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Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory...

Posted By: Rickster

Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/09/14 11:51 AM

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."
Posted By: Rickster

Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, - 09/09/14 11:52 AM

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>
Posted By: Rickster

Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, - 09/09/14 11:54 AM

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.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, - 09/09/14 11:56 AM

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.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, - 09/09/14 12:08 PM

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
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/09/14 12:09 PM

By Sally Phillips:

There have been many articles about this. People just don't see this on their radar unless it concerns them directly.

"Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2...increased-risk/

http://www.spectator.co.uk/life/long-lif...g-of-elephants/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/arts/design/new-limits-on-ivory-sales-set-off-wide-concerns.html

http://www.vindy.com/news/2014/jun/29/there-should-be-exemptions-to-us-ban-on-/ "
Posted By: Jonathan Baker

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/26/14 03:49 AM

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.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/26/14 06:10 AM

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.

Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/26/14 11:12 AM

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.
Posted By: Jonathan Baker

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/26/14 01:40 PM

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
Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/26/14 02:49 PM

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?
Posted By: BDB

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/26/14 03:12 PM

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.
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/26/14 05:29 PM

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.
Posted By: thetruthseeker

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/24/14 06:47 PM

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?"
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/24/14 07:42 PM

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
Posted By: thetruthseeker

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/24/14 08:29 PM

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.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/24/14 10:36 PM

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.

Posted By: thetruthseeker

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/24/14 10:42 PM

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
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/24/14 11:11 PM

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.
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/25/14 02:00 AM

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
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/25/14 09:39 AM

I am not by any means the only person there voicing our concerns. Ashley Turner, the president of the DC area PTG chapter was there as well as representatives from organ builders and others. Many people representing musicians have been working tirelessly to bring their concerns to Washington. My concern and the reason that I felt I had to help would be the affect on piano owners, dealers, and universities.

I just kept bringing up the unforeseen downside of this proposed legislation. After all, institutions wouldn't even be able to get out of state bids on purchases if they were trying to trade in old ivory pianos in a multi state market unless the institution takes off all the ivory before the arrangement is made to purchase new pianos. If those pianos are still in service the timing would be extremely difficult. You might not think this would be a problem but several years ago when an Ohio school traded in all their old pianos, over 40 of them still had ivory keys.

The most pressing concern is the upcoming date in January when the New Jersey law takes effect. There is no exemption for musical instruments or antiques and no description as to percentage or weight. This means no ivory pianos at all can be bought, sold or traded. This law was passed and signed in August and residents have 6 months to get rid of their ivory or they will be keeping it forever. Private owners can still have their pianos keys changed of course but that would have to be done before the trade in.

Now conservationists are working hard to get California to enact the same legislation. They have a very weak law in place that doesn't have enough teeth in it to give law enforcement the ability to enforce so there is a big push to get that changed.

Posted By: thetruthseeker

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/25/14 01:03 PM

Sally, I want to thank you for your hard work on this. I also want to thank everyone else who is trying to sway the maddness of these types of laws. Have those who want to pass laws such as this even considered HOW they plan to enforce such laws? Laws that are too strict are virtually unenforceable, and often times create black markets thereby actually helping the industry they're trying to destroy...

"There will probably also be some requirement that the owner be able to prove the age." - Exactly how would someone go about doing this? Carbon dating? I mean, this entire notion of attacking ivory that is already in this country, no matter what its used for, is folly and will put undo burden on a multitude of industries and will certainly create black markets and "under the table" deals. Just like in the 20's during prohibition. But it differs in that they are actually punishing people and industries that had nothing at all to do with it to begin with. Like crying over spilt milk, and you didn't even spill the milk, but they want to make you clean it up - at your expense! I just can't even understand that way of thinking. Who comes up with this stuff?

So, if someone owns a Strad. Violin worth about 6 million bucks, and they live in NJ, they must rip off whatever ivory that was put there by Antonio himself some 400 years ago if they want to sell it? Amazing... I cannot even begin to think of how insane that would be, and I would never have the heart to do it.
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/25/14 01:56 PM

I'm just thankful that the enforcement issue is a factor. The Washington Post printed an in-depth article the next day on the problem.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...6-fe42-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html

With all the real live problems they are trying to solve, chasing after old pianos crossing state lines will seem daunting. At least as far as the age of the piano goes, it is pretty obvious that it is old if it even has ivory. You should have seen the first salvo by the conservationists. They wanted anyone with ivory to be able to verify the species, the port of entry, the date of importation etc. Now I'm just hoping that they will accept a serial number if the original manufacturer is out of business.

Posted By: BDB

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/25/14 02:48 PM

The problem is that they are concentrating on musical instruments. There are lots of other things that contain ivory, and the documentation of them is even poorer than it is with pianos. As I pointed out, if the burden of proof is to show that no undocumentable ivory is in something that is sold, that should kill the art market entirely.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/26/14 08:42 AM

Originally Posted by thetruthseeker
- Exactly how would someone go about doing this? Carbon dating?


No, the half life of C14 is in the neighborhood of 2500 years, IIRC. It wouldn't be accurate enough for the short terms we're in need of -- a few decades to maybe a century.

