Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >
Topic Options
#968251 - 05/26/04 05:01 PM Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
I just received another lawyer letter (via email) asking to have posts removed about a
certain piano dealer and threatening legal action. No, I didn't hear from the dealer first, they chose to go straight to their lawyer (interesting).

By the way, I'm purposely not naming names here (the dealer, the lawyer, or the thread(s)), please don't start guessing or speculating.
I need to discuss things with our lawyer first.

The last time this happened (the infamous posts about a NY dealer) it cost me hundreds of dollars.
Now I have to have our lawyer respond to this one.
Even though I am technically not responsible ...

"The law is very clear in this area. As the host for a forum, Piano World is treated as a news vendor, bookstore or library and is not liable, since he neither knew nor had any reason to know of any purported defamation. He exerts no editorial control over the content of forum postings. Moreover, the Communications Decency Act has preempted a defamation claim. "

I have no desire to get in the middle of this.

I find it unfathomable that you can say what you want about the president of the United States, but you can be sued for what you say about a piano dealer. Be that as it may, I need to once again ask our members to be careful, before you find yourselves in court.

By the same token, if I was the dealer and someone was saying something untrue about my store, I wouldn't be too happy.

[I must admit though, threatening legal action against a site with 6200+ piano loving members and thousands upon thousands of visitors doesn't sound like the best business tacticts. Perhaps a more gentlemanly approach first would have been better?]

It would be interesting to get some of our members from the legal profession to weigh in on this subject. I can't see why members couldn't post negative comments about a dealer, tuner, mover, whatever, provided they were true and sustainable. And provided we allow equal time/space for rebuttals.

Or maybe we need a legal slush fund and some pro-bono lawyers? :-) [Just kidding]

PLEASE ALSO SEE: Forums 10 Commandments
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968252 - 05/26/04 06:06 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:


Or maybe we need a legal slush fund and some pro-bono lawyers? :-) [Just kidding] [/b]
You shouldn't be kidding, if I were a lawyer I'd certainly do pro-bono work for this site.

I'd contribute to a legal defence fund for sure. Set up a link.

Top
#968253 - 05/26/04 06:47 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Someone had a good idea (maybe in the offending thread)... when you have had a good experience with a dealership, we should ALL trumpet the news loudly and frequently. If the experience was less than satisfactory, we should just remain silent. Perhaps something like "I have also visited (dealer name)." End of comment.

Sometimes silence tells volumes, and I am assuming that there would be no legal issue over simply acknowledging that you have been to the dealership, or better yet, just saying nothing.

My 2c. Sorry you are having problems again, Frank.

Nina

Top
#968254 - 05/26/04 07:01 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
I'd certainly help, Frank, but I it's not my practice area and I'm out of state so I wouldn't be much help.

That really stinks! Maybe you could put a little caveat in the piano forum telling members not to publicly post negative feedback about particular venders (you can bet none of 'em will send you threatening letters when the comments are positive. :rolleyes: ), but also post a line encouraging PF members to post requests on the piano thread for people to respond to them privately for questions regarding particular venders. That way, the flow of information won't be stopped - it just won't be public. Plus, in that format, we can all say what we would normally filter somewhat on the public forum; in other words, REALLY tell them what we think. That'll get 'em!!

Top
#968255 - 05/26/04 07:43 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Why won't you post the name of the store? That would be worse than the bad word of mouth, yet would seem to fall inside the reasonable boundaries.

Or just make a sticky topic. The following dealers are good, the following dealers have threatened to sue us.

I know, it's not funny. \:\(

Time for me to hit your PayPal link again.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

Top
#968256 - 05/26/04 07:57 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
Why can't slimy dealers take responsibility for their own misdeeds instead of pinning the blame on everyone else....I guess some people just don't get it...
\:\(
_________________________
BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

Top
#968257 - 05/26/04 08:08 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
KathyK, that seems like a good plan. I guess if someone were to show up and ask about this or that dealer with a poor reputation, one of us could post a reply asking that replies take place off-list.

I did think it weird when a newcomer turned up here recently and posted very brief messages about the reputations of certain piano dealers. A different thread for each dealer, which is unusual. No details about what they were looking for, either; just asking about dealers. Very suspicious.

Cindy
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

Top
#968258 - 05/26/04 08:16 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:
...post a line encouraging PF members to post requests on the piano thread for people to respond to them privately for questions regarding particular venders. That way, the flow of information won't be stopped - it just won't be public. Plus, in that format, we can all say what we would normally filter somewhat on the public forum; in other words, REALLY tell them what we think. That'll get 'em!! [/b]
Kathyk,

When I first read your idea it seemed terrific. But then I thought about it a bit and realized the abuses that such a system might invite. Imagine that someone puts up a post asking for private feedback about ABC Pianos, an honorable dealership - one of the good guys. Among the (hopefully) many notes filled with accolades would perhaps be a few (or more) sent by shills fronting for jealous and unscrupulous competitors. Surely, these notes would be negative (or worse) and ABC would have no opportunity to respond. ABC has no recourse when it is unfairly slighted or disparaged by salespeople in its competitors' showrooms - and that's bad enough. I worry about giving the bad guys another possible route of attack.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968259 - 05/26/04 08:42 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
yonnermark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 491
Loc: UK
I agree, we should all hang our washing out in full view of everyone

Top
#968260 - 05/26/04 09:07 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
That stinks, I would bet that whatever was said, about whoever, was right on the mark. People who are guilty of such behavior typically extend it to doing things like contacting their lawyer, and not even discussing it first.

It must be frustrating for you, here you are providing a service, and people do stuff like this.
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

Top
#968261 - 05/26/04 09:10 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Tell me, how does a web site like
www.f***edcompany.com get away with posting
the things they do?

While I prefer the forums be as unbiased as
possible, and not a place for personal vendettas, we shouldn't be prevented from posting the truth.

Anyone can have a bad day, but the truly good companies/stores/dealers will own up to their mistakes and make them right.
I find it is usually the questionable ones who get on the defensive (and call out the watch dogs).
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968262 - 05/26/04 09:35 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
So, what happens if you just don't respond to these lawyer threats? Does it still cost you money? I can't believe it's happening to you again, Frank. All you have to do is google, and you can find complaints on online message boards about all sorts of businesses. Why are do all the sue-happy weenies sell pianos?

\:\) Jodi

Top
#968263 - 05/27/04 12:13 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
JPM Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 1010
Loc: NM, GE & Wash. DC
Could PW start a dealership list?

Good ones get a
Ones with no track record get an "Unknown"
Bad ones get a
Or can you be sued for Graemlins too?

It could be developed using a rating system based on member input (voting) with explanatory comments but precautions would be necessary to prevent problems like Irving mentioned.

Maybe it's best to keep doing it the way we are though. Pat good dealers on the back publically. If we don't know the dealer, say we don't. If someone asks about a bad dealer, say nothing .... although what I'd really like to say is "I'd like tell you my frank and candid opinion but the last time I did this dealer threatened to to sue PW."

It amazes me that some folks will spend their money to persist in doing things the wrong way while others know what right is and just do it.

Frank, please let us know how we can contribute to the PW Legal Defense Fund.

JP
_________________________
"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy

Top
#968264 - 05/27/04 05:57 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:

That really stinks! Maybe you could put a little caveat in the piano forum telling members not to publicly post negative feedback about particular venders [/b]
While this forum has been incredibly useful for so many people it has become a victim of its own success, and if contributors have to hold their punches with respect to negative comments about specific dealers then consumers become a victim of this forum's success as well.

Anyone used to usenet is probably completely unaware of the 'prohibition' against negative comments about specific businesses (I certainly was until this thread started).

The success of this forum has drawn most contributors away from usenet, so that RMMP is not even worth monitoring IMO. So we are left with a playground full of people with opinions, yet all we hear are the 'positive' ones. Not good.

Top
#968265 - 05/27/04 07:41 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Christopher James Quinn:
While this forum has been incredibly useful for so many people it has become a victim of its own success, and if contributors have to hold their punches with respect to negative comments about specific dealers then consumers become a victim of this forum's success as well.

Anyone used to usenet is probably completely unaware of the 'prohibition' against negative comments about specific businesses (I certainly was until this thread started).

The success of this forum has drawn most contributors away from usenet, so that RMMP is not even worth monitoring IMO. So we are left with a playground full of people with opinions, yet all we hear are the 'positive' ones. Not good. [/b]
I agree with Christopher and some of the others.
If all we post is positive information we do a disservice to the thousands of people who come here every day looking for help and advice.[/b]

We need to find a way to convey negative information without worrying about legal threats every time.
Maybe some of our friends/members in the legal professions could offer some advice?

Here's what I'm thinking (but I'm certainly open for other ideas). We ...

Post Polls[/b] either one poll per dealer, or multiple dealers in one poll. I can set it so voters can only vote once. We indicate that a poll has to have had at least 10 votes to be considered a reasonable representation.

Star Ratings[/b] Use the 5 star rating system

Personal Experience[/b]
Negative posts should be based on personal experience and include facts, not based on hearsay.

Other suggestions?
Legal opinions?
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968266 - 05/27/04 08:07 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
fmelliott Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/01
Posts: 894
Loc: Virginia
I cannot remember anything particularly unpleasant being posted about anybody on the Forum lately. It is obvious that the complainer was waiting to pounce and spoiling for a fight.

Many apologies from all of us Frank. Don't let this get you down.

Top
#968267 - 05/27/04 08:09 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:


Other suggestions?
Legal opinions? [/b]
You've probably explored this angle, but I would expect that there are non-profit groups seeking to protect free speech as it relates to a defacto public forum, even if it is hosted in a private space?

Alternatively, and I'm guessing here, perhaps the legal problems would not apply to a PRIVATE forum? So everyone who joins PW has to pay a fee to join the private discussions? I don;t like the idea much myself because I think all this info should be in the public domain, but perhaps having a membership fee somehow indemnifies you from this legal problem?

Top
#968268 - 05/27/04 08:35 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
obrother Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/04
Posts: 182
I don't know if any forum lawyers have, indeed, contacted you offering guidance, whether it be in private or otherwise. If and when that happens, perhaps they will need a copy of the exact letter that you received so they can assess the validity of the retailer's position. I know this is sort of common sense and probably something you've already taken care of, and I also know that it is not a substitute for having your own lawyer review the letter and facts.

I'm not a lawyer and am probably in over my head, but I do find suspect, the retailer's ability to squelch negative speech on a forum, as such. Were it conspiratorial, untrue, and intended to damage the retailer's name and business as opposed to relate facts....maybe it would seem less of a first amendment issue.

That said, many of us know of other forums (Taylor guitar, Motif Forum...that routinely rip apart Guitar Center)that utilize negative critics. An interesting example is 'The Complaint Station'. And one example there is Rowe Furniture who gets slammed repeatedly, and hard, but they usually post a follow-up telling the complainant(?)what action to do.

I'm not sure what would prompt either Guitar Center or Rowe Furniture, organizations with good financial resourses, to take a pass on contesting the negative forums...while this retailer in question professes to have a legal issue.

One suggestion would be for you to contact the forums mentioned above (owners/administrator/whatever) and ask their take on the situation. While I can't give real legal advice, I can only say that it would be a shame if you heeded this retailer's directive, when it was based on well written legal bluster. The fact that they went straight to a lawyer, this time, could be to present the best 'impact' for their directive - which they may know to be flawed.

If all this fails, my suggestion would be that the precise name and location of said retailer not be mentioned but that the general area of business, etc. and other pertinents be allowed - so as to make more vague any claim they think they have, but to still convey facts/opinions amongst forum readers who can fill in the missing info on their own.

Top
#968269 - 05/27/04 08:48 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Rich D. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 1258
Loc: Rehoboth Beach De. USA
Frank,
I like your idea about the polls. 5 stars being best, one star meaning look elsewhere. As you indicated votes are based on personal experience only and no dealers can vote. Also let me know how to contribute to the PW legal defense fund.

Understand why you can't mention the dealer. If it were known however, over in the usenet, I'm sure folks in the RMMP would have a few choice words to say.

Rich
_________________________
Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"

Top
#968270 - 05/27/04 08:54 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
I like the polls idea.

What's not legal about that? Consumer reports and hundreds of other sources rate products and services.
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

Top
#968271 - 05/27/04 08:55 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:
I agree with Christopher and some of the others.
If all we post is positive information we do a disservice to the thousands of people who come here every day looking for help and advice.[/b]

We need to find a way to convey negative information without worrying about legal threats every time.
Maybe some of our friends/members in the legal professions could offer some advice?

Here's what I'm thinking (but I'm certainly open for other ideas). We ...

Post Polls[/b] either one poll per dealer, or multiple dealers in one poll. I can set it so voters can only vote once. We indicate that a poll has to have had at least 10 votes to be considered a reasonable representation.

Star Ratings[/b] Use the 5 star rating system

Personal Experience[/b]
Negative posts should be based on personal experience and include facts, not based on hearsay.

Other suggestions?
Legal opinions? [/b]
Frank,

Clearly, people here are frustrated by, even resent, a rule that muzzles them. Most of us have always taken for granted that as Americans we have the right to express ourselves freely. “Freedom of Speech”, to most of us, means that we can say whatever we want, whenever we want so long as what we say is not libelous and so long as we don’t yell “fire” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire. If a piano dealer treats people unfairly, has an inventory that is sub-par or is simply unpleasant, surely we should be free to state this here without constraint. Or should we be?

