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Guitars Getting Confiscated

posted Apr 16, 2014 16:03:22 by MichaelWamback
Wanted to post this as a sticky topic for now.

One of our members recently had their Chibson confiscated by Customs in New York. A second member had a Chibson bounce from Chicago to LA Customs, which is also a bit unusual.

While these may be isolated incidents, they may also be the beginning of a more vigorous crackdown on the importation of counterfeit goods by US Customs.

We will update this topic as new information becomes available. But you may wish to consider this risk when placing an order for a replica guitar if you live in the United States and discuss the possibility of the guitar getting confiscated with the seller when you purchase. In particular, you may wish to have them specify what their policy is if your guitar does end up getting confiscated. In most cases, sellers have offered a full refund, or to make and ship a new guitar.

There should be no risk of confiscation if you have ordered a guitar with an altered headstock shape and your own logo. This will apply only to guitars that break trademark laws.
[Last edited Apr 19, 2014 17:02:53]
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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82 replies
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drew said May 20, 2014 04:43:19
So Homeland Security is really on the ball in NYC, eh? Swell . . .
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ChibsonsandMore said May 20, 2014 05:16:31
Well, Customs and Border Patrol falls under their branch of the government, that's the only reason why the letter comes addressed like that.
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sbpatterson70 said May 20, 2014 15:14:39
@Drew, that is something I have questioned to myself. I have been noticing the handed over to customs entries, then I suddenly began hearing the flood of siezures again and figure that must be it. I have contacted my postmaster and called askusps. Askusps actually began an inquiry into the whereabouts of the package but never made any conclusion. It really F-ing blows that there isn't some half ass sensible protocol in place for shipper and receiver protection in these cases. No wonder USPS is going belly up.
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ChibsonsandMore said May 20, 2014 15:20:22
If the guitar was seized by customs USPS is the last entity to blame. Customs is not USPS, they are a government authority that operates above them.

For instance, customs wants to keep your package for a week? They can with no reason. They don't scan the package? Too bad as they probably don't have to use USPS scanning equipment anyway.

USPS is completely powerless against customs and has no authority to tell them what to do.
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Tom Tessmann said May 30, 2014 12:06:47
I am from Germany and I recently contacted a seller on aliexpress. I asked him if there were any problems with German customs before and he admitted that 2 of his guitars were confiscated. I wonder if it's still copyright infringement if there are NO logos on the guitar at all.
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GrandSpector said May 30, 2014 14:05:56
Certain "design"-elements like the open-book headstock are also property of certain companies...so it might be possible that the guitars are still infringing copyrights
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MichaelWamback said May 30, 2014 14:13:46
As Grand said, there are design elements that may have a copyright. But the chances your guitar gets confiscated seem to drop dramatically if it has your own name/logo on it, rather than "Gibson".

Even with that, the risk of having a guitar confiscated seems really low - but it does happen.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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