Posted By: RickG1

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 10/29/14 06:35 PM

Sally, thanks for doing the "Lord's Work".
Posted By: Little_Blue_Engine

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 11/25/14 01:12 AM

I've been away from the forum for a while and finding out about this has got my panties in a knot. The government is doing such a good job of getting me peeved already and now they're working on making my 120-year-old piano into contraband. Lovely...
Posted By: Bob Newbie

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 11/26/14 06:39 PM

I liked him when he said "get the heck off the beach" but now I think he's just making a blanket
law involving all ivory and doesn't want to be involved with specifics(old piano keys)
so a "get the heck off the beach" approach here just doesn't work in this case,
its a make work project, just like the lead paint abatement removal stuff for pre 1979 homes...
just my 2 cents..
Posted By: mahermusic

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 12/11/14 03:36 AM

Originally Posted by RickG1
Sally, thanks for doing the "Lord's Work".


lord's Work??? What does that even mean?
Posted By: Roger Ransom

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 12/11/14 12:07 PM

Originally Posted by mahermusic
Originally Posted by RickG1
Sally, thanks for doing the "Lord's Work".


lord's Work??? What does that even mean?


+1
Posted By: gynnis

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 12/11/14 12:29 PM

Isn't dealing with politicians who are trying to look like they are doing something important FUN?
Posted By: harpon

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 01/12/15 06:36 PM

Offensive and off topic post deleted. To the poster: if you were trying to be funny, you weren't. Consider yourself warned.
Posted By: harpon

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/02/15 03:42 AM

ridiculous- classic gilda radner- and it was funny. not vulgar or slanderous in any way. And I've studied such things- I have a degree in journalism.

Posted By: iLaw

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/06/15 05:52 PM

Sally and/or anyone else who might be interested, do you want a copy of the "African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015" (underlining added) that Don Young introduced in the House this week?

Larry.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/06/15 06:10 PM

Originally Posted by iLaw
Sally and/or anyone else who might be interested, do you want a copy of the "African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015" (underlining added) that Don Young introduced in the House this week?

Larry.


Larry, is this legislation we should support or oppose? Roughly what does it say?


Thanks----
Posted By: Guapo Gabacho

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/06/15 06:24 PM

Sentiment of some seems to not favor piano owners:

"So that leaves one final hope: ban all sales of ivory. End the ivory trade -- all of it, including antique pieces and tusks that were created when trade was legal. Ban it unequivocally, permanently and immediately -- and start here in the United States. Let 2015 be the year that legislative bodies across the U.S. and the world declare that no piano key or domino is more valuable to us than the fate of the world's great creatures."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/viveca-morris/ban-ivory-sales-now-all-o_b_6576656.html
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/06/15 10:07 PM

First the Huffington Post article that calls for banning all ivory old and new is sadly what is wrong with all of this. They again incorrectly include pianos in being responsible for the current slaughter of elephants. In my conversations with conservationists they almost uniformly thought that currently elephants are being killed for ivory keys. That of course is wrong.

The legislation attempting to stop all enforcement is the polar opposite of the Huffington Post perspective. I do think that in my conversations with Fish and Wildlife that they were trying to come up with reasonable alternatives that would actually permit piano owners and owners of legally obtained ivory to continue to own, buy and sell those items especially if like pianos the ivory makes up a small percentage of the article.

I also think that just because of the enormity of trying to stop the sale/ movement of pianos across state lines that they will probably try to write the rules so that items that contain these small percentages or minimum weights of antique ivory will be exempted.

Although the conservationists are pressing the complete ban of ivory old and new, making it a moral issue to even own old ivory, it is clear that the bad actor here is China. Until China puts the brakes on ivory the elephants will continue to be killed.

I'm hoping the voice of reason will prevail but we won't know until the "rules" are published. The Fish and Wildlife website regarding the publication of the rules claims that they will be forthcoming in late 2014 which has already passed. So we are just waiting for that to happen.

Posted By: iLaw

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/06/15 10:29 PM

... to which I'll only add that any new legislation out of Congress would undoubtedly force a rewrite of the rules at Fish & Wildlife (which is an Executive Branch agency), and would probably force a rewrite at state levels (e.g. New Jersey and New York) as well because of the Supremacy Clause. The fact that a bill has been introduced in the House is a very early step along a very long path; it hasn't even gone to committee yet, which can be the elephant's graveyard of legislative proposals. But it will be worth watching.

Larry.
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/12/15 12:13 AM

Here is an update on the most recent news.

The New Jersey law is in force as of February 1, 2015. This means that no piano can be bought, sold or traded with ivory keys in the state of New Jersey. In addition to that piano technicians cannot replace ivory key tops or possess a stock of old ivory from old pianos. Technicians will have to send ivory repairs out of state and may not even be able to reinstall.

The big issue with rebuilders is that all their pianos with ivory in stock must have the ivory taken off and they won't be able to buy any pianos from out of state with the ivory in place.

I just got a call from an antique dealer today who bought a piano with ivory keys in Europe and didn't know that he couldn't import it. It was confiscated.. I can't imagine not knowing about the ivory issue but he said he didn't even think about the fact that the keys were ivory. He just liked the case work on an old Erard.



Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/12/15 01:15 AM

Sally,
Thanks for the update.

I think the only time they can confiscate is when you are importing. I don't think they have the authority to take a piano away from someone who already has it in their possession. It also would be very hard for them to enforce prohibition on sale of a piano with ivory because if charges were brought a defendant can always personally ask the jury from the witness stand to ignore the law under Jury Nullification.

But I don't know I am not an attorney.
Posted By: iLaw

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/12/15 02:25 AM

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

I think the only time they can confiscate is when you are importing. I don't think they have the authority to take a piano away from someone who already has it in their possession.


Under ordinary circumstances Customs & Border Protection can issue a Request for Redelivery (back into Customs' custody) up to 30 days after release to the importer. If the release to the importer was conditional, such as if it needs approval from Fish & Wildlife, the redelivery period can extend much longer.

