Paul Hackett

Bandmo called Paul Hackett "one of the most interesting webmasters in the online music world." Paul started Guitar Noise in the late nineties and still runs the site today. He can usually be found traveling and learning new languages. Paul's life outside Guitar Noise unfolds at www.paulhackett.ca.

Featured on Guitar Noise

99 Comments

  1. Paula
    March 21st, 2010 @ 10:57 am

    As you know, it’s not just you. It’s Ultimate-Tabs, 911tabs, Guitartabs.net, You Tube, the whole sh-bang. I could see the issue if these sites were offering the “exact” lyric and tab arrangements as published by Hal Leonard or Alfred, in printable formatting. That would be infringement. Selling the lesson and not paying the songwriter, also not acceptable. But they don’t. These sites offer or teach a separate individual’s interpretation of the song for free. It actually acts as promotion for that song, possibly even to a new audience. As a songwriter, and an ASCAP member, I would love to have someone think so much of one of my songs as to want to learn it or teach it to others! Maybe someday they will perform it in a bar, or record it on their CD; then I’ll take my cut. ‘Til then, learn on. Everybody has to start somewhere.

  2. Santiago
    March 21st, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

    Great Magazine! Love all the articles, especially discussions about gear and tecnique. However, I have a bone to pick. The name of your publication is guitar world, not shredder magazine, or Acid rock today or anything like that. Seems to me that you should include at least a section that covers other types of music. I’d like to see something written about Keith Urban, or Jason Aldean. How about Brad Paisley? This is just country, you still have bunches of others who play pop, folk, and other types of music. Have you ever heard of Andy McKee? if you haven’t, check him out on YouTube, especially his piece drifting – he does stuff with his guitar that’s amazing! All in all, as good as the guys you cover are, they represent just a small fraction of what’s out there in the real world. I’m just asking that you live up to your name and set aside a little bit of space for those of us that appreciate other types of music as well as rock.

  3. Guitar Noise Staff
    March 21st, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    Um. Our name is, uh…. Guitar Noise.

  4. mike
    March 21st, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

    Guitar Noise is such an awesome site!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate to hear of the troubles with the butthead MPA. For newbies like me, this is an invaluable resource. Do they have any idea that it would be impossible for a beginner to seek out everthing they need to be able to learn to play guitar and put it together? This site keep things in an order that beginner’s rely on. It’s hard enough to grasp the aspects of playing, but then having to take bits and pieces of info from who knows where and make an understandable model for themselves. I think we would have way less guitar players if not for Guitar Noise. I agree with Paula, a lesson is a lesson. It’s not as if someone bootlegged an unreleased song. It is helping someone become familiar with their music and probly turning them into a fan. Whatever, I think things are getting out of hand. It seems like the MPA is taking an all or nothing approach when they could be working things out on an individual basis. It’s bad enough that music is being taken away at schools.

    What;s with the magazine post??????

  5. sofaville
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 4:35 am

    Really disappointing.

    I love this site; David Hodge’s tab for Wish You Were Here was the first guitar lesson I stumbled across when I bought my first guitar – from that moment I was hooked and I’ve been a huge fan of his lessons ever since.

    Copyright infringement is a real problem on the internet, but I can’t help feeling the MPA are scoring a real own-goal by taking down tabs/lyrics from sites like this rather than trying to find ways to work with them. I’ve bought mp3’s from iTunes off the back of David Hodge lessons here – these lessons are effectively advertisments for the music – they encourage people to consume more music. That’s surely a good thing for the copyright holders!

    Couldn’t the lessons have links to MPA endorsed commercial sites for the related sheet music and mp3s and then the MPA get a cut of any sales made via those links? Guitar Noise lessons could then actually be a marketing opportunity for the MPA.

  6. Sixstring59
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 5:29 am

    Satan will have icicles in his beard before I buy another piece of sheet music from the NMPA or the MPA. IMHO, if someone takes the time and trouble to transcribe THEIR PERSONAL take on a particular song and share it with others strictly in the interests of taking the music higher, I see absolutely no problem with this. In fact, I’ve always though “bad tab” caused people to actually support this industry more than it cost them anything. Greed continues to kill the music industry! So the bottom line is that I’ve been playing by ear for nearly 4 decades now and I can still do that so screw them!

  7. Jaminator
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    It saddens my heart to come to the realization that even if you give of yourself willingly to the betterment of mankind and music, there will always be greed and selfishness. Somehow greed and selfishness wins out over grace and selflessness. All I can say is: Thank you Paul Hackett and David Hodge. You have inspired me to play guitar with the work you have done to break down the songs that we have all loved to listen to through the years. All for free. Who does things like this? Aren’t you supposed to try to squeeze every last drop of money out of our pockets? Oh yeah, I lost myself there for a moment. That is the job of the NMPA and MPA.
    I rock because you rock.
    Live, Love, and let there be peace. -Jaminator

  8. samurai
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 9:11 am

    I apologize for the following “me too” posting and do not wish to turn the opportunity to comment into a petition, but…

    Kindly allow me to get one thing out of the way before going further: I am known to be a strident defender of intellectual property and have lost some “friends” owing to my chastising them for illegally downloading music from dubious sites or “sharing” it using peer-to-peer networks. I happen to be a published author – though not in the realm of music but rather science. (In academia, plagiarism is a sure-fire way to end one’s career really quickly.)

    I am thus familiar with copyright laws AND their “fair use” clause, as doubtlessly are Guitar Noise’s lawyers. It pains me to hear that contesting a takedown threat issued by the [N]MPA would be prohibitively expensive, even though it would be an open-and-shut case that GN would win.

    Mr. David Hodge, to use a very prominent and senior contributor, systematically included a disclaimer in every tutorial:

    “These files are the author’s own work and represent his interpretation of this song. They are intended solely for private study, scholarship or research.”

    (I hope that I will not be sued by Mr. Hodge nor GN for copying the above fragment verbatim. I wish this were funny.)

    If this isn’t “fair use’, I don’t know what is. It is even beyond fair use since Mr. Hodge clearly states that the tabs (and standard-notation examples) were his own work. Add to this his leitmotiv that his examples were meant to be points of departure in the process of making interpretations of a piece the reader’s own, as contrasted to striving to duplicate the exact same sound as .

    As regards the [N]MPA’s egregious lumping of GN together with certifiably fraudulent guitar tab websites, I can only imagine that they use a computer algorithm that crawls the Web looking for groups of six adjacent lines containing series of hyphens and some integers in them. Were they to have read the disclaimers and understood that the material (the Guitar Noise AUTHOR’s tab) was didactic in nature, the whole issue of copyright infringement would never have happened – nor would there have been any takedown injunction.

    Sorry for the rant; I just had to get it off my chest. Thank you, GN, for having provided me with so many LESSONS over the years by what is essentially a labor of love, enabling me to further my abilities in playing guitar in a way that allows me to express myself using music, as opposed to trying to ape track 12 of CD xyz by, say, Eric Clapton.

    Very gratefully yours.

  9. Richard
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    I agree with Jaminator about the selfishness and greed taking the fun out of everything. GN is a great site for anyone looking to learn to play the guitar, AND FOR FREE, how can anyone have a problem with that. I wonder if I try to teach someone a song in my living room do I have to lock the doors and pull the shades? Can someone tell me if most people write songs just to make money? The music I like sure doesn’t sound like it. Thanks David!

  10. Theresa
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 10:42 am

    I loved your site. I have a subscription somewhere to learn guitar and was becoming frustrated that I wasn’t learning any songs, as this is the way to keep you interested as a student. I found your site and was thrilled to learn things that I could do and I sounded so good, even as a beginner. Your site was so easy to use! It is not as easy without the examples and I am disappointed with that. I will work through it and continue. I hope that when it all comes together it will be better and stronger. Thanks so much, you gave me some great help while it lasted.

  11. Richard Baines
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

    That’s such a shame, and it must be really frustrating for you personally Paul. I can’t imagine being faced with the option of shutting down my site – it’d be terrible for my personal finances and also would really suck for our visitors. Even 5 years ago when I set up the site, I was constantly looking over my shoulder with regards to putting up any tabs or lyrics in the lessons etc, and the website has probably suffered because of that. We even had a boycott-RIAA badge on the site for a while!

    What I’d suggest to get around the issue is to host everything that is potentially infringing elsewhere. For example, when showing how to play a popular song, use a youtube account to explain what chords to play and positions, and then perhaps come to some sort of arrangement with a tab site based in a country where the MPA can’t do anything about them, and have them host the tabs for your lessons in a popup window. Surely then just linking to these things wouldn’t be an infringement? That’s just me anyway, I’m sure you’re giving this matter some real thought at the minute.

    I can’t see this hurting Guitar Noise to be honest though, the sites strengths lie elsewhere. If anything publicity from this painful episode might help grow traffic if news gets around enough. Either way, you have our support at Shredaholic.com!!!

  12. Dru
    March 22nd, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

    …it´s like Paula said.

    In my opinion the teaching really acts as promotion for some artists. Today I am interested in many of the artists I ´ve never heard before. Moreover I can´t imagine that this campaign is really in all of the artists interest…Anyway, perhaps everything will turn into good. Thanks for this great site and don´t give up GN!

