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Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... #2325623
09/09/14 07:51 AM
09/09/14 07:51 AM
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This is a new thread discussing the issue of the latest government regulations regarding older pianos with real ivory key-tops.

By Sally Phillips:

"In February in response to Director's Order 210, U.S. Fish and Wildlife announced plans to ban not only the import/export of ivory but also interstate sales. Several states followed up with their own legislation.

The short version is that the purpose of this order is to prevent the illegal importation of NEW ivory that is subsequently being passed off as old ivory.

The reasoning behind this is that if all sales of ivory are banned then it will devalue any ivory and the result is that the importers of illegal ivory will have no market for their wares. Sadly no one thought about the huge number of pianos made with ivory before the invention of plastic. Because of the broad sweep of this regulation, pianos with ivory fall under this proposed ban. Many other antique articles with ivory are also affected. See the article above that I posted about the problem that violinists are having with their bows.

http://www.fws.gov/international/travel-and-trade/ivory-ban-questions-and-answers.html

Note in the far right column the proposed regulation. When the rules are announced later this summer there will be a comment period when we can all voice our thoughts about this.

I'm copying directly from my Piano Buyer blog. Here is my original article:
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed ivory ban.

Here is the update on bills introduced in congress to prohibit Fish and Wildlife from implementing the proposed ban. If you go to the blog update the links to the bills are there.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory2.html

Here are the bills:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced bill S.2587.
Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-At Large) introduced bill H.R.5052.

It is important to contact your representatives now to let them know the impact of this proposed ban.
The points that need to be made are:

• No piano-manufacturing company is lobbying for the use of ivory.
• No piano companies currently use ivory.
• No piano importers have been found to be attempting to disguise new ivory as old ivory.
• Since the piano industry is not currently involved in any way in the use of new ivory, prohibiting the movement of old pianos with ivory will do nothing to save elephants.
• Use of government funds to discover interstate shipments of old pianos with ivory will unfairly target owners of old pianos and reduce the resources available to stop illegal ivory trafficking.

Here is what you can do:

#1 RIGHT NOW LETTERS (CAN BE EMAILS) NEED TO GO TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES TO HIGHLIGHT THE ISSUES WITH OLD IVORY

#2 DURING THE COMMENT PERIOD (HAS NOT YET BEGUN) LETTERS (NOT EMAILS) NEED TO GO TO FISH AND WILDLIFE. I WILL COME HERE TO ANNOUNCE WHEN THE COMMENT PERIOD BEGINS, I WILL POST THE ADDRESS."


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Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, [Re: Rickster] #2325625
09/09/14 07:52 AM
09/09/14 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
As I read the actual text of HR 5052, your piano should be OK. The senator's letter doesn't quite match the bill. I'll try to find the HR 5052 attachment and post it here.


Edit: Here it is:
************************

[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 5052 Introduced in House (IH)]

113th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5052

To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to protect and conserve
species and the lawful possession of certain ivory in the United
States, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 10, 2014

Mr. Daines (for himself and Mr. Miller of Florida) introduced the
following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural
Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

A BILL



To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to protect and conserve
species and the lawful possession of certain ivory in the United
States, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Lawful Ivory Protection Act of
2014''.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENT TO ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT OF 1973.

Section 11(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.
1540(f)) is amended--
(1) by inserting ``(1)'' after the subsection heading; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
``(2)(A) Except as provided in this paragraph, regulations
promulgated under paragraph (1), including policies, orders, or
practices pursuant to such regulations, may not--
``(i) prohibit or restrict the possession, sale, delivery,
receipt, shipping, or transportation, within the United States,
of elephant ivory that has been lawfully imported into the
United States;
``(ii) change any methods of, or standards for, determining
if such ivory has been lawfully imported that were in effect on
February 24, 2014, including any applicable presumptions and
burdens of proof with respect to such determinations;
``(iii) prohibit or restrict the importation of such ivory
that was lawfully importable into the United States on February
24, 2014; or
``(iv) prohibit or restrict the possession of such ivory
that was lawfully possessable in the United States on February
24, 2014.
``(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to regulations, including
policies, orders, or practices pursuant to such regulations, that were
in effect on February 24, 2014.
``(C) Regulations promulgated under paragraph (1), including
policies, orders, or practices pursuant to such regulations, that
became effective during the period beginning on February 25, 2014, and
ending on the date of enactment of this paragraph, shall be revised, as
necessary, to comply with the requirements specified in subparagraph
(A) for regulations promulgated after such date of enactment.''.
<all>