Larry.
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/12/15 02:41 AM




Originally Posted by iLaw
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

I think the only time they can confiscate is when you are importing. I don't think they have the authority to take a piano away from someone who already has it in their possession.


Under ordinary circumstances Customs & Border Protection can issue a Request for Redelivery (back into Customs' custody) up to 30 days after release to the importer. If the release to the importer was conditional, such as if it needs approval from Fish & Wildlife, the redelivery period can extend much longer.

Larry.


That is good to know.
Posted By: R_B

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/12/15 11:25 AM

Not to pick at the details, but it would seem to me that the size/weight of the rest of the article shouldn't be a part of the equation - the AMOUNT of ivory should be the only factor.
I don't know how many tusks would be needed to make how many key sticks, but I suspect that it is a very selective and therefore quite wasteful process.

"...especially if like pianos the ivory makes up a small percentage of the article"
Hmmm, where the "article" is a key stick or the rest of a 12 ft grand ?

With all due respect, I think the quantity of ivory consumed INTO the manufacturing process is what would represent any "threat to the species".
Surrounding the ivory with several hundred pounds of wood and other materials is irrelevant.

I believe that any ivory currently in use should be allowed to stay in use and move freely, should also be allowed to be re-cycled.
Already harvested ivory doesn't pose a threat to living elephants, etc.
Some arbitrary but reasonable cut off date should be set.


Vaguely remembering a case of a violin player who's bow was confiscated at the Canadian border because it had an ivory "button" on it.
He wasn't "importing" it per se, merely traveling to a concert.

New Jersey;
Hmmm, it would seem that import agents will merely ship to holding locations in other States, then ship into NJ after 31 days.
There could be a side business for piano showrooms, rent some air conditioned humidity controlled space while keeping the showroom looking FULL without bearing the burden of carrying costs laugh
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/12/15 04:55 PM

Originally Posted by R_B
Not to pick at the details, but it would seem to me that the size/weight of the rest of the article shouldn't be a part of the equation - the AMOUNT of ivory should be the only factor.
I don't know how many tusks would be needed to make how many key sticks, but I suspect that it is a very selective and therefore quite wasteful process.

"...especially if like pianos the ivory makes up a small percentage of the article"
Hmmm, where the "article" is a key stick or the rest of a 12 ft grand ?

With all due respect, I think the quantity of ivory consumed INTO the manufacturing process is what would represent any "threat to the species".
Surrounding the ivory with several hundred pounds of wood and other materials is irrelevant.

I believe that any ivory currently in use should be allowed to stay in use and move freely, should also be allowed to be re-cycled.
Already harvested ivory doesn't pose a threat to living elephants, etc.
Some arbitrary but reasonable cut off date should be set.


Vaguely remembering a case of a violin player who's bow was confiscated at the Canadian border because it had an ivory "button" on it.
He wasn't "importing" it per se, merely traveling to a concert.

New Jersey;
Hmmm, it would seem that import agents will merely ship to holding locations in other States, then ship into NJ after 31 days.
There could be a side business for piano showrooms, rent some air conditioned humidity controlled space while keeping the showroom looking FULL without bearing the burden of carrying costs laugh


Just remember no elephant ivory is being used today by piano manufacturers. The only area of concern here is the ability to sell or trade an old piano with ivory. No American manufacturer has used ivory since 1956. No one in the industry is arguing for the use of recently harvested ivory so the sale of a 1920's era piano with ivory keys does not represent any threat to elephants.

The New Jersey law is unfortunate in that the implementation and enforcement will be very expensive in regards to pianos not only for the government but for the owners that can't get their pianos serviced. The New York law was written with exceptions described as percentages and weights will be considered in other states as these laws evolve.

What the opponents of these laws are trying to convey is that with pianos not only is the ivory that the government is banning old it is not the reason that people buy an older piano. They buy a Steinway or Mason & Hamlin because of the sound and performance. But because prior to plastic ivory was the only available material with the resistance to wear it was used as a key covering material. As soon as plastic became available piano companies got rid of ivory.

So just remember the Governments of these states are crafting these laws so that it will be illegal to sell or trade an OLD piano with ivory. No one in the piano industry is arguing to be able to reinstate ivory as a key covering material.
Posted By: R_B

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/13/15 01:05 PM

Thanks Sally,
I think the regulations are entirely unreasonable.
There seems to have been some weird disconnect (or false connect) between what was and what is.

Perhaps AT ONE TIME the demand for ivory WAS piano industry driven - but that shouldn't lead to unreasonable restrictions on the movement of what was harvested decades ago - IMO, etc.

Elephants were blamed for desertification somewhere... though I don't recall exactly where/when.
There was a huge government sponsored "culling" {polite euphemism for SLAUGHTER) and some time later the conservationists figured that they had been WRONG all along, elephants and other large animals actually ENRICH the eco-structure.

I suspect that there are piano owners/collectors who WANT new ivory key caps on old pianos as part of an "authentic" restoration - original materials, hide glue, etc.

BTW, how many horses ...never mind, there is a surplus horse population laugh


EDIT:
I found this;
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681518/...t-that-herds-of-cows-can-save-the-planet
:END EDIT
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/13/15 04:43 PM

In the past ivory craftsmen have been able to reclaim old ivory that was imported years ago to make ivory keytops for restoration but that will probably not be possible. Because the Federal regulations have not had the rules announced yet no one really knows what will happen.