  13. Staffan
    March 23rd, 2010 @ 12:16 am

    This sucks big time! GN is by far the best guitar LESSON site on the internet and I hate to see some pencil-pushing, stuck-up lawyers having their way with you!

    I say contest them! Like “Samurai” says; those disclaimers that David put out in the beginning of the lessons must have been put there just to protect GN from this kind of crap in the first place, right? It can´t be an infringement if it´s your own version of the original songs – that´s mental!

    Or, go with hosting the tabs abroad instead! That´s probably the easiest and quickest way. Now, I´m sure you can find some place with good bandwidth and where this ridiculous law doesn´t apply (and it will probably end up being cheaper for you as well!).

    Screw the MPA/NMPA – they don´t know what the hell they´re doing!

  14. Chip
    March 23rd, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

    I have to say I’m sad to see the lessons gone. Your site has been so helpful for me. I’ve visited your site often and have learned tremendously from you guys over the last several years. I worked my way through several of the lessons and always felt like I had a professional in my home giving me lessons. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the guitar player I am today with out your site. I’ve recommended your site to numerous friends. I even recommended the Bass for Idiots book by David Hodge to bass player friends. And your comments are so right, I have the Beatles tab books but always went to your site since it breaks it down in to playable chunks and rhythm exercises to prep you for the songs. All I can say is that your lessons are great and its so sad that greed and money took down your lessons. Hope to see you guys running again soon.

  15. Matt N
    March 25th, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

    It is truly sad to see the greed and ignorance of the NMPA/MPA hurt such a wonderful site. This is a great site and it’s lessons have done more for my guitar playing than any other resource. The fact that our legal system even allows what is effectively school yard bullying by making defending an innocent position cost prohibitive is disgusting. The MPA is trying desperately to keep a dying system alive so that it can make them more money.

    Than being said though. It’s the lessons, not the songs. I come to this site so that I can become a better guitar player, not so that I can learn a particular song. If those lessons that are based on a protected song are not able to have tab, so be it. Perhaps it will force me to figure a bit more out on my own. If many (most) of the lessons teach me something with David’s excellent teaching style and written music and tab but are centered around a song that are the authors own work, or work offered by for free by the songs author, that is just fine with me. I have no doubt that I will still learn and grow because of this site.

    I do hope that a solution to the current situation can be found. I am sick from hearing this news, but all is not lost. I have no doubt that the love and effort put into this site by its authors will continue and so will the great lessons and resources that have drawn so many people to Guitar Noise.

    Thank you so much for doing what you do here at Guitar Noise.

  16. Danny Zubo
    March 26th, 2010 @ 9:48 am

    hey, the best way would be to buy them off for the relatively few songs that you have hear, because you all have it set up so well, and it’s really inconvenient for any of us to now use this site effectively learning songs. I understand this costs money, but if you set some kinda of collection link for you maybe through paypal. i’m positive many fans of the website including myself would come out and chip in. I hope this ridiculous problem gets settled soon.

  17. samurai
    March 27th, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    In response to Danny Zubo’s post, Guitar Noise has had a mechanism to accept donations through PayPal since January 2009: https://www.guitarnoise.com/donate/

    This page includes a history of monthly voluntary donations and the figures are not exactly impressive, whether it be in dollar amounts or numbers of donors. If all the good people who use GN for its purpose of providing LESSONS were to contribute even modestly, perhaps GN could then afford to acquire the rights for the tab, standard notation and lyrics, and thus restore the good ol’ pages which were so well laid out.

    Granted, this would mean caving in to the music industry profiteers, but there seems to be no feasible, affordable way to contest the darn takedown threat. Fellow guitarists, please visit https://www.guitarnoise.com/donate/ and contribute what you can. Who knows? It just might work :-)

  18. Glen Sanders
    March 28th, 2010 @ 2:37 am

    HI,

    I think the approach to copyright is getting way out of control. Education & interpretation is essential for a culture to flourish. If we follow a logical progression from the takedown notice issued to GN then we arrive at some very absurd conclusions. For example if we are not able to post an interpretation of a song then should we be able to post an interpretation to a poem for example. Could you imagine a world where English teachers are unable to quote famous works for fear of copyright infringement – we are then unable build on the structures and foundations laid down by our forefathers. The culture itself is therefore the greatest casualty.

    I understand that powerful corporations can make it impossible (economically) to fight these cases, even if the underdog has the moral high ground and the most sound arguments.

    Guitarnoise has produced a wonderful resource that is supportive of the fragile egos of many who aspire to learn an instrument such as the guitar. The tab on this site is obviously for education purposes as the skill levels are not performance standard.

    I really hope commonsense prevails and it is shown to be justified that a discussion of the interpretation of a song in a webpage does not infringe copyright.

    I wish you well at Guitar noise, Best regards

    Glen Sanders

  19. subha
    March 28th, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    how much time i have to wait to get those tab come back

  20. Guitar Noise Staff
    March 28th, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    Unfortunately, it could be a long wait. I can’t give you a date or time frame yet. Any progress or updates we have will be posted here.

  21. tamim hasan
    March 29th, 2010 @ 6:33 am

    BAD THIS IS VERY BAD……GUITAR NOISE IS A VERY HELPFUL SITE FOR all AND lastly WHAT WILL THE AUTHORITY DO” same thing ‘u tube lesson’ or video lessons how will they stop it.

  22. Aidan
    March 29th, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

    Regarding Samurai’s post, what kind of fees might Guitar Noise need to pay licences etc? And what kind of donations would be required to meet those?

  23. Guitar Noise Staff
    March 29th, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    We’re still looking into that. We need to find out if it is even possible before we can start making guesses about the cost. Sorry this is taking so long.

  24. John
    March 29th, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

    No.

  25. GeneinSRQ
    March 29th, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    This site is such an important tool for the advancing player. I am sure there are thousands of students who share my feelings.. I would certainly be wiling to donate if plausible..
    I am in a learning slump

  26. Jamie
    March 29th, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

    I was absolutely devastated to click on one of the bookmarked lessons I’m working on to find that it has disappeared, but I’m glad to see the outpouring of support from fellow guitar students. I agree with all of the beautifully composed arguments above about the injustice and insanity of the current music industry, where consumers AND artists both tend to get the short end of the stick. The industry is DYING and if it needs a good kick in the face to hasten the process I’d be all too happy to provide one.

    Anyway, I’ve been busy with college and haven’t had time to do much playing, but GuitarNoise has been a godsend for me in helping me work on my otherwise horrible rhythm, and even without tabs, the lesson texts and audio files are helpful enough to keep me coming back. No where else on the internet can you find such great lessons, and the level of detail makes clear your passion for sharing music. In the spirit of supporting such a great site, I made a trifling donation and I hope others can do the same. Obviously those of us who can’t afford lessons have found something wonderful in GN, and we’re all hoping those wonderful lessons can be recovered soon. <3

  27. Jaminator
    March 31st, 2010 @ 8:35 am

    Something that I have learned from personnal experience is that lawyers lie. They lie and they try to intimidate by using scare tactics. I understand that Guitar Noise is complying with the request to remove what the lawyers at the {N}MPA consider to be copyrighted material, because they want to do the right thing to be sure that there is no further action taken by these guys.

    My personal view on this is that it is an empty threat. With the way that the examples are modified and given as an educational tool, free to the internet public, I can’t see how they can possibly perceive that this is copyright infringement. This battle could last for years, and in the end the losers are the students of GuitarNoise. If it was my site, I would put the examples back up, maybe increase the font size on the disclaimer and bold it. If they still want a court battle, I would say “bring it on!!” That’s my own selfish view, but I want my lessons back up, you guys!!! I do seriously believe, however, that there is no way a lawsuit would stick.

    Hang in there GuitarNoise. There are a lot of people who love you.
    -Jaminator

  28. samurai
    April 1st, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

    Commenting on Jaminator’s posting: I know what you mean and, in principle, I share many of your feelings as well as your overall take on the issue. (Save perhaps for lawyers being liars; I dearly hope that GN’s lawyers have a modicum of integrity if they are counselling the owner(s) of GN!)

    But the cold and ugly reality is that GN is not facing an empty threat. I know of one case where an individual had to pay a five-figure dollar amount for infringing on copyright laws in one bare dozen cases. It boggles the mind.

    Were GN to pursue fighting the injunction, it would be a long court battle before GN is (doubtlessly) vindicated. But this protracted battle means having very deep pockets to sustain the legal fight until the (positive) verdict is returned.

    Moreover, as “Guitar Noise Staff” wrote on March 29th, 2010 at 3:07 pm, the feasibility of acquiring licenses — and the cost thereof — by way of voluntary donations is still unknown. And this is in the context of GN trying to *abide* by the unjust threat. Said cost would most likely be far less than that of the legal fees incurred in a long court battle.

    You see the dilemma: Trying to be[come] “legitimate” in the [N]MPA’s idiotic and bullying eyes is already a hurdle. Let alone fighting the industry in courts over a probably long period.