This forum offers no protection to anyone (dealer, manufacturer, distributor or whatever) who might be the victim of a smear campaign run here by devious shills masquerading as innocent piano lovers. Believe me; I would like nothing better than for each and every crook and incompetent to be exposed for what he or she is. This would only help my business so long as I would be sure not to be one of them. But if by allowing the crooks and incompetents to be exposed, we make it possible for innocents to be unfairly maligned, we should perhaps not be so free to expose them.

Even a well-meaning person can, perhaps a bit thoughtlessly, say something negative about a piano person or entity that is not completely fair. This can and does happen here at times and it can and does cause harm. If the negative comment is well deserved, that’s perhaps okay, but it isn’t always so well deserved, it isn’t always sure to be adequately countered and we can’t always know when it is undeserved.

So what should we do? If we can’t be fully free to express negative opinions that would surely make this forum less fun. Some of our best contributors might find themselves too bored to want to stay on. And, as you say, If all we post is positive information we do a disservice to the thousands of people who come here every day looking for help and advice.[/b] So there seems to be no question but that we must provide a way for people to express all of their sentiments, both positive and negative, without constraint. Self-policing has worked pretty well here and this has been sufficient to ensure against most abuses and to counter most unwarranted slights. But the system is not fail-safe - some abuses have not been caught; some unwarranted slights have not been countered. Because the system isn’t fail-safe we have a dilemma that must be addressed and resolved.

Does your proposed system do the trick? If it’s sufficiently tweaked, perhaps it would work. So let’s start tweaking and see what happens. First, if we’re going to have any sort of ratings, we must make sure that the raters are as credible as possible. One way to do this would be to require that each rater be open about who he or she is and to also require that he or she be a reasonably frequent poster (100 total posts, perhaps, or 50 posts in the last year) with a star rating of 4 or more from at least a dozen other frequent posters. Not too many cheaters would achieve “rater” status with requirements like this. Second, the raters must always be open to challenge. Should the forum community feel that a particular rater is unfair or biased, it must have the means to boot him or her from the rater pool.

I might have more to say, but I’m late for an appointment. I hope that this dialogue continues with more ideas along these lines.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968272 - 05/27/04 09:19 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Sir Lurksalot Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1244
 Quote:
Should the forum community feel that a particular rater is unfair or biased, it must have the means to boot him or her from the rater pool.
In other words, throw out the scores of the American and East German judges.

Top
#968273 - 05/27/04 09:34 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
Usenet
RMMP

Please explain.
First, I've have seen RMMP.
It is a google group, rec music makers piano.

Don't laugh, but what is usenet?
Is RMMP part of usenet? or vice versa?
And why are they not sueable?

Top
#968274 - 05/27/04 09:38 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
Epinions, Crutchfield and a host of other sites have plenty of ratings and customer feedback, I wonder how they get away with it?

I also like the Star rating system. But limiting this rating to users with a certain number of stars may not work as; those piano shopping are newer and have few posts.
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

Top
#968275 - 05/27/04 09:52 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jack Frost Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 4454
Loc: Maine
Any cease and desist letter from a lawyer needs to be taken seriously--not because there is necessarily any substance to the underlying claims, but because even a frivolous lawsuit can be expensive to defend. Having said that, 99 times out of 100 (or 1000?), there is no suit. the letter is puffery and an inexpensive way of stiffling legitimate expression. You back down because you do not understand your rights or you are not willing to take the chance that this is the 1 in a 1,000 case that will be litigated.

Typically, the letter wants you to stop doing something or remove something from the marketplace. In my experience, if you ignore the first letter and they do indeed file suit (unlikely), then you can decide to do what they originally requested and they will go away -- USUALLY. In court it is VERY hard to prove monetary damages. BUT WHO WANTS TO GO TO COURT?

There are two defenses that protect everyone and Frank has highlighted a third that protects him.

The two defenses that we all share are:

1. Truth. If what you say is true, you are not liable for saying it no matter how badly it reflects on a dealer.

2. Opinion. You are entitled to yours, and as long as your remarks are clearly an opinion, you cannot be liable for expressing it. It doesn't even have to be reasonable. If you begin your expression with: "In my opinion...." you are safe (as long as the "opinion" does not go on to make a factual mistatement too).

Now, what gets you in trouble? A statement purporting to be a statement of fact that is untrue and causes harm to another. Such as (assuming they are untrue): ABC Piano Dealer has the highest prices in the NYC area. ABC Piano does not even have a service department.

There are many forums and publications where products and businesses are rated and customers allowed to comment. As Frank notes, on the web a forum host is protected.

Lawyers write cease and desist letters with nothing to back them up all the time. Nobody wants to get sued, and defending even a stupid lawsuit can be expensive. The vast majority of such letters do not result in a suit if ignored, and most of the ones that are litigated probably have some merit. But in the end, anybody with $125 can start a lawsuit.

How you respond to these letters depends in large part on how "risk averse" you are. I have not seen the letters and know nothing about the underlying claims and allegations, but I suspect they are just phooey....

jf (Esq.)
_________________________
"Make the pie higher." GWB

Top
#968276 - 05/27/04 09:54 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
I am not sure there's that much value in setting up a rating system for dealers. There are so many scattered throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world, I just don't see that there's a large enough sampling of consumers to reliably rate any but the largest dealers or the chains. Just my opinion.
_________________

Would it provide any coverage of your or our collective posteriors to have a prominent banner on each and every page (especially the "New Topic" page) that "the comments posted are the opinions of the respective posters and full responsibility for those comments lies solely with the person making the comment"?

BTW, Frank, I don't use PainPal, but if you send me a private message with your mailing address, I shall drop a check in the mail.

Finally, relevant to Frank's first reply on this thread (about another public forum for ranting), didja see this morning's recycled Calvin and Hobbes strip?

Top
#968277 - 05/27/04 09:57 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
For some reason, this whole thing would make me want to fight fire with fire. It really would.

What's to stop Frank from posting the entire letter he received from the dealer's lawyer right here, without comment? That's certainly not defamation, now is it? Surely any new members ought to understand that the dealer in question is one that threatens frivolous litigation? Sometimes if you expose a roach to the light of day, it will scurry off and leave you alone.

Honestly, I think that "covering" for this dealer by maintaining their anonymity might be making matters worse. They know that having their lawyer ink a letter for $50 will chill discussion on this board. Frankly, I think they're bluffing, and they'll never file suit. If they do, then they'll lose and this harassment will stop once and for all.

That said, my lay opinion on this is that I wouldn't start any formal system for ranking or evaluating dealers. My hunch is that allowing people to voice their opinions is one thing, and your exposure is limited. I think you're allowed to run an internet discussion board like this and not be responsible for everything that is said.

Once you take the next step and encourage a ranking system, thought, you might be in a different situation. You might need to take reasonable steps to guard against someone spamming the poll/rating results, voting again and again under different identities to malign a dealer. I don't know.

I think the best defense is to keep the forum exactly as it is -- a place where individuals can say what they want publicly, and anyone who wishes to defend his/her honor can do so publicly.

Oh, and one more thing, Frank. You probably don't want to post anything your lawyers sent to you or tell us what they're telling you. Your adversary might take this as evidence that you're waiving the attorney-client privilege and argue they're allowed to review your confidential communications with your lawyers. That would be something to avoid, to put it mildly.

Cindy -- conceding that it is easy to be a tough guy when she's not the defendant
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

Top
#968278 - 05/27/04 10:03 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
I think the lawyer who sent the email should be sent a letter back from another lawyer telling him that any more attempts to intimidate this forum and its members will be viewed as an attempt to violate our collective civil rights and will be aggressively pursued. My guess is the attorney who sent the email is not convinced he has a leg to stand on, but because his client is demanding he threaten you, he does so via email to see if that's enough to scare you into submission.

You have a right to state facts. The dealership this lawyer works for is a known fact. The contents of the email is a known fact. I'd post all that information, with a well worded little disclaimer at the top saying this is what you got, this is why, and nail it down so it won't move from the top. There's nothing they can do about you posting facts.

PS: Cindy, you posted yours while I was writing, so I just saw it. We're thinking alike, you just said it better than I did. I think the email, along with the name of the dealer involved, should be posted without comment, and nailed down to the top of the list with no way for anyone to respond to it. And it should stay there for a long, long time.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968279 - 05/27/04 10:07 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Steve Miller Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 3290
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:
I just received another lawyer letter (via email) asking to have posts removed about a
certain piano dealer and threatening legal action. [/b]
Via e-mail[/b]?

Is this how they do things these days?
_________________________
Defender of the Landfill Piano

Top
#968280 - 05/27/04 10:19 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
JPM Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 1010
Loc: NM, GE & Wash. DC
Frank said,

"We need to find a way to convey negative information without worrying about legal threats every time."


CJQ's comments suggest a possible solution. If we cannot post negative comments on PW for fear of law suits, how about posting to RMMP instead?

If someone asks about a dealer one of us knows to have problems/issues, we tell them we cannot respond on PW because of litigation concerns. We tell them to post their question to RMMP where it will be candidly answered.

Can PW be held liable for comments posted by one of its members to RMMP?

Of course, Irving is right, it is important that negative posts be based on fact, not hearsay. I would think that in order for someone to pen a creditable negative comment about a dealer, it ought based on first-hand knowledge or involvement in the issue at hand. That's only fair to the dealer involved. The dealer can respond with his side of the story on RMMP if he so chooses.

Could something like this work?

JP
_________________________
"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy

Top
#968281 - 05/27/04 10:19 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Just my 2 (or 3) cents on this. I was recently a beginning-player newbie piano buyer. This is a very common circumstance. I didn't think it was possible in a two week period to be subjected to quite as many misleading sales pitches (i.e. lies) and high pressure sales tactics as I was, for a purchase that was emotionally important to me (I have for a long time wanted to play, but for various bad reasons never started), and involved a reasonably large amount of money.

I found that by posting on here I was able to get some outside sources of information and an independent perspective. In particular I wound up purchasing a less well-known piano (a Schulze-Pollmann) from a dealer I had never heard of before (Faust-Harrison), rather than a well-known piano (Yamaha) from a dealer my teacher had initially recommended (Frank and Camille's). In part this was my judgment, in part my teacher's ultimate endorsement, but also in part due to the reputation of both the product and the dealer on this website.

I also felt better once I realized that it wasn't just me who was subjected to the sleaze of the piano sales industry, but that this was common. I feel it is essential that people be allowed to post negative personal opinions and information about piano brands and dealers. I find it interesting that only piano dealers seem to feel the need to resort to lawyers to stop personal opinions being posted in a chat room. Apparently, car dealers, guitar dealers, political candidates etc. do not feel the need to do this. Further evidence of the general sleaze level of the piano sales industry.

I must respectfully disagree with Irving. He is understandably concerned about either malicious posting from rival dealers or general social malcontents, or even perhaps harmful information from ignorant piano buyers just saying random stuff they don't really know about. I agree that all of these are possible negative results from a free press and free information on the internet. (My industry - financial advice - also faces the problem of false reporting and commentary, not just in chat rooms, but in respected newspapers.) The trouble is that the cost of excluding these problems (censorship, entry requirements that exclude most new posters, voluntary restriction to only happy positive comments) are worse than the potential problems. Given the number of posters on here, I doubt that any truely false comment would not at least be challenged, and anyone with a brain in their head should know to take an isolated free internet chat room comment for exactly what it is worth. The benfits to good dealers (including F-H) of an open forum like this, in my opinion far outweigh the potential negative consequences. Dealers deserve protection, but consumers also deserve a wide range of viewpoints (accurate or not), and free speech usually works both out fairly.

The problem as I see it is for PW itself to give us guidelines for what can and can't be said (i.e. always say "this is my personal experience", or something like that) so that PW doesn't get tied up with lawyers, itself a reflection of the unethical sleaze level of the industry. In Britain manufacturers can sue a paper for false information. In America they cannot (in general, there are some archaic agriculture laws in Florida and Iowa.) I personally believe that if PW were to fight it, it could win. (However, I am not a lawyer, so this is just a random personal opinion.) But that is not economically feasible. So what forum members need is guidelines as to how to give their opinions, in a way that helps real consumers (and quality dealers, over time), but does not cause a problem to the good people who run PW.

Top
#968282 - 05/27/04 10:32 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Believe me, I've considered saying ok, let's go to court.
It would be interesting to have a couple hundred (or more) Piano World members show up in our defense. Piano World has done nothing wrong, we provide a public forum that many thousands of people around the world find very helpful.

We average over 9 million hits a month, that translates into a whole lot of people!
Getting our friends riled up by threatening to censor them might not be the best idea.

And I will not have our forums compromised by
someone trying to twist the legal system around to their advantage.

However, that said, I think it would be more prudent to find a way to protect ourselves and be allowed to continue to provide information to our thousands (make that millions) of wonderful guests/friends/members.

We need to work through the details, and once again any suggestions from a legal standpoint would be welcomed (feel free to contact me off line if you prefer not to be construed as offering legal counsel).

I'm thinking we need:

~ A good disclaimer [public forum, Communications Decency Act, etc.,etc.]
~ A means for providing rebuttals [which we already have, just post your rebuttal]
~ Continue to be self-policing
~ Guidelines
~ Open Communications (if a business or individual feels something is unfair/unjust, they can contact me).

You should be aware while Piano World cannot be
held responsible for individuals posts (beyond possibly being asked to remove/edit the post), the individual making the post may be exposing themselves to possible litigation.

As to posting the letter I received this time, or anything about the dealer, I will wait to hear back from our lawyer first.