One old tusk from someone's pre ban collection could restore 40-70 keyboards. I have spoken with these craftsmen who also do plastic keys and they are all in a sort of limbo about what to do. It has now been a year since the Federal announcement but the rules have never been announced.

Everyone is now relying on this chart. As you can see some allowances have been made for musical instruments but we really don't know what will happen. As you can see the chart says that the proposed rule is supposed to be published in late 2014 so right now we have no idea when it is really going to be announced.

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

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/13/15 11:37 PM

It's outrageous that sport-hunted trophies are exempt from these regulations.
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/14/15 03:05 AM

I don't understand that either but of course the rules have not been written yet. What we have now is a temporary situation that could all change very radically with the written rules.
Posted By: R_B

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/14/15 12:40 PM

I am sure that some will regard the "antique" definition of 100 years as too long.

I was surprised at the 40 to 70 keyboards per tusk estimate - just LOOKING at my (ALL plastic) keyboard it seems like a lot of area.
It probably depends how the tusk is cut and how much/little of the centre material is usable.
It may not be like having to quarter saw wood for particular applications vs being able to slab saw it for yield.
No matter, I'm wandering as I am wondering.

Thanks again Sally.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/15/15 02:14 AM

I think the reasoning for the "Trophy" hunting exemption is that these trophy kills are legally done to manage herd size in protected areas that the carrying capacity for elephants is pretty well worked out. They would most likely be Bulls because one bull can mate with many females.

I have been told the best ivory for keytops comes from female elephants because the central nerve is more symmetric than in male tusks. Thus a higher yield from each tusk.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/20/15 08:10 AM

Originally Posted by R_B
Some arbitrary but reasonable cut off date should be set.


1990. Ivory use in piano manufacturing ceased worldwide by 1990.

Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/21/15 02:11 AM

Using dates will be very difficult. Serial numbers of older instruments are not often found anywhere but the old Pierce Piano Atlas. It is really helpful and the only thing we have but is not really accurate enough for exact dates. The whole industry is especially confusing for non piano geeks because of the sale and resale of old piano firms, or their names for marketing reasons.

I think the only real solution will be a measurement of weight. They have to establish a maximum weight or just eliminate all musical instruments. Documenting to the satisfaction of the government any other way will always be difficult.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/24/15 05:07 PM


To use 1990 as the date, we'd only need to determine which makers existed at that time, and for each, determine the cutoff serial number. Probably two or three typewritten pages. Maybe also a list of makes that ceased production prior to 1990 -- The whole idea is that up to 1990 pianos are exempt, and thereafter they didn't use ivory, so enforcement gets very easy: just don't bother with pianos at all.

Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/07/15 02:15 AM

Here is the complete text of the California law. It seems to have an exemption for pianos that were made prior to 1975. That will cover everything except for European instruments made until 1990.

Those of you in California should at least make your objections known.. The keyboards on these later European pianos often had one piece ivory and does not have the telltale seam between the larger portion of the natural.

The owner must have documentation that proves that the piano was made before 1975. All of that will depend on what the State of California will accept. If the company is out of business the state might not find the older versions of the The Piano Atlas acceptable.
Posted By: Patrick Draine

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/07/15 02:55 AM

Hi Sally. I think you forgot a link to the text of the law? Looking forward to reading it.
Thanks,
Patrick
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/07/15 10:52 AM

Sorry about that.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_0051-0100/ab_96_bill_20150107_introduced.pdf
Posted By: RickG1

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/08/15 02:24 AM

Sally, Again, thanks for doing the Lord's work on this.
Posted By: AlexL

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/17/15 11:59 AM

I have just moved back to England from New Zealand. I had originally brought my ENGLISH piano made in ENGLAND to New Zealand 10 years ago. It was a 70-80 year old custom made(hence no serial number) grand piano with ivory keys and played beautifully. I was not allowed to bring it BACK TO ENGLAND because I could not prove it was old. Regardless of that, I could not find one removal company willing to take it on.

I ended up selling this piano I paid $12000 for in 1995 for $3000. It is heartbreaking. Now I don't have money to replace it and have to settle for an upright.

I am just a casualty of this new regulation.
Posted By: newbert

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/17/15 02:31 PM

Hmmm......Very interesting (and timely, for me) thread.

I have been offered (free of charge, other than moving costs) an antique (circa 1910) Fischer upright piano that has ivory keys. I am going to inspect it tomorrow. Of course, my main focus will be its overall condition, feel and sound. But this ivory issue perhaps introduces new considerations.

I live in New York State, and don't really expect to ever sell or trade the piano in the future (but you never know for sure).

Based upon the regulations discussed in this thread, would I just be acquiring a headache, in terms of a) keyboard repairability and b) legal issues?

Thanks.

Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/17/15 05:02 PM

Bert,

In theory you should be ok in New York State if you try to sell it but you will have to be able to prove the date of manufacture. My guess it that it has no real value anyway so trying to sell it will be futile in the future unless you have clear docs on the age or replace the ivory keys with plastic.

Either way I can't see spending the money to do so. If it is at all usable, just play it until it it is not. Most of these are just too worn and old to be of much use and they are not worth rebuilding. It will have zero value in the market anyway.

Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/17/15 05:11 PM

Alex,

So sad to hear of your experience. The issue that you had with the movers is one that I predict will come to light here. The movers don't want to have to deal with the regulators because of the documentation and the instances of seizure but also because their own personnel doesn't have the skill to properly identify whether it is ivory or not.

The simplest answer for them is to refuse to move a piano with questionable keys.

