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Postby The Dali » July 28th, 2006, 7:13 am

In case no one knows, the OLGA archive is currently offline with legal issues.

http://www.olga.net/

In addition, I tried three other sites who had also posted that they received letters from the NMPA requesting that the sites immediately stop disseminating free guitar tab.

I found the letter that they received:


( From site owner):

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.


( Actual Letter):


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
-=- Steve

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Postby dogbite » July 28th, 2006, 7:38 am

"I fought the law and the law won"

bust me for using a lyric.

that sucks man. :cry:
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Postby Ghost » July 28th, 2006, 7:38 am

Lawyers, NMPA, MPA, and of course the RIAA (they weren't involved in the above, just wanted to mention them) just don't get the internet. :cry: The days when I used to think copyright meant that you can't claim someone elses material as your own. Apparently it goes much deeper then that.

Yup, budding guitarist time to toughen up and tab by ear. That includes me to. :shock:
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Postby vanzant38 » July 28th, 2006, 8:19 am

NMPA, MPA, RIAA, MPAA. They all want just one thing. What I don't understand is why can't the consumer just give them that one thing. What is this one thing? COMPLETE CONTROL. That isn't much to ask is it.

So if any of you guitarists on here who are actually good/lucky enough to ever "make it" be sure to join up with the RIAA. They will take care of you and make sure that you get your fair share. 5 cents per CD is a good share isnt it. Actually what I mean is be more like Rap stars, they make their own record labels, the RIAA """"HATES"""" this. Because they can't CONTROL the Rappers.

I am hoping that independent labels will be the wave of the future. People with power don't usually just give it up without a fight.
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Postby Off He Goes » July 28th, 2006, 8:39 am

Two threads on this site about sites closing down. It's a terrible thing that's going on. Tabs are a good resource, (I'm more of a GuitarPro fan though), and are quite important in the devolpoment and progress of musicians.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes over the next while.
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Postby TwistedLefty » July 28th, 2006, 9:40 am

Sport The Trapped X wrote:Now that economy sucks over here in the US I'm not sure why the music industry thinks people actually wants to buy stuff. My car don't run on CDs or tab books. :lol:


actually the US economy is in great shape, (unless high fuel costs = bad economy to you) but i'm not sure about how that relates to the music industry.
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/eop/2006/2006_erp.pdf

an internal report in 2004 by one of the major companys stated that piracy had little to do with the drop in sales.
http://www.economist.com/business/displ ... id=3329169

this done the same year, is also interesting
http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5181562.html

to make up for that, here is a fun read
"The U.S. Copyright code, in verse "
http://jergames.blogspot.com/2006/07/us ... verse.html
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Postby The Dali » July 28th, 2006, 9:43 am

I understand this from both viewpoints. Regular guitarists want to be able to learn songs so they can play them (in their home, at a gig, etc) without paying $25 per songbook. The record industry wants to make money on this activity (naturally) and also want to protect the interests of their clients - the recording artists. It is a tough question, but I have no doubt that the MNPA and other organizations will win. Hopefully we will get to a place where the sheet music/tab will be available online just like music - $0.99 a song. The ironic thing might be that a service like that - with fully licensed music/tab offered at a low per song rate - might actually benefit guitar player by providing the CORRECT music/tab and not the garbage that we have currently sift through (what, 65% of the current tab might be 80% correct?).

I am unclear as to the difference between the tab and playing a song live. Musician's don't pay for the right to play the song at a gig, but do have to pay for the sheet music. If I can transcribe by ear and then play the song live, have I just ripped someone off?
-=- Steve

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Postby clideguitar » July 28th, 2006, 10:26 am

I just saw it - and I was going to POST then saw this thread.

"OLGA is currently offline while we resolve legal issues with the archive. We greatly appreciate your support and hope to return to providing resources to the aspiring guitarist as soon as possible."

GREED - that's all our country is about. No wonder the rest of the world hates us......

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Postby Nick » July 28th, 2006, 10:50 am

Puh-leeeese don't anyone get off on a political rant.

I can see how they might claim infringement on correct and detailed tab. However there ain't much of that. Apart from that I'd think it would be hard to prove that tab is an infringement. Is it recognized anywhere but in the guitar community as being a method of transcribing music? It has no time signature, so I would argue it has no meaning. It's just a collection of notes. It's often tabbed in relation to a capo so the written notes are often wrong.

I'd try to put the onus on them to prove that any piece of the tab hosted is correct.

Show me a piece of tab that is written out so you can play a song recognizably and I'll show you a dozen ways to play it completely differently while still playing the written notes.

Now I wonder if something as generic as chordie is going next.


We should organize a strike.
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Postby slejhamer » July 28th, 2006, 11:02 am

It's interesting that, on the MPA's site, they argue that the cost of printed music is high because of, well, the cost of printing music. But they completely ignore the fact that distribution via the web greatly reduces their costs - if not eliminating many costs in entirety.

How can they then justify the $4.99 price for a single song download?

And isn't it curious that web retailers of downloadable tab don't discount? Yet the price of tab is pretty much the same from site to site, regardless of publisher ... Can you say COLLUSION?

Someone with a good legal background and the right connections might want to investigate.
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Postby Ghost » July 28th, 2006, 11:05 am

Nick wrote:We should organize a strike.


Better yet. We write our own music, copywrite it and release it to everyone for free.

We go on strike if chords and scales become copywrite protected material. That's a scary thought. :shock:
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Postby Nick » July 28th, 2006, 12:17 pm

You can't fool me. Ending your post with "anyway, back on topic" doesn't make it on topic in the first place. :D

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Postby NoteBoat » July 28th, 2006, 1:45 pm

Nick, if it's incorrect tab... I think they actually have a better case. If it's dead on, the arguments center around whether or not it's "fair use". If it's incorrect - but clearly based on someone's recording - then it's an arrangement, a version, an 'interpretation' or whatever you'd like to call it.

But the law clearly gives the copyright holder the exclusive right to approve (or reject) the publication of "derivative works". Since that would include versions, arrangments, interpretations, and 'sorta based ons'... I think pursuing that line means admitting infringment!
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Postby Nick » July 28th, 2006, 2:20 pm

Good point. So the bad tab argument is out.

However I still think that numbers on lines without time signature has a shot.
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Postby Mike » July 28th, 2006, 3:08 pm

Are the artists speaking up or is it just the MPA acting on their own?
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