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Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, [Re: Rickster] #2325626
09/09/14 07:54 AM
09/09/14 07:54 AM
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By Sally Phillips:

Latest Ivory Piano News

New York State has just passed its own Ivory legislation.

http://www.diamonds.net/News/NewsItem.as...nsive+Ivory+Ban

They did a pretty good job giving exemptions to 100 year old antiques and musical instruments made before 1975.

However that will not cover European pianos and pianos that used European keyboards made until 1990. This means that Steinway B's and D's made in New York during the period of the late 80's when the NY factory was switching to Kluge key sets and European pianos with one piece ivory until the 1990 ban was in place in Europe will not be able to be sold in the state of New York unless the ivory is removed.

This law will be enforced immediately with no grace period, so any dealers with post 1975 pianos with ivory on their floors should remove the ivory ASAP.

*****************************************


I have been checking frequently and don't see evidence of enforcement at Ebay but once the Federal Regulations are in force and the "rules" have been announced, I expect to see an immediate result. Since they announced this six months ago, only the proposed enforcement has been published, not the actual.

The New York law is an example of what can be done by contacting your congressional representatives. When that law was announced they proposed a complete ban. After hearing from constituents who are stakeholders in this they backed off and gave musical instruments made before 1976 a pass. I'm hoping this will also happen at the Federal level, but it is going to take a lot of letter writing to accomplish that. The only remaining problem in NY for pianos is that European instruments or those with European keyboards made between 1976 and 1990 with ivory will not get a pass on this and in order to sell them in New York State, they will have to remove the ivory keys.


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, [Re: Rickster] #2325629
09/09/14 07:56 AM
09/09/14 07:56 AM
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By JeanieA:

After reading Sally's very informative posts, I did take the time to write my two senators, Harry Reid and Dean Heller, and our congressman, Mark Amodei.

Today I received this response from Senator Heller:

"Dear Mrs. Allen:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the use of ivory in musical instruments, such as pianos. I welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, in February 2014, under the direction of President Obama, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a director's order placing more stringent restrictions on the import and export of African elephant ivory. You may be pleased to know that in May, the director's order was revised to make exceptions for ivory used for the purpose of sport-hunted trophies or science and ivory legally acquired for art or personal use before 1976. This includes ivory that is part of a musical instrument, part of a traveling exhibition, or ivory that has been inherited.

Even after the director's change, some have expressed concern that this order may impact the economies of certain African nations. Senator Alexander (R-TN)has introduced the Lawful Ivory Protection Act of 2014 (S. 3587) to prohibit the USFWS from implementing this plan to restrict interstate commerce of legal ivory. Further more, this legislation prohibits the USFWS from implementing any new rule, order, or standard that was not in place before February 25, 2014. Similar legislation (H.R. 5052) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Steve Daines (R-MT). I understand your support for including a provision in this legislation to ensure that interstate commerce of musical instruments that contain elephant ivory is protected. S. 2587 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for further consideration. Although I am not a member of this Committee, I will keep your views in mind should this or related legislation regarding the ivory trade ban come before the Senate for consideration.

Once again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

Sincerely, Dean Heller, U.S. Senator"

So, if I'm reading this correctly, my ivory-keyed 1920s Chickering grand - which I bought in 2011(I think), LEGALLY, will NOT be exempt from this director's order or its subsequent modification, because I acquired it after 1976. Or am I misreading (or this is vaguely written) and because my piano was built before 1976 it IS included in the exemption?? When I wrote to all three men, I specified the age of my piano and how long I had owned it, so am I misinterpreting this response or am I about to become a serious scofflaw?

To be perfectly frank, I'm not overly concerned about this ban and its affect on 'certain African nations,' as I can't see how my poor, old piano keeping its ivory keytops will cause economic hardship a hemisphere away. (Yes, I 'get' the bigger picture, local economics, village livelihoods, etc., but really...)

