Tag Archives: Gibson

PROTECT IP Act: One Ugly Piece Of Legislation

The proposed “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011″, or “PROTECT IP Act” (further shortened to “PIPA”), is about to be brought before the Senate for a vote. This bill, if passed, would grant the federal government greater powers to “combat online piracy”.

Among these powers, it would allow the Department of Justice to obtain a court order to block access to websites based on a mere accusation of copyright infringement. I don’t need to tell users of the internet how often ‘minor’ infringement of copyright (misuse of a photograph, for instance) occur on the ‘net. Mistakes with no ill intent happen all the time.

Congress attempted this last year with the “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” (“COICA”), and thankfully failed to pass it.

Stated another way: Congress, through this bill as well as the House’s “Stop Online Privacy Act” (“SOPA”), want to give the same government which is hounding Gibson Guitar over an accusation of ill-gotten wood the authority to hound websites over misused photographs or video clips.

We on the right must especially resist this legislation. President Obama has already declared war on FOX News. He clearly intends to stifle critics in whatever way he can. Much of the success of the Tea Party movement has been attributable to online “new media” offering a counterpunch to established Pro-Obama media. Giving Obama and Eric Holder the ability to make a simple accusation of copyright infringement, get a court order, and shut down conservative new media sites (and potentially bankrupt the owners with legal bills) is unacceptable, especially in an election year!

Thankfully, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is leading a filibuster attempt over this bill. Any of us on the right, who mistrust government’s motives, need to call and write our Senators and urge them to assist him.

Stand With Gibson

 posted on behalf of Craig Ramsay

 

Gibson Activism

Anyone who follows me on Twitter is probably aware that the Federal raids of Gibson Guitars’ plants in Tennessee, on August 24th, have become somewhat of an obsession to me. It angers me, and apparently many others on several levels.  It has also spurred me to become something of an activist.

In the past, the extent of my activism has been to contact my Senators and Congressman. This time, because of this outrageousness of Gibson’s situation I have decided to become more involved. I have taken to tweeting Gibson artists, asking for their support, and thanking them for responding or publicly speaking out for the company. I’ve also been tweeting and retweeting any stories or facts related to the situation.

Most recently, I sent e-mails to my Senators and Congressman. In the e-mails I outlined the facts of the situation and why it outrages me. I also outlined the apparent illegal nature of the raids; the application of foreign law as their basis, the lack of an affidavit supporting the warrant, and the fact that no charges have been filed, regarding the August raids, or the ones in 2009. I also outlined the blatant political motives behind the raids. I then asked them to address this when they returned to session.

So far I only Sen. Richard Shelby has responded. In his response he outlined what he knew of the situation, and is obviously aware of the facts. He concluded in stating that he will “monitor the situation” whatever that means, and that he will keep me in his thoughts as the situation moves forward.

While it was not the fiery response that I had hoped for, he did provide a thoughtful response. That is much more than I’m sure many can expect from their elected officials. Hopefully he will be able to help with the situation.

I encourage everyone to contact their members of Congress. They might not respond, or even do anything to help, but the chances of any of them taking action don’t change, if they don’t hear from their constituents.

Also, I encourage everyone to sign Gibson’s online petition requesting the Obama Administration to resolve their inquiry. At this moment, it has more than 22,000 signatures.

Please follow Craig on Twitter!

 

September 1st Show: The FEC, ATF, DOJ, and Many Other Craptastic Initials

When: Thursday, September 1st, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Streaming Internet Radio

What: We’ll discuss everything from Obama’s embarrassing inability to plan a speech, the FEC’s consideration to let a foreign-born citizen run for President, the DOJ’s witch hunt against Gibson and more.

Show Recording: http://media2.conservativedailynews.com/shows/mitchell-and-ray/show_9-1-11.mp3

Justice Dept: Gibson Should Just Move to Madagascar

The continuing saga of Obama’s Dept. of Justice going after American guitar maker Gibson just got even more incredulous. Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz was interviewed by KJMN’s Chris Daniel today and mentioned that the agents stealing materials from his factory told him, no wrote down that if he’d move his labor force to Madagascar, this wouldn’t be an issue. You can hear the entire interview, but here’s where the interview took a turn. Chris Daniel asked Henry if the government told him to relocate to a foreign country, he replied, ” They actually wrote that in a pleading.”

Chris:  That your problems would uh,  go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of our labor?

Mr. Juszkieicz:  Yes

Between this, the Boeing NLRB mess, the Department of Justice blocking of AT&T’s effort to bring back 5,000 jobs from other countries, it is becoming more obvious that the administration has no clue how to create jobs, foster business growth or bring America back to growth.

Despite Gibson playing the environmentalist game, they are being singled-out. They follow the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council, they consult with environmentalist groups like Green Peace and still .. STILL the government goes after them. The government of Madagascar has signed affidavits that Gibson has complied with their laws and the Obama administration then decides that Madagascar is not a real government .. but still tries to enforce their laws.

What’s even worse is that in the same interview, Gibson’s CEO relays that the Obama administration does not even recognize the government of Madagascar, but is somehow interpreting their laws differently than they do. You’ll have to listen to the audio to believe the inane behavior of Eric Holder, the Dept. of Justice and the rest of the Obama administration.