Of course we are still waiting for an announcement of the rules here in the US but several states now have their own conflicting laws.
Posted By: newbert

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/17/15 06:58 PM

Originally Posted by S. Phillips
Bert,

In theory you should be ok in New York State if you try to sell it but you will have to be able to prove the date of manufacture. My guess it that it has no real value anyway so trying to sell it will be futile in the future unless you have clear docs on the age or replace the ivory keys with plastic.

Either way I can't see spending the money to do so. If it is at all usable, just play it until it it is not. Most of these are just too worn and old to be of much use and they are not worth rebuilding. It will have zero value in the market anyway.



Thank you, Sally. I'm aware of it's low market value, but was wondering if I'd realistically be able to replace one of the ivory keys in the future, should the need ever arise....
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/18/15 11:37 AM

You may not be able to have a keytop replaced. It will depend on how they enforce and what guidelines NY will give to technicians. As I read it there is no exception for repairs, only for the sale of musical instruments containing ivory made before 1976. This is the problem with hastily passed state legislation.

There are too many questions and no concrete answers for industry professionals. For instance in the new California law they are not allowing anyone to give away ivory if it is part of an item to keep people from saying that they are selling the piano but giving away the keys.



Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 04/27/15 02:34 PM

On the front page of today's Seattle Times there is an article describing how Paul Allen is funding an initiative to the voters of Washington State regarding banning trading in exotic species.

The article says there are specific exemptions for musical instruments.
Posted By: Dale Fox

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 04/29/15 10:21 PM

Exotic species is a fairly undefined (broad brush) term. Any examples of what Paul thinks that the masses of ordinary people should be banned from having?
Posted By: rysowers

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 04/30/15 02:33 AM

Shouldn't piano tuners qualify as an "exotic species"? Our ears are regarded as powerful aphrodisiacs in some parts of the world! grin
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 04/30/15 02:50 AM

Dale,
I think you should be able to access the article at the Seattle Times website and get answers there. They listed a dozen or so endangered species and I can't remember them.

Ryan,
Just be careful what you stick in your ears!! You never know where or who they have been with in the past. Always practice "safe tuning".
Posted By: BDB

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 04/30/15 03:10 AM

What concerns me about these laws is that although they may exempt musical instruments, the situation for those of us who use salvaged ivory for repairs is unclear.
Posted By: bkw58

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 05/05/15 03:48 AM

Received an email from one who supplied reclaimed ivory to us for rebuilds and repairs in the past. It seems that the person has been informed that neither Etsy nor Ebay will allow these to be advertised through their sites henceforth even forever and ever. And so the individual is going direct.

I guess he didn't get the memo.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 07/09/15 02:32 AM

On my return trip from China July 3 I saw at the Bejing airport a very large poster with Yao Ming, (the basketball player), Prince William, (heir to the British Throne) and,(I think) James Franco, (actor), with an english script asking people to forgo Ivory. There was Chinese script as well but I can't decipher it.
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 07/26/15 03:16 PM

Really good news about Elephant Ivory and the US regulations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the proposed rule regarding the importation and sales of ivory. I still have to read all of this and pose some questions to the attorneys that I have been working with, but if this goes through without change the majority of issues will be resolved without affecting pianos.

The "de minimis" portion of the rule allows for small amounts of ivory that are included in a larger item. The date here is 1990 which will include pianos imported with ivory that were manufactured prior to that date. The amount of 200 grams will easily cover the weight of ivory on a piano.

http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/african-elephant-4d-proposed-rule-copy.pdf

Here is the excerpt pertaining to musical instruments:

We propose to allow sale and offer for sale of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce along with delivery, receipt, carrying, transport, or shipment of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity without a threatened species permit for manufactured items containing de minimis amounts of ivory, provided they meet the following criteria:
 For items located in the United States, the ivory was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990 (the date the African elephant was listed in CITES Appendix I) or was imported into the United States under a CITES pre-Convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use;
 For items located outside the United States, the ivory is pre-Convention (removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976 (the date the African elephant was first listed under CITES));
32
 The ivory is a fixed component or components of a larger manufactured item and is not, in its current form, the primary source of value of the item;
 The manufactured item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory;
 The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams;
 The ivory is not raw; and
 The item was manufactured before the effective date of the final rule for this action. We have included the phrase “in its current form” in the criterion stating that the ivory is
not the primary source of value of the item, to make clear that we would consider the value added by the craftsmanship (carving, etc.) that went into the ivory component, not just the value of the ivory itself. We use the phrase “wholly or primarily” (in the next criterion) as those terms are commonly defined in the dictionary. We consider “wholly” to mean “entirely, totally, altogether” and “primarily” to mean “essentially, mostly, chiefly, principally.” We have chosen 200 grams as the weight limit because we understand that this is the approximate maximum weight of the ivory veneer on a piano with a full set of ivory keys and that this quantity would also cover most other musical instruments with ivory trim or appointments. We also understand the 200-gram limit would cover a broad range of decorative and utilitarian objects containing small amounts of ivory (insulators on old tea pots, decorative trim on baskets, and knife handles, for example).
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 07/26/15 07:17 PM

Sally:
This reads like really good news - some reasonable, common sense, for a change.
Thanks so much for keeping us informed.
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 07/27/15 06:37 PM

Yes, this is good news. For the purposes of law enforcement, the instructions to officials in the field can be boiled down to two words: fuggedabout pianos.... ;-)

Posted By: bleak

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 07/27/15 07:16 PM

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
On my return trip from China July 3 I saw at the Bejing airport a very large poster with Yao Ming, (the basketball player), Prince William, (heir to the British Throne) and,(I think) James Franco, (actor), with an english script asking people to forgo Ivory. There was Chinese script as well but I can't decipher it.