I was wondering if there are any more updates on the situation, now that Congress has returned (or should be returning) from shameless fundraising their well-earned August recess.


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Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, [Re: Rickster] #2325631
09/09/14 08:08 AM
09/09/14 08:08 AM
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By Sally Phillips:

"Here is the bill actually signed by Gov. Christie.

There is no provision for pre ban ivory.

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/S2500/2012_R1.HTM

**************************************************************

No ivory pianos will be able to be sold in the state of New Jersey. The dealers and owners will have 6 months to dispose of the ivory. No exceptions for old pre ban ivory. No exceptions for musical instruments.

Because of the upcoming impact of the Federal regulations in addition to the New Jersey law, NJ residents won't be able to ship them out of state to sell either.

This means no ivory repairs as well.

"Let me explain what happened as best I can in New Jersey.

The original bill was passed by the Assembly that had NO antique exemption. Then one of the senators introduced the same bill with alternatives to allow items made before 1990 to be sold. But after the two bills were consolidated the portion that allowed for the antique exemption was removed (redacted) so that the area that would have allowed pianos to be sold was not in the actual bill signed by the governor.

Here is the another version of the copy that passed and you can see the items in the bold parenthesis were the ones eliminated.
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/S2500/2012_R1.PDF "

************************************************************************

The NJ law gives the owner 6 months to rid themselves of ivory. This might be a one off for people who own one piano but for dealers and technicians with will be an ongoing problem. On top of that the Federal Regulations will be in place in a couple of weeks and the proponents of the ban want a complete ban on sales.

The New York law provides for exemption for musical instruments made with ivory before 1975. This will be a problem for all European and most Japanese instruments made until 1990. This all means that operating a piano business in the New York/New Jersey area will be complicated for ivory pianos taken in trade or being sold. In New Jersey, giving dealers 6 months to get all the ivory off their inventory will not be easy or inexpensive. But the grace period will not really do them any good because with thousands of ivory pianos somewhere in New Jersey, the problem for piano industry professionals will just continue as "new" old pianos come in for repairs or trade.

The easiest thing of course is to take the ivory off the piano but for teachers, churches, schools etc that have limited budgets, the replacement of one old ivory with another old ivory from a discarded key set will be a lot less expensive than if they have to have all the naturals replaced with plastic.

The orchestral musicians have had a very hard time with this:

http://www.thestrad.com/latest/debate/the-us-ivory-ban-risks-criminalising-hard-working-musicians

http://americanorchestras.org/advocacy-g...orchestras.html

Many musicians have had problems with this because the general public thinks that ivory on a musical instrument is superfluous. Most people think that ivory is used strictly for decorative purposes. They don't understand that when these instruments were made that ivory was used because of the dimensional stability and long wear. At the time ivory was used there was no other material that did what ivory could do. I also keep reminding them that the piano industry abandoned ivory 20 years before the first ivory ban.

I will be glad to help in any way. Make sure they start with my article in Piano Buyer. That gives a good overview. I put it at the bottom of my sig line.

_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html


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Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2325634
09/09/14 08:09 AM
09/09/14 08:09 AM
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Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2331094
09/25/14 11:49 PM
09/25/14 11:49 PM
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Perhaps this is a subject more appropriately directed to the technicians forum since they may have specific insights of interest.
Having said that, I have noticed that some higher end digital pianos make plastic keys with subtle groove patterns that mimic the same patterns of real ivory, and they do a pretty good job of it. I would hopefully suggest that the piano industries put some extra effort into refining that process even further.

I am a pianist and I very much prefer ivory over plastic, but as citizen of this planet I cannot deny that the virtual genocide of elephants in Africa is an obscenity that must be countered with every available means. I am willing to deal with the loss of ivory on my keyboard, and if the piano industries put in the attention to refining synthetic ivory I am confident that a reasonable success can be achieved.

