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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Could the end be in sight for major online tab sites? Looks like there will be some legal scuffles coming up this year.

Song sites face legal crackdown
By Ian Youngs
BBC News entertainment reporter



Unauthorised guitar tabs and other musical scores are widely available
The music industry is to extend its copyright war by taking legal action against websites offering unlicensed song scores and lyrics.
The US Music Publishers' Association (MPA), which represents sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006.

MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed.

He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were "completely illegal".

Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".
 

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They can only control the World Wide Web. They cant control Usenet............
 

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Seems kinda silly don't you think? Most tab files are a personal interpretation of a song and some aren't even %100 correct. I can see it being a different story if someone posted copies of a licenced songbook.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
JSD's Guitar Shack said:
Seems kinda silly don't you think? Most tab files are a personal interpretation of a song and some aren't even %100 correct. I can see it being a different story if someone posted copies of a licenced songbook.
Thats very true. Most everything I see is just someone that has worked out a tab and uploaded it. Far worse is the actual downloading of recorded material. I hope they dont get rid of it becuase I use it now and again. You might hear a tune and think "I would like to learn that riff or solo" and you can usually get something that comes close to it pretty quick.

We will see what happens I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Accept2 said:
They can only control the World Wide Web. They cant control Usenet............
Are Usenet fans vulnerable to copyright lawsuits?
Last modified: February 24, 2006, 12:13 PM PST
By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

FAQ In a new series of lawsuits, Hollywood studios for the first time are targeting companies that provide access to Usenet newsgroups.

This corner of the Internet, largely a leftover from the days before the Web exploded into the mainstream, rarely gets much attention. It's still primarily a forum for text discussions (and overwhelming amounts of spam), where techies help one another with Windows and driver problems, and animal lovers share cat stories.


Q: What are newsgroups?
A: Also known as Usenet, newsgroups are one of the earliest forms of sustained conversation online. Initially started by Duke University graduate students in 1980, Usenet evolved over the years into thousands of individual newsgroups that focused on specific subjects such as dogs, science fiction authors, politics or pornography.

Readers post messages similar to e-mails to a specific group. All the content of that group is relayed through servers across the Net, and can be read with a newsgroup reader such as Forte's Agent, or inside some other Web browser and e-mail programs. Most ISPs subscribe to a newsgroup feed, though these are becoming harder to find. Google archives much of Usenet's traffic, all the way back to January 1981, at groups.google.com.

Another historical note: Before becoming a Web standby, the "frequently asked questions," or FAQ, format was widely popularized on newsgroups (though it didn't originate with them).


Q: What does this have to do with piracy?
A: Early on, people learned to send pictures, movies or even full software applications through Usenet groups by breaking the large files into small individual pieces and sending them separately. These large files, called "binaries," could be reconstructed by most newsgroup software, as long as all the pieces came through.

Q: Is this the same as file-sharing?
A: In a sense. Uploading a copyrighted file to a newsgroup is illegal, and the recording industry has targeted individual posters in the past (though largely before peer-to-peer networks emerged).

But unlike peer-to-peer networks, the files uploaded are stored in pieces on the Usenet servers around the world, not on individual computer users' hard drives.

Q: Isn't all this harder than using BitTorrent or eDonkey?
A: For most of Usenet's history, it has been much harder, and more inefficient. Big movie or software files can be broken into hundreds of individual pieces, for example, and if one or two get lost, it can make the whole movie or application unusable.

But in the last few years, several technologies have emerged to make this easier.

One, called Par files (shortened from Parity), lets big files be reconstructed even if some of the individual pieces are missing. Par files are used in other places where data transfer is unreliable, and they are becoming increasingly common on Usenet.

The other technology is an innovation similar, in a sense, to BitTorrent's torrent files. Dubbed NZB files (and created by a company called NewzBin), they automatically group together all the disparate pieces of a big binary file, allowing it to be downloaded and reconstructed with a single click.
 