    I hope that the above will be well received.

  29. samurai
    April 2nd, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    I apologize for the following comment in which I am quoting myself, but I wanted to clarify one point. On April 1st, 2010 at 1:24 pm, I wrote:

    “I know of one case where an individual had to pay a five-figure dollar amount for infringing on copyright laws in one bare dozen cases. It boggles the mind.”

    Let it be known that said individual’s violation was attributed to his having printed the *lyrics* of about a dozen songs to show where chord changes were to occur, in much the same way as Guitar Noise contributors have done — namely, to TEACH.

    This person honestly did not know that he was infringing on copyright law which prohibits publishing song lyrics verbatim, even though it was done under what I consider to fall squarely within the “fair use” provision of the law. Nonetheless, he had to pay the five-figure fine and thus the music industry’s self-appointed czars won because the unfortunate “teacher” did not have the financial means to fight the case in courts.

    So there; no good deed goes unpunished. Yet, I find it amazing that hundreds (thousands?) of websites hosting complete song lyrics are still alive. Maybe it’s just a matter of time before [N]MPA/RIAA hires enough lawyers to take those NON-TEACHING sites down.

    Those websites are indeed in flagrant violation of copyright laws and should have been the music industry’s primary targets. One has to wonder if the industry (wrongly) considers Guitar Noise to be a “low-hanging fruit”…

  30. Kei
    April 2nd, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    Is it possible to have individual artists in question to give permission for publishing their work? Or they already have contracts in place with these publishers or they simply don’t care? Just curious what are the positions of the artists whose songs we are “infringing”.

  31. Jaminator
    April 2nd, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

    Hey Samurai,

    in response to the last sentence in the first of your last two posts.
    “I hope that the above will be well received.” If I am interpreting your meaning correctly,
    no worries. I am obviously not an expert on law and lawyers, and I, for one, appreciate your discussion. Also, please excuse my knee-jerk generalization of lawyers. I too hope the lawyers counselling the GuitarNoise staff have the utmost in integrity!!
    A question that I now have is, (please excuse my ignorance as I have yet to actually research the actual definition of the copyright law and the “fair use” policy) where is the line drawn to differentiate between what is an exact copy, a flagrant rip off of the original which actually caused “damages” to the original artist, and an “interpretation” of the “meaning” of the original that is used as a training aid and offered for FREE? It is my understanding that the entity committing the plagiarism must prosper or profit from said plagiarism causing the original author to lose profit or cause “damages” to actually have a case for copyright infringement. If this is not the case, couldn’t we all be sued for copyright violation of one form or another? Everything that has ever been invented, written, painted or played is a “copy” of an “original” in one form or another isn’t it? Maybe I’ve just had too much coffee today, or maybe I’m just really angry because I’ve only had the opportunity to use this wonderful site as a training aid for a very short time before the examples went away. In any case, I don’t even see why GuitarNoise would have to have lawyers for this issue. In my eyes there is no issue, because it does not fit the definition. There is my rant. Please discuss. It’s good therapy for me in this time of great loss!!!

    Thanks again GuitarNoise. If I can’t learn how to play guitar here anymore, maybe at least I can become an expert on copyright law!! (I’m of course only kidding. Since the examples of the songs were taken out, I have discovered many other good learning tools that are still offered here, and I plan on using them as much as I can.)

    -Jaminator

  32. samurai
    April 3rd, 2010 @ 9:35 am

    Hi Jaminator,

    I hope that my reply to you will not be construed as subverting the purpose of this blog, so I’ll keep it short. Copyright law is a very big topic and the best I can do is to suggest that you look things up in Wikipedia.

    Here is an example where “fair use” (in the U.S.) is explained: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

    In particular, you will likely be interested in carefully reading the section describing the “four-factor balancing test.” I am not a lawyer either, but it seems pretty clear that Guitar Noise’s disclaimers were enough to satisfy the “fair use” clause!

  33. pc999
    April 5th, 2010 @ 5:00 am

    This is actually a serious issue because one should be able to post something that he does, I mean, I can publish a full book on my interpretations and how would I read and change/add about last year best seller, and to do that do more or less extensive quotations. It is my work, my skill, my intelligence doing it, no theirs.

    This is not a copy, their books/transcriptions are actually quite different and in a way much more complete (it need to be, so it is a actual transcription). Plus their are the official ones, none claim to be doing what they are, some of those lessons aren’t even real transcriptions, what is in the tab is not what one hear in the recordings.

    If there is a law that says I cant do my work based on others works but not copying them (it is how the world culture advances) then it should be changed, any help I can do just tell it.

  34. samurai
    April 5th, 2010 @ 10:51 am

    I really should learn to shut up but wanted to clarify a crucial point that I regrettably failed to mention in my earlier comments.

    Unless I’m mistaken, the litigation is not between the MPA and Guitar Noise but rather between the MPA and GN’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) which is hosting GN’s website.

    When I suggested that GN’s visitors donate money to GN so that the latter might acquire licenses to legally publish tabs and lyrics, I didn’t mean to imply that it is GN’s *responsibility* to help their ISP fight a court case.

    Sorry; I should have made the above quite clear in my first (and subsequent) posting(s). I hope that this one helps in putting things in perspective and thus rectify any misconceptions about the actual parties involved in this legal case.

  35. guitarpicker
    April 7th, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    This is totally ridiculous.
    So if i scribble a chord progression on a napkin and give it to a friend, am I breaking the law?
    Should I recommend my students buy tab books if they want to learn songs?

    Those “Licensed” tab books that are wildly overpriced, and often very, very incorrect.

    Also, they are not open to discussion. If a tab is posted online, someone can comment and say, “I find playing it like this is easier/better sounding/more effective.”

    Did you know, a cover band was SUED for COVERING a Bruce Springsteen song live.
    And the sueing agency was ASCAP!!!

    This money grabbing ridiculousness needs to stop..

  36. samurai
    April 9th, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

    I just can’t bring myself to just shut up since the issue is so insane…

    “guitarpicker” wrote:

    > This is totally ridiculous.

    Indeed it is.

    >So if i scribble a chord progression on a napkin and give it to a friend, am I breaking the law?

    No. Technically, chord progressions — and chords themselves — are not “copyright-able.” Think of how many songs have be legitimately written and published using standard 12-bar blues chord progressions. And, more stupidly, writing and publishing a C major chord (and its diagram) cannot possibly be construed as being in violation of copyright law!

    > Should I recommend my students buy tab books if they want to learn songs?

    You could but there is, in my opinion, no legal obligation to do so.

    > Those “Licensed” tab books that are wildly overpriced, and often very, very incorrect.

    Correct on all counts.

    > Also, they are not open to discussion. If a tab is posted online, someone can comment and say, “I find playing it like this is easier/better sounding/more effective.”

    Agreed, but this is not really germane to the litigation topic of this blog :-)

    > Did you know, a cover band was SUED for COVERING a Bruce Springsteen song live.
    And the sueing agency was ASCAP!!!

    Please see previous comment.

    > This money grabbing ridiculousness needs to stop..

    Money-grabbing is, regrettably perhaps, in the eye of the beholder. Courts must interpret laws and render “justice” as a consequence. As to whether said “justice” is valid is open for discussion…

  37. Joe W
    April 9th, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

    OK, just one question: What exactly is the copyrighted material?

    Most likely the lyrics, as you cannot copyright a chord progression (unless it is different in the US, but oh so many things are: one-click-buy etc). I’d also say that the tabs showing the fingering of the chords or strumming patterns are not protected by copyright of the …lovechilds… at MPA. Especially the riffs shown on this site were the intellectual work of the authors (e.g. David) and were included as examples of what one could do to (or with) the songs. Regardless, everything has been taken down, which is… stupid (unless you took the tabs showing the fingering of the chords from another site, those guys would then be able to demand the take down but not the MPA, but I doubt this).

    I’d also say that they probably do have the right to demand the lyrics being taken down. Those are, after all, protected. You could try making a point with the “only for study disclaimer”, but I am not too sure about this. Professors in my department use pictures taken from textbooks to teach. They are warned against putting those on the ‘net accessible for everybody, as this would probably not be covered by fair use.
    However: The tabs showing chord fingering (like “open C”): no copyright. The riffs by David et al.? No. The strumming patterns you give us to practice? No! Well, they probably can do it because the legal system is obviously fundamentally broken. Please somebody here: copyright the “open a minor chord” and sue the pants off the MPA. I know some Aussie got the wheel patented some years ago…

  38. samurai
    April 11th, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    On April 9th, 2010 at 11:34 pm, Joe W asked:

    “OK, just one question: What exactly is the copyrighted material?”

    In my rather uninformed opinion, I know of no correct and universal answer. Some countries — and not only small, underdeveloped ones — do not even have copyright laws! I’m mentioning this because Guitar Noise is Internet-based and this worldwide accessibility only complicates matters.

    “Regardless, everything has been taken down, which is… stupid […]”

    Faced with the same threat, I too would have erred on the conservative side as an initial step: Strip out anything that could, however remotely and absurdly, be construed as being copyrighted material until the litigation between GN’s Internet Service Provider and the MPA is resolved.

