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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: jcgee88] #2742813
06/07/18 11:29 AM
06/07/18 11:29 AM
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Maryland, USA
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Originally Posted by jcgee88
My 1922 Steinway Model O's original logo-ing was decidedly unimpressive. The fallboard had a 4" long logo, which consisted of an image of a small lyre and underneath that the words "Steinway & Sons" in a small font. There was no decal on the soundboard.

After restoration by Steinway Restoration Center in NYC, the fallboard has a glorious Steinway decal. But the soundboard? Nothing.

John


Recent production Steinways don't have soundboard decals anyway. I don't know how long ago they started (not) doing this, but neither of mine has it. Both have the original soundboards.

There are definitely buyers of Steinway who care for these logos; I suspect Steinway does this to discourage rebuilding outside their own facility.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: jcgee88] #2742816
06/07/18 11:35 AM
06/07/18 11:35 AM
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Goshen, Indiana
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Originally Posted by jcgee88
My 1922 Steinway Model O's original logo-ing was decidedly unimpressive. The fallboard had a 4" long logo, which consisted of an image of a small lyre and underneath that the words "Steinway & Sons" in a small font. There was no decal on the soundboard.

After restoration by Steinway Restoration Center in NYC, the fallboard has a glorious Steinway decal. But the soundboard? Nothing.

John


I would agree, the newer 'Steinway & Sons' fallboard decal is (in my opinion) much nicer than the smaller ones they were applying during the early to mid-20th century.

On another related subject, it is interesting how haphazard Steinway's 'officially' rebuilt pianos are in regards to their logo-ing. For example, they have a 1967 Model B for sale on their site with a Victorian style fallboard decal and an early soundboard decal applied. The cynical side of me thinks they are doing this deliberately, in order to differentiate their 'restored' products from their new production.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2742825
06/07/18 12:07 PM
06/07/18 12:07 PM
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The wrong soundboard decal on a piano could be a violation of the royal warrant.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Retsacnal] #2742841
06/07/18 01:02 PM
06/07/18 01:02 PM
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Wisconsin, USA
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I wonder if Steinway sells replacement fallboards?

On a serious note, I had a feeling that this was a serious effort to put the kibosh on Steinway rebuilding. Of course, Steinway has every right to protect their trademarks.

There are always loopholes, though. For example, I can't imagine that it would violate a trademark to accurately label something. I could see something like this:


STEINWAY & SONS
Model B, Manufactured in Astoria, New York, 1955
Restored by ClavioCraft, Washington, DC 2018



Or perhaps a "museum quality" engraved metal plaque on the fallboard with the same info.

Surely it can't be illegal to restore something.

Perhaps the logos can be restored by hand, with appropriate colored paints. If you had a logo and name before the restoration, then you ought to be able to preserve or restore it. Right?

Of course, I'm not a lawyer.

I've seen hackneyed refinish jobs, where people didn't know they could get a new decal, and have left a rectangular shape around the original decal unstripped. Perhaps a logo could be more painstakingly salvaged in this way, but up close, right up to the edge of the lettering. I'm not sure how spraying poly over old varnish or lacquer might work, but ...

Another option, of course, is to just rebuild pianos without refinishing them. Personally, I like an aged finish on a piano.



I totally agree with you. If the decals were easily available wouldn't it lead to more counterfeit Steinways? Shouldn't they only be made available to technicians certified by Steinway to rebuild their pianos?

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; 06/07/18 01:05 PM.

Bösendorfer 170
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Lakeviewsteve] #2742850
06/07/18 02:02 PM
06/07/18 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve
I totally agree with you. If the decals were easily available wouldn't it lead to more counterfeit Steinways? Shouldn't they only be made available to technicians certified by Steinway to rebuild their pianos?


The only problem with this is that according to Steinway, NO ONE ELSE is authorize to rebuild their pianos. I don't see them "authorizing" anyone else to do it, no matter how high the quality of the work and materials.