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Usenet is becomming popular in countries like Russia. They can target companies here, but they cant really do anything about the Usenet servers over there...............
 

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GuitarsCanada said:
Thats very true. Most everything I see is just someone that has worked out a tab and uploaded it. Far worse is the actual downloading of recorded material. I hope they dont get rid of it becuase I use it now and again. You might hear a tune and think "I would like to learn that riff or solo" and you can usually get something that comes close to it pretty quick.

We will see what happens I guess.
I do the same thing. It's great because you don't have to wait maybe until the weekend to go out and buy an entire cd just for that one song that you want to work on. So far, I believe that here in Canada that peer-to-peer sharing of music files is allowed and maybe the same thing will apply to tabs. Like you said, it's someone's interpretation of a song. Regardless, I think it'll take a long time before sharing of tabs completely disappears. We'll see.
 

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Sounds like more *attourney* employment on the way. Those guys are never out of work. "then came the lawyers then came the rules"-Love Over Gold by
Dire Straits.(

And this Keiser jerk threatening to jail 'offenders'. What an abuse of the legal system. Use of such a punitive measure just to protect questionable profits, is unthinkable. Think about it people, he feels justified in taking your freedom for what is a non-violent offence. If indeed it is an offence. As pointed out tabs are usually an interpetation. The artists this ******* represents should be boycotted.
 

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So, is the next step to go after software manufacturers who create programs that allow you import songs and rip a score or analyse a passage (although there may be errors in the chart that you can fix manually)? I think Finale and a few others do this.

Shall I pay a fee every time my friends and I woodshed songs in the kitchen? Will somebody come bashing down my front door and arrest me for infringement of intellectual property?

There's a big difference, in my mind, between being in possession of copywritten source material (i.e songwriter-endorsed transcriptions) and freely distributing it through the Web (you a$$holes know who you are), AND posting an interpretation of a song.

I like Brian May's rant on the issue . You know, that guy from Queen! See the December 18th entry.
 

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****in' eh! Let's hear it for Brian May. I can't agree more. I'd like to hear from other artists. After all these are the people who can influence the money grubbing mealy mouthing element in the industry. Once again Brian May has balls. Thank you sir.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here is a quote off the Guitar Tab Universe site that I frequent. Seems like things are heating up.

July 17, 2006

To all "Guitar Tab Universe" visitors:

The company which owns this website has been indirectly threatened (via our ISP) with legal action by the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) as well as the Music Publishers' Association (MPA) on the basis that sharing tablature constitutes copyright infringement. At what point does describing how one plays a song on guitar become an issue of copyright infringment? This website, among other things, helps users teach eachother how they play guitar parts for many different songs. This is the way music teachers have behaved since the first music was ever created. The difference here is that the information is shared by way of a new technology: the Internet.

When you are jamming with a friend and you show him/her the chords for a song you heard on the radio, is that copyright infringement? What about if you helped him/her remember the chord progression or riff by writing it down on, say, a napkin... infringement? If he/she calls you later that night on the phone or e-mails you and you respond via one of those methods, are you infringing? I don't know... but I would really like to know. If anyone has information on this, please email [email protected].

Apparently, the NMPA/MPA believes that the Internet may be on the foul side of the legality line they would like to draw here. For me, I see no difference. It's teachers educating students and covered as a 'fair use' of the tablature. The teachers here don't even get paid nor do the students have to pay this website to access the lessons.

An attack on this website is really an attack on every one of you who have told someone (in person, or via the written word, telephone, or e-mail) how you play a song on guitar. And who, especially among small websites, has the deep pockets to fight the NMPA/MPA? They use scare tactics while there is, in fact, no legal precedent on this matter (to the best of our knowledge). If you are interested in expressing your opinion to the NMPA/MPA, contact them via their respective websites. Please do not resort to vulgar language or insults.