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Jonathan Baker] #2331115
09/26/14 02:10 AM
09/26/14 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
Perhaps this is a subject more appropriately directed to the technicians forum since they may have specific insights of interest.
Having said that, I have noticed that some higher end digital pianos make plastic keys with subtle groove patterns that mimic the same patterns of real ivory, and they do a pretty good job of it. I would hopefully suggest that the piano industries put some extra effort into refining that process even further.

I am a pianist and I very much prefer ivory over plastic, but as citizen of this planet I cannot deny that the virtual genocide of elephants in Africa is an obscenity that must be countered with every available means. I am willing to deal with the loss of ivory on my keyboard, and if the piano industries put in the attention to refining synthetic ivory I am confident that a reasonable success can be achieved.


The trouble with that is, some of these draconian laws and regulations also criminalize imitation ivory.

South Africa has too many elephants. The government there is using birth control on them. Hard to believe, but it was on PBS. So "virtual genocide" is just advocacy spin.



-- J.S.

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Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2331152
09/26/14 07:12 AM
09/26/14 07:12 AM
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In the piano industry there really is no argument from any corner to advocate the use of ivory on new pianos and the industry has not used ivory on new pianos in decades. That being said the appeal of ivory to pianists is that of a tactile feel and moisture absorption rather than any visual or decorative aspect.

I have seen and felt some of the new mineral plastic keys and I feel that those are a very close approximation of the feel that some pianists like. The current crop of professional pianists have not played on ivory in a concert setting since the pianos of the late 80's.

Despite the conflicting numbers coming out of Africa that report either an over population or dire near extinction levels of elephant herds, I can't see any circumstance where ivory would ever return to current piano production.

The issue here is what will happen if these regulations go unchecked with rules that are so broad as to adversely affect the movement and repair of existing ivory pianos.

The possibility does in fact exist that old pianos with yellowed plastic could be mistaken for ivory by inspectors that can't tell the difference. That is why look alike materials are being included in this ban. The inclusion of mammoth ivory in both New York and New Jersey as a banned material is a perfect example since mammoths are not obviously not on the endangered species list.


Sally Phillips
Owner/ Technician
Piano Perfect, LLC
Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
www.steinwaypiano.com
Acoustic Piano Technical Consultant - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/07a-should-i-have-my-piano-rebuilt.html
Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: JohnSprung] #2331181
09/26/14 09:40 AM
09/26/14 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

South Africa has too many elephants. The government there is using birth control on them. Hard to believe, but it was on PBS. So "virtual genocide" is just advocacy spin.


OK - I have read more on the matter, imminent extinction is not the immediate issue - poaching is.

http://www.pnas.org/content/111/36/13117.full

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Jonathan Baker] #2331203
09/26/14 10:49 AM
09/26/14 10:49 AM
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Maybe I missed this point in the discussions above. What happens to the ivory of elephants that have died of natural causes?

Is there some legal, moral, or other reason why this ivory is not harvested, and not just discarded?


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Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2331211
09/26/14 11:12 AM
09/26/14 11:12 AM
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Ivory from animals that die from natural causes cannot be distinguished from that from poached animals. So any market for ivory is a market for poached ivory.


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Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2331250
09/26/14 01:29 PM
09/26/14 01:29 PM
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BDB is correct. No distinction exists between ivory from a poached elephant and one that dies from natural causes. I've tried to take the stance that I have no way of verifying arguments on either side that claim that elephants are indeed endangered or that they are not endangered. I really don't think that ivory needs to be on pianos anyway.

I just feel that the piano industry is being unfairly included in this regulation and that the agency that will have to enforce it will not have the people or skills to identify ivory properly. Since no new pianos have ivory it is simply an expensive exercise that will add costs to the manufacturer, dealer and piano owners and nothing good will come of it.


Sally Phillips
Owner/ Technician
Piano Perfect, LLC
Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
www.steinwaypiano.com
Acoustic Piano Technical Consultant - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/07a-should-i-have-my-piano-rebuilt.html
Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2341055
10/24/14 02:47 PM
10/24/14 02:47 PM
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Sorry all, I posted a reply to an older topic before I saw this one. Not sure why this one didn't come up in my search. At any rate, here's what I said in my other post:

" Has anyone got any recent news about this? Sorry if I pulled an older post but it was the newest post I could find on the search. I also couldn't find any news on the net that was newer than June, and none of it seemed suggest any change on this madness. Have they fixed this issue yet? If not, what are the current impacts that people are experiencing in the industry? Are priceless antique and vintage instruments being destroyed over this?"