Last edited by GC13; 06/07/18 02:03 PM.
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Lakeviewsteve] #2742854
06/07/18 02:08 PM
06/07/18 02:08 PM
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Goshen, Indiana
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Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve

I totally agree with you. If the decals were easily available wouldn't it lead to more counterfeit Steinways? Shouldn't they only be made available to technicians certified by Steinway to rebuild their pianos?


What is the definition of a 'counterfeit' Steinway? Therein lies the ongoing battle between piano rebuilder and Steinway corporate.

Last edited by BenjaminR; 06/07/18 02:08 PM.

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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: ando] #2742858
06/07/18 02:54 PM
06/07/18 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
It's all very tedious. As a company, Steinway strikes me as simultaneously arrogant and insecure.



Precisely. Speaking only for myself, it's off-putting. Of course, their whole cachet based marketing scheme is off-putting to me.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2742879
06/07/18 05:20 PM
06/07/18 05:20 PM
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Some states have "right to repair" laws on the books and some other states have "right to repair" laws being legislated. These are geared towards companies such as Apple, John Deere and other who apparently go to great lengths to stop main street type repair shops from working on their products. I don't see any difference in this and Steinway trying to interrupt the rebuild business by trying to keep their labels out of the hands of rebuilders, IF this is indeed what Steinway is trying to do.

If so, then perhaps it's time to contact your legislators, both on the state and national level. Why should I have to send my piano back to Steinway just to get it refinished?

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2742898
06/07/18 07:08 PM
06/07/18 07:08 PM
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While I too join the chorus of those criticizing Steinway's many marketing ploys,

However I must admit, as a marketing consultant specializing on marketing pianos in North America, I only wish I could claim to be the creator of Steinway's marketing over the past 100 years.

A real pain in the ass....but none the less brilliant.

You gotta hand it to them.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2742906
06/07/18 08:06 PM
06/07/18 08:06 PM
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I would expect if suddenly stickers became unavailable in the states this would spawn businesses overseas where they really don't care about copyright laws. The same countries that would sell you and authentic Rolex watch for about $20.

Mike


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Steve Cohen] #2742909
06/07/18 08:25 PM
06/07/18 08:25 PM
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Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
While I too join the chorus of those criticizing Steinway's many marketing ploys,

However I must admit, as a marketing consultant specializing on marketing pianos in North America, I only wish I could claim to be the creator of Steinway's marketing over the past 100 years.

A real pain in the ass....but none the less brilliant.

You gotta hand it to them.


There might be some aspects of brilliance at Steinway, but this particular aspect is not: In fact, I don't think it even fits under the banner of marketing. It's intimidatory, anti-competitive, and according to DanS' post above, possibly even illegal (right to repair, restraint of trade etc).

One thing's for sure, if I ever get my inherited Steinway K refinished, I will not be sending it across the Pacific Ocean to have Steinway apply one of their fancy stickers. I will source one myself. They don't even have a refurbishing centre on my continent. I think that exemplifies the silliness of all this.

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2742910
06/07/18 08:42 PM
06/07/18 08:42 PM
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Steinway owns their trademarks, and can decide how they can be used. We do not know at this point whether Steinway will opt to offer decals in the future, or make a deal with another supplier.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2742919
06/07/18 10:43 PM
06/07/18 10:43 PM
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Image a similar scenario, but in the automotive field..

You buy a early 70s Camaro that is completely trashed. You rebuild the engine, have the interior redone, exterior painted; a 100% restoration job. HOWEVER, you can't get any of the decals or emblems because Chevrolet won't allow them to be sold. You COULD have sent your car back to Chevrolet to have the work done, and then you'd be able to have the decals and emblems. However, Chevrolet doesn't want to sell these decals or emblems to the public. Why?

Are they afraid that people might be restoring Ford Mavericks and putting Z28 decals on them? How much money could they possible be losing to this sort of scam? "We'll I was going to buy a brand new car, but I bought this 40 year old restored Maverick that I thought was a Camaro..." That person was not about buy a brand new Camero!

