Chibsons seized at airport

Adinol

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I have previously tried to explain the federal counterfeiting and trafficking laws in this context, but the idea that an individual may be arrested and charged by the feds for ordering a Chibson is just too attractive for annoyed Gibson owners to die...

Can anyone out there the provide me with an actual case in which an individual has been subject to "federal felony charges" for ordering and receiving a Chibson? I can't find one anywhere on Westlaw or other legal research portals. . Indeed, a law that did prohibit simple possession would , frankly, be on very shaky constitutional grounds.
First, I have to admit that I don't know for sure what the law is. I just remember hearing and reading that selling, buying or owning counterfeit goods is illegal. Perhaps the owning was in the context of owning a truckload (with intent to distribute). I do not claim to know, but at the time when I came across the information I understood it to be mere possession. Logic tends to suggest that it is illegal to knowingly buy, because buyers are financing illegal activities, crime, sometimes putting lives at risk (because some counterfeits are toxic), etc.

I do have to point out that mere possession is a crime in many other contexts. For example, possession of stolen goods. I know this for a fact. Some might argue that this law is not fair as the person in possession of stolen goods might not be aware of the fact that the goods were stolen. But again, I know for a fact this is the case, at least that's the case in New York State. I know this because I used to be an auxiliary police officer, so this is in fact one thing I know for a fact.

Possession of controlled substances, possession of firearms, etc... My point is that mere possession, in some cases, is in fact illegal.

It is possible that I had misunderstood the whole thing.

In any event, it would be a better world if people did not buy Chibsons, because they are in fact financing criminals and causing harm.
 

LP1865

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In any event, it would be a better world if people did not buy Chibsons, because they are in fact financing criminals and causing harm.
Exactly. Its pretty simple. Don't put Gibson on the headstock. Its simple. Put your last name, name of your cat, whatever.
 

breeze

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Exactly. Its pretty simple. Don't put Gibson on the headstock. Its simple. Put your last name, name of your cat, whatever.
Exactly!! There are some shops making very good guitars in China. Why does it have to have "Gibson" on the headstock? To impress your girlfriend? If so, you should find another one a bit smarter.
 

Adinol

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Exactly. Its pretty simple. Don't put Gibson on the headstock. Its simple. Put your last name, name of your cat, whatever.
And I think it would be better if users of this forum would not post about purchasing Chibsons. Of course I am not against free speech, I just believe that some posts I've come across on this forum simply wet the appetite for acquiring Chibsons. I believe this forum is about the love for Gibson guitars and discussions that might encourage other people to buy Chibsons should be avoided.

IO know it is tricky where to draw the line. But I still think it's pretty simple.

If this was a forum about aquarium fish, it would be OK to discuss that the illegal trade in tropical fish is damaging the environment. But it would not be OK to post about actually acquiring endangered species on the black market because such posts would encourage the practice.

Chibsons are not just unauthorized copies, they are financing criminal enterprise and they are made in such ways that (as I've tried to explain before) have a negative impact on the environment, economy, etc
 

LP1865

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And I think it would be better if users of this forum would not post about purchasing Chibsons
I agree, but I do not believe it is possible.
These people will discuss it elsewhere if not here
 

martin H

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I do have to point out that mere possession is a crime in many other contexts. For example, possession of stolen goods. I know this for a fact. Some might argue that this law is not fair as the person in possession of stolen goods might not be aware of the fact that the goods were stolen. But again, I know for a fact this is the case, at least that's the case in New York State. I know this because I used to be an auxiliary police officer, so this is in fact one thing I know for a fact.

Possession of controlled substances, possession of firearms, etc... My point is that mere possession, in some cases, is in fact illegal.

It is possible that I had misunderstood the whole thing.

In any event, it would be a better world if people did not buy Chibsons, because they are in fact financing criminals and causing harm.
I agree that these things should be discouraged, and it would indeed be a better world if people did not buy Chibsons. I certainly don't own one, and see no reason to, unless it is for the purposes of a Pete Townsend imitation. (I do have a 335, a Les Paul, an SG and a BluesHawk - typical lawyer!)

You are quite correct in all the examples you mentioned. As I understand it, the difference between, prohibiting possession of , say, counterfeit drugs, and counterfeit musical instruments is a constitutional one, and hence is complicated.

The feds can prohibit "trafficking" in such things because it is constitutionally linked to interstate commerce, which is an area constitutionally reserved for the federal government. However, current case law ties this power to the concept of illegal distribution, and intent to distribute or traffic ( rather like drug possession) is tied to the amount of product.

One federal case involved a guy who was charged for bringing in 2 fake Rolex watches with him when he entered the country. He was charged under the trafficking in counterfeits statute. The Circuit court refused to set an absolute number but said that trafficking must involve a number that indicated an intent to distribute, and that 2 wasn't enough in this case. That is why I'm fairly sure an individual who purchases a single instrument for their own use cannot be charged under the trafficking statue.

