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Topic: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

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  1. #1
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    Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure


    Music publishers are stepping up their campaign to remove guitar tablature from the Net.

    Recently Guitartabs.com received a legal letter from lawyers for the National Music Publishers Association and The Music Publishers Association of America.
    Here is a copy of that letter - http://www.guitartabs.com/nmpa.php

    These organizations are interpreting the definition of their intellectual property to include done-by-ear transcriptions of music. Guitartabs.com is currently not offering tablature while the owner evaluates his legal options.

  2. #2
    Member CBK780's Avatar
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    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    What I have noticed, is that the amount of music available on the web is far less than almost everything else. Why -- because it is tied up by intellectual property issues

    So if someone here references a piece of music, they cannot include a clip. If you might be interested in exploring a type of music it's almost impossible to do on the web.

    While I empathize with musicians who want to maintain their revenue potential, I can't help feeling that in some way we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

    While the rest of the world is sharing ideas and collaborating on all sorts of things, the music world retreats and makes it hard for people to experience stiuff they might respond to and would ultimately pay for.

    Charlie
    (day job)
    CEO, Cognetics Corporation

    www.cognetics.com
    (night job)
    musician

  3. #3

    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    I find this sort of legal pressure completely unacceptable and the notion that musicians or publishing companies are losing money because of such site content is ludicrous.

    The online guitar archive (http://www.olga.net/), has also been been taken offline.

    Most of the large hosting providers are a spineless lot and will pull a site at the first sniff of legal action regardless of the merits.

  4. #4

    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    This is indeed extremely sad news and seriously draconian.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  5. #5

    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by dewdman42
    This is indeed extremely sad news and seriously draconian.

    The music industry has not shrunk from prosecuting grandmothers downloading a few tunes for the kids and penniless college girls, weeping pathetically as they perform their perp-walk. Since this music industry has no decent image left to lose, therefore, maybe it seems all right to them to hassle a few boys with a garage band, too.

    I have always been under the impression that neither harmonic structures nor musical titles can be legally protected. I know of a couple respectable web business run on that assumption.

    Many of the Tab sites seem routinely include the lyric in their downloads. The words of a tune are eminently copyrightable, so that must be the legal point. Doesn't seem quite so far-fetched viewed that way. Ill natured and desperate, but (legalistically, at least) sane.

    We've lately been assured that lawyers are numerous on the forum, although lying low. Would any of them care to comment, please, if onlt to relieve my own ignorance?


    Larry

  6. #6

    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    What's really stupid of them is they claim they lose sheet music sales which is BS. What they sell is a piano reduction which is worthless to many of the people downloading these tabs. 1) many don't read notation, only tab. 2) they want lead/rhythm/bass/etc parts as performed.

  7. #7
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    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig F
    What's really stupid of them is they claim they lose sheet music sales which is BS. What they sell is a piano reduction which is worthless to many of the people downloading these tabs. 1) many don't read notation, only tab. 2) they want lead/rhythm/bass/etc parts as performed.
    Exactly. If the music publishers were serious about legitimate revenue for artists, they'd already be publishing guitar tablature etc. There is obviously a large market for it.
    I strongly suspect that revenue from (threatened) litigation profits both the publisher and the lawyers, but not the artist , and is therefore far more cost effective.

  8. #8
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    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    