I did previously post (with my lawyer's permission) an excerpt from his reply to a similar issue...

"My client has absolutely no legal responsibility for this posting. The law is very clear in this area. As the host for a forum, Piano World is treated as a news vendor, bookstore or library and is not liable, since he neither knew nor had any reason to know of any purported defamation. He exerts no editorial control over the content of forum postings. "

There is more to it, but you get the idea.

And yes, I will contact other forums to see how they handle these things. In the meantime, keep the ideas flowing!
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968283 - 05/27/04 10:33 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
TomFL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 267
Loc: SW Florida
Unfortunately, there will ALWAYS be people who will NOT follow guidelines, no matter how many times they are told.

It could be the unscrupulous dealers themselves who would/could violate the guidelines.

This is a terrific forum. It needs to remain alive and well in its present format.

Top
#968284 - 05/27/04 10:34 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Steve Ramirez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/01
Posts: 1097
Loc: El Cajon, California
Post the "cease and desist" letter or e-mail or whatever the hell it was, for all to read. Make it a "sticky" thread so it won't be missed by anybody checking out the Piano Forum for the first time. Let the letter speak for itself, and let Forum browsers form their own opinions of the folks who sent it, and their motivation and their ethics.

Why not shine some daylight on this stuff?

Top
#968285 - 05/27/04 10:37 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
To begin with I am not a lawyer. I'll take a stab at what might be happening. If only individuals wanting opinions on pianos occupied this forum and someone made a comment about a dealer experience, then that would probably not be and issue. However, this forum also contains piano dealers, technicians, designers, professional musicians, who as a group could "restrain the trade" of a particular brand of piano, dealership, parts manufacturer, etc. In other words, the dealership's argument might be that by disparaging them you are restraining them from operating their business and are therefore liable for damages. I belong to another forum run by members of my particular profession and we are constantly reminded not to mention any specific manufacturers in a negative way for this exact reason. Just my 2 cents.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

Top
#968286 - 05/27/04 10:54 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
 Quote:
As to posting the letter I received this time, or anything about the dealer, I will wait to hear back from our lawyer first.
Fair enough, Frank.

If you want to be conservative about it, there is another approach. You could write to the dealer's lawyer and say, "I have received your e-mail. I have decided to handle future communications of this nature from you or your client by posting the communication in its entirety at the Piano World web site." Then they've been put on notice, which may cause them to back off all by itself.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with this, as it might just touch off another (costly) exchange about your right to publicize your dispute with them. I'd just post the whole e-mail letter, myself (making crystal clear that this is an e-mail you received *purporting* to be from dealer's lawyer). And I'd shoot them an e-mail reply containing nothing more than the link where their letter is now enshrined, so that they understand the consequences of harrassing you. Why, perhaps they'd be willing to drop the whole thing for all time if you agree to remove the letter from the site!

Oh, and regarding posting what your lawyers have said, I should have been a bit more clear in my remarks. I was referring to anything your lawyers tell you as part of your consultation, not what your lawyers have told the dealer. The former is privileged; the latter is not.

Jdsher:
 Quote:
In other words, the dealership's argument might be that by disparaging them you are restraining them from operating their business and are therefore liable for damages.
Yes, but the party liable would be those conspiring to restrain trade. Frank still shouldn't be liable if he isn't involved (although he still could be named in any suit filed, I suppose). Whether the claim is restraint of trade, defamation, interference with prospective economic advantage or anything else, the party with the most exposure is the party uttering the offending words, I'd guess.

Cindy
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

Top
#968287 - 05/27/04 10:58 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
I'm guessing usenet IS google, or that usenet is under google now.
Maybe the reason usenet won't be sued is because they are huge and can afford fancy lawers.
Help out the dumb guy here.

Top
#968288 - 05/27/04 11:03 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by kenny:
I'm guessing usenet IS google.
And that the reason they won't be sued is because they are huge and can afford fancy lawers. [/b]
usenet is NOT google, google.groups has arhived all of usenet as far as I know (they bought the deja archives), but usenet is a separate planet.

Top
#968289 - 05/27/04 11:04 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299

Top
#968290 - 05/27/04 11:07 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
Sorry to bother y'all, just looked it up.
I don't get out much. \:o

Top
#968291 - 05/27/04 11:14 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
bcarey Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 3378
Loc: North Carolina
When a forum member posts a positive experience with a dealer, mentions that dealer by name on the forum, obviously that is a big plus for good dealers. I'm sure you would get no threatening legal letters from their lawyers!

It's also a big plus for forum members coming to the forum because they see personal recommendations of good dealers they should visit.

Perhaps we could also post negative experiences, but just not mention the dealer by name? Should someone want to alert a poster, about a less than reputable dealer, it could be done via email or a private message.

The absense of good recommendations for some dealers would be one way of stating the obvious.

Not a perfect solution, but perhaps it would prevent Frank's threatening lawyer letters.

Frank, I do think a good disclaimer is a good idea.

Top
#968292 - 05/27/04 11:22 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Fred Altenburg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 172
Loc: New Jersey
It was obvious that the poster baited for replys.
Keep the Forum as it is now because I hear and see many people who say that they have benefited from reading through here.
If an opinion of a brand is requested, any person should be able to give their own impressions on the instrument as well as how it was presented, tuned, prepped, priced, delivered, ect. This will involve the dealer regardless if the decision is made to curb any postings about them.
Frank, let me know if you need my help.

Just for some humor, A lawyer for this unmentioned dealer bought a grand from us.
_________________________
Purveyor of fine Pianos and Organs
www.altenburgpiano.com
908 351 2000

Top
#968293 - 05/27/04 11:24 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Hey, Larry!

I just saw your edit. It sounds like we are thinking along the same lines.

And you know what that means, don't you?

The dealer will send us both threatening e-mails claiming were engaging in a *conspiracy!*

I suggest we thwart our adversary by speaking in secret code. Henceforth, let's refer to smoking this dealer out of his hole by posting the e-mail here as the "Roach Approach." ;\)

Cindy -- keeping her voice down in case they're listening
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

Top
#968294 - 05/27/04 11:26 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Frank, If their legal approach is already in the wrong, what makes you certain changing things will have an effect? That's the nature of being frivolous. If, in any other way, relative distinctions are made about dealers, some will be still left behind who may sue, or do whatever $125 buys them.

I'd just ignore the email and suggest we don't change a thing. It was probably all dressed up and formal, with a letter head....yada, yada. Your first post suggests you already know you are right and nobody here feels any differently about that. So, why accomodate?

You could also economically craft up a response email using the discovery that your previous experience generated, forward it to your lawyer and have them send it on all fancy like. How much could that cost since you've already demonstrated that you obtained representation under a similar circumstance?

I do take it your lawyer will remember you? Whatever you do, it seems pretty clear the opposing side is taking the longshot you'll fold. On the off chance litigation takes place, you can count me in for help.

Chris
_________________________
Amateur At Large

Top
#968295 - 05/27/04 11:29 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
I'll send a check too!

PW has enriched my life.
I might as well pay to defend it.

Top
#968296 - 05/27/04 11:43 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I am going for all out on this.

Call their bluff.

There are perhaps dozens of company lawers here clenching their teeth [secretly] for battle.

But they are too smart for actually going ahead.

To be seen as loosers before a world wide audience.

Go,stick the papers on the doors of Wittenberg!

Call the e-mail tigers on the floor!!

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

Top
#968297 - 05/27/04 12:11 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21671
Loc: Oakland
The pertinent laws which protect this board and participants are called anti-SLAPP laws. Here's a website that deals with the subject: The California Anti-SLAPP Project. Although it deals specifically with California law, there is information about other states. A search of the web will no doubt turn up other information.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#968298 - 05/27/04 12:54 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
katie_dup1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 1838
Loc: Canada
This legal stuff is so confusing ......

My opinion: All of us know that PianoWorld.com provides an extremely valuable service to people seeking to purchase & maintain a very expensive consumer product. There is no place, other than PianoWorld.com, where Joe Consumer can get honest, frank advice concerning these subjects ("The Piano Book" is a good resource but it doesn't cover everything). These types of discussion should be welcomed & encouraged. Piano owners also appreciate the other discussions provided by fellow students, technicians, teachers, musicians, & lovers of keyboards in general.

I sense that the potentially litigious scenarios usually arise when a legitimate NEW poster (consumer) starts asking for advice re ABC Piano Weasles Co., whether he is considering a purchase, or has made that purchase. I believe these posters (consumers) expect & should receive honest opinions from members of this forum. Therefore, I think it is very important for all NEW & existing posters to be made aware of the following, e.g.: "What you post is your opinion only & may be subject to possible litigation. Be truthful, polite & respectful. Don't slander others. Our success is due to the efforts of our individual members, blah, blah....".

Of course, those who "troll" or "bait" members on this forum for negative dealer comments should be banned ..... And I think the senior PW folk are quite on top of this. (As an aside, I'll state that when I bought one of my new pianos & spoke about it on PW, I was "baited" through a PM, by a dealer for "my experiences" concerning other dealers .... so members should look out for this too).

Like Axtremus, I wanted to do something to celebrate "a #-of-posts milestone" .... Also, I'm like PianoJuggler, .... I don't do Paypal .... So,

Frank, if you can PM me with your name/address/zip code ..... I'll send you a U.S. money order & a smile \:\) .

Top
#968299 - 05/27/04 01:10 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Steve O. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/02
Posts: 337
Loc: Atlanta
Changing things in response to frivolous demands amounts to appeasement. This begets more of the same. I urge Frank to not give in to this sort of thing.

Best,

Steve O.

Top
#968300 - 05/27/04 01:22 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
 Quote:
Originally posted by bcarey:
Perhaps we could also post negative experiences, but just not mention the dealer by name? [/b]
What would be the consequence of posting "I had a fairly lukewarm experience with a dealer in East Overshoe, Minnesota who caries a Japanese brand that starts with 'K' and an Austrian brand that starts with 'B'..."

...naming no names...

Top
#968301 - 05/27/04 01:29 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
I'm also surprised that PF hasn't gotten a similar letter from a laywer representing the entire piano industry in an Asian country that starts with 'C'. ;\)

Just curious: did the letter also demand that Frank provide details of the offending poster's IP address, so they can sue said person's ISP as well? That's the direction the anti-spam laws seem to be going.

Top
#968302 - 05/27/04 02:01 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Chris raises a good point. Even if the forum self-polices itself, since anyone can write a threatening letter, who says self-regulating will satisfy every grubby dealer? What about piano brands? If I say "Faziolis are lousy. My Brand X upright is better. Don't buy Faziolis," can Fazioli send a "stop it" letter to PW? How can the forum function then?

Top
#968303 - 05/27/04 02:31 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
obrother Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/04
Posts: 182
I think Jack Frost (esquire) is chiming in with the angles that are most pertinent. Fortunately or unfortunately, a lawyer's input is probably most important here.

Any concessions of format, such as using star rating systems in lieu of actual verbage, will mean that this dealer has unilaterally, and possibly without contention, tailored a very large playing field to suit only themselves. The Piano Forum, for those of you that find it valuable as it is, would be forever changed...and vulnerable to other non-approving retailers. As it stands, no concessions have been made and the Piano Forum, I suppose, stands strongly and states that it has law on its side.

When that is no longer the case, and I do sympathize with your dilemma, Frank, the Piano Forum may become more of a 'target' for the disgruntled.

I do, however, think you are on the right track when you mention properly disclaiming the forum and the posts. I think that is a good way to go, and possibly, if I understand Jack Frost, a way to cement your legal argument...which seems sound anyway.

I can not decide financial issues for you. I can, personally, only say that it would be 'nice' if the Forum changed its format due to more than a "shot across the bow" email. Rather, I submit that they don't want to pay lawyers' fees any more than you do. They have written this email to you out of a 'fear' response. Fear of losing business, etc. If properly combatted, they may realize they should put their energies into improving their reputation rather than spend $ on lawyers. This isn't your concern, though, really. Rather, you need to do the thing that you can afford and that will allow you to sleep well at night.

All that said, can someone tell me if this is the nyc dealer that was mentioned some time ago?? I really don't know who we are even talking about here. *sigh*

Top
#968304 - 05/27/04 03:01 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
 Quote:
Originally posted by obrother:
All that said, can someone tell me if this is the nyc dealer that was mentioned some time ago?? I really don't know who we are even talking about here. *sigh* [/b]
It's not.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968305 - 05/27/04 03:06 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
 Quote:
Originally posted by obrother:
All that said, can someone tell me if this is the nyc dealer that was mentioned some time ago?? I really don't know who we are even talking about here. *sigh* [/b]
It's not.
BTW, I've put this in the hands of our lawyer, so we can once again waste money defending our public forums:-(
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968306 - 05/27/04 03:31 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
Frank, I would like to make a Support the Piano Forums contribution, but not via Pay Pal. Can you email me your snail mail address (or post it here)
so I can send you a check?
Thanks a bunch - for hosting this great place, and for putting up with all of us.

\:\) Jodi

Top
#968307 - 05/27/04 03:51 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Jodi - Thanks for link. I've bought lots of stuff from SheetMusic, but not as a hyperlink from PW. All future purchase will be from that link.

Top
#968308 - 05/27/04 05:38 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pianodevo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 836
Frank,

With our freedoms seemingly being gradually eroded in this country, this PW issue might be one place where we can clearly make a stand.