This is exactly how you kill jobs – American jobs – and send them overseas.

Save Gibson – Vote Out a Democrat

Collection of Gibson Acoustic GuitarsThe news of the Obama Department of Justice’s witch hunt on Gibson is plastered across the internet. What’s not equally as noteworthy is any real admonition from Democrats. Where is the outcry from the imaginary protector of the arts and artists? As usual, caught between special interest groups.

Leftist politicians would have to choose between three groups of supporters. First, there are the environmentalists who decry the use of anything natural – or, for that fact, unnatural – in much of anything. At the other end of the debate are the performing artists – another typically left-leaning group. The third may be the biggest driver of these raids – the unions. You see, Gibson, is located in Tennessee – a right to work state.

Guitarists are worried that the government might come after their guitars, pianos or anything else with now-controlled materials. While the use might have been done in compliance with regulations – as it was in Gibson’s case –  the artists don’t have the official harvesting documentation. Their instruments are now contraband.

What scares me most about that article is that, as they claim, if your old Martin has an ebony bridge, you may need to have papers to prove it. This, if true, if just out of control. This is the pendulum swung WAY past the side of environmental protection, into police state territory. –fromthe Atlantic Wire

 

The music world is known for an ‘up yours’ style of anti-establishment rhetoric, but now that they are directly under attack – will they fight back? All that is necessary to end this political attack on an American manufacturer is to relieve the country of the current President.

While many are concerned for one of the greatest Guitar makers – an American guitar maker – the Obama administration is worried about a non-existent infringement of the laws of India. The frustration with the situation is easy to remedy and might just make for a great 2012 t-shirt – “Save Gibson, Vote Out a Democrat”.

Government Assault on Gibson Guitars Goes Viral

It all started on August 26th. The Wall Street Journal published an article by Eric Felten the struck fear into the hearts of guitar players the world over.

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn’t the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian’s ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.”

Not only is Gibson in the cross-hares of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, but guitar players themselves could be found guilty simply for owning the instruments. If a musician owns a vintage Gibson or Martin, any dark wood used on the guitar might require specific documentation on its harvest date to prevent the seizure of the instrument.

While artists are largely opposed to changing out one wood for a more ecologically sustainable one, they are even more opposed to the government looking in their guitar cases.

Numerous blog posts, forum entries, magazine stories and online stories have publicized the activities of the U.S. government. This one from the Atlantic Wire titled “How to Turn Guitarists Into TEA Partiers: Take Their Gibsons Away” uses the multitude of posts in guitar internet forums to illustrate that perhaps artists are starting to see what happens when freedoms of a certain group are infringed upon.

While I’m not sure that the latest action by Attorney General Eric Holder and company will really turn most guitaristss into Conservatives, it should. Individual liberty is the one part of the platform that free-thinking, non-collectivist, independent-minded six-string fret-masters should have no trouble accepting.

Government over-reach has been furthered in this manner for decades (many decades). Go after one specific group and take their freedom away. What will the voting populace care if some small group of long-haired guitar-players loses a few instruments in the name of the greater good? The truth is, they won’t.

Gun regulations, cigarette restrictions, unfair taxation and more all came about by finding a small population and imposing something on only them. Tax some small group a little more and the rest won’t mind because it doesn’t affect them. Then go after another group, and another, until everyone is under the thumb of a growing government and there is no one left in opposition.

Perhaps that is what sent this viral. Perhaps guitar players make up a larger portion of Americana than the administration had counted on – an increasingly connected, online, aware, young and possibly voting population. Perhaps because it there is a large, traditionally liberal (if that’s possible) base in the musician community. It could also be because it’s not just about the wood and not just about guitars.

Gibson released a press release on August 25th that demonstrates that the government’s raid almost seems to target them for doing .. nothing wrong.

In 2009, more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons invaded the Gibson factory in Nashville. The Government seized guitars and a substantial amount of ebony fingerboard blanks from Madagascar. To date, 1 year and 9 months later, criminal charges have NOT been filed, yet the Government still holds Gibson’s property. Gibson has obtained sworn statements and documents from the Madagascar government and these materials, which have been filed in federal court, show that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported under Madagascar law and that no law has been violated. Gibson is attempting to have its property returned in a civil proceeding that is pending in federal court.

In that same release, it notes that the Justice Department has, “asked the judge to stop the court case indefinitely.”

If this were about protecting forests and what Gibson may have done wrong, why suspend the case? Why no charges in the last two years? Why not Martin and co who uses the same wood? What is the government up to? Perhaps it’s politics.

Gibson is located in Tennessee, a right-to-work state. Martin is located in Pennsylvania – a union shop state. Obama’s National Labor Relations Board has already shown a propensity to go after companies, like Boeing, in right-to-work states. Also, C.F. Martin tends to support Democrats while Gibson’s CEO supported Republicans.

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 elections (though, to be fair, he did donate a whopping $750 to Republican Congressmen in the 90s.) 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. – Landmark Report

Even if artists, music lovers or just those that like to pluck on a good ‘ole six string don’t want to get into politics, these actions almost force their hand. Everyone has a breaking point. If not to protect something as individual and free as a Gibson, then for what? Perhaps to find the answer to why this story is broad-reaching (a.k.a. viral) one only needs to ask “If not now, when?”.