    It is an unfortunate fact that laws do not always conform to “common sense” — please don’t ask for specific examples! — and one could even argue that what constitutes common sense for one person may well be different in the opinion of another. This is why there exist lawyers specializing in copyright law (which varies between countries) much as there are lawyers specializing in, say, divorce or tax laws.

    Just to show how wary (paranoid?) I can be, I now fear that my comments on this blog might end up being a disservice to GN while the case is pending. If I — not being a party on either side of the litigation — find myself being subject to “FUD” (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), one can well imagine that GN and its ISP could also feel the same.

    Such is the intimidating power of the music industry’s “establishment”. It’s sickening.

  39. Joe W
    April 12th, 2010 @ 2:16 am

    Well, as far as I understood you only have to consider what is copyrighted in the USA since the site is hosted there, but I am no lawyer and no expert on copyrights.

    Please forgive me my harsh phrase (“stupid”), I am not a native speaker. I understand that it is better to err on the side of caution. I also see the technical aspect: all those links/elements were probably replaced using a script (I’d have it done that way). I just wanted to express my bafflement on the fact that all chords have been removed, every fingering, every alternative, and the strumming patterns, too! As an absolute beginner on the guitar I was glad that ever no royalties, they understood. The fun started when we said that it would be 25 (or whatever, too lazy to look it up) tracks. Their answer: “More than 20 tracks? That’ll cost 20% (or whatever) more.” What? Which part of “no royalties, all composers loooong dead” don’t you understand?

  40. Joe W
    April 12th, 2010 @ 2:19 am

    Argh! The webby interface thingy ate two thirds of my post!

    Please forgive me my harsh phrase (“stupid”), I am not a native speaker. I understand that it is better to err on the side of caution. I also see the technical aspect: all those links/elements were probably replaced using a script (I’d have it done that way). I just wanted to express my bafflement on the fact that all chords have been removed, every fingering, every alternative, and the strumming patterns, too! As an absolute beginner on the guitar I was glad that everything was presented in such a great way. As a long time musician (just not on the guitar) I can figure out some of the stuff from the text, though.

    We (I play medieval / renaissance music) had fun with the GEMA (German group who collect the royalties when recording / performing music) when recording a Christmas CD. All composers dead for more than 400 years -> no royalties, they understood. The fun started when we said that it would be 25 (or whatever, too lazy to look it up) tracks. Their answer: “More than 20 tracks? That’ll cost 20% (or whatever) more.” What? Which part of “no royalties, all composers loooong dead” don’t you understand?

  41. Ashu
    April 14th, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    I am a newbie to music. Started in my late forties and GN allowed me to sit after the family was all tucked away and learn aspects of things (music) I had never experienced. I have recommended this site to many

    I am a medical doctor. The reason I bring this up is that I was taught by others through hard work done by others so that knowledge is passed on. I make money but am happy to also impart knowledge without worrying about royalties. I suppose If every new Idea and procedure was copy written few would benefit.

    Your altruism has also brought a personal revelation of generosity of my ability
    I thank all at GN and hope you are able to continue enlightening and helping others with your enthusiasm and generosity

  42. C Stage
    April 19th, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

    Edit as needed:

    Guitar Noise designed a dream beginner’s lesson plans with real tunes, music notation , ( yeah, TAB has its place in illustrating best positions, albeit weakness in rhythm concepts) .

    D Hodge’s careful breakdown on technique, primary and secondary patterns balances consideration to both the sources and in building the beginner’s confidence.. Reading his scripts there is great care in preserving those artists ‘s spirit. I’m a brass player and certified teacher, but in starting up a ‘6 string’ hobby to play into the wee hours of the night with the help of GN, made the steps, finger patterns , and progress clear . As a result music pubs sold me 15 to 29 dollar books from Knopfler, BNL, WBs and Leonard collections, and a bunch of ‘old fashioned’ CDs. You should have an industry PASS on this project, as an educational institution, otherwise there would be more failed , less than mediocre isolated ex players, that w GN find the confidence to read further , learn composition, push for more technique and be more knowledgeable on other genres or past but arch typical, (but over the hill) hits. I’m sensitive to copyright, my wife was an author, and one manuscript was “appropriated” to a house ‘author’ and became a seller. I know I can’t re arrange certain composer’s scores for performance, ..However GN can demonstrate that they feed the industry that is now biting back, but it sounds as if it can’t look the same..so sorry. The parallel I see is with the avid Berklee School crowd eventually resolving their accurate , fan based transcriptions w Leonard on the Real Books, a win win, as students could see the the best write ups , and deserving performers, (who often couldn’t really “read “, much less write out their music them selves ) had some deserved compensation.

  43. samurai
    April 22nd, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

    I thought I was through with posting comments on this topic but I can’t help concurring with “C Stage” on all counts. I realize that there were numerous past comments to the effect that Guitar Noise’s LESSONS were a boon to the music publishing industry — the same entity that issued a takedown notice to their Internet Service Provider / Web hosting site. Maybe it bears repeating it one more time, though it may be futile since the MPA most probably doesn’t bother to read this blog…

    Let’s just hope (in vain?) that reason will eventually prevail over litigation and that GN can restore the Web pages of yore which immensely contributed to enlighten (read: TEACH) guitar players AND drove many to BUY books and CDs.

  44. celine
    April 24th, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    so sad…just can’t believe it…you are my favorite guitar site on the web…
    but i need tabs!
    and it’s just songs.transcriptions of songs!
    songs to learn: education!
    so now teaching/learning to play a song is the same as filesharing?
    i mean what will be next? you aren’t even allowed to sing/play a song
    that is “owned” by someone without paying for it?

    chord tabs are wrong? they don’t belong to us? they are not our language?
    the universal language of music?
    repeating itself over and over again?
    i am sure we should be allowed to “speak/write” music communicate it.
    and by the way what are even hit songs made of?
    originality? where does that come from?
    and also printing lyrics is wrong? a criminal act … infringing copyrights.
    when you just can listen and write them down yourself?

    don’t let people be nice to each other or let them help eachother out.
    they might end up feeling like human beings,
    with a right on culture.
    i believe we should share especially education!

    really don’t get it.
    we live in really crazy times
    so unlogic and messed up.
    hope people at one point don’t go just nuts over it and instead
    loose patience with a system that obviously has gone berserk.

  45. martin-6
    April 26th, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    Possibly the music industry is getting ready to sell electronic versions of official tabs and lyrics as extras to go with their mp3 downloads, and want to eradicate all the existing free providers to maximise their income.

    Obviously it is ridiculous. I can see the problem with music piracy, but trying to clamp down on these publically-contributed intellectual materials is going too far IMO. As an amateur guitar player I am going to be really annoyed if I can no longer find free tabs on the internet, and will definitely NOT end up paying for these files!

    Anybody remember OLGA? One of the oldest sites on the internet, almost pre-dating the mp3, and now closed down by the MPA. Yet, I am very confident that internet-savvy guitarists will come up with a way to defeat the MPA and rub handfuls of free tabs in their greedy little faces.

  46. Ray
    May 6th, 2010 @ 7:37 am

    Its nice to see these agencies are trying to prohibit you from spreading knowledge and encouraging fledgling guitar players from learning these songs. They have been able to take the wonderful site you have constructed and reduce it to an incomplete study. Personally, I dislike learning from the publications I need to pay for. I do not find the quality to be the same and I believe this is greatly due to them just doing it for coin, not for passion. Additionally, sometimes what they display is much more complicated than the tab you provided to learn off of. Leave it to this great country to try and inhibit learning and the dissemination of knowledge.

  47. Mark
    May 18th, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    Here is yet another example of just how greedy these music execs are. You finally find a quality website out there whos main purpose is to TEACH music to musicians of all skill levels and these self richeous so and so’s have to take that away from everybody. I have dozens of music books (chord/lyrics) that I have paid big bucks for over the years and from this day forward I will never purchase another piece of sheet of music again. I will never give my support to such an unadulterated selfish group of people. I am absolutely disgusted that they have taken this action against Guitar Noise. I really hope there is a massive backlash against these people. How many billions do they really need??? Shame on them.

  48. Ed
    May 21st, 2010 @ 5:23 am

    Maybe this is just pie in the sky, but is there possibly a lawyer or law firm out there that would take on your case pro bono? As another poster wrote, if your use of these tabs and lyrics isn’t “fair use”, then what is?

    I certainly respect GN’s very c0-operative stance so far on this matter, but please don’t underestimate the very real likelyhood of winning your case if you were to take on the MPA in court.

    So, are there any copyright lawyers out there who are reading this that are willing to take up GN’s cause?

  49. samurai
    May 22nd, 2010 @ 9:28 am

    Following up on Ed’s comments, I happen to be “the other poster” he mentioned. In addition to my remarks on “fair use”, I also stated that the litigation (if brought to court) would be an open-and-shut case that GN and its ISP would win hands down.

    Having been exposed to copyright laws owing to having published academic papers does not make me a lawyer but if I were one, I would gladly defend GN pro bono. This, unfortunately, is a moot point and all I can do — and did — is/was to provide *some* clarification of what constitutes (U.S.) copyright law, mostly for the benefit of other readers and posters.