Millions of people use the Internet to learn guitar, in one form or another. It appears the NMPA/MPA and their members do not want to support us and help us further our education. To you visitors from outside the USA or UK, can you find your favorite artists' "official sheet music" at your local music store? Even in the United States and United Kingdom, we often can not. The NMPA/MPA have a choice to make: either they support us as aspiring guitarists, or they choose to alienate their customer base. To date, not one sheet music publisher has contacted this website to either inquire as to our activities or to express interest in any type of dialogue or collaboration whatsoever. All we deserve is a cold, indirect, impersonal threat without any explanation? They should embrace new technologies or else become relics of the old economy.

Since I'm now 'worried' about working around tabs at all, I'm in a tough situation! Luckily, I'm fairly confident that if I alone listen to a song and then figure out how to play it by ear, I will then be able to enjoy using that knowledge to practice and improve my guitar playing skills. Is that what is necessary for everyone to do? Work these things out alone? What a sad situation.

Sincerely,
Rob Balch

Manager of "Guitar Tab Universe"

If you would like to help out and join the effort to fight for our freedom to tab and share, please check out MuSATO.

You can comment on this statement and/or situation here.
 

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One thing to note is that most tabs out there are not always correct and/or they are incomplete. Also what about the instructional videos on the net or hard copies that show people how to play songs? These publishers are just pushing this thing too far. Next thing you know a review of a movie or video game that mentions anything about plot, character names etc, will be seen as copyright infringement.
 

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that's bullshit. It's not like you're stealing the artists work. You're merely learning how to play along with their cd that you purshased. Seriously, what is this world coming too, when we cant even learn how to play music anymore:frown: What about books and stuff, that people are paying for? Is this copyright infringement?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well music books that you would purchase in a store would have money going back to the owner of that material. The artist/record company. Where these guys are coming from is.... people will duplicate in tab the same thing you would have to pay for and then post it on the web, therefore bypassing them altogether.

The argument has been... if I sit down and listen to a song and tab it out.. then it's "my" interpretation of that song. I guess there is a bit of an argument there. But on the other hand whats to stop someone that has a music book from simply copying that tab and posting it for everyone else to get. Is that not the same thing as music/song sharing? There is where the argument lies.
 

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GuitarsCanada said:
Well music books that you would purchase in a store would have money going back to the owner of that material. The artist/record company. Where these guys are coming from is.... people will duplicate in tab the same thing you would have to pay for and then post it on the web, therefore bypassing them altogether.

The argument has been... if I sit down and listen to a song and tab it out.. then it's "my" interpretation of that song. I guess there is a bit of an argument there. But on the other hand whats to stop someone that has a music book from simply copying that tab and posting it for everyone else to get. Is that not the same thing as music/song sharing? There is where the argument lies.
yeah i suppose. there are a lot of tabs that are like "taken from this book"
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Here is a copy of the actual letter sent to "GuitarTabs.com"

Today I received a certified letter from Moses & Singer LLP, a law firm in New York City which asserts that they are acting as counsel for the National Music Publishers Association and The Music Publishers Association of America. They have stated that guitar tablature hosted on my site violates the copyrights of several of their clients.

I have long been of the understanding that an original, by-ear transcription of a song, which is a duplicate of no copyrighted work and which generally deviates substantially from the work on which it is based is the property of its transcriber, and not the original composer of the song. The NMPA and MPA clearly disagree, and are threatening to send a DMCA letter to my host, as well as pursue other undisclosed legal actions in the event that I were to fall short of full cooperation with their demands.

I have not yet decided what response is appropriate. This site has been a part of my life for ten years now, and I honestly believe that what I'm doing is neither illegal nor harmful to the music publishing industry. My site generates interest in playing music, which can only lead to more purchases of licensed sheet music. In addition, I have referred tens of thousands of dollars in licensed sheet music sales to my affiliates over the years. The notion that a musician serious enough to spend $30 on a sheet music book would instead settle for a by-ear tablature interpretation seems unlikely to me. Whlie highly paid laywers may easily be able to use corrupt, recently-manipulated and poorly-tested copyright law to suggest that I am violating the law, the argument that I have actually damaged their industry in the process seems ludicrous.

