Latest update: Easy Songs for Beginners are back! Read the official announcement. (updated November 3, 2011)
Earlier update: Some of the easy songs for beginners are back. More details soon. (updated November 1, 2011)
Earlier update: See what’s new on the blog (updated March 21, 2010)
On February 11, 2010 we received a letter from the law firm Moses & Singer LLP. As counsel to the NMPA (National Music Publishers’ Association) and the MPA (The Music Publishers’ Association of the United States, Inc.) they instructed us to remove any content displaying guitar tablature and lyrics of copyrighted musical compositions.
If we ignore or refuse their request they have promised further action against us, including forcing our ISP (Internet Service Provider) to remove our entire website from the Internet and demanding that search engines, which we rely on for our visitors, to disable access to our website.
We are, at the moment, complying with their request although we feel that Guitar Noise does not infringe upon the rights of copyright owners, nor does it damage the potential earnings of songwriters or their publishers. If anything, we believe the content on this site helps those songwriters by teaching their songs and analyzing their craft. It’s even fair to say that over the years our readers have spent more money on music publications based on articles they’ve read on this site. As far as we know, no songwriter has ever expressed dissatisfaction with their music being used to teach guitar on this website.
In our view, we are being incorrectly bundled together with guitar tab and music lyrics websites. Guitar Noise is, and has always been a tutorial website, where anyone in the world can receive free guitar lessons and advice. We primarily teach guitar techniques, music theory and most other aspects of learning guitar. You can find a good sampling of our lessons on the guitar columns page. While we use examples from popular music, we do so in order to teach people how to play guitar, as well as to teach them about theory and chords and all sorts of other aspects of music. We do not provide note for note transcriptions of songs and when we post song lyrics only to demonstrate how the structure of the song works.
We understand that the NMPA and the MPA, given the current state of copyright laws, are legally bound to act as they are doing, but we are unconvinced that this website does anything to harm the creation of music for future generations. If anything, sharing the gift of music and teaching guitar can only benefit songwriters and the rest of the music industry. Additionally, we at Guitar Noise have made it a point since our inception to encourage our readers to buy books and other tutorial materials as well as recorded music. We have never promoted or encouraged anyone to deprive either artists or their publishers of their royalties.
Guitar Noise is a site that began as a hobby and turned into a labor of love. Our hard work has been recognized in such publications as The London Evening Standard and Acoustic Guitar Magazine. We have also received thousands of emails over the years and a sampling of those can be found here.
We would like to find a long term solution that satisfies music publishers, songwriters and all the aspiring musicians who come to this site every single day. One of the things we would like to do is get a music license that grants us permission to continue using popular songs to teach guitar.
In the meantime, you can help us out by sharing your opinions. There is already an active discussion on our forums. You can also tweet about it here, become our fan on Facebook, leave comments on Myspace , Buzz it up at Google and anywhere else you like to hang out online. We are really interested in hearing what you have to say. You can also send us an email. With your permission, we’d be honored to print some of your comments for others to read.
We would also like to add that should you feel moved to comment, please do so civilly. We understand that this topic touches a lot of nerves on both sides but we also know that the only way to come to any sort of agreement and understanding on any topic is to have a conversation about it. That means listening to, and respecting, the views of others and not just saying something for the sake of saying something. Respond to these folks as you would to Paul, David or any other member of the Guitar Noise community.
After all, it’s that spirit of community that has brought us this far. For the past ten years a core value of Guitar Noise has been the belief that music is something meant to be shared. That does not mean we endorse illegal downloading, copying or pirating intellectual property. We are for music and for musicians.
Check this page frequently for updates and developments.
Thanks for your understanding. We hope you’ll continue to stand by us.
Guitar Noise Founder and Owner
Lead Editor and Senior Columnist