The Lacey Act is complex U.S. domestic policy dating back to the early 1900s and which has recently been more widely and strictly enforced.
The Act basically demands that any organic material, endangered or not, in addition to other relevant import requirements, must be accompanied by documents proving the source of origin of the materials.
The problem with The Lacey Act is that it appears to be indiscriminately enforced. We believe that at least one person has been jailed for an alleged piano related infringement and several persons have had items confiscated and destroyed (instrument making wood). Last year, one of the London auction houses had two valuable antique bows confiscated and later returned, and there was the now famous Gibson Guitar factory raid.
However, we have had no reports of Australian travelling musicians experiencing problems at U.S. customs, despite the fact that they appear to be ‘fair game’ with respect to the Act.
AVMA will continue to monitor the situation and will post any new or updated information here.
In the meantime we can only advise you that if you intend travelling with your instruments or bows to the U.S.A, you check out the following URL http://www.fws.gov/le/pdffiles/Lacey.pdf and attempt, as far as possible to comply with requirements.