Lang Lang, too.
Posted By: PaulMarentette

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/01/15 09:07 AM

Very glad to see this law worked oot in favour of honouring the legacy ivory usage, while reducing new/replacement ivory market. As you can tell by my comment, I'm in Canada eh. I don't think we have such restrictions on old ivory, but am curious to see.

I recently acquired this mid/late 1800's Colley & Co. square grand, which I would assume used ivory.

Can anyone confirm from these pics if this is ivory?
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Posted By: bleak

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/01/15 10:57 PM

It's ivory.
Posted By: terminaldegree

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/02/15 12:55 AM

Thanks for keeping us informed, and I'm happy to read some (mostly) good news for piano owners. Sally worked really hard, behind the scenes, trying to educate officials about an industry they simply didn't understand.
Posted By: bill5

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/03/15 04:27 PM

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.

Exactly.

I wrote my Congressmen and said BRAVO.

Posted By: massave

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/03/15 09:58 PM

"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 just hope this doesn't confuse regulators or movers in the future!
Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/03/15 10:07 PM

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.

Not quite sure I agree here. Modern companies like Yamaha and others have had ample time to research and engineer something akin to "synthetic ivory", and the result (like Ivorite) has the tactile properties of ivory but not the inconsistencies and minor flaws of the real thing.

I have discussed this with several professional pianists, and they agree that the only reason ivory was ever used as piano keys is that there wasn't anything better to use 100-200 years ago. Now that there is, artificially adding things like grooves to simulate a surface that was less than ideal in the first place is not preferred, at least in their view.
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/04/15 05:15 AM

and when you refer to professional pianists, could you be a bit more specific ?
I actually remember when the Astoria Steinway Ds in the concert department started to be equipped with their especially slippery synthetic material. The professional pianists I know, some now retired, many having passed to their reward, were very upset. These are pianists with vast international reputations. To suggest that they preferred the new stuff over ivory is just silly.
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/04/15 11:56 AM

Originally Posted by Karl Watson
To suggest that they preferred the new stuff over ivory is just silly.
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

I never suggested anything of the sort. The professionals I referred to are both in their 30's. They have had limited exposure to ivory of varying conditions, and their feelings toward at least some of the new synthetic surfaces are quite positive.

As to what your older, retired, or deceased pianist friends would feel about the variety of new surfaces out there I haven't the foggiest idea, and never said as much.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/04/15 04:36 PM

As an older not quite deceased pianist, I'm OK with the various substitutes and with real ivory. What I'm not
OK with is busybodies with too much spare time trying to use big government to attack the owners of old pianos.

Posted By: bleak

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/04/15 04:55 PM

Of course, the only reason plastic is used now is because there is nothing better to use.
Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/05/15 12:01 AM

Originally Posted by JohnSprung
As an older not quite deceased pianist, I'm OK with the various substitutes and with real ivory. What I'm not
OK with is busybodies with too much spare time trying to use big government to attack the owners of old pianos.

+1 with a bullet
Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/05/15 12:10 AM

Originally Posted by bleak
Of course, the only reason plastic is used now is because there is nothing better to use.

I think to call some of the synthetic ivory products plastic is an oversimplification.

But it brings up a good point. Is there a product out there that:

1) Has the tactile properties of real ivory
2) Can be obtained ethically
3) Has a consistent surface feel
4) Has the physical properties to be durable, and not subject to cracking or discoloration.

My guess is that for high-end pianos where there are no compromises in terms of materials or craftsmanship, the key surfaces they are using are not a cheap plastic substitute for ivory.
Posted By: bleak

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/05/15 12:53 AM

Originally Posted by BrianDX

I think to call some of the synthetic ivory products plastic is an oversimplification.


Don't get offended - "plastic" covers a very broad area of composites, and all of the keytop materials I have seen fall under that heading, usually acrylic.

I think there might be some possibilities coming from the dental field (ivory tusks are teeth, after all). The acrylics and porcelain used in repairing and replacing teeth are very convincing, and could possibly make a keytop that is indistinguishable from ivory. There might be some possibilities in the area of ceramics as well.

Some keytop sets are made from cattle bone, and although I've never encountered such a piano, I have examined some bone made for guitar nuts and bridges, and I think they might make very good keytops indeed. Bone is plentiful as a food byproduct, and cattle are far from endangered.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/05/15 02:44 AM

It seems like the much maligned government might have got this issue right.
Posted By: Olek

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/10/15 05:58 AM

Originally Posted by S. Phillips
Really good news about Elephant Ivory and the US regulations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the proposed rule regarding the importation and sales of ivory. I still have to read all of this and pose some questions to the attorneys that I have been working with, but if this goes through without change the majority of issues will be resolved without affecting pianos.