If PW ignores this and future similar threats from dealers' lawyers, and the unlikely happens and there is litigation: it would be one dealer paying his attorney's fees, versus ***ALL*** of us who choose to contribute $$ to PW's legal fees. Sounds like we would be in a very good position, doesn't it?. The dealer loses a lot of $ whereas many of us lose insignificant amounts. If the dealer were informed of this, it might curtail his litigious inclinations. ;\)

For instance, if 50 of us tossed in $20 that's a grand right there, and I know from last year's discussions about the NY dealer that many posters said they'd contribute much more (and count me in as a contributor).

Perhaps a hard list can be made of definite contributors and amounts, should a lawsuit occur or substantial attorneys fees be involved -- would such a list make Frank breathe easier about (a) ignoring such dealers' attorneys' letters; and/or (b) taking more overt actions such as posting such letters? [/b]

Frank, three or four others have said they would like to send $ but NOT via PayPal, but via regular mail. I also am in this category, so pls send me your smail mail address and the payee's exact name if possible.

I vote to keep the forum as it is, and without any sort of "star" rating system. Let viewers interpret positive and negative verbal feedback as they wish. IMHO that's preferable to superimposing an artificial (and probably statistically imprecise or even incorrect) rating system.

Statistics theory likes very much to have at least 30 data points, and I doubt we'd get anywhere near that for feedback on most dealers. So why try to sqeeze what is really anecdotal evidence into a statistical rating system?
_________________________
pianodevo

Top
#968309 - 05/27/04 06:06 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
TGG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/20/04
Posts: 81
Loc: Houston
Frank, I am one of your member/lawyers (lawyer/members?). I very much enjoy your site. It sounds like you're already getting good legal advice, so I'll just add a thought or two for us all to keep in mind...

1. There are way too many lawyers.
2. It doesn't cost an agressive competitor much to turn and aggressive but ethically challenged laywer loose with claims of defamation/libel.
3. Most allegations of defamation/libel are made for purposes of chilling the competition, nothing more.
4. The practicalities of taking a libel/defamation case to trial are considerable...not the least of which is proof of damages. How is your hypothetically injured dealer going to prove to a jury that his business has been damaged by this forum?
5. Given the practicalities/difficulties with libel and slander cases, 99% of the demand letters that go out are not precursors of litigation. They are intended to (i) chill the market from saying anything contrarty to the letter writer's interests and (ii) cause the recipient to spend money on lawyers. Judging from this thread, your angry dealer has achieved what he intended to achieve.
6. I wouldn't change a thing. You're doing great and your posters already seem to be very moderate in their language. TGG

Top
#968310 - 05/27/04 06:14 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
Oh yes, and I just wanted to add my vote to not change a thing about this place. Adding some sort of dealer rating system would just open a whole 'nuther can of worms. It's just not necessary.

\:\) Jodi

Top
#968311 - 05/27/04 06:20 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
I would vote against a dealer rating system as well. I have met dealers who would make this into a huge game. They would have their employees or spouses or neighbors all write glowing reports -- and yes, even some legit customers. There would also be those who would go the next step and create fictions regarding their competition.

Wish it weren't so but I'm sure you've seen it since I have.

Ken

Top
#968312 - 05/27/04 07:59 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
 Quote:
Originally posted by TGG:
Frank, I am one of your member/lawyers (lawyer/members?). I very much enjoy your site. It sounds like you're already getting good legal advice, so I'll just add a thought or two for us all to keep in mind...

1. There are way too many lawyers.
2. It doesn't cost an agressive competitor much to turn and aggressive but ethically challenged laywer loose with claims of defamation/libel.
3. Most allegations of defamation/libel are made for purposes of chilling the competition, nothing more.
4. The practicalities of taking a libel/defamation case to trial are considerable...not the least of which is proof of damages. How is your hypothetically injured dealer going to prove to a jury that his business has been damaged by this forum?
5. Given the practicalities/difficulties with libel and slander cases, 99% of the demand letters that go out are not precursors of litigation. They are intended to (i) chill the market from saying anything contrarty to the letter writer's interests and (ii) cause the recipient to spend money on lawyers. Judging from this thread, your angry dealer has achieved what he intended to achieve.
6. I wouldn't change a thing. You're doing great and your posters already seem to be very moderate in their language. TGG [/b]
Thanks TGG,

I'm working now on a better disclaimer than the short one on our landing page (yes, there is one in the boxes at the top of the page). I'll also work up some posting guidelines.

I'd also like to warn anyone that pulls this on us again that we will in fact see them in court, and sue for damages, court fees, and legal fees, not to mention publish the entire damn thing on our web site and the other piano user groups.

I will amass the considerable number of legal professionals we have among our members, contact the civil liberties groups, and alert the media.

And I'd be willing to bet we could get a large number of our members, friends, and visitors to join us in the case (and likely come up with more people willing to testify).

They might still win the case, but I can gaurantee thousands of prospective piano customers will know how they choose to do business.

I'm tired of this. I don't like being threatened and I don't like anyone trying to gag our forums!

It has been mentioned here that businesses need to be able to protect themselves from misinformation being spread, and I agree.
But who is protecting the consumers from less than honorable businesses? If we stop posting negative feedback we aren't doing our job (and WE are being less than honest).

If someone has a legitimate gripe, they are welcome to post it, or contact me personally (not through their lawyer's), otherwise they had better back off!
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968313 - 05/27/04 09:09 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pete Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 796
Loc: port washington, ny, us
I'm an attorney too. I play the piano and read this web forum to forget about the stresses of the legal world, but I guess the law has invaded this portion of our lives.
Defamation is a very old cause of action which was part of the common law we adopted from England. Defamation lawsuits are still viable although truth is a defense. That means if you post something that is true, you can ultimately win a lawsuit. It doesn't mean you can't be sued. I would agree with pretty much everything that TGG just posted, as it doesn't seem like it would make any sense for this piano dealer to follow through with its threat. I would urge that posters use caution when posting, as they may expose themselves to defamation claims. Always post facts, as opposed to simply smearing. If a salesperson does something particularly unethical, instead of calling him a sleaze, set forth exactly what your experience was, and let the reader decide for himself.
A little self-serving disclaimer would also help to keep Piano World up and running. Anyone can threaten lawsuits these days. It is one of society's biggest weaknesses.
I know that this web forum was extremely valuable to me in learning more about the piano, and in helping to make an intelligent choice in my piano purchase, and in learning more about musicianship. I would hate for it to be gone due to expensive litigation. It may not sound brilliant, but if everyone is just a little bit cautious before they post, it will help keep this forum alive.

Top
#968314 - 05/27/04 09:13 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
obrother Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/04
Posts: 182
You've got moxie, chutzpah, and more than likely, law on your side. I'm sure the great advice from lawyers here have helped you take that stand. You have now responded to the complainant and enlightened them to the fact that 'your' back-bone, ethics, and belief in the work you do, can not be brought down to the same suspect level of this retailer. Feels good, doesn't it? It's a feeling that a person on the wrong side of ethics/fair-play can't have.

Top
#968315 - 05/27/04 09:15 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Steve O. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/02
Posts: 337
Loc: Atlanta
Frank:

Great! Exactly the thing to do! I am very glad your position has changed from the SoftSoft situation. If you don't fight for your correct position, you announce to the world that you fold at the first letter from a lawyer.

Incidentally, as a trial lawyer myself, I agree completely with TGG's post (and others) who correctly point out the difficulties inherent in a libel action against the person running an unmoderated public board. The letter came not because anything wrong was done, but because the dealer didn't like to read negative commentary. That's just too bad.... The dealer could, of course, sue the poster if the poster posted falsehoods about the dealership. This would be a more viable case, but even then the problems of proving damages still exist.

Your board is great. We all owe you a debt of thanks (and more should you need it!) for keeping this place as it is.

Best,

Steved O.

Top
#968316 - 05/27/04 10:53 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:

I'd ... like to warn anyone that pulls this on us again that we will in fact see them in court, and sue for damages, court fees, and legal fees, not to mention publish the entire damn thing on our web site and the other piano user groups.

I'm tired of this. I don't like being threatened and I don't like anyone trying to gag our forums!
[/b]
Frank,

This is so much better than looking for ways to "fix" something that, all things considered, is working surprisingly well - just the way it is. BRAVO!!

Count me in for moral and financial support and whatever other type of support you might need. You are taking an honorable and courageous stand. And you have many many friends here who will stand by you on this because of who you are and because we all have a stake in this. I might not like some of the things that are said on this forum and I might even worry sometimes about the motives behind some of the posts on it, but I will fight with you to the end to defend it.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968317 - 05/27/04 11:31 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Wagscpa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/09/04
Posts: 36
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Frank,

I am very new to the forum but I can tell you I enjoy it considerably and it has been very helpful in my purchase of a new piano.

With that said, I can also say it feels like I have been told more lies shopping to buy one piano than I have been told in the 39 years I have been alive. A forum like this with open negative and positive opinions needs to exist. I found two honest piano dealers while shopping for a piano.

I really do not understand the dealer's complaints. They have an open forum where they can rebut any comment made about them in as much detail as they would like. They certainly did not have that opportunity when I had my telephone consultation with a piano tech and with Larry Fine.

Next it will be the manufacturers. What if Kawai, Yamaha, Moog, or any of the other manufacturers did not like my opinions of their products. Are they going to threaten to sue also. If all anyone can say are good things, then the forum will become the equivalent of some of the magazines I see where the reviews of every product reviewed are always good or great. I don't read any such magazines any more because I would also like to hear some of the negative points in a review.

The free speech that need protection the most is that free speech which some may not like. It is easy to protect free speech when that which is spoken is readily accepted by everyone. It is much more difficult to protect free speech for an idea that no one likes. Yet, that is the freedom that most needs protection.

Anyway, I hope the board can remain "free".

Top
#968318 - 05/28/04 12:28 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
JPM Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 1010
Loc: NM, GE & Wash. DC
Frank,

After reading through this thread again and considering everyone's input & views, I think your proposed approach is the right one to take.

You've got my support, financially and otherwise.

Droit et Avant* my friend.

JP

*Be Right and Go Forward
_________________________
"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy

Top
#968319 - 05/28/04 12:49 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Again, I must contend we're fighting here nothing else but a timid paper tiger wanna be.

And it ain't much *fighting* anyways - shadow boxing at best - for this he is too smart to come out of hiding and make a fool of himself....er... the business he claims to *defend*!

Which would be all out in the open for the world to see!!

In fact he isn't even a paper tiger.

But a degenerate,lousy ,cowardice e-mail bug.

Let's call his bluff.

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

Top
#968320 - 05/28/04 06:02 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
Will there be a specific legal fund link set up for PAyPal?

Top
#968321 - 05/28/04 07:00 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Laser Eyes Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/28/04
Posts: 6
I am a lawyer and I joined the forum to contribute to this thread. There have been many useful suggestions made already so I don't need to say too much. I agree with TGG's advice and also with the suggestions by Cindysphinx.

It is a very useful means of defense to post threatening letters from lawyers. The store concerned would likely back off very quickly if they knew that every move they made would be publicised on a popular forum. Here are some examples where letters have been posted to reveal what would normally go on privately:

http://www.californiacoastline.org/streisand/lawsuit.html
http://untied.com/site/
http://www.somethingawful.com/legal/

One last piece of advice. In order to avoid incurring costs in future why don't you (with the help of your lawyer) formulate a standard letter that you could send yourself to respond to future threatening letters. You could use the letter that your lawyer is sending to the particular store concerned as a basis.

Top
#968322 - 05/28/04 10:04 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
NorthAmerican Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/03
Posts: 340
Loc: Chicago, Illinois
I don’t have a solution to the problem described above, but I want to comment on the (dealer name deleted) dispute.

My recollection is that someone went to the dealer, left a check as a deposit on a piano, then telephoned later in the day to cancel the purchase. One thing about the post struck me: that the buyer was told that the person with whom he or she was speaking on the phone had no authority to cancel a sale in that manner, but the buyer said something like, “I said that I considered it cancelled.” If the poster, in describing his or her own position, would admit to having made a statement that seemed to me to be somewhat high-handed, I wondered if the poster might have been even more rude on the telephone than that statement might suggest. We all tend to put ourselves in the best light when describing any dispute in which we are involved, so I didn’t expect that we would necessarily hear the dealer’s side represented accurately by the poster.

The vast majority of subsequent posters were on the side of the original poster, and it seemed to me that a lot of venomous comments were made in the process.

We might fault the dealer for not allowing the purchaser to back out of that sale, but we should at least recognize that the dealer probably had the law on its side.

Consider this possibility: that I want to buy a piano, visit seven dealers in one day, and find that there is at least one piano at each location that “sings to me.” I leave a check as a deposit at each of those locations. Assume, further, that at every one of those locations, someone arrives after I have left, loves exactly the piano that I liked, but is told that there is a deposit holding that piano. Later that day, I decide which of the seven pianos would best suit me, and I call six dealers to cancel the sale I initiated with my having left that deposit. Those six dealers not only don’t have the sale they thought they had made, but they have lost a potential customer in the disappointed would-be buyer who was told that the piano he liked was spoken for.

I think that the law should protect a dealer from such a customer, no matter how unlikely the situation I have described.

I know that I’m in the minority here, but I think it’s regrettable that a forum such as this one really offers no protection to a dealer – and I’m NOT speaking here of the unnamed dealer we are referring to in this thread – who may be totally reputable, but whose interaction with one customer is represented only in a post by that customer, who obviously has an axe to grind.