Drugs and counterfeits that are dangerous to the public fall under the nebulous category of "general welfare." Knowing receipt of stolen property is a matter of state law, unless it has a a value of at least $5,000 and has been transported across state lines, in which case it is covered by federal law, again under the authority of the commerce clause.

It's somehow of a stretch, however, to argue that the federal general welfare powers would extend to making individual possession of a counterfeit musical instrument a criminal offense. Its not dangerous to the general public (unless one is a Gibson lover). If this is within the scope of federal power, it's hard to imagine anything that isn't

It 's an open question whether states can enact such laws. Some folks argue that Illinois law has done so, but the statute in question has never been used against an individual owner, and hence has never been tested in court.

Again, I utterly share you distaste for these things , and I'm not intending to annoy you in any way. I do become interested in any post stating what the law is, just as anyone does when a post touches on their specialist subject.

Cheers

MH
 

martin H

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$158K?

Someone's math seems a little off?:hmm:
The feds typically value counterfeit goods seized at the established retail value of the original. if you can buy, say, Windows 10 for $75 on Amazon, a counterfeit copy is valued at $75.

This is because the penalties are based ,in part, on the value of the counterfeit goods imported.
 

BKS

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Fake fake fake... Even fake headstock break.... Fake
Fake Gibson, Mayones, Jackson etc etc



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Roxy13

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Because it can be difficult to prove a person knowingly bought a counterfeit, generally the buyer is seen as an innocent victim. So in most states having it in your possession or even buying it is not illegal. However, once it's yours you aren't allowed to resell it.
 

rockstar232007

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The feds typically value counterfeit goods seized at the established retail value of the original. if you can buy, say, Windows 10 for $75 on Amazon, a counterfeit copy is valued at $75.

This is because the penalties are based ,in part, on the value of the counterfeit goods imported.
Yeah, I know. I just misread the article.
 

rockstar232007

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Because it can be difficult to prove a person knowingly bought a counterfeit, generally the buyer is seen as an innocent victim. So in most states having it in your possession or even buying it is not illegal. However, once it's yours you aren't allowed to resell it.
Just like any other law, ignorance is no excuse.

I know there are a lot of people who couldn't tell the differences, but counterfeits are nothing new, and also still not even CLOSE to being 100% like the real thing. All it takes is a little research.

Plus, if one thinks that they're going to get a $2K-$3K guitar, for $300? Something's wrong.

Again, there's absolutely no reason, whatsoever, to be buying anything counterfeit.
 

Roxy13

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Just like any other law, ignorance is no excuse.

I know there are a lot of people who couldn't tell the differences, but counterfeits are nothing new, and also still not even CLOSE to being 100% like the real thing. All it takes is a little research.

Plus, if one thinks that they're going to get a $2K-$3K guitar, for $300? Something's wrong.

Again, there's absolutely no reason, whatsoever, to be buying anything counterfeit.
I never said I agreed :) Just that this is how the law looks at it in most places. I'm quite certain that anyone ordering these from China knows exactly what it is. It's the second buyer who gets it off CL that may be the one getting screwed.
 

jk60LPTH

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I have no respect for any aspect of counterfeiting... it is not a victimless crime. And my disdain goes beyond just Gibson guitars. I don't know if anyone noticed, but among the guitars seized by US Customs at Dulles Airport (the subject of this thread) was a PRS guitar. That was the first time I'd ever seen that. Even the "it's too expensive so I had to buy a Chinese counterfeit'" defense is ridiculous, because you can buy a good new PRS for well under $1000, close to $500. Just about anyone could afford one. If you're a legitimate manufacturer of guitars, I think your guitar should be visibly and clearly different than other manufacturers guitars in some way so that no one can build a fake model and put a different name on it to skirt the Customs authorities, and then modify the headstock after it's in the US before delivering it to 'customers', which will probably be the next step if Customs keeps the pressure up on counterfeiters. An example of what I mean by 'visibly and clearly different' would be something like a PRS 594 Single Cut... the body is similar to a Les Paul, but no one is every going to mistake it for a Les Paul, especially with the body contour in the cutaway.

Like others have said in this thread, I also believe in freedom of speech, but I do not believe that freedom extends to those either engaged in criminal acts or who are the recipients of the fruits of criminal acts. If someone started a thread asking for help with a stolen guitar that they had bought, would you help them with it? Yes, there is a legal difference between receiving stolen goods, and receiving a counterfeit guitar, although it's actually a little more nuanced, as not only are you receiving a counterfeit guitar, but you've actually commissioned a person in a foreign country to counterfeit that guitar for you, meaning you are actually an accomplice to the act of counterfeiting, perhaps something that legal scholars should consider, and to be clear, I am not a lawyer. Regardless of the legal status though, it is morally wrong, and in my own personal opinion, no assistance should be given to those engaged in or the recipients of the fruits of either of the aforementioned acts. Now, I'm sorry if any of you don't agree, but there are some lines you just don't cross, and when
it comes to dealing in stolen or counterfeit property, that's one line you can't cross.
 


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