The "de minimis" portion of the rule allows for small amounts of ivory that are included in a larger item. The date here is 1990 which will include pianos imported with ivory that were manufactured prior to that date. The amount of 200 grams will easily cover the weight of ivory on a piano.

http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/african-elephant-4d-proposed-rule-copy.pdf

Here is the excerpt pertaining to musical instruments:

We propose to allow sale and offer for sale of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce along with delivery, receipt, carrying, transport, or shipment of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity without a threatened species permit for manufactured items containing de minimis amounts of ivory, provided they meet the following criteria:
 For items located in the United States, the ivory was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990 (the date the African elephant was listed in CITES Appendix I) or was imported into the United States under a CITES pre-Convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use;
 For items located outside the United States, the ivory is pre-Convention (removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976 (the date the African elephant was first listed under CITES));
32
 The ivory is a fixed component or components of a larger manufactured item and is not, in its current form, the primary source of value of the item;
 The manufactured item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory;
 The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams;
 The ivory is not raw; and
 The item was manufactured before the effective date of the final rule for this action. We have included the phrase “in its current form” in the criterion stating that the ivory is
not the primary source of value of the item, to make clear that we would consider the value added by the craftsmanship (carving, etc.) that went into the ivory component, not just the value of the ivory itself. We use the phrase “wholly or primarily” (in the next criterion) as those terms are commonly defined in the dictionary. We consider “wholly” to mean “entirely, totally, altogether” and “primarily” to mean “essentially, mostly, chiefly, principally.” We have chosen 200 grams as the weight limit because we understand that this is the approximate maximum weight of the ivory veneer on a piano with a full set of ivory keys and that this quantity would also cover most other musical instruments with ivory trim or appointments. We also understand the 200-gram limit would cover a broad range of decorative and utilitarian objects containing small amounts of ivory (insulators on old tea pots, decorative trim on baskets, and knife handles, for example).

Great news, happy to read that

While I am not so directly impacted, I thank you much for your involvement and for keeping us posted about that.

Even with the best synthetic material, there is no so much perspiration absorption,and the key can turn slippery ,I have seen pianist using tricks to avoid the slippage, as paraffin on the surface, for instance.

Best regards
Posted By: admin420

Re: Government regulation affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/14/15 01:49 PM

Originally Posted by BDB
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.


Very true!! Nice post.
Posted By: admin420

Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, - 08/14/15 02:53 PM

wow!
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, - 08/26/15 05:26 PM

After talking with the attorneys involved in the ivory ban there will be a problem with ivory repairs. Here is how it will affect piano owners:

If an ivory has fallen off intact it will be permissible for a technician to re-glue that particular piece. If however that ivory has been lost, it will not be permissible for a tech to replace it with an old ivory from another old piano. Most techs have a supply of old ivory from other pianos that have had their ivory replaced with plastic.

This will put a huge financial burden on customers with old ivory pianos because IF an ivory is missing the only thing to do would be to take off all the ivory and replace it all with plastic. This will be much more expensive for the customer as well as time consuming while the keyboard is gone. Keep in mind that the repair ivory material that technicians use for this is not recently harvested ivory but old ivory that has been salvaged.

This will only impact owners who use technicians from out of state or ship pianos across state lines for repairs.

I do think that commenting on this would be helpful. In my experience, the Fish and Wildlife folks are very interested in trying to keep this fair for everyone.

Here is how you can comment:
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
 Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–HQ–IA–2013–0091, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”
 By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–HQ–IA–2013–0091; Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: BPHC; Falls Church, VA 22041.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: New government regulation regarding older pianos with real, - 08/27/15 01:48 AM

I went to the link and when I found the applicable proposed African Ivory rules and hit the "comment" icon. It goes nowhere. It just stayed on the page with nothing changing or attempting to load.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 08/27/15 06:16 AM

Direct link.
Posted By: Gene Nelson

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/12/15 10:21 PM

Most techs have a supply of old ivory from other pianos
___________________________________________________________________

Dont know what your talking about, all my old supply is just bone, got a bucket full of bone that looks like old keytops.

Posted By: Patrick Draine

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/28/15 07:58 PM

Today (9/28/15) is the last day that the Fish and Wildlife Service will accept input (“comments”, criticism, suggestions for greater latitude for piano owners and technicians). Please use go to http://www.regulations.gov and put FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091-0001 in the search window, and click on “View all documents and comments in this Docket”. You will have access to read comments, and the full text of the proposed regulations. I would suggest you search for posts by a few piano technicians (John Ashcraft, Anne Acker, Sally Phillips, Phil Bondi) to see what others have written.

I suggest that you send your own comment, and that you consider conveying the following message (or whatever message you think will be helpful to the piano technicians and piano owners affected by these regulations):
 
As a Piano Technician, I urge FWS to increase the de minimis standard for pianos’ exemption from regulation restriction in ivory trade and transport to [an amount greater than the proposed 200 grams: at least 225 g, or up to 400 g to include keyboards restored with pre-ban ivory].

Sally Phillips wrote me on Friday, reminding me that the FWS’s plan to restrict our usage of salvaged ivory key tops is an equally disastrous aspect of these proposed regulations. Please consider mentioning how this will impact you and your customers.
Posted By: terminaldegree

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 09/28/15 09:02 PM

Yes, indeed! The ban on use of salvaged ivory to repair damaged, broken, or missing key tops on older instruments is just as much of an issue, and I'd suggest you mention that as part of any correspondence.

What happens if FWS removes your ivory key top to weigh it, and then you're banned from repairing the keyboard back to the way it was, prior to inspection? This is potentially expensive and destructive.
Posted By: alexandre 2612

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 11/11/15 10:41 AM

Je ne comprends pas très bien. Mon piano est en ivoire de mammouth , et le stock sur terre semble très important. Pourquoi revenir a la commercialisation d'ivoire d'éléphant?
Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 11/11/15 12:05 PM

Personne ne comprehend pas! C'est sot.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 01/02/16 06:10 PM

Washington Post article.
Posted By: Coyotewoods

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/17/16 06:32 AM

This thread was last updated over a month ago.