    All I can do is to echo Ed’s excellent closing question. Given the large number of people (students, really) who have greatly benefited from GN’s countless tutorials, there should statistically exist at least one copyright lawyer who is also a guitarist and GN reader. Taking on this case pro bono would be an admirable way for her to “repay” GN :-)

  50. samurai
    May 22nd, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    I can’t help but notice how “Guitar Noise Staff” has been relatively silent in this thread. How about posting an entry to let us know where the legal matter currently stands? And what is your opinion regarding the numerous supportive postings from loyal readers/students? Or is it the case that you are not at liberty to comment on the contents of said postings? If the latter, can you tell us why?

    Any feedback — positive or otherwise — would be greatly appreciated!

  51. Guitar Noise Staff
    May 22nd, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

    Even though I’ve been conspicuously absent from this thread I’ve still been reading all the comments with great interest. It’s actually hard to keep quiet at times and I’m doing my best to avoid steering the conversation. I don’t want to appear to be taking sides. I’m sure there are many different opinions among our readers and some of them may hesitate to speak up if they think everyone including the site owner thinks a certain way.

    Both the moral support and suggestions in this thread have been very helpful.

    However, I think most of the comments here have focused on fighting this in court. I’ve come to the conclusion that that doesn’t have to be the last course of action, but it almost certainly shouldn’t be the first course of action. Whether it can be achieved through pro bono work or a volunteer organization it will still be a costly endeavor in terms of time and energy. It could take years and the results are uncertain. The professional opinions I’ve sought so far have told me that this is far from an open and shut case. The courts are likely to side with the NMPA.

    I also haven’t had much to add because I don’t have any substantial progress to report.

    At the moment I’m looking into striking a deal with the publishers. Getting permission to use tabs and or lyrics is a complicated matter because there isn’t a blanket license available. We need to negotiate a separate agreement with each different publisher. For now it’s taking a bit of time to find out who owns what and how to get a hold of them through the right channels. I would like to try negotiating deals with the publishers first and avoid more confrontational measures if possible.

    As you can imagine this is something that won’t be settled next week or even next month. You can be sure that if something happens you’ll hear about it here.

    Sorry to keep you waiting. I’ll keep you posted as things unfold.

    – Paul

  52. samurai
    May 23rd, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    *Thank you*, Mr. Hackett, for taking the time to respond in such detail. I, for one, now have a much better grasp of the situation thanks to your lucid posting.

    “The professional opinions I’ve sought so far have told me that this is far from an open and shut case.”

    So there; I stand corrected and am grateful for it. However, I am saddened and surprised that professional opinions that were sought ended up stating that “The courts are likely to side with the NMPA.”

    I wish you well in the arduous and protracted task of negotiating separate reproduction deals/agreements from so many publishers, absent the possibility of obtaining a “blanket license” from the NMPA.

    You are to be commended for taking the high road in this whole affair, and your uncanny reasonableness makes the NMPA look even more stubborn, greedy and bully-ish. Er, sorry; I didn’t write this last part. It’s not like I’m taking sides ;-)

    Thanks again for the update. I’m pretty sure that I speak for the majority of posters on this blog in saying this. We *do* care a lot about GN and this is not limited to “just” getting the tabs and lyrics back. It’s rather a matter of principle and justice.

  53. jplcpa
    June 11th, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    As tragic as this is there is one sure fire way that the fans can contribute. We can donate our talents, ideas and passions. While it has been fun learning David’s lessons using published works, many of which I’d been listening to for years, the underpinnings of each lesson was to teach a principle of guitar technique or music theory. I certainly don’t claim to be a much of a songwriter myself, but have many times spun way off from David’s planned lesson/song even before getting to the end of the page, taking the spirit of his teaching and my own personal tinkerings for a ride. If Guitar Noise was interested I am sure there would be many fans would want to help in writting our own original pieces & tabs which fit the intended lessons. We could donate the rights to publish freely to Guitar Noise which could fill in for the banned works. With this plan Guitar Noise could continue its mission and tell the MPA where to stick their copyrights. And who knows what creative talents might be sparked in our community of guitar enthusiasts. Paul and David thoughts?

  54. samurai
    June 12th, 2010 @ 11:22 am

    Re jplcpa’s comments and suggestions: I too would love to hear from Paul and David. In the meantime, here are my two cents’ worth which will likely not endear me to the loyal and dedicated fans of GN:

    Whilst the idea of GN readers contributing their own material and ceding all rights to GN is at once creative, laudable and well-intentioned, I can foresee issues concerning how this would work out in practice (no pun).

    1. We would need to know what kind of material to submit so that it fits upcoming lessons. How would GN communicate this to its readers? Perhaps by having a new “Request for Royalty-Free Content” web page?

    2. If the above, an admittedly contrived request could be “We need a song in C#min, 7/4 time, Locrian mode that includes swing-time triplets.” Then the editors would have to check all submissions for correctness and fitness to purpose. Speaking from experience as a former editor, this is a very time-consuming task — to put it mildly.

    3. Furthermore, GN would likely need to establish a standard file format for both standard notation and tab, lest the editors be faced with submitted material sent in obscure, arcane proprietary formats. In the best case, where GN settles on and mandates the use of some specific open-source/public-domain software, potential contributors would need to install said software on their computers if they don’t already have it. Not a show-stopper but something to consider.

    4. If not item 1 (please see above), then readers would “helpfully” start sending an even greater amount of candidate material for use in unspecified future lessons with the net result of having the editors examining them all (again verifying correctness, etc.) and then sorting and saving them in various categories for *possible* future use. An administrative nightmare, in my humble opinion.

    With that said, I am neither Paul nor David (obviously!) and what I wrote may be overly pessimistic or just plain dead wrong.

    Sorry for this rather gloomy reply; I am an engineer trained in anticipating worst-case scenarios. Repeating myself, I am eagerly awaiting a posting by Paul, David et al. concerning your suggestion. I am most certainly in agreement with your idea that GN readers could (and would readily) submit copyright-free material. But, as ever, the devil is in the details ;-)

  55. Mike M
    June 13th, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    I too am saddened by the loss of these “training aids”. I agree with the comments of numerous others that this site is and has been scrupulous in providing the material in an acceptable form as educational material.
    My heartfelt thanks to the staff for providing such an outstanding site for our musical education.
    I hope you can find a reasonable solution (soon?).

  56. Guitar Noise Staff
    June 19th, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    Interesting that just last week Thom Yorke of Radiohead warned that the music business establishment will fold within months – not years. (Link: Thom Yorke: Major Labels Are a “Sinking Ship”)

    This week EMI announced they want to reposition themselves as a rights management company. The Economist wrote up a quick analysis suggesting that “owning and exploiting the copyright to songs, rather than selling recordings of songs, is where the money’s going to be from now on.” (Link: The music business and EMI’s shake-up)

    I guess EMI has seen their role in music today is facing serious challenges.

    – Paul

  57. K.S
    August 2nd, 2010 @ 7:28 pm

    Since GN is clearly not violating any copyright laws, what about putting the website up on a non U.S based server?

  58. Bob J
    August 8th, 2010 @ 6:13 am

    The lessons in a “licensed” book or downloaded TAB (sheet music for that matter) don’t always have enough detail to follow as a lesson. As a matter of fact, since you’ve been shutdown I haven’t bought or downloaded “licensed” material of any kind? Yes – because of the lessons on Guitar Noise I would download other tabs from say http://www.musicnotes.com at a hefty $4 to $5 per tab. Or, buy tabs books from Hal Leonard. Some of it is good, but most of it is useless or just plain wrong.

    The NMPA is cutting off their nose to spite their face. I think that’s way the saying goes.

    Bob J

  59. samurai
    August 8th, 2010 @ 9:00 am

    I’m having a problem with the logic behind the preceding comment/question: If indeed “GN is clearly not violating any copyright laws”, then what is the point of “putting the website up on a non U.S. based server”? I honestly fail to see the relation between the premise and the [suggested] conclusion :-)

    Moreover, if GN elected to relocate their website to some country which does not have any intellectual-property laws, wouldn’t this be unseemly, disingenuous and tantamount to admitting that GN *was* somehow violating copyright laws and thus attempting to evade said laws by way of “evasion”?

    That being said, Mr. Paul Hackett wrote (in part):

    “The professional opinions I’ve sought so far have told me that this is far from an open and shut case. The courts are likely to side with the NMPA.” (Please read his complete posting here: https://www.guitarnoise.com/blog/where-are-the-guitar-tabs/#comment-1678)

    I (too) was floored by the above statements which *seem* to imply that the NMPA has sound legal grounds on which they could build a copyright-infringement case. By the way, a couple of other posters on this blog have also suggested relocating the website to some backward, lawless country. GN’s management wisely chose not to respond to this very dubious “solution”.

    As I wrote before, I should learn to just shut up!

  60. Catherine Brush
    October 11th, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    I was in a long e-mail conversation with one site owner who took off ‘Londonderry Air’ because Hal Leonard’s lawyers told him Hal had the copy write for this music. They also put a copy write on Glow Worm in one of Hal’s books. They changed nothing Used guitar chord charts and did not copy write anything. Because they couldn’t. Guitar chords are public domain. I feel it is getting entirely out of hand.

  61. Aaron Stang
    October 18th, 2010 @ 8:47 am

    Dear David and everyone else on this blog: I work for one of those “evil, greedy’ publishers. You all seem to want to think you are not hurting the artist or the songwriter, just some faceless evil, greedy corporation. Well, here’s how it really works. An artist signs a publishing deal because they need help exploiting their intellectual property in order to make a living. One of the ways a publisher does that is by sub-licensing the “print” (includes TAB and lyrics) rights to a “music print administrator” (like Hal Leonard or Alfred). The print administrator pays thousands, even hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, depending on the song catalog, up front to control the right to administer those songs. Most of that money DOES go to the song writer. Next the print publisher attempts to earn back that money by selling song books, TAB, and instructional pieces using popular songs. Exactly the kind of things you are complaining about not being able to get for free. Now that most of this is available for free (illegally), print publishers are not earning their money back, which means they can’t’ pay songwriters for print deals. And as for hurting greedy companies, all you’re doing is hurting working musicians whose day job used to be in the music print industry. In the past 30 days alone I know of at least 30 wonderful, hard working men and women, with families and mortgages, who’ve lost their jobs due to down-sizing of the music print industry.

  62. Guitar Noise Staff
    October 18th, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

    Thanks for telling us what it’s like on the other side. This has been a very one-sided conversation so far.

    Several months have passed since we removed the unauthorized tabs from this site. We’re now in the process of submitting proposals to music publishers that would allow us to use them again, this time with the approval and consent of the copyright holders.

    After giving it a lot of careful thought and consideration, we’ve decided this is the best way forward. We’re not in of fear of legal action against us. We’re acting out of respect for the songwriters and the businesses that support them.

    Hopefully something concrete will be hammered out later this year. It’s something that will benefit most of us.

    – Paul Hackett, Guitar Noise

  63. divermick
    October 18th, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

    This is so sad. I learnt to play guitar through your website and found it the easiest website on the internet to learn how to play guitar. I tried many many different ways to learn but finall guitarnoise was able to get it right. But you have caved to the music and movie industries false accusations. Music was ment for everyone to play. Do you think it is illegal to teach your son or daghter to play the guitar around a campfire if it is not your own song? After carfull consideration unfortunatly you have lost my respect and future buisness. This is 2010 and I can get the music and tabs from anywhere in the world for free, I just enjoyed your instruction and was even willing to pay for it (YOU for your instruction NOT the music company or artist they did not teach me how to play it) Just because movie stars and some musicians are not making 5 million a year they are all crying. They never should have been making that money in the first place, and everyone under the age of 40 agrees. It is time to let go of the old world and step into the new age! My all this stuff had to happen in America I am guessing where no one is happy unless you are sueing someone for something! Next you will here stuff like Christmas parties are being raided for illegilay singing christmas songs. Talk with some indipendent Canadian, British, German, wait anyone BUT AMERICAN artist and they laugh at what the states buisness are trying to pull over everyones eyes. Wake up american citizens you are being laught at buy the whole world.

  64. Aaron Stang
    October 19th, 2010 @ 6:02 am

    Thanks Divermick for helping me make the point. I especially liked “This is 2010 and I can get the music and tabs from anywhere in the world for free,” — Yes, you absolutley can–simply because there is no one there to stop you. You could also take anything you want, for free, from any store, or anyone’s home–except there is usally someone there to stop you. So is it just fear of jail that keeps you from dong that? If you feel so strongly about your rights to other people’s property please don’t let the fear of jail stop you. Please, by all means make a stand for your rights to other people’s stuff!

    As for this: “So I just enjoyed your instruction and was even willing to pay for it” — Well did you? How much did you pay?

    And for your point that it’s: “YOU for your instruction NOT the music company or artist they did not teach me how to play it” — it’s not the instruction that’s a problem–it’s large-scale distribution of someone else’s music to any one who wants it–which then limits the aritst’s abiltiy to do the same for a fair fee. The fact is, the use and availablility of copyrighted music makes these lessons of MUCH higher value to you than if they were based entirely on public domian music or the teacher’s own original music.

    And one last thing, where did you get the idea that “some musicians are not making 5 million a year”–didn’t you know that it’s a secret club and they give each of us a minimum wage of $5 million a year just for joining?

    By the way, the owner of a copyright has the right to allow any one to use their music for free. But that is their desicion, not yours.

  65. samurai
    October 19th, 2010 @ 11:07 am

    As ever, Mr. Hackett wrote a very balanced, calm and reasoned posting which takes into account valid points from both sides of this contentious issue. Whether or not GN fans consider the music industry’s valid claims – as per U.S. copyright laws – as being inconvenient or even “immoral” is beside the point. “Dura lex sed lex.” (The law is harsh, but it is the law.)

    Mr. Hackett has been doing due diligence to comply with copyright law, regardless of how said law is perceived by loyal GN fans. It’s a complicated, protracted process which speaks volumes about the integrity of our beloved Web site and its owner(s).

    I can appreciate that many people be frustrated with the (hopefully temporary) loss of copyrighted standard notation, TABs and lyrics, but would kindly ask that they not post incendiary remarks on this blog.

    In my humble estimation, the greatest frustration may well be on the part of Mr. Hackett who is trying hard to hammer out many separate reproduction agreements, absent the existence of a single blanket license with the [N]MPA.

  66. Andy
    November 17th, 2010 @ 3:44 am

    I just returned to GN after a long break during which I’ve been stretching my non-musical fingers in the hope they might one day form something resembling a decent chord shape.

    I was disappointed to see this great site was being threatened with legal muscle. My heart sank. Colour me shocked!

    On the other hand, I must say that it warms my heart to know now that all of today’s successful musicians and music publishers got where they are without any help from the work of those who’d gone before. I never knew the world was so blessed with so many prodigies. Colour me amazed.

  67. WimS
    December 3rd, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

    Same for me, Andy – been away for a while and came back tonight. You’re very right; took the words out of my mind!
    Next to that, @mr. Stang: over the years I bought thousands of copys of music, attended dozens of concerts and bought several books with notation etc. (and as far as I can see this didn’t work out too bad for the artists – it seems there are more out there who did like me) – all of that was legally bought!

    People attending sites like this are purely advertising the music of your artists: please keep that in mind, thank you.

    Best regards.
    Best regards.

  68. Hartsa
    December 8th, 2010 @ 6:38 am

    I too haven’t been on this site for a while and am saddened to see what has happened here. This is a complicated issue to be sure. Artists should be paid for his original creations, but in the where does one draw the line. In my opinion most musicians make music so that they could make a living by selling records, performing and generally making a name for themselves.

    So their intention isn’t to make music so that others could learn it, but once the music is out there anyone can learn it if they have enough talent. Should they be punished for having the talent to make their own versions out of something they hear? Or having the eyes to see how it’s played on a gig and taking the effort to copy it down. I guess not, but afterall the problem is that some of them are willing to teach it those who do not yet possess the talent to do it for themselves.

    Sadness of it all is that in my opinion pulling the tabs off doesn’t accomplish what the publishers/artists want – more sold products – quite the opposite. Without the free material to learn and the free teachers to teach, the number of new aspiring musicians will drop dramatically and future potential for product sales will go down the drain with them. Of course the select few who REALLY want to learn, and have the time and money will take private lessons, buy the inaccurate tabs and what not to become a guitarist. But they’d do that anyway and a big portions will lose interest/stop playing.

    Well of course they can continue learning, without learning the play any songs.. but that sounds just dumb.

    But as for a casual player like me, I’d just stick what I’ve learned so far and be even more casual player in the future.

  69. pete
    December 11th, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    well, i guess guitar noise is officially dead then, no use to me anymore

  70. samurai
    December 12th, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    Pete,

    Sorry to hear that GN is dead in your opinion as it is no longer of use to you. Since the topic of this blog is “Where Are the Guitar Tabs”, I can only surmise that you view(ed) this site merely as a source of TABs, as opposed to a fount of knowledge and instructional material (a.k.a. “lessons”).

    There are many of us who still find GN to be very, very useful; there are podcasts, forums, etc. Whilst the teaching aspect of GN is indeed hampered by the (temporary?) removal of TABs, one can nonetheless find a great number of lessons that are truly insightful.

    (As an example, for a rank beginner, learning about the Circle of Fifths does not require any TABs.)

    In any case, with apologies to Mark Twain, reports of GN’s death are greatly exaggerated
    ;-)

  71. MIKE k
    December 14th, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

    Of all the things that should be shared playing music should be number one. I mean when someone downloads a mp3 or movie they are certainly taking something that should be compensated. But playing music? There is no way I could ever play music the same way as the authors and (thankfully for them) there is no way they could play as I. In a way this is trying to limit speech or language. Artist survived sheet music v radio.

    This site has improved my playing. Sharing music making is wonderful. The money always gets in the way.

    Song writers “GET OUT OF THE WAY IF YA CAN’T LEND A HAND”.

  72. samurai
    December 16th, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

    Hi Mike K,

    I wholeheartedly agree that sharing music is wonderful. You download a song (and pay for it) or purchase notation/TAB (and pay for it). This is all well and good. The “music police” wouldn’t have a case against your sharing your (lawfully-obtained) material when you play it for yourself or for the benefit of others.

    If I correctly understand the litigation, what is as stake here is the (unlawful) reproduction of notation and TABs for distribution to others, royalty-free. Yes, “[…] money always gets in the way”, but this is how authors, composers and interpreters earn their living.

    Once you’ve paid the price for a song recording or standard notation or TAB, you have full rights to share this music with an uncountable number of people. (Please contrast this with named licenses for commercial software!)

    Just don’t put up a Web site or page containing a verbatim copy of what you bought and all will be just fine.

  73. Brian in Orillia
    December 17th, 2010 @ 7:00 am

    There’s such a thing as winning all the battles and losing the war. MPAA is going to learn what that means. If it weren’t for sites like this, guitar novices like me would give up.

  74. Finner64
    December 19th, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

    I agree that artists and distribution companies need to be compensated. However, the music publishing industry needs to do some catching up with the part of the business that distributes artists’ recordings. I would happily pay a buck or two for individual songs I wanted to see the detailed and accurate tab for, but I don’t want to pay $30 or $40 for a “songbook”, 98% of which is made up of songs I have no interest in. Where’s the itunes of sheet music?

  75. Aaron
    December 20th, 2010 @ 5:54 am

    Hi Finner64. I’m in music publishing and I agree. I’m sure you and many others would be glad to pay a buck or two for correct TABs to download their favorite songs. There are rather complex reasons that we still don’t have the “iTunes of sheet music” yet. But we music print publishers are working on it–and hoping iTunes will actually be the host. In the meantime please check out Musicnotes.com. They are an excellent legal source of paid TAB. The prices are still high–$4 or $5 per but the industry is trying to bring that down. Right not the main reason sheet music is so much more expensive than recorded music is simply the economy of scale; for every 100,000 people who purchase a recorded song, only a few hundred are interested in the sheet musc, so the price of the sheet music is high to recoup the production costs–not just for the one sheet, but for the whole company and the structure that is in place to produce and adminsiter it. Plus we are working with online TAB sites, trying to find creative ways for them to legally distibute copyrighted music.

  76. Chris Pratt
    December 27th, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

    One option would be to have a link attached to a lesson where someone could
    legally purchase the music and tab from a website. Then all the student needs to do is reference their legally purchased download music while reading the lesson. There are currently websites that sell music and tabs like this and they are only a couple of dollars per song, which in my opinion is a real bargain.

    Chris

  77. Daniel Harman
    January 6th, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

    The thing the sheet publishers realise, and are terrified of, is that we don’t need them. There are people doing high quality work for free. Like they were here, offering a better service than they do with video and backings etc.

    So instead of trying to shut these places down why don’t they try to add some value so we all shop from them? This protectionst approach won’t get very far and even the recorded music industy is beginning to grasp that.

  78. Anonymous
    January 6th, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    So I return to check some of the lessons I had bookmarked and realize that this site is 100% useless now. You guys suck and should just disappear rather than have a rotting corpse like this sitting on the internet.

  79. Bornrebel
    January 6th, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    Possible (temporary) solution.

    I just discovered this site today and was blown away by the wealth of helpful knowledge; its my new favorite website. Not to mention that nobody has asked for my credit card yet. So I am equally disapointed to hear of the “copyright infringement” claims by the greedy half. But maybe there is a way around it.
    The tabs posted are the poster’s interpretaion….right?
    They are not photocopies…..they are not even hand copied.
    So what if the title of the song and the origional author are also the poster’s interpretation……… “Wish you were here” could be “Fish-ing for Beer” by Stink Lloyd.
    Instead of “Clocks” by Coldplay……. “Stocks” by Rolled Hay. Guess this one : “Jeremiah” by Hurlspam.
    Since we are all music fanatics here, most people would know what you were talking about, but it could never be proven in a court of law……..(Although Im no lawyer, Ive been in plenty of courtrooms).
    You guys are creative……..I have faith in ya…….peace.

  80. Durian
    February 8th, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    I would like to know the cost of getting the license to offer tablature. Perhaps it could be cost effective? Is there a single clearing house that can acquire licenses for most artists? Is it a very convoluted system? Is it commission based?

  81. samurai
    February 10th, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    Durian,

    The issue of (easily) obtaining a blanket license has been indirectly covered in this long thread. If you read all the posts, especially the ones by GN founder Mr. Paul Hackett, you will:

    1. Likely wear out the scroll wheel on your mouse;
    2. Understand that there simply is no single clearinghouse providing a “blanket” license for for all music, notation or tab if only because the artists have signed up with many, many labels. (And that’s the easy part to “get”.)

    Lastly, with all due respect, I fail to see how “commission based” fits into this equation from hell :) I, for one, am certain that the staff at GN is still pursuing some sort of arrangement(s) and that fans of this site will show patience until the matter is resolved.

  82. Guitar Noise Staff
    February 10th, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

    I’m still working diligently at getting licensed songs on the site.

    Here’s what I think will happen. Some of the songs we had in the past we won’t be able to use. It’s not all because of the publishers, in some cases the artists (that is, the actual songwriters) don’t want their songs used in this manner. A lot of the other songs we taught before we’ll be able to use again if we come to an agreement with the different publishers. I’m currently in the late stages of trying to make these deals.

    We’re also looking to strike a deal where we’ll be adding new song lessons every month. I wish things were happening faster, but there are no shortcuts if we are going to do this right the first time.

    – Paul Hackett

  83. SirTK
    February 16th, 2011 @ 3:52 am

    For me it’s the lessons that are important, not the songs, so I am happy to do my fumbling on public domain songs. I’m sure there are masses of old blues, country and folk songs just dying to be Hodged-up for us.

  84. Staffan
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 6:51 am

    I can´t agree that a songwriter should be able to prevent anyone from jotting down some symbols to represent what he hears in a song. In my opinion – the artist own the performance rights to his song, that is the recorded version and the performance-FOR-PROFIT side of it. And his name should be put in where needed. But he shouldn´t be compensated just because I tab the song for personal reproduction – that´s just SILLY. It´s as if I listen to someone SPEAK and I´m not allowed to write down the stuff he says – or even to say the same thing myself – no, that´s just TOO WEIRD!

    Am I allowed to sing a “copyrighted” song as I´m walking ALONE down the street?
    Am I allowed to sing the same song if someone is LISTENING?
    Can I play the same NOTES in my guitar solo, at my gig, as Kirk Hammet does in one of HIS solos, or would that be a “copyright infringement” because Kirk-ol-boy OWNES theses notes, when played in this particular SUCCESSION?
    What about a common chord progression – who “ownes” that – the one who played it first?

    Excuse me but this is B-S and the GREEDINESS of the music industry has gone too far! An artist sells records, videos, he tours and he gets radio airplay money – now, if he can´t survive of off that – he should probably find SOMETHING ELSE to do, because obviously his music isn´t very GOOD!

    The “business” side of the music industry absolutely STINKS – and it is down to the greedy companies, make no mistake about it, trying to cash in on EVERY LITTLE ASPECT that they can think of!

    Also, it´s not the “poor struggeling” artist’s music that gets tabbed now is it? No, it´s the big groups/artists stuff, so don´t come crying about the artist not making enough money!

    Music used to be an artform that was shared for pleasure – now it´s just like any other boring commodity, like a brick or a piece of meat and only shared for profit.

    You´d darn well have to PAY just because you happened to be born with EARS if the music industry could have their way!

    (This is not meant as a disrespect to the GN-crew at all – I know you´re in a tough situation – this is just a frustrated rant about the state of the world today.)

  85. Aaron Stang
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    Hi Staffan: I’m a music publishing professional. You are correct–no one can, or would want to imply, that you don’t have the right to notate music for yourself, or learn or perform songs you like. Of cousre you do. That is not the issue. The issue is do you have the right to distribute it via the interent to potentially thousands, even tens of thousands of people. Currnelty a song writer earns income the following ways:

    1) mechanical royalties (from sound recordings)–since 90% of all recordings are ilegally downloaded that income stream is very small.
    2) publishing royalties:
    a) from printed music–almost non-existint income stream at this point
    b) from synchronization (movies and TV uses)–still veyr healthy if you are lucky enough to be one of the very, very few who has their songs used in movie and TV soundtracks.
    c) from radio airplay–shiringing but okay if you happen to be one of the few with a huge hit song.

    I would only ask that you try to mock up some scenarios that you can relate to and see how you would feel is the tables were turned. For example, if you devoted yourself to being an author, and finally got a big break and a publsiher was going to publish your novel. How would youl feel to find out that they can’t sell any, because everyone who wanted it got it for free on the interent? Actually a much more realalistic example, and this is exaclty what is happining, is that if you were that author, the publsher would not be able to publsh your book because the industry is shrinking so fast they no longer receive enough sales to justify the expense. The same is true in all related fields.

  86. Casey
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

    Aaron,

    I understand your point but your argument is flawed in a few ways.

    Tablature is not the score that a songwriter writes. It is a listeners interpretation of what he hears transcribed into a shorthand that, unlike sheet music, is useless without prior knowledge of the song.

    Tab is as much like a recorded song as someone telling you the plot of a movie is like the movie itself.

    Secondly, I understand the beef the RIAA has with internet piracy. However as you yourself noted the sale of printed music is extremely low. Since at it’s worst tab would only compete against printed music (marginally) it would be in competition against a product that has almost no income as it is. Doesn’t seem like much of a loss in comparison with the goodwill the music industry could gain. Believe me your industry needs it, as a native Texan I assure you there is a very strong Anti-Nashville sentiment both among artists and fans.

  87. SirTK
    March 4th, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    I think the problem is that the issue has become polarised. The music industry can be hard as nails and prevent lots of stuff happening, as can most corporate organisations. Similarly, the consumer can say to himself, sod ’em, I’ll not do business with them anymore.

    Result? – everyone loses.

    I know if the music industry could hear me play they would not be afraid of me learning a song from David’s great lessons then going out and earning my fortune on the back of it. But they seem to think there are lots of people who are going to do that.

    People with commercial ambitions don’t come to sites like Guitar Noise in order to make them into stars. I would guess that over 90% of us are simply bedroom guitarists who want some help to play the songs we like.

    But I think it will be a long time before the music industry realises that the threats they see under every bed are figments of their own imagination, and will continue to do damage to themselves by taking such a hard-nosed and bully-boy attitude.

    FWIW
    Terry

  88. Fede Aniorte
    March 16th, 2011 @ 2:06 am

    Hi, Guys!
    I’m sad that a year has passed without any improvements.
    As far as we can tell, David’s good old statement is no longer accepted.
    “These files are the author’s own work and represent his interpretation of this song. They are intended solely for private study, scholarship or research.”

    What would happen if an explicit statement is added to each of the lessons declaring them to be aimed solely at publicizing the song and the work of its authors? That would imply that every lesson advertises the corresponding song and promotes its sales. Since the main purpose of a song’s copyright is to guarantee that the owner achieves economic profit in the global market, the lesson (whose declared goal is now to advertise the song) is by no means hurting those rights but promoting them. It would then make no sense forbidding detailed lessons with tab or notation based on that song, such as the ones formerly found on GuitarNoise. Transcriptions would cease to be a theft and become a promotion tool (which they are!!!)
    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for everything (especially to David Hodge)

    • David Hodge
      March 16th, 2011 @ 8:46 am

      Thanks for writing.

      Regardless of what we use as a disclaimer, we use too much of the full song in order to fall under the “fair use” clause of copyright law. That’s the fact of this situation that we’re dealing with. While we can use (and have used) all the arguments (and more) that have been posted here, the bottom line is that under the existing laws we have to do something different.

      And we are. For the better part of the past year, Paul has been spending a lot of time working on negotiations with numerous publishers on reaching an agreement to both bring the song lessons back and, just if not more important, to give us the legal permission to create new ones. “Numerous” publishers because our lessons belong to a number of them. And sometimes, the publishers also need to get special permission from the songwriters. The whole process has been taking more time than one could imagine possible.

      You might see that they’re still not up and think “no improvements,” but behind the scene a lot has been going on in order to restore the lessons. As I write this, we are hoping to get word soon and as soon as we do, we’ll be putting things back and also creating new lessons for everyone.

      And we cannot express enough how much we have appreciated the patience and support of our readers. The easiest thing in the world would have been to simply throw up our hands and rant about the unfairness of corporations and greed and what have you, but Paul has taken the best step. Going this route, even though it’s taking longer than hoped to do so, is the best possible solution. Not to mention the most fair when it comes to the many talented songwriters and musicians that we admire so much that we want to learn how to recreate their art.

      We also (hopefully!) have to thank the publishers for working with us to reach a workable solution that benefits everyone.

      Anyone who has seriously read any of the lessons at Guitar Noise knows that our core philosophy is all about making the world a better place through the sharing of music. Every song lesson is about working with the artist’s vision and then adding your own take on it to make the music even more special. When we put the music ahead of our own desires, ambitions and needs, it tends to take care of us. I know that sounds silly and sentimental, but it is true. Working together we will always be able to create something better and beautiful. More so than any of us possibly can on our own.

      So keep your fingers crossed and wish us well. We’ll hopefully have some good news to share very soon.

      Peace

  89. samurai
    March 16th, 2011 @ 11:14 am

    Thank you so much, Mr. Hodge, for this update.

    Over the past year, I’ve had this feeling that, behind the public scene of this blog, Guitar Noise’s senior staff had been hard at work with the goal of achieving peaceful, reasonable arrangements with the many representatives of the music publishing business and authors. I figured that taking the high road on such issues would not be easy nor quick. (“Herding cats” could be an apt analogy, but I digress.)

    Your cogent posting confirmed my hunches and I dearly hope that it goes a long way towards assuaging GN fans’ worries — and, at times, impatience.

    Plagiarizing your signature closing line without fear of reprisal:

    Peace

    • David Hodge
      March 16th, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

      It would be a useless signature line if there was fear of reprisal, no? Use it as often as you can!

      And please call me “David.” (I’m getting to the point where that may become a signature line, too!)

      Peace

  90. Fede Aniorte
    March 17th, 2011 @ 1:11 am

    Hi again, everyone. Not even for a moment, did I think that the issue had been left aside. I may have said “no improvements” but I never thought “no effort”, mainly because I’ve been around quite a while and I know how much work David or Paul have put into GuitarNoise. It is patently obvious to me that this matter is of a high concern to you as well.
    If your aspirations are never fulfilled, I would still look up to you and think you have done enough and generously.

    Again, my idea of presenting the lessons as a promotion for the songs must have already crossed your minds, I only mentioned it just in case.

    Thanks for the good news
    and for everything else
    ESTAMBRE

  91. Mike
    March 17th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    David,

    I didn’t read all the threads, but I would be able to pay a nominal fee to download the guitar tabs for lessons.

    Mike

    • David Hodge
      March 17th, 2011 @ 11:02 am

      Hi Mike

      Creating a “membership” or pay per view area for the tablatures was one option Paul and I considered. But Guitar Noise has always been a free site and we both would like to have it stay that way. Make no mistake, getting the rights to use songs is going to cost money. Anyone who’s interested in helping Paul defer some of the cost involved is always welcome to make a donation to Guitar Noise. The donation page can be found here. We probably don’t make enough of a fuss about this as we should, but I doubt we’re going to change all that much in our behaviour at this point!

      Anyway, the short answer is that when we (hopefully soon now) get the tablatures back, you won’t be paying for it unless you’d like to. In other words, Guitar Noise business as usual. We appreciate your willingness, Mike. Just remember that you can always contribute something – whatever and whenever the mood strikes you. We appreciate your support regardless! Not to mention your patience in this matter.

      Peace

  92. Guntorius
    April 26th, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    I want to respond to two things david said:

    1. “The easiest thing in the world would have been to simply throw up our hands and rant about the unfairness of corporations and greed and what have you, but Paul has taken the best step.”

    thank you paul, and david and everyone else working hard on this. Besides yourselves, it means a lot to a lot of people and I know you guys understand that. It’s not always easy to work for something that is important and i hope you realize that we appreciate all your efforts. It might sound a little silly to think that a bunch of tab and theory is important to somebody, but it’s more than that, it’s being taught by people with a passion, who aren’t looking simply to sell product, but rather have the intention of Doing Something Great for people that many recognize. that’s special. who does that anymore? It is a beautifully crafted site that has enriched many people’s lives with music. I love learning from you guys. A big reason is because the following statement shows:

    “Anyone who has seriously read any of the lessons at Guitar Noise knows that our core philosophy is all about making the world a better place through the sharing of music.”

    I can see your top priorities are to teach, share and give something great to people.

    You guys are a unique breed and freakin’ rock. Thank you.

  93. Jon
    May 8th, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    How can this even matter as per I’ve never been able to learn a whole song from guitar noise anyway ~due to the fact they never give enough info. or tab to learn it.Great articles tho from D.Hodge!!!

  94. Guitar Noise Staff
    November 1st, 2011 @ 2:05 am

    In case you haven’t seen yet, some of the easy song lessons with tab are back.

    Check this link for more info https://www.guitarnoise.com/topics/easy-guitar-songs/

    More songs are on the way and I’ll be making an announcement in the coming days to let you know what’s going on.

    – Paul

  95. Mike
    November 1st, 2011 @ 3:44 am

    Paul,

    That is awesome news. Thanks to the staff at Guitar Noise for their hard work.

  96. Guitar Noise Staff
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    For everyone subscribed to these comments, I want to give you a heads up. Today I made an “official” announcement about the return of the easy songs for beginners lessons. You can read that here https://www.guitarnoise.com/blog/return-of-easy-songs-for-beginners/