I have not had a chance to scan the letter yet, but I have typed it out. Please excuse any typoes I have made in haste.
Moses & Singer LLP
Via Certified Mail (Return Receipt Requested) and Electronic Mail

Peter J. Allen
(Address withheld for online version)

Re: Guitartabs.com

Dar Mr. Allen:

We are counsel to the National Music Publishers' Association ("NMPA") and The Music Publishers' Association of the United States, Inc. ("MPA"), not-for-profit trade associations of music publishers. Many NMPA and MPA member publishers create and distribute printed sheet music and guitar tablature products for educational, concert and recreational purposes. These products often account for a significant portion of the publishers' revenues, revenues which are shared with composers and songwriters.

It has come to our attention that your website, Guitartabs.com, makes available tablature versions of copyrighted musical compositions owned or controlled by members of the NMPA and MPA, without permission from the publishers. A representative listing of those compositions and the publishers who control the copyrights is attached as Schedule A. Examples of the compositions infringed include "Beautiful Day" written by Clayton/Evans/Mullen/Hewson and administered by Universal Music Publishing, and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" written by Lennon/McCarthy and administered by Sony/ATV Tunes LLC.

The versions of these publishers' musical works that you post on your website are not exempt under copyright law. In fact, U.S. copyright law specifically provides that the right to make and distribute arrangements, adaptations, abridgements, or transcriptions of copyrighted musical works, including lyrics, belongs exclusively to the copyright owner of that work. Many, if not all, of the compositions on your website, including the works listed on Schedule A, are protected by copyright. Therefore, you needed, but did not obtain, permission from the copyright owners to make a tablature version of those songs and to post them on your site. Under the circumstances, both the transcriber of the compositions and you as the owner of the website are copyright infringers.

We have been asked by the members of the NMPA and MPA to take all appropriate steps to remove unauthorized sheet music and tablature versions of the publishers' copyrighted works from the Internet.

In so enforcing the rights of the creators and publishers of music, it is our intent to ensure that composers and songwriters will continue to have incentive to create new music for generations to come.

Enclosed herewith is a copy of a notice we intend to send to your service provider, EV1Servers, unless you remove all infringing material from your site voluntarily within ten (10) days from the date of this notice. In accordance with the provisions of the Digital Milllennium Copyright Act ("DMCA), 17 U.S.C. 512, the notice details your infringing activities and demands that EV1Servers take down your website because you have not removed the infringing material, or itself face liability for copyright infringement.

IN short, we ask that you promptly remove all unauthorized copyrighted material from your website and confirm its removal to us in writing. We anticipate and expect your cooperation in this matter. However, in the event that you choose to ignore this request, we shall press our demand that EV1Servers take down your site. The NMPA and MPA, and their respective members, also hereby reserve all of their rights and rememdies under the copyright law with regard to your infringing activities.

We hope that you will choose to respect the rights of the creators of musical works and that no further action will be necessary. Please do not hesitate to contact me at (number withheld) or my associate, Michelle Zarr, at (number withheld) if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Ross J. Charap
 

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GuitarsCanada said:
Well music books that you would purchase in a store would have money going back to the owner of that material. The artist/record company. Where these guys are coming from is.... people will duplicate in tab the same thing you would have to pay for and then post it on the web, therefore bypassing them altogether.
The thing is that there are a LOT of obscure songs on the tab sites that you will NEVER find in any book that has been published, so even though the MPA feels like they are losing revenue by people searching out tabs online (which I don't often do-I actually prefer to try to learn songs by ear), it is bullshit-they are protecting the rights to a service they don't even provide, in my opinion!
-Mikey
P.S. I DO use lyric sites once in a while to either try to find those lyrics you can't quite make out in a recording ('scuse me while I kiss this guy-LOL!), or to save time writing down the lyrics when I am making up my own chord charts for songs.
 
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