So, as someone who resides in California and hopes to move to Idaho in the next few years, does this mean I'll have to leave my 1948 piano with ivory keys behind? It can't cross into Oregon and then Idaho, unless I replace the ivory with plastic?

Some states are requiring the complete removal of piano ivory? If you own one in New Jersey, for example, you must replace the ivory, regardless of the age of the piano?

You can buy antique piano ivory on eBay. I've done my best to read everything, but maybe I've overlooked certain details. What exactly has been decided specific to the private ownership of these pianos?
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/17/16 10:47 AM

As of this moment we are still waiting on the US Fish and Wildlife Service to adopt the rule regarding ivory. Everything is sort of in limbo right now. However no state law is requiring that you remove ivory from a piano you already own unless you are trying to sell or trade it. The issue is also not crossing state lines just to move it from one residence to another. The issue is selling it across state lines. If you retain ownership of the piano there should be no issue.

If you live in New Jersey you cannot sell it and other states have enacted similar laws but with some exceptions. But again this is regarding sales not personal ownership. The US regulation that is still being considered has an exception for musical instruments that allows anything under 200 grams of ivory that is part of another item (not solely ivory) to be sold. However this is the regulation that we are waiting on for adoption.

I agree that this is complicated but we all just have to sit tight and see the actual language of the adopted rule to be able to apply the restrictions to any activity.

Posted By: R_B

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/17/16 11:58 AM

Thank you for continuing to update this Sally.

I think this clause covers pianos;

"We have chosen 200 grams as the weight limit because we understand that this is the approximate maximum weight of the ivory veneer on a piano with a full set of ivory keys and that this quantity would also cover most other musical instruments with ivory trim or appointments."


BTW, I find it kinda ODD that the US is considering ANYTHING in metric units of measure laugh
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/17/16 03:46 PM

I think grams have been used for a long time in US, State and Local Government laws. I remember being the only person in the courtroom who knew how many grams were in an ounce back in the early 1970's.
Posted By: Ed Foote

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/17/16 04:54 PM

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I think grams have been used for a long time in US, State and Local Government laws. I remember being the only person in the courtroom who knew how many grams were in an ounce back in the early 1970's.


Greetings,
I believe that grams are the official measurement in the U.S. in the we define the ounce by how many grams. And most of us that were familiar with "lids" in the '60's and 70's knew exactly how many grams were in an ounce, for some reason…
Posted By: WhoDwaldi

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/17/16 06:27 PM

A crazy thought I know won't work . . .

Would it be THAT terrible to replace on key or two in an otherwise perfect set of ivories with a synthetic substitute (similar to caps, crowns, and replaced teeth)? Especially for very low or high keys (although I would speculate most damage is in the middle). Have a way to color match, as for teeth (which, of course, never do).

A gold key, like a gold tooth? 😁

Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 02/17/16 08:40 PM

For an imperfect set of ivories there are synthetic materials that can be used to patch. The problem we will have with the proposed rule is that repairs using real ivory will not be allowed if it is adopted as written.
Posted By: S. Phillips

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/02/16 06:05 PM

Connecticut is trying to pass a law to make POSSESSION of ivory a crime.

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2016/TOB/s/2016SB-00227-R00-SB.htm

This law would mean that no sales of ivory keyed pianos would be allowed AND if you move into the state with a piano with ivory you could be in violation of this law. Enforcement includes a stiff $10,000 fine and 2 years jail time.

In the past these laws only prohibit import, export and sales. This one includes possession. If you already live in the state and own an ivory piano, you will have to be able to prove when you acquired it and that acquisition date predates this law. You will also be required to get a certificate for the piano to be able to keep it and will not be allowed to sell it unless the ivory is removed.
Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/02/16 06:20 PM

Originally Posted by S. Phillips
Connecticut is trying to pass a law to make POSSESSION of ivory a crime.
That is terrifyingly stupid. The only justice would be if all of the state legislators & elected judges homes were raided, instruments seized, owners jailed the day after it passes. Let their lawyers sort it out in the coming months.
Posted By: Coyotewoods

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/03/16 12:43 AM

It turns out I don't have ivory keys, but someday I'm sure I will when I rescue an antique upright on its way to the landfill.

While I respect the motivation behind some of these new laws, it's asinine to take it to this extreme.

It sounds more like bandwagon showmanship and Political Correctness Extremis Disorder than a sincere desire to play a meaningful role in halting the global ivory trade.

Posted By: David-G

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/03/16 01:19 AM

I am glad we don't have this sort of idiocy in the UK.
Posted By: Jean Claude

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/03/16 08:28 AM

You just wait David, I wouldn't mind betting that there is a nasty little careerist in Brussels or Strasbourg (or even in Westminster) with a weather eye on these developments. If one day you decide to sell your square and get a proper piano you may find yourself faced with the prospect of a stretch in the Scrubs.

Posted By: Rickster

Re: Gov. regulations (pending) affecting pianos with ivory... - 03/03/16 01:37 PM

Well, I have two pianos with the real, one-piece ivory key-tops. I do not plan to sell the pianos any time soon, or ever. I do have the bill-of-sale, with names, dates, and contact information of the original sellers, should I ever need it.

My conscience does not bother me because my pianos have real ivory key-tops, which I'm 99.9% sure were obtained legally.

I'm not sure where this issues will lead, or if there will be any fairness to owners of vintage musical instrument owners, but as with all government regulations, there is vagueness and ambiguity that is open to interpretation by whoever.

Rick
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