Top
#968323 - 05/28/04 10:25 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
I understand where you're going, NorthAmerican. In the infamous incident with [dealer name deleted] the dealer actually posted here to defend itself, and its version of events was unconvincing, to say the least.

I don't think we have a situation where the forum offers no protection to a dealer. The dealer has all the protection it needs -- the ability to come here and tell its side of the story, letting the forum members and prospective customers decide what to believe.

Cindy
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

Top
#968324 - 05/28/04 10:43 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
NorthAmerican/Cindysphinx, that is not the case this time.

In this short lived thread (I pulled it), 4 different members advised staying away from a particular dealer, even giving a specific example why. Three of the members are long time posters, and not given to raising false alarms.

Granted, it was their opinions, and more specific examples may have helped support the advice. But part of the purpose of a public forum is to be able to express your opinions, and for others to respond/refute.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968325 - 05/28/04 11:15 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by NorthAmerican:


We might fault the dealer for not allowing the purchaser to back out of that sale, but we should at least recognize that the dealer probably had the law on its side.

I know that I’m in the minority here, but I think it’s regrettable that a forum such as this one really offers no protection to a dealer – and I’m NOT speaking here of the unnamed dealer we are referring to in this thread – who may be totally reputable, but whose interaction with one customer is represented only in a post by that customer, who obviously has an axe to grind. [/b]
NorthAmerican,

As a dealer, I appreciate that you understand that it is possible for this forum to unfairly cast a negative light on one dealer (or piano or manufacturer) or another. I have made this point here myself several times. However, in practice, the balance here is really quite good - aided by excellent self-policing and the desire in practically all of the regulars to be as fair as possible to everyone. When a serious accusation is made, it is aggressively scrutinized so that if there is any degree of unfairness on the part of the accuser, it is quickly revealed. People here do not lightly accept unfair and unfounded accusations. That's why this forum works; it's why so many people enjoy staying or visiting here.

As to your thought that a dealer might have the law on his side in accepting a deposit and then refusing to refund it a few hours later, this was discussed here extensively. In a nutshell, the overwhelming sentiment was that, at least in NY, the law is probably not on the dealer's side. No goods were delivered or special ordered and 72 hours had not passed. But the point that everyone kept coming back to is that the law is not the issue; the issues are common decency, fair play, and the fact that reputable piano dealers give their customers as much slack as possible - even when the law is on their side.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968326 - 05/28/04 11:33 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
Agree with Irving. Anyone in business will have a bad experience - or perhaps a bad customer. We should never assume that particularly a new poster is telling gospel. At best it may be the truth as they know it. At worse, it may be outright falsehoods that besmirch the reputation of an honorable person.

I think this board has some continuity and diversity of backgrounds that we can deal with these kinds of issues.

At the same time, some dealer's business practices should see the healthy rays of sunlight - and be seen for what they are. This forum helps that cause.

Ken

Top
#968327 - 05/28/04 11:33 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
It seems am incredible armada is being amassed for one single degenerate,cowardice,lame e-mail bug.

I think a simple anti-virus system would do.
[perhaps Chinese-made.... \:D ]

Just call'im on the carpet.

He'll run as fast as his bare feet will carry. \:D

norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

Top
#968328 - 05/28/04 12:01 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10490
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Frank,

I too think you come around to the right perspective.

We need to take a stand.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

Top
#968329 - 05/28/04 04:09 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
topdog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 245
Loc: San Jose
This whole issue is a perfect example of lawsuit abuse and needs to be addressed at a much higher level than this forum. Lawsuit abuse is a serious problem within all of America.

This cease and disist order could be an infringement on freedom of speech and is certainly an act that will hamper free exchange of information. A lawsuit like this may even border on malicious prosecution and certainly is a total waste of time for all involved.

The dealer that contracts an attorney to battle all the isssues that the dealership has caused ( obviously poor business ethics in dealing with the public) is probably guilty of any accusations made on this forum. The truth be told!

It is a shame (for fear of further lawsuit threats) that we can not expose the dealership and run Him right out of Dodge.
_________________________
PIANO BROKER

Top
#968330 - 05/28/04 04:46 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1967
I'm with you Frank! Let me know if there is anything we can do to help.
_________________________


Blüthner USA, LLC

Top
#968331 - 05/28/04 04:59 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Catlady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 448
Loc: Arlington,VA
What he said.
_________________________
Cathy Harl - former piano dealer and tech.
Currently making and designing jewelry.

Top
#968332 - 05/28/04 05:07 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Go Gettem Frank!

I am happy to do anything that I can to help in this matter.

... And I'm not just saying that because everyone else is... I really am bothered by the issue that people can't say what they want to say without being intimidated or bullied around.

A number of dealers have already offered to back you up, and I think most of us mean it.
Let us know if there's anything we can do to help you out.
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

Top
#968333 - 05/28/04 07:51 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
I second all the other seconds thus far.

I think it's time to tell all, and show us the face of this bully, so we really with facts, can direct potential customers elsewhere.

Could we settle this in a "ring", and I might do battle for the Forum honour? I should like this I think.
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

Top
#968334 - 05/28/04 08:10 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Eric F Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 518
Loc: La Quinta, CA
Is there an original thread somewhere in the past forums that lead to the current "threat" letter? I'm a little lost as to what was said to whom. Also,will I be sued for asking to republish the original thread? Just curious. Eric
_________________________
Eric Frankson
"Music comes first from my heart, and then goes upstairs to my head where I check it out." - Roberta Flack

Top
#968335 - 05/28/04 08:16 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Eric,
This has come up a couple of times, which is why you're seeing such an outcry this time.

Frank removed the original thread to protect himself, but it sounds like he might be coming to the point where he's not going to take it anymore.

edit: and let's not take this to the ring Frank... for the other guy's sake. I've sparred with Manitou, and he's L-E-T-H-A-L. He's like the mean kid from the Cobra-Kai Dojo in Karate Kid.
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

Top
#968336 - 05/28/04 08:23 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Eric F Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 518
Loc: La Quinta, CA
Well, sign me on. This forum is both incredibly insightfull as well as entertaining. With thousands of members, Frank has alot of political backing. I wouldn't want to get in the ring with him. In fact, I'd bet on him. ;\)
_________________________
Eric Frankson
"Music comes first from my heart, and then goes upstairs to my head where I check it out." - Roberta Flack

Top
#968337 - 05/28/04 08:43 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Let's see now, most of the people responding to this thread have agreed we need to take a stand going forward, and not be bullied anymore.

They agree the Piano World Piano Forums are valueable, and by and large provide a worthwhile service to the piano community.

Now, were all of these responders just piano lovers who count themselves as our friends?

NO! A large number of them are also PIANO DEALERS, PIANO TECHNICIANS, PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS, and ... gasp ... LAWYERS!

That should tell you something.

People with nothing to hide (aka, honest people) aren't afraid of our Piano Forums.

Thank you all for your kind offers of support.
This ain't over.

We will draft a strong disclaimer, provide some guidelines to posting, and a warning to any future trouble makers, and we will stand by them.

We will continue to be as fair as possible, and admit our mistakes. But if our members post something negative and it's true, suck it up!

A lot of people depend on us to help them sort the truth from the lies and myths, and damn it, that's what they are going to get.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968338 - 05/28/04 08:49 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
Yippee, yah, yeah, Frank! I'm with you.

Top
#968339 - 05/28/04 09:41 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9297
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Sorry I am late to this party - let me know what I can do to help Frank!
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

Top
#968340 - 05/28/04 11:09 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:
In this short lived thread (I pulled it), 4 different members advised staying away from a particular dealer, even giving a specific example why. Three of the members are long time posters, and not given to raising false alarms.[/b]
Oh, THEM! (Now I know who Frank's talking about. \:D )

This sort of behavior seems hardly out of line with the rest of the practices of that particular operation, if what I've heard about it bears any resemblance to the truth (which I have no reason to doubt, as it's been corroborated on numerous occasions). Well, you can guarantee that I certainly will have a MUCH more vehement denunciation to make if I am ever asked my opinion about that particular dealership. And it really is saying something when some poor schlub like me, all the way out here in the Midwest, knows about this dealer's reputation!

It seems to me that the outfit that had their lawyer send Frank a nasty-gram isn't all that business savvy. What better way to have your already shaky reputation sullied even further than by behaving in a truly reprehensible manner in response to bad press. Can they honestly believe that this action somehow HELPS[/b] their cause? What a laugh riot!

A firm usually gets a bad reputation for a reason. If any act needs to be cleaned up, it's not the Piano World posters -- it's the dealership in question. They are sorely mistaken if they believe they can salvage what's left of their reputation by telling people, essentially, to shut up or pay up. Not only are they threatening Frank B., they're threatening anyone who posts an opinion here on Piano World.

Cease and desist my @$$! Any dealer that pulls this kind of asinine stunt deserves to be exposed for the sleazebags they are.

In my opinion, of course! :p
_________________________
Sacred cows make the best hamburger. - Clemens

Top
#968341 - 05/28/04 11:23 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Frank, thank you for responding so quickly to my e-mail. The forums are great source of info for many people, and speaking ones opinion should'nt be a crime.
It's good to see so many members supporting your cause.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

Top
#968342 - 05/29/04 06:56 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jim Volk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 916
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Well, I'm gone for six months, and look at all the excitement I've been missing...

Frank, Thomas Paine once remarked that "those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." In that context, a 'litigation fund' is a good idea. With Piano World Forums averaging over 220,000 posts daily and millions of hits a month, it's become an important vessel of free speech to many, and an influential force of some reckoning by manufacturers and retailers alike.

Collecting yearly membership dues from our 6000+ members--even at the measily rate of five bucks apiece--would probably net close to $30K a year for the defense of our cherished freedom against all sorts of spurious litigators. And you wouldn't have to eye every incendiary topic with trepidation, or nervously yank threads at the drop of a lawyer's letter.

Here is something written by Sarah Rohrs, some of which pertains to our discussion:

"In my current job at the Vallejo Times-Herald, numerous animal lovers have approached me with complaints about malfeasance and animal cruelty at the local humane society which I am now checking out through a public records search. These complainers at first wanted me to print all their allegations verbatim, but I can't do that until they are substantiated. To do so would court libel charges against me, the newspaper and the complainers.[/b]...nothing is more satisfying for a reporter and a reader than to have suspicions confirmed, documented, substantiated and then revealed in public."

Nothing is more satisfying for the average disgruntled customer than to have their righteous crusade bandied about in public, too--especially if they can hide safely behind a screen name, while their accusations need not be "confirmed, documented, substantiated." Frank, obviously you are not a publisher of investigative journalism, nor do you endeavor to represent the content of this forum as fact or "research." You are just providing a public venue in which opinions and experiences can be freely exchanged.

Why should your liablity even come into question, then? If a piano dealer is libelously incriminated here, the burden then rests on him to defend himself (and he is afforded an equal opportunity); but it likewise rests on the poster, to substantiate and corroborate his own allegations. But here is the disparity: a dealer's name can be splashed about with reckless abandon, while the accusing forum member enjoys the sniper's advantage of anonymity, regardless of whether there is the least shred of truth in what he says.

It ought to be a rule that anyone using this forum to bring a hard case against a dealer must also make public his own identity. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

-Jimbo
_________________________
Jim Volk
PIANOVATION

Top
#968343 - 05/29/04 07:16 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
I'll just be glad when we aren't having our civil rights violated by a piano dealer and a lawyer. I have news to report, a court ruling of a permanent order against a dealer found guilty of deceptive trade practices. This cannot be any more factual, it was written by the courts! As such, I have a right to report it, Frank has a right to allow it, you have a right to read it, but none of us can excersize our rights because they are being trampled by this lawyer and whoever he is working for.

As such, I think we should sue *them*. Their violation of our rights have now damaged everyone of us by making it impossible for you to get up to date information about a legal ruling concerning a dealership that some of you might need to know about before spending your money. There is also the potential for damages to any consumer who buys a piano from this dealer and falls victim to their deceptive sales tactics because they didn't get the opportunity to know about the court's ruling prior to spending their money due to the forced gagging of this forum.

OK, forum attorneys - do we have a case?
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968344 - 05/29/04 07:33 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
...none of us can excersize our rights because they are being trampled by this lawyer and whoever he is working for.

As such, I think we should sue *them*. Their violation of our rights have now damaged everyone of us by making it impossible for you to get up to date information about a legal ruling concerning a dealership that some of you might need to know about before spending your money. [/b]
Larry,

At the gut level I agree with you. After all, a thread with important information has been pulled and you and others have been intimidated into keeping quiet about things that should not be kept quiet. However, our rights have not been trampled or violated. A threatening email is, after all, just a threatening email. We are all free to ignore it.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968345 - 05/29/04 07:49 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
JPM Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 1010
Loc: NM, GE & Wash. DC
Jimbo,

Welcome back. Good point. If the complainant's allegations are truthful and his case has merit, his willingness to "go public" adds a measure of credibility I think.

My concern with a rule requiring the complainant to do so center on information security and the risk of identity theft, increased spam, etc. (That's why I just use my initials here.)

I wonder if there are legal issues or laws that prohibit an accused dealer from identifying the person making the complaint? I assume the dealer might want to do so if he believes he is in the right.

Looks likes there's still a number of issues to mull over.