More likely, the reason why has more to do with too much competition with restored Camaros. They'd probably even start a campaign calling any Camero not restored by Chevrolet a CamerNO. I bet Chevy would receive more than a few Cease and Desist letters if they did!!

I can't image the automotive industry trying to get away with only allowing their cars to be worked on by dealerships. (As I stated in an earlier post, VW lost a Class Action Lawsuit because you could only get replacement keys from dealerships). However, it seems some industries are trying to move in this direction. Hopefully this isn't what Steinway is trying to do.

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2742921
06/07/18 10:47 PM
06/07/18 10:47 PM
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Once a piano is out of warranty, Steinway has very no right to control what a piano owner does with their piano, or what a piano technician does, or what a refinisher does.

Since it is generally recognized in the industry that the greatest competition for new Steinway's is used Steinway's; when Steinway acts to restrict it's competition from serving their clients they must be very cautious. The fine piano market may be considered a bit of a monopoly, especially concert grands. Once an actor in a market niche achieves monopoly status the rules regarding how that actor may operate become full of restrictions. Especially since Steinway operates a full rebuild shop in addition to making new pianos.

Actions Steinway takes to reduce competition by restricting how technicians/rebuilders serve their clients or ready used Steinway's for the market can have restraint of trade issues. If one loses a restraint of trade tort, the damages are tripled.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: DanS] #2742977
06/08/18 07:29 AM
06/08/18 07:29 AM
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It's called intellectual property. They are protecting theirs.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: GC13] #2742978
06/08/18 07:31 AM
06/08/18 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by GC13
Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve
I totally agree with you. If the decals were easily available wouldn't it lead to more counterfeit Steinways? Shouldn't they only be made available to technicians certified by Steinway to rebuild their pianos?


The only problem with this is that according to Steinway, NO ONE ELSE is authorize to rebuild their pianos. I don't see them "authorizing" anyone else to do it, no matter how high the quality of the work and materials.


I agree and think you hit the nail on the head.


Bösendorfer 170
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: BDB] #2742982
06/08/18 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Steinway owns their trademarks, and can decide how they can be used. We do not know at this point whether Steinway will opt to offer decals in the future, or make a deal with another supplier.


Maybe we'll see Steinway offer decals for sale to technicians and rebuilders (probably at a higher price!) once the relationship with Decals Unlimited ends this Fall. They sell just about everything else -- minus items like soundboards. Maybe they'll require a serial number or something as proof to try to verify that the decal is truly going on a Steinway instrument. Just thinking out-loud here.

Maybe these are ideas that could be presented to Steinway in the event that the decals are truly unavailable to independent rebuilders once the relationship between Steinway and Decals Unlimited expires.

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: GC13] #2743039
06/08/18 11:46 AM
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Even the fact that they do not sell soundboards may not be because they do not want to, but because they feel their process of installation is part of the authentic soundboard, and they cannot guarantee that someone else will be able to duplicate it.

Apple has trouble with people going to third parties to replace iPhone screens. The unauthorized replacement screens then stop working when Apple updates the software, and people claim that Apple is keeping them from going someplace else to get their phones fixed. Well, that ends up with Apple being blamed for what other people do, and that is really not their responsibility. They have to revise their software for other people's mistakes, and that ends up costing everyone who buys their products more.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Lakeviewsteve] #2743057
06/08/18 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I wonder if Steinway sells replacement fallboards?

On a serious note, I had a feeling that this was a serious effort to put the kibosh on Steinway rebuilding. Of course, Steinway has every right to protect their trademarks.

There are always loopholes, though. For example, I can't imagine that it would violate a trademark to accurately label something. I could see something like this:


STEINWAY & SONS
Model B, Manufactured in Astoria, New York, 1955
Restored by ClavioCraft, Washington, DC 2018



Or perhaps a "museum quality" engraved metal plaque on the fallboard with the same info.

Surely it can't be illegal to restore something.

Perhaps the logos can be restored by hand, with appropriate colored paints. If you had a logo and name before the restoration, then you ought to be able to preserve or restore it. Right?