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2341080
10/24/14 03:42 PM
10/24/14 03:42 PM
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Sally Phillips is currently meeting with the President's Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking...

She's been a real trooper and an advocate for the piano industry, or at least the dealers, rebuilders, techs and owners of older pianos with legal ivory; and all on her own time and her own dime. She said she would report back and let us know how the meetings went.

Rick


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Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2341102
10/24/14 04:29 PM
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Rick, thank you for the response! Sally is indeed a real trooper! Kudos. Bless people such as her! I personally just found out about this (yes I'm a hermit) so I have to say this was rather shocking to me when I read some of the articles on the web. I can maybe understand the importation ban, under certain circumstances, cause I see their point that it would be hard to tell if it was always on the item or not, but ivory already in the county? Goofy. That animal is gone, and has been gone of this earth for years. And so is that tree, that plant, etc. etc. Sunk cost... move on. I went to Tomas Jefferson's home once and they said that some of the species of wood used in the flooring was now extinct... so there you have it. Sunk cost.... move on.

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2341136
10/24/14 06:36 PM
10/24/14 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Sally Phillips ... all on her own time and her own dime.


Could we set something up here -- maybe a PayPal thing -- to help her out with air fare and hotels? I'll open with $100.



-- J.S.

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Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: JohnSprung] #2341138
10/24/14 06:42 PM
10/24/14 06:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 24
T
thetruthseeker Offline
Full Member
thetruthseeker  Offline
Full Member
T

Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 24
I'd second that wink I mean, c'mon.... people like Sally are trying to bring some sense in this world... and we need LOTS of it today! Right? Gots me a paypal so... smile

Last edited by thetruthseeker; 10/24/14 06:46 PM.
Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: Rickster] #2341145
10/24/14 07:11 PM
10/24/14 07:11 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 636
Columbus, GA
S
S. Phillips Offline
500 Post Club Member
S. Phillips  Offline
500 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 636
Columbus, GA
Well, as a matter of fact I was in Washington last week for the meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.

No surprise. This all takes a very long time.

It was a very interesting meeting. I had the chance to speak personally with members of the Council, and with Craig Hoover, the head of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Conservation branch, attorneys for NAMM, and the League of American Orchestras.

I will post the minutes of the meeting when they are published. It was a very productive meeting and the one announcement which I believe will be important is that the Advisory Council recommended that the service establish a de minimus rule. That means if they take the Advisory Council's advice, that there will be an amount of ivory (which has not been established yet) which will eliminate items that fall below that number. There will probably also be some requirement that the owner be able to prove the age. Cross your fingers that number will be high enough to eliminate pianos.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has pushed back the date of the publication of the rules until after the first of the year. That is why we haven't heard anything since June. I do appreciate all their work in trying to talk with stakeholders to figure out what is realistic. I think this is a lot more complicated than anyone who conceived of this ivory ban ever dreamed.

I brought up all the reasons why pianos should not be included, with the obvious main point being that the piano industry has not been involved at all in ivory poaching or smuggling and that no new pianos use ivory. I also have concerns about the basic transportation issue that would have a domino effect on companies who transport pianos across state lines.

It is an eye opening experience to realize that most of the general public think that pianos still use ivory keys. I suppose it is easy to think that when there are so many rebuilt pianos that look almost new out there with their original ivory keys. Anyway it was a really interesting opportunity to be able to voice an opinion from the piano industry.

So….to be continued. Sometime in 2015.


Sally Phillips
Owner/ Technician
Piano Perfect, LLC
Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
www.steinwaypiano.com
Acoustic Piano Technical Consultant - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/07a-should-i-have-my-piano-rebuilt.html
Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... [Re: S. Phillips] #2341187
10/24/14 10:00 PM
10/24/14 10:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 838
K
Karl Watson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Karl Watson  Offline
500 Post Club Member
K

Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 838
I suspect that we are all in your debt, in some kind or another, and probably to a greater extent in the days to come.

Thank you, Sally.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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