JP
_________________________
"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy

Top
#968346 - 05/29/04 07:53 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Actually Irving, we are not. The title of this thread is "be careful what you post". At this point, after 4 pages of posts talking about what we can or cannot say because of this email, I currently have no idea what I can or cannot say. The result is that I am being hindered from giving this information, and the reader is being denied access to the information - all because of this email, and the current muzzling through intimidation we are all having to deal with. I have a right to post factual news, the reader has a need to know it, and a right to know it. But I can't tell you, because due to this violation of our rights, I cannot do so for fear that I will do harm to Frank.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968347 - 05/29/04 08:01 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jimbo:

It ought to be a rule that anyone using this forum to bring a hard case against a dealer must also make public his own identity. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

-Jimbo [/b]
Welcome back Jimbo,

What about the shill who uses (actually, abuses) this forum to heap praises on a dealer? Should we have a rule that he must also make public his identity?

And what about the piano buyer who doesn't bring a hard case, but nevertheless damages a dealer with a negative opinion? And then there is the piano buyer who damns a dealer with faint praise. Should the public identity rule apply to these people as well?

This forum is not perfect. We all know it. But whenever someone comes up with a possible fix (myself included), we seem to quickly see that the fix (no matter how well intentioned) can bring along problems of its own.

Jimbo, I fully share your sentiment - just read what I've written further back in this thread - but if there were an easy fix for any of the weaknesses of this forum, Frank would have implemented it long ago.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968348 - 05/29/04 08:06 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Diarmuid2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 871
Loc: London
With you all the way Frank. This dealer has really shot himself in the foot.

Top
#968349 - 05/29/04 08:15 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
I am being hindered from giving ... information, and the reader is being denied access to ... information - all because of this email, and the current muzzling through intimidation we are all having to deal with. I have a right to post factual news, the reader has a need to know it, and a right to know it. But I can't tell you, because due to this violation of our rights, I cannot do so for fear that I will do harm to Frank. [/b]
Larry,

You may be restraining yourself out of fear that you might do harm to Frank, but not because your rights (or even Frank's rights) have been violated. Believe me; I share your sentiment and your frustration fully. I have a friend/client who had a terrible experience with the as-yet-un-named dealer. She has documentation including a carefully written summary of her experience that she would love to share here. For the moment, I am advising her to sit on it. But not because any rights have been violated. An email that threatens a lawsuit, no matter how disgusting or intimidating it might be, still does not violate our rights.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968350 - 05/29/04 08:40 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Irving brings up a good point here.

I'm sure part of the reason the dealer figured
he could get the post pulled was because the statements were ambiguous. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with them.

The posts are not the point here, what angered me was their immediately threatening legal action instead of
either using this public forum to post a rebuttal, or contacting me directly like gentlemen.

Saying something like "Stay away from *****" or
"***** is (bad news, sleazy, dishonest, etc.)" may be your opinion but unfortunately it will only land you (and the forums) in hot water.

FACTS on the other hand (first hand experience, public documents, etc.) should be allowed and should present less of a target for legal action.

And I would think posting facts would be defensible should it become necessary.

Lawyers, your opinions (personal opinions are fine, I realize you aren't providing "counsel").
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968351 - 05/29/04 09:09 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by irving:


What about the shill who uses (actually, abuses) this forum to heap praises on a dealer? Should we have a rule that he must also make public his identity?[/b]
Well, I am of the opinion that every poster should be transparent in their identity. I am always suspicious of posters with low post counts and hidden identities, especially if they are offering praise or condemnation of anyone or anything.

Top
#968352 - 05/29/04 11:09 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Fred Altenburg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 172
Loc: New Jersey
Lets not get our feathers ruffled by counter suing or striking back. This will create a lynch mob of sorts and an expensive legal war could ensue. I am sure nobody wants to go down this road; I have more pressing things on my agenda, and I am sure you all do, too.
This unmentioned dealer must be reading all this with his head in his hands. I do not think this dealer would be naive enough to pursue further the letter sent to Frank. If people have had first hand experience with a certain dealer, let them tell their story. If other people never met or walked into a dealer's store they should write "my opinion", "no comment", or not write anything at all if they harbor negative feelings. Of course, nice opinions are always welcome:). This should pertain to all dealers, brands, and tuners.
My hunch is that this unmentioned dealer got bad advice from its G.M. who also is the same person that had a run-in with this forum while working at another "DealerDealer". This is probably why Frank got a letter without warning.
I am not intending to defend this dealer and I myself had to seek legal counsel after my requests to remove my name from their Pianoratings site fell on deaf ears. I think that we all tend to let tempers flare and I do not want to risk further escalation of this matter because nobody wins in that situation.
I will still pledge my support to Frank regardless how far it will go but it should not have to go further.
_________________________
Purveyor of fine Pianos and Organs
www.altenburgpiano.com
908 351 2000

Top
#968353 - 05/29/04 11:38 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Christopher James Quinn:
Well, I am of the opinion that every poster should be transparent in their identity. I am always suspicious of posters with low post counts and hidden identities, especially if they are offering praise or condemnation of anyone or anything. [/b]
Chris,

You’re a sophisticated member of this forum and you have ample “street smarts”, so I’m not worried that somebody is ever going to pull the wool over your eyes here. But how many visitors to this forum are savvy enough to know to look at post counts or to notice that some posters are transparent while the identities of others are hidden?

There will always be someone who will try to use this forum for his own hidden purposes, there will always be someone who will be fooled by the abuser, but it is hard to devise rules that limit or prevent this. Perhaps the best that we can do is to advise people (with disclaimers and notices and threads like this) as to how this forum should best be used and how it should not be used and then rely on the superb self-policing that goes on here to do the rest.

At first blush, encouraging people to be transparent and to present only facts about dealers rather than hearsay and sentiments makes sense - not because dealers might sue us but because it is perhaps unfair to harm (or promote) them with hearsay and sentiments - especially from people with hidden identities. But then I start thinking about the people who manufacture and rebuild pianos. Whoops! This forum thrives on the exchange of hearsay and sentiments about their products. Are we going to have to be just as fair to them as we are to the dealers? Once we start enforcing (or even just strongly encouraging) fairness and transparency rules for comments about dealers, the piano makers and rebuilders will have the grounds to insist that they get the same treatment. And then this forum is over.

The more we discuss this issue, the clearer it becomes. We should be very careful before doing anything whatsoever to change the forum. A friend in the business sold a beautiful piano to a very demanding client. She truly loved the piano but tried to make it even better by replacing the hammers with ones that she was sure would make the sound of the piano even better than it was. The resulting sound was still good, but in some ways perhaps not as good (at least to her ears) as the sound that she had sacrificed. She ended up selling the piano to Fred. The moral of the story is that if this forum isn’t broken (and it isn’t), we should avoid trying to fix it. Let’s instead build as large a legal defense fund as we need and defend the forum with it. This forum has proven its value; it is well worth defending.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968354 - 05/29/04 11:59 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
So can I post the Judge's ruling on another case, or not?

Oh - and I am in complete agreement that it should be a hard fast rule that anyone posting who is either a dealer or working for or representing a dealer, or manufacturer, or in any way has a vested interest in selling pianos in any manner, should have to identify themselves under their real name, and show their affiliation.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968355 - 05/29/04 12:04 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
I thought a judge's ruling was public record, no?

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

Top
#968356 - 05/29/04 12:15 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Yes, it is. So with no further delay, I'll post it.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968357 - 05/29/04 12:31 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
it should be a hard fast rule that anyone posting who is either a dealer or working for or representing a dealer, or manufacturer, or in any way has a vested interest in selling pianos in any manner, should have to identify themselves under their real name, and show their affiliation. [/b]
Larry,

If only life were so simple. What do we do about the dealer or the manufacturer or the someone-else-with-a-vested-interest who assumes a false, hidden, identity - masquerading as a piano buyer or piano lover or whatever? If you can solve this one, I'm with you all the way.

As for posting the court ruling, the only reason to restrain yourself would be if Frank asked you to. Even if he stays mum, should he decide after you put up the post that it makes him uncomfortable, he could always pull it.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968358 - 05/29/04 12:52 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
If only life were so simple. What do we do about the dealer or the manufacturer or the someone-else-with-a-vested-interest who assumes a false, hidden, identity - masquerading as a piano buyer or piano lover or whatever? If you can solve this one, I'm with you all the way.[/b]

I realize that, Irving. You are correct, there's no way to keep people from doing that. The only way I've ever found is for those of us with the "sixth sense" from years of being in the business to smoke them out - something I do quite often, and usually end up in trouble for doing it.... ;\)
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968359 - 05/29/04 01:56 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
The worst ones around here dont even show up.

They cruise the Forum like a little U-boat and wait for their moment to 'strike'.

Writing those members who are looking for a piano
and/or poisen their hitherto hard gained knowledge to their own advantage.

Any good mine sweepers around with good depth charger abilities?? \:D

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

Top
#968360 - 05/29/04 02:52 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
The (low cost) membership is most likely a good idea, for a variety of financial reasons. We may want though, to enable newbies to post and get help with their initial searches, while not having to become a paying member. Thus, they still get free info.
Later, maybe dependant upon number of posts, email them a paid-membership ?

(Norbert is having visions of Das Boot)
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

Top
#968361 - 05/29/04 03:54 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by irving:
Chris,

You’re a sophisticated member of this forum and you have ample “street smarts”, so I’m not worried that somebody is ever going to pull the wool over your eyes here. But how many visitors to this forum are savvy enough to know to look at post counts or to notice that some posters are transparent while the identities of others are hidden?

There will always be someone who will try to use this forum for his own hidden purposes, there will always be someone who will be fooled by the abuser, but it is hard to devise rules that limit or prevent this. [/b]
Thanks for that compliment Irving!

Agreed. Here's where self-policing often works, like when some regular poster asks another poster to state their affiliations and such.

I am all for self-policing, but as I said earlier I was not even aware that posts here could present a liability to the owner, being used to usenet as I am. So let's make the rules a little clearer and a little more visible, perhaps.

Oh, and BTW that piano with the other hammers was fabulous, I played it quite a bit and forum member 'Musicmagellan' bought it (as you may know).

Top
#968362 - 05/29/04 05:01 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
tordu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 23
Loc: daly city,ca
I am a new member and am so grateful to have found out about Pianoworld.com. I log on nearly every day and have learned so much already about my long longtime passion, the piano. Thank you Frank for looking after this site. We will help where we are able. Tordu

Top
#968363 - 05/29/04 10:02 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jim Volk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 916
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Ditto that, Tordu. I've been in the piano business five years, and it is indeed an ongoing learning experience...and this is a great place to learn.

Irv, you're good at putting the big picture in perspective. I have to agree with you: the Forum is already just about as perfect as we imperfect creatures can make it. More rules and restrictions will probably choke the life out of it, or at best, hobble it.

What makes this forum (and any internet forum) such a scary proposition is the level playing field it provides to every member. Regardless of how ill-advised, immature, dishonest and generally contemptible a person may be, they are nevertheless afforded access to the same acreage of cyberspace as the poster who is knowledgable, experienced, even-handed and discreet.

Anyone can pretend to be anybody, and say anything. Larry, if only we all had your "sixth sense"!

-Jimbo
_________________________
Jim Volk
PIANOVATION

Top
#968364 - 05/30/04 07:21 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Christopher James Quinn:

Oh, and BTW that piano with the other hammers was fabulous, I played it quite a bit and forum member 'Musicmagellan' bought it (as you may know). [/b]
Chris,

One of these days we'll meet at a Forum event or at the store and I'll tell you the whole story behind that piano. For now, all I can say is that it's too bad you didn't get to to hear it before the hammers were changed.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968365 - 05/30/04 08:16 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jimbo:

What makes this forum (and any internet forum) such a scary proposition is the level playing field it provides to every member. Regardless of how ill-advised, immature, dishonest and generally contemptible a person may be, they are nevertheless afforded access to the same acreage of cyberspace as the poster who is knowledgable, experienced, even-handed and discreet.

-Jimbo [/b]
Jimbo,

Regarding your concern, which clearly I share, a formal assessment of the past and present dynamics of this forum might be instructive. While it would likley be a herculean task to do this, it wouldn't be so hard to ask the regulars their perceptions. My guess is that most would agree that at least during the time that I've been here:

1. the quality of writing has improved both on the part of certain individuals and in the forum as a whole;

2. the level of seriousness has increased;

3. threads are becoming more focused with significantly less tendency to wander - especially into nonsense;

4. leadership has evolved in various topic areas;

5. the quality of self-policing is as least as good today as it has ever been.

As a consequence, the ill-advised, immature, dishonest and generally contemptible have become less prevelant. The way that this forum has been developing has made it increasingly difficult (not impossible to be sure, but increasingly difficult) for anyone who is inclined to play games here to get away with it.

And there is a snowball effect to all of this. As the forum improves, it becomes more important and influential and serious. As it becomes more important and influential and serious, it attracts better writers and thinkers and leaders and so it becomes even more important and influential and serious.

Of course, we need to always worry that sometimes some devious, contemptable, people will try to take advantage of the forum. But that's just part of the price that we have to pay in order to have it. John Kennedy said that "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance"; it seems that the price of this forum may be eternal vigilance as well - and that's okay. It's well worth the price.

Some day, when the next Mt. Rushmore is carved, right up there along with Kennedy and Martin Luther King there just might be a likeness of Frank.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968366 - 05/30/04 08:35 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by irving:

One of these days we'll meet at a Forum event or at the store and I'll tell you the whole story behind that piano. For now, all I can say is that it's too bad you didn't get to to hear it before the hammers were changed. [/b]
:D

Top
#968367 - 05/30/04 09:08 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
 Quote:
One of these days we'll meet at a Forum event or at the store and I'll tell you the whole story behind that piano. For now, all I can say is that it's too bad you didn't get to to hear it before the hammers were changed.
Well now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, let me just mention the following items.

