitars made me go do some research into this case. It's not as simple as he made it out to be - note that the defendents (McNab, et. al.) in that case were convicted after a trial by jury in federal court in which sufficient evidence was presented to convince the Jury in 'bama to convict.
The appeals court opinion when they contested their conviction contains a concise legal summary of the case including a de novo review. c.f.
http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/200115148op2.pdf

After reading the appeals court opinions, it seems clear that the justice system worked exactly has it was supposed to. BTW, the law in question (The lacey act) dates from the year 1900.
That said, one could argue that the sentences were a bit on the harsh side.
scott
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Too bad they didn't simply require the proper paperwork from their sources, so they could be found "not guilty."
-- Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise. -- Margaret Atwood
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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gibson-guitar-paying-300000-fine-doj-2012-08-06?link=MW_home_latest_news
The Wall St Journal reported that the fine was $300K, Gibson also agreed to $50K being paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, plus they withdrew their claims to the ebony seized and valued at $261,844. Total out of pocket here is $611,844. Add in the legal fees and lost productivity (reported to be about $2 million) and the figure becomes significant. What was not mentioned was the nearly 100 guitars that were also confiscated.
"Gibson has acknowledged that it failed to act on information that the Madagascar ebony it was purchasing may have violated laws intended to limit overharvesting and conserve valuable species..."
Rightly or wrongly, on both Gibson's part and the Fed's part, this is how it played out. I suspect it may alter the business and personal practices of some here in the U.S.. There are surely others that will not care and who will continue doing what they are doing figuring that they are flying under the radar. Gibson's products end up on stage, on TV, and in myriad photos... harder to hide perhaps than that nice jewelry box someone made for their wife?
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On 8/9/2012 3:02 PM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

as Pogo said, "We has met the enemy, and they is us".
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