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Another Tab Site Threatened

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(@teleplayer324)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1512
Topic starter  

July 17, 2006

To all "Guitar Tab Universe" visitors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,
Rob Balch

Manager of "Guitar Tab Universe"

Immature? Of course I'm immature Einstein, I'm 50 and in a Rock and ROll band.

New Band site http://www.myspace.com/guidedbymonkeys


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(@slejhamer)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3297
 

Interesting that it's an indirect threat of legal action through the ISP. Any legal eagles out there want to speculate on the tactics being employed? I'm just curious ...

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


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(@teleplayer324)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1512
Topic starter  

Tabs are no longer available at the site. This site had one of the most diverse tab databases around, everything from trad Irish to jazz to TV and video game themes.
Corporate culture is going to wake up one day and find themselves cutting their own throats in the name of profit.

Immature? Of course I'm immature Einstein, I'm 50 and in a Rock and ROll band.

New Band site http://www.myspace.com/guidedbymonkeys


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(@twistedlefty)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4166
 

They always start with implied threats because there is no legal recourse and it's cheap if they can get you to cease and desist without actually doing anything.
next will be a cease and desist order based on a vauge interpretation of CR infringment.

have any of these tab sites fought back yet?

#4491....


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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

I think the biggest tab site - http://www.mxtabs.net is up and still running.


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(@biker_jim_uk)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 539
 

I've noticed OLGA is down too, or is it just me?


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(@twistedlefty)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4166
 

this just in...

"7 years ago, Mxtabs was started as a hobby by an aspiring drummer attempting to learn his favorite songs. Over the years, the tab site blossomed into a valuable resource for thousands of musicians. We've enjoyed hearing the success stories of thousands of guitar, bass, and drum players who have increased their skills and grown through their use of this website.

Unfortunately, it is now time to close the doors of Mxtabs. Most of you are aware of the claims made by the MPA and sheet music organizations that tablature is illegal. We dispute this view, and state firmly that it was never our intention to do anything illegal. On the contrary, we believed that we were helping the music industry and in particular, musicians. As we have mentioned before, Mxtabs accounts for over $3000 per month in sales of licensed sheet music via links from our tabs. However, since it appears that no sheet music companies are planning on offering any sort of tab licensing, and have no interest in negotiations, we have chosen to close our doors rather than continue to aggravate the industry. To this date, we have not received any threatening letters, but are closing on our own volition. Mxtabs was reopened in February with the hope of receiving some sort of response; with the lack of that response, it is sadly time to close.

We hope that you will be able to further your skills in some other way, and if possible, produce change! Tabs are an incredibly valuable tool for beginning musicians, and they should be utilized, rather than being destroyed. Please stand up for your rights to interpret the music you hear! And please promote tab licensing as a possible way of working with the sheet music industry.

Lastly, if you would like to support the idea that was Mxtabs, please visit the new music review and music news site, Sputnik Music, which was formed out of the community forums.

Best wishes, and good luck,"

Mxtabs 1999-2006

#4491....


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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1885
 

I expect that tab sites run by people in countries outside the "influence" of organizations who's acromym ends in "A" will continue to operate as normal.

I am aware of at least one company who's legal department makes more profit for the company (due to litigation) than the division of the company which actually makes their product.

I have a lot of opinions on this, and related topics, but I tend to start yelling when I try to discuss it, so I think I'll just step away from the keyboard now...

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Guest
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
 

My suggestion is to contact your congressman/woman and express your displeasure with the attack on tab. Secondly I encourage these website owners to contact their local press and nicely INSIST they investigate this matter and begin to give a voice the tab writers.

I know many here will disagre with me but I do not believe tab should be attacked. Most people can't read sheet music and tab is their only source to the music they like. Musicians would become SOOO frustrated if they had to wait until they learned notation before they could play their favorite songs. Plus the tab books on the market are so outdated and the chance of finding your favorite band/song is slim. YES, I know in the OLD days before the internet you HAD to learn a song by ear and tab it yourself. Well guess what everyone...THIS IS NOT THE OLD DAYS!!! The internet is hear. Yesterdays laws can not apply to today's technology. You can't just INCLUDE the internet into the old copywrite law. How long can these companies afford to police the internet? The money will run out eventually.

I also suggest a boycott of the purchase of ALL tab & sheet music books. The money they need to fund their lawsuits has to come from somewhere. Another suggestion is to change the format of tab sites. If you're looking for a tab just post your request on a forum. Then whoever has it can PM or email it to you. Are they going to start spying on emails next?

This whining and crying from the RIAA and the Music Publishers' Association just ANNOYS the heck out of me. I GARANTEE if these companies would start to cater to THEIR customers INSTEAD of their BANK ACCOUNTS people would purchase more CD's and sheet music. Make your money on volume sales. In the long run you'll make MORE money.

I am sorry for the rant. But whenever I hear that the rich are having a hard time getting richer I just want to kick them in the crotch so they can't contaminate the world anymore! My students just about have to eat dirt for their meals and these people have the nerve to whine because they lost $2 on the sale of one tab book. I said it before and I'll say it again..lower prices and sales will go up. It won't totally stop stealing but I promise you that it will lower it dramitcally which will make it easier to track those that are stealing music related products.

I promise you I will be writing my congresswoman (Hillary Clinton) on this issue. I wrote to her before regarding nutrition supplements. She didn't side with me but she was very good at returning my email explaining why (well maybe it was one of her aides that emailed me!).

Rant OVER! (For now anyway!) :x :x :x :x


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 Taso
(@taso)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2852
 

How 'bout this:

Powertabs had their site temporarily shut down while they figured out the correct course of legal action, anyone remember this? Anyways, the site is back up and running like it used to be now, so my guess is they ain't scared anymore. Guitar pro's 'mysongbook.com' however is not allowing downloading... So what do the powertab people know that no one else does?

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


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 klim
(@klim)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 273
 

Hey Teleplayer324,

Great article, but it's so sad that this is way the music industry is in general. The guy that ran the Bob Dylan Chord site (and also hosted the Lennon site), has shut down, primarily because of these so called legal actions as well.

They (music industry) are trying to tax the ISP's here in Canada now. So that means everyone suffers if this goes through, we will all pay for this, just for having internet access. Whether we download music, movies or tabs or not. Just think about Grandpa and Grandma having to pay extra, just so they can email their children across the country.

So basically they (music industry) are saying that anyone that uses the internet are theives, so we have to make them pay whether they like it or not.

I guess if it goes through then it makes it legal? to actually download music and movies? HHHHMMMM.....


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(@rag_doll_92)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 261
 

this just in...

"7 years ago, Mxtabs was started as a hobby by an aspiring drummer attempting to learn his favorite songs. Over the years, the tab site blossomed into a valuable resource for thousands of musicians. We've enjoyed hearing the success stories of thousands of guitar, bass, and drum players who have increased their skills and grown through their use of this website.

Unfortunately, it is now time to close the doors of Mxtabs. Most of you are aware of the claims made by the MPA and sheet music organizations that tablature is illegal. We dispute this view, and state firmly that it was never our intention to do anything illegal. On the contrary, we believed that we were helping the music industry and in particular, musicians. As we have mentioned before, Mxtabs accounts for over $3000 per month in sales of licensed sheet music via links from our tabs. However, since it appears that no sheet music companies are planning on offering any sort of tab licensing, and have no interest in negotiations, we have chosen to close our doors rather than continue to aggravate the industry. To this date, we have not received any threatening letters, but are closing on our own volition. Mxtabs was reopened in February with the hope of receiving some sort of response; with the lack of that response, it is sadly time to close.

We hope that you will be able to further your skills in some other way, and if possible, produce change! Tabs are an incredibly valuable tool for beginning musicians, and they should be utilized, rather than being destroyed. Please stand up for your rights to interpret the music you hear! And please promote tab licensing as a possible way of working with the sheet music industry.

Lastly, if you would like to support the idea that was Mxtabs, please visit the new music review and music news site, Sputnik Music, which was formed out of the community forums.

Best wishes, and good luck,"

Mxtabs 1999-2006

I found that today when looking for a tab. *cry* so sad :(

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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2268
 

Another suggestion is to change the format of tab sites. If you're looking for a tab just post your request on a forum. Then whoever has it can PM or email it to you. Are they going to start spying on emails next?
Sorry to be a downer Mike, but if sites had that format it would be easier for these people to target individual tabbers instead of just going after the sites. They'd just need to pop requests all over the place and they'd have 'offenders' queing up to volunteer files that'll get them into trouble. As we've seen from p2p, 'they' like example-making as a tactic to discourage people. :(

I think the only way this will get resolved will be a test case when the first tab site stands up and dares them to do their worst.

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Guest
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0
 

Another suggestion is to change the format of tab sites. If you're looking for a tab just post your request on a forum. Then whoever has it can PM or email it to you. Are they going to start spying on emails next?
Sorry to be a downer Mike, but if sites had that format it would be easier for these people to target individual tabbers instead of just going after the sites. They'd just need to pop requests all over the place and they'd have 'offenders' queing up to volunteer files that'll get them into trouble. As we've seen from p2p, 'they' like example-making as a tactic to discourage people. :(

I think the only way this will get resolved will be a test case when the first tab site stands up and dares them to do their worst.

Sorry, I guess I wasn't thinking straight during my rant! But don't forget, even id the site has the tabs up for download (like powertab & mysongbook) the ISP's have logs of all the IP's that download from the server. They can STILL get the individual.


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(@stardust)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 20
 

It's going to be illegal to hum songs in public at this rate.


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