Of course, I'm not a lawyer.

I've seen hackneyed refinish jobs, where people didn't know they could get a new decal, and have left a rectangular shape around the original decal unstripped. Perhaps a logo could be more painstakingly salvaged in this way, but up close, right up to the edge of the lettering. I'm not sure how spraying poly over old varnish or lacquer might work, but ...

Another option, of course, is to just rebuild pianos without refinishing them. Personally, I like an aged finish on a piano.



I totally agree with you. If the decals were easily available wouldn't it lead to more counterfeit Steinways? Shouldn't they only be made available to technicians certified by Steinway to rebuild their pianos?


I wasn't really thinking of counterfeits, and doubt they put much of a dent in Steinway's business.

I'm in the camp that would like to see rebuilders and refinishers able to authentically label the pianos that they refinish. However, like I and others have noted, these are legitimately Steinway's trademarks, and I believe they have the right to protect them.

Again, I'm not a lawyer, and the law can be a complex thing.

Above it was made clear that Decals Unlimited (DU) is losing their license to produce these decals. That's already an acknowledgement that they don't have the right to produce them without permission. Neither does anyone else.

Legalzoom has some interesting articles about trademark infringement, and avoiding it. That's where I got the idea above about specifically labeling the work. On the surface, it doesn't seem wrong to re-label something with the label that it already had. But who has the right to produce the trademark?

I wouldn't want to be the first person in line for a lawsuit with the defense of "I used to buy these from DU, and now I'm making them myself." Steinway will likely crush them like a bug. Clearly, DU can't produce the trademark without permission, and neither can any one else. Even if someone claims it's "free." "I'm charging to refinish the piano, but the decal is 'free'," it'd likely be ruled a quid-pro-quo part of the deal. I mean, who wants a Steinway that doesn't say "Steinway?"

Again, it would seem reasonable to reapply a Steinway decal when refinishing a Steinway. After all, if it was a Steinway before it was refinished, then it's a Steinway after it's refinished. At least to normal people. But, as others have pointed out, Steinway operates their own restoration shop, and they can argue that when others rebuild or refinish Steinways, and apply an exact replica of a Steinway decal, that it confuses potential buyers, who might think it's an actual Steinway rebuild when it's not. And they have a long history of claiming that only they can authentically rebuild a Steinway. And don't forget that they were able to prohibit Grotrian-Steinweg from using "Steinweg," claiming it confused Steinway costumers, when it's not even spelled the same way.

Anyway, that's why I suggested embellishing the label with "accurate" information. My gut feeling is that accurately and authentically relabeling it as to what it is is a reasonable use (or what they call "functional"), and that specifically adding that it was rebuilt/restored/refinished by someone else nullifies the "confusion" argument.

My gut feeling is that even something this simple would be reasonable:


STEINWAY & SONS
Restored by Funningham, Filadelphia, PA 2018


Or, even put the "Restored by..." label on the lower right of the fallboard, where they put the "Designed by..." label.

But, again, I'm not a lawyer. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I'm rooting for the rebuilders.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2743059
06/08/18 02:14 PM
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If I owned S&S, and if it was clear that there is a lot of value in the trademark (must be true since no other company’s restored 100 yo pianos fetch anywhere near as much), and if I was a hard nosed capitalist, I would:

1. Stop selling Steinway parts to non Steinway certified technicians
2. Stop selling Steinway decals to non Steinway certified technicians
3. Have strict guidelines about using Steinway parts by the Steinway certified technicians
4. Charge a few grand a year to technicians to maintain certified status
5. Start marketing against old pianos not restored by Steinway certified technicians


It’s just good business. If restored Steinways become more rare and expensive, more prestige in the brand. Win-win.

I’ve read somewhere that in Germany, if a piano has its sound board replaced, it is no longer considered the same piano, so the name on the fallboard must removed. I’m sure S&S’s owners might also think that’s a good idea. Maybe they will get a law passed in their favor as well.

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