I do know much of the "complete story." I also know Chris knows at least part of it.

I have the original hammers (amazingly) intact just in case I ever want to restore the original sound.

The music teacher who sold the piano replaced it with a restored Grotrian. Interestingly, my piano sounds similar to a Grotrian: the same round tone as standard Estonias but with bite. This piano can growl if I want it to. No value judgment implied. Simply a matter of personal taste.

And, most importantly, I can now openly thank Fred Altenberg as the dealer I praised in another thread without naming him.

I also want to thank Ori Bukai for his highly informative education about pianos in general and the Estonia in particular. (I think Irving might have met Ori sometime in his travels \:D )

Finally, for those who haven't read that other thread, I'll thank Chris again for informing me about this piano at Altenbergs and joining me there, along with Steve Ries, who I also thank here, to audition this as well as other pianos.

I've just exhausted all my thanks for the day. If someone does anything nice for me today, I'll just nod appreciatively in their direction.
_________________________
(watch this space)

Top
#968368 - 05/30/04 10:02 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

Top
#968369 - 05/30/04 10:07 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pete Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 796
Loc: port washington, ny, us
I think we all have to realize that web forums have their limitations. For a time, I followed a certain company on the stock market. There was a web message board for investors. Unfortunately a lot of people post incorrect information on there for their own financial interests. Is it illegal? Hell, yeah. Is the SEC or Yahoo, which hosts the board doing anything about it? Don't hold your breath. Everything on the internet needs to be taken with a grain of salt. An example hate boards that encourage demagoguery against certain religions or ethnic groups. I am not saying that that sort of thing is here on PW, just that the nature of the internet makes any forum susceptible to misinformation.

Top
#968370 - 05/30/04 01:09 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
i can't believe i read the whole thing! and no doubt by the time i've posted, there will be two more pages i haven't yet read.

i am a bit mystified as to why frank needs to spend a dime here. no matter what we do, there will probably always be someone who wants to threaten us. there is probably nothing we can do to stop baseless threats. i would think our best defense is to ignore them.

if they are stupid enough to actually pursue a lawsuit, THEN i would jump in and fight like hell. but until that happens, why worry? we haven't broken the law. these people shouldn't be dignified with being taken seriously until they do something that must be taken seriously, jmho.

frank, i realize you may not feel comfortable taking this route until you've consulted your attorney, but i would think that once you fully understand our rights and responsibilities, and have a form letter in hand to send to all future senders of threats, that should be the end of it.

we already practice a very high degree of discretion on these forums. i've seen countless times where people have refused to name a dealer they had a bad experience with, or said they'd have to take it to email. when a dealer has been criticized, people have stated their personal experience, that's all. they have not made broad, unqualified generalizations.

i didn't see the thread in question here, but it doesn't sound like it should have provoked a lawyer's letter. no, i am not an attorney, i am basing what i am writing here on what the attorneys present have written in this thread.

oh, and the other thing i wonder about, frank: since you received this letter by email, and not on an attorney's printed letterhead, is it possible that they didn't even have a lawyer send the letter? perhaps they just sent it themselves and tried to make it look like a lawyer sent it? i think the email thing is highly irregular.

bottom line, i agree with norbert and fred, we don't need to change anything here or dignify these threats with all this attention.

of course, if threats become reality (i.e. frank is served with notice of a lawsuit), that is an entirely different matter. so, since we've agreed we are going to fight any attempts to remove our civil rights and our ability to protect consumers from disreputable dealers, let's fight only when a fight is really required, no?

frank, in the meantime you know you always have my unqualified support. this forum is my online home. \:\)

and irving, your story about the piano teacher who changed her hammers has me very intrigued. why, if the old hammers were intact, didn't she just put them back on? and does she like the rebuilt grotrian better than her former piano with either set of hammers?
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

Top
#968371 - 05/30/04 02:06 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9297
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
 Quote:
1. the quality of writing has improved both on the part of certain individuals and in the forum as a whole;

2. the level of seriousness has increased;

3. threads are becoming more focused with significantly less tendency to wander - especially into nonsense;

4. leadership has evolved in various topic areas;

5. the quality of self-policing is as least as good today as it has ever been.
irving,

I agree with Derick. I am also not sure how long you've been around, but this has always been a place with good info. and knowledgable members. The numbers have increased, for sure, but the quality of the posts has remained consistent, IMHO.

We may also be in danger of making this place more important than it really is. It has its place, yes, and I enjoy it and its members, many of whom I consider friends - but it is only a message board.

My 2 cents,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

Top
#968372 - 05/30/04 02:42 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
I agree with Rich. I don't see any difference in the "quality of writing by certain individuals" or in the level of seriousness going on today than was present from the beginning. I don't even agree that the goal should be "more seriousness". There's nothing wrong with things heading into "nonsense" some of the time - some of the best information to come out of these threads has come as a result of some "nonsense". And I don't think we need to change how we do things, one reason having just hit me as I read the last few posts.

Who decides what is "nonsense"? Who decides what is "serious"? Who decides what is "good writing"? No offense Irving, but what one person sees as "good writing" someone else may not see it. Likewise, what someone sees as "bad writing" may in fact be some of the best writing posted that day. You cannot reach that point through machinations. One person may feel that a dry, civil, calm, subtle, nonconfrontational manner of writing is the preferred style, and that a blunt agressive style that cuts to the chase is a bad style of writing. The only problem with that is that others may find the reverse to be true.

There is only one way - the way Frank has *always* done it, which is, other than the expected requirements to keep things as civil and decent as possible, to just stay out of the way and let group dynamics shake it all out.

As Rich has said so well, this forum is important, but it's just a forum. It isn't the hub on which the entire piano industry revolves. It offers a lot of things, and it accomplishes what it accomplishes because of the vast array of participants, their style of participation, their personalities. No matter who you are or how you post, there will be people who like what and how you say things, and people who don't. Creativity, originality, digging out the truth, these things all come from what I call "green light thinking" - just let it flow. "Red light thinking" is when you don't express yourself because limits are placed on how or what you can say (I'm not talking about limits on socially unacceptable behavior).

The only real problem I have is the fact that dealers, salesmen, distributors, manufacturers maybe too, apparently lurk here reading posts for the purpose of scoping out potential sales. There is no way to stop it except for those contacted by them to report it here publicly. But when someone is caught doing it, I think they should be put through the wringer for it, and publicly.

Other than that, we need to stop trying to "control" things and just let it happen. This place wouldn't be worth squat if all the information was dry and encyclopedic in how it gets presented. Humor, sarcasm, human faults and strengths showing, anger, these are all a valid and needed part of the overall dynamics of this forum.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968373 - 05/30/04 03:03 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jim Volk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 916
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Rich, you bring up a good point:
 Quote:
We may also be in danger of making this place more important than it really is.[/b]
How important, really, is this forum?

In one respect--in the 3-dimensional reality of man and animals, cities and forests--it barely exists at all. Megabytes, pixels, binary bits...how real is that?

In another respect, its importance exists only in the minds and hearts and imaginations of its devoted, enthusiastic members...purely an arbitrary determination.

But in another context, the importance of this forum so intrudes upon real life that now and then it dangerously threatens the profitablity of somebody's piano business--so much so, that a pack of ravenous, snarling lawyers are sent chasing after Frank.

So I think maybe it's the opposite: we may be in danger of making this place LESS important than it really is--especially if we lay down our arms and walk away without a fight every time some peevish bully reveals his nether quarters.

-Jimbo
_________________________
Jim Volk
PIANOVATION

Top
#968374 - 05/30/04 03:49 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
Jimbo, Rich, Larry,

It seems that my guesses as to what your perceptions about this forum would be were off-target. No problem here; my guesses about things like this are often wrong. However, the only way to learn what people know or believe or perceive is to ask. What about the ill-advised, immature, dishonest and generally contemptible folks who are of concern to Jimbo? Were they always no more than just a manageable nuisance? If so, great. The important point that we do seem to agree on is that, as Larry says, “we need to stop trying to "control" things and just let it happen”. I wasn’t so sure about this when this thread began.

When people make threats, we’re forced to consider things that we hadn’t considered before. We’ve done this and the process has been instructive. And the consensus that has developed is reassuring.

As to Rich’s assertion that this is just a message board that is not so important, I appreciate the sentiment. It shouldn’t be so important. But from what I’ve seen (the way almost everyone in the industry follows the forum; the number of piano buyers that I have personally known to have been greatly influenced by what is written here; the speed and the passion with which objectionable behavior is spotlighted and denounced), I have to agree with Jimbo. This forum is important and influential and this should be recognized.

Now for something really important. It's absolutely gorgeous outside and we're finally free for the day. Time to go for a nice long bike ride. I'll check back in later tonight. This thread is a good one.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968375 - 05/30/04 04:35 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
I would agree, in the grand scheme of things
this is just a forum.

Except... when someone is about to make what is
possibly the
third largest purchase of their life (after their house and car), then it becomes important.

Or when someone first becomes interested in the piano, but realizes they really don't know anything about this great big instrument with the thousands of moving parts.

I can't tell you how many times people have written to me to say thank you for all the wonderful information and advice the've gotten
from our forums and it's members.

Yes, it's just a piano forum, but I'm sure proud of it:-)
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#968376 - 05/30/04 04:43 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10490
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
And you ought to be proud of it, Frank!
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

Top
#968377 - 05/30/04 04:43 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Yes, it's just a piano forum, but I'm sure proud of it:-) [/b]

As are we, Frank. And you *should* be proud of it. Please don't take our comments to mean we (I'm sure I can speak for Rich as well) intended to trivialize the forums. Far from it. If we didn't think the forums served an extremely valuable service, many of us probably wouldn't participate as much, or care so much, or spend so much effort helping keep the information received here as accurate as we can. But we do, which proves we see its value.

What makes this forum *work* is the free exchange. It produces discussion, bringing many opinions into the mix, and eventually what once was cloudy and distorted begins to take on focus. That very process is happening right here in this thread.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

Top
#968378 - 05/31/04 07:55 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by piqué:

irving, your story about the piano teacher who changed her hammers has me very intrigued. why, if the old hammers were intact, didn't she just put them back on? and does she like the rebuilt grotrian better than her former piano with either set of hammers? [/b]
Piqué,

I don't always understand the motivations behind the things that some people do. I can speculate, so long as you understand that my speculations are often wrong (e.g., see my last few posts in this thread).

I've noticed that among the thousands of piano customers that we've seen over the years, a few have peculiar responses to the sounds of the pianos that they are reviewing. In at least some of these cases, I know that the peculiar responses are attributable to a hearing disorder such as tinnitus. In some other cases, I suspect that this is the case. Sometimes, the hearing disorder is such that some pianos sound fine to the person at certain times but not others. And a given piano can switch from sounding great to sounding terrible as the result of a change in tuning, voicing, humidity, piano placement, proximity to something that vibrates sympathetically etc. etc.

One problem that we have with some people is that they are not aware (or would not admit) that they may have such a hearing disorder and we don't feel comfortable in suggesting it. If the piano teacher happens to have such a problem, that would explain her hammer and piano switches and also explain why replacing the original hammers would serve her no purpose. When a client reveals to us that he or she has such a problem, we can often solve (or minimize) the problem (at least with regard to the piano) by addressing the various things that affect piano sound. Voicing a piano down often does the trick; moving the piano to another room has also been a successful solution.

As to how well the piano teacher likes the rebuilt Grotrian, I don't know. If my speculation above is correct, she may love it - but she also may hate it.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968379 - 05/31/04 01:47 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
irving,
i have never heard of such a thing. i thought just some people have more acutely sensitive hearing than others. (i count myself among them, and can identify with the lady's frustrations.)

how would one know if one has a hearing disorder? is having incredibly acute hearing considered a disorder?

btw, i happen to be married to someone who is partially deaf and cannot hear higher frequencies that most of us readily hear. when i complain about my piano (as i am highly sensitive to the changes caused by humidity shifts or unisons going out) he suggests that i take up a combination of trap and skeet shooting and logging using a chainsaw. he promises me that i will no longer have complaints about my piano in short order--i won't be able to tell the difference!

and sometimes, in my more frustrated moments, i think this wouldn't be such a bad idea.....

one more question: when one decides to replace a set of hammers on a piano, should one expect that the resulting personality of the piano will be an unknown, even if the identical type of hammers are used? or should one expect that the personality will remain intact if the new hammers are voiced appropriately?
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

Top
#968380 - 05/31/04 02:02 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3334
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
 Quote:
Originally posted by irving:
 Quote:
Originally posted by piqué:

irving, your story about the piano teacher who changed her hammers has me very intrigued. why, if the old hammers were intact, didn't she just put them back on? and does she like the rebuilt grotrian better than her former piano with either set of hammers? [/b]
Piqué,

I don't always understand the motivations behind the things that some people do. I can speculate, so long as you understand that my speculations are often wrong (e.g., see my last few posts in this thread).

I've noticed that among the thousands of piano customers that we've seen over the years, a few have peculiar responses to the sounds of the pianos that they are reviewing. In at least some of these cases, I know that the peculiar responses are attributable to a hearing disorder such as tinnitus. In some other cases, I suspect that this is the case. Sometimes, the hearing disorder is such that some pianos sound fine to the person at certain times but not others. And a given piano can switch from sounding great to sounding terrible as the result of a change in tuning, voicing, humidity, piano placement, proximity to something that vibrates sympathetically etc. etc.

One problem that we have with some people is that they are not aware (or would not admit) that they may have such a hearing disorder and we don't feel comfortable in suggesting it. If the piano teacher happens to have such a problem, that would explain her hammer and piano switches and also explain why replacing the original hammers would serve her no purpose. When a client reveals to us that he or she has such a problem, we can often solve (or minimize) the problem (at least with regard to the piano) by addressing the various things that affect piano sound. Voicing a piano down often does the trick; moving the piano to another room has also been a successful solution.

As to how well the piano teacher likes the rebuilt Grotrian, I don't know. If my speculation above is correct, she may love it - but she also may hate it. [/b]
Irving,

My experience has been similar. There are certainly times when a new set of hammers, properly hung and voiced will make a big improvement, even in a new high-end piano, but usually it is at the suggestion of a tech who is less familiar with how to work with the existing hammer and/or piano.

We have also had customers with hearing aids who insisted on having certain frequencies voiced out of certain notes, only to change their hearing aid brand and/ or setting and have us go through the same process on other notes. We usually can make the client as happy as they are able to be under the circumstances, but we then hope nobody else hears the instrument.

The clients who aren't aware of their hearing problems can be very difficult, compounded by their ever growing frustration related to something they can't identify. We usually refer these folks to Faust-Harrison ;\) .
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

Top
#968381 - 05/31/04 02:21 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3334
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Pique,

FWIW, I have several friends who are extraordinary pianists, with perfect pitch, who can hear a humming birds wings flapping 1000 feet away, who never get their pianos tuned or voiced. They hear everything possible, but are concentrating so hard on the music that none of the hideous sounds created by their piano matter. Yet when we are preparing a piano for them for a concert or recording, they are the most hyper-sensitive, demanding, and critical clients imaginable. I guess my point is that different folks are more or less sensitive to different sounds in different situations. I am sure you have had moments when you were so cought up in your practicing, that the piano almost dissapeared. That is when you are really getting somewhere.
With that, everybody's thresholds for distraction are different.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

Top
#968382 - 05/31/04 02:37 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
keith,
i understand what you are saying, and i have definitely had the experience you describe, of being so focused on the music that the piano's deficiencies are of little moment.

i don't mind unpleasantness that results from unisons being out or humidity shifts. i usually know what those are and just take them in stride. if the lady changed her hammers for those reasons, i think that is really unfortunate.

as for new hammers not being really necessary if one has an experienced tech, we all know how very difficult it can be to find a talented voicer. i wonder how common and how often unnecessary this recommendation is?

and btw, who are the talented voicers and where are they?
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

Top
#968383 - 05/31/04 07:42 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by piqué:
irving,
i have never heard of such a thing. i thought just some people have more acutely sensitive hearing than others. (i count myself among them, and can identify with the lady's frustrations.)

how would one know if one has a hearing disorder? is having incredibly acute hearing considered a disorder?

one more question: when one decides to replace a set of hammers on a piano, should one expect that the resulting personality of the piano will be an unknown, even if the identical type of hammers are used? or should one expect that the personality will remain intact if the new hammers are voiced appropriately? [/b]
piqué:

I don't consider acutely sensitive hearing to be a disorder - a mixed blessing perhaps, but not a disorder. A person with acutely sensitive hearing may be highly demanding with regard to requiring certain sound elements from a piano, but once those elements are found the person can be quite happy (so long as the piano is reasonably well maintained). The person with a hearing pathology of the type both Keith and I have witnessed is another matter entirely. With such a person, we often can't hear the piano sounds that annoy them. When we do hear them they tend not to be unpleasant to us; they are almost never an issue for most other people - including people, like Sara, who have the most acutely sensitive hearing.

The difficulty for the piano dealer is that a piano that seems perfect to such a person when she finally buys it, can become intolerable to her when it arrives in her home or after it has been in her home for a few weeks or a few months. A tuning or a re-voicing, a change in the weather or a change in the position of the piano almost always solves the problem, but it is a difficult process because the tech working on it either can't hear it or hears something that he or she knows is normal and acceptable to most people. The piano teacher who had her hammers changed did not consult us or the dealer who had sold her the piano before she changed the hammers. I suspect that she was embarrassed to do so. Had she consulted us, I'm sure that we could have resolved her sound issues without changing the hammers.

Regarding your question about whether a fundamental change would occur to the sound of a piano if its hammers are replaced with an identical set, the answer is sometimes it would and sometimes it wouldn't. If you're replacing a new set of Renner blue hammers with another set of Renner blues and the voicer knows what he's doing, you can be pretty sure that the personality of the piano can be maintained with very little change, if any. However, if you're replacing a new set of Steinway hammers with another new set of Steinway hammers and the tech isn't a superstar, the change in the sound of the piano might be small or large or anything in between.

P.S. This was an important thread that stayed pretty much on topic until we sidetracked (hijacked?) it. Should we start another thread?
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

Top
#968384 - 05/31/04 10:48 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Jim Volk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 916
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Hijacked it is.

I thought I saw Pique slipping a pair of boxcutters under one of the seat cushions here...



-Jimbo
_________________________
Jim Volk
PIANOVATION

Top
#968385 - 06/01/04 06:50 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
NorthAmerican Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/03
Posts: 340
Loc: Chicago, Illinois
 Quote:
Originally posted by irving:

...I've noticed that among the thousands of piano customers that we've seen over the years, a few have peculiar responses to the sounds of the pianos that they are reviewing. In at least some of these cases, I know that the peculiar responses are attributable to a hearing disorder such as tinnitus....[/b]
Irving, you have struck a familiar chord!

When I was a child, I played the piano and the violin. If I played the violin when my father was home, I had to play in the basement. This wasn't as terrible as it might sound, since the basement was warm and well-lighted, but I only learned later that some frequencies set up by playing in third or fifth position set off a sympathetic jangling in his ear that he found almost unbearable.

I am now 66, and for the past year or more have suffered from tinnitus, a constant sound in both ears that I experience as a combination of a hiss and a high-pitched shriek. The specialist I saw told me that tinnitus often accompanies a developing hearing loss.

I went to the specialist because I sometimes misunderstood words on radio or television -- hearing a commercial for the Pontiac Vibe, for example, I thought that the speaker said Pontiac Five -- but so far have not had the problem in face-to-face communication or over the telephone. And, like my late father, I now find that some high-frequency sounds set off a sympathetic jangling in one of my ears that can be uncomfortable.

It rarely happens when I play the piano, but if it were to occur I think that I would know not to call the tuner the first time it happened!

Top
#968386 - 06/01/04 03:23 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pianodevo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 836
Keith Kerman wrote:

FWIW, I have several friends who are extraordinary pianists, with perfect pitch, who can hear a humming birds wings flapping 1000 feet away, who never get their pianos tuned or voiced. They hear everything possible, but are concentrating so hard on the music that none of the hideous sounds created by their piano matter. [/b]


Keith, that's very interesting. The great nineteenth century Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein lived in a hotel. His grand piano there was usually out of tune, but according to the reports he was always "serenely indifferent." This attitude of the master strikes me as extremely helpful, although perhaps not easy for one to talk oneself into. ;\)

BTW, I was surprised to learn that AR made an extensive American tour.
_________________________
pianodevo

Top
#968387 - 11/15/04 06:51 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
pianafetish Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Greenville, NC
what you MEAN you have to be careful what you post in this forum about other piano dealer. by the way, this is a free country and i will say what in the HELL i want, especially if that dealer done me wrong. i'll tell the world about it [i might even give your name so that people are less likely to buy anything from you.] if you want to sue me, then COME ON. BRING IT ON. i don't know about the rest of you, but i'm not afraid of anyone who threatens to sue me for slander b/c i exposed them for who they are. but at the same time i can understand why some members in this forum would prefer to keep the dealer's name [whether private or commercial] undisclosed is b/c they don't wanna get their pants sued off for 'bad-mouthing' or 'personally' attacking their buisiness, making them lose money. well, i could careless. besides, i don't use my real name anyway when i roam this forum so i can remain anonymous if i want. moreover, most of my personal info is unaccessible for security reasons and i don't post pics of myself, so no one knows what i look like. but if anyone has a good memory and if there are identifiying details in the story the the store clerk can identify and sue that person. but nevertheless, if i was mistreated by a certain dealer, [like i have been on a coupla occasions] the i'll tell the world, even if it gets me in trouble. NOTE: if this post comes off as offensive or immature, then i apologize. i just won't cowtow to anyone b/c someone says so or threatens me. that's why i signed up here to start with; to freely express my opinions with anonymity and my love for the greatest instrument of all time: the piano. i truly believe that your opinion can change things. and alas, a little threat of lawsuit won't shake me. sorry for such a long post. -Alicia*

Top
#968388 - 06/13/05 07:55 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
cherry Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 1
Loc: California
I agree that if ever we have complains about certain companies it should be discuss in the open and since this is a forum those concerns are likewise given the opportunity to air their side of the story to clear the issue as well as their name in the process.

Top
#968389 - 02/11/07 09:23 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
RonP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 25
Loc: Sioux Falls, SD
A few years back, I saw a TV news magazine show (60 minutes?). They did a show on a lawyer who was sue happy. The lawyer even had the neighborhood up in arms. Suing neighbors because their kids made noise when they played outside. They just didn't have the money to fight that lawyer for such things. The show obviously challenged the lawyer to come against their lawyers and freedom of speech.
Perhaps you could contact such a show and see if they want to do the same on lawyers and public forums?

I'm sure places like Yahoo have a bunch of this stuff. There are tons of discussion groups everywhere. Perhaps forming a discussion forum association? Then the association can find a firm who specializes in such things?

Have you considered counter suing for a frivolous lawsuit? The lawyer wasting your money on nothing? The lawyer is a lawyer, he/she should know the law already. Reporting the lawyer to the bar association?
_________________________
RonP
Beware of kisses from Pit Bulls... They might have the flu.

Top
#968390 - 03/19/07 08:40 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
And as I recall..that lawyer made money on her friviolous lawsuits..and they did a follow up
on her and I think they disbarred her eventually..

Top
#968391 - 01/04/09 07:44 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post!
ThreeBees Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 23
It may be best to ban dealers from Piano World if they cannot refrain suing the site when they are criticized. The dealer's advice on Piano World does not seem particularly useful in most cases.

Top
#1158827 - 03/06/09 11:27 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post! [Re: ThreeBees]
elementc Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 4
One of my favorite comedy websites gets "sued" quite often by people who try to use legal threats as intimidation. They usually respond with silly emails or ignore it completely. So far it seems to be working quite well for them. Although... that's a pretty risky approach if you're not absolutely sure of your rights in the matter.

It's utterly ridiculous to think of not being able to criticize a company for its poor products and/or services.

Top
#1159109 - 03/07/09 04:10 PM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post! [Re: elementc]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5607
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
I copy our attorny on every threat, and let him decide the best course of action.
Often it's just a matter of me sending a knock it off or we will counter-sue email.
However, I prefer to be covered just in case.

And I will call on our 40,000+ members to help us if I have to.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit)
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#2072556 - 04/28/13 12:41 AM Re: Please Be Careful What You Post! [Re: Piano World]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Frank,

I'm new here, and I had no idea you were having legal problems in the forums. I shouldn't be surprised, considering the desperate times dealers have been having selling pianos. Desperate people do desperate things.

What have you decided to do? I skipped a few pages to get to the latest bits so please forgive me if I make you repeat yourself.

And as an aside, that attorney who sent you a cease & desist letter via email was just fishing and trying to bully you, or was just a moron. You can't serve legal documents via email. It's too easy for the recipient to claim they did not get it, or read it. Every attorney knows that, unless they're stupid. They have to build up a paper trail in order to show cause at the preliminary hearing. If they can't prove that you were properly served, there's no basis to sue and the judge will throw it out. The complainant also has to show they made a good faith effort to contact you and performed due diligence to settle the matter outside of court, according to the legal definitions of those things in your home state, not the complainant's. Or there's no suit. If you actually get to court on something so flimsy, your attorney can make a motion to countersue for damages and court costs right then at the preliminary hearing. At least, you can in California! Ask you lawyer about the maneuver before you try it it in your state, though.

One thing you can do about that attorney is to contact his local State Bar office and ask if he is a member in good standing. A lawyer can be sanctioned and even disbarred by their local if they abuse courts just to bully people. I think if you called his local office and told them he sent you a cease & desist via email, they'd all have a good laugh.

No, I'm not an attorney and (caveat) I am not giving you legal advice as I'm not licensed to. But my day job has brought me to court many times, and I have had to sue a few people to get them to pay me like they said they would. So this is just my experience talking as a lay businessman.

People sue YouTube every day. Almost nobody wins.

All the Best,


Edited by laguna_greg (04/28/13 12:45 AM)
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

Top
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >

What's Hot!!
8 Live Ragtime Piano Players on the Cape!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Which are the best forums for piano technicians and DIYers?
by Withindale
Today at 03:17 AM
Prelude
by noobpianist90
Today at 01:55 AM
Red Striped Screws and Fancy Nuts
by chernobieff
Yesterday at 11:57 PM
Communication outside of lessons
by Arghhh
Yesterday at 10:23 PM
What is this piece?
by JoelW
Yesterday at 09:54 PM
Who's Online
49 registered (beeboss, Beemer, András Lieber, AZNpiano, ando, 10 invisible), 1082 Guests and 10 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76645 Members
42 Forums
158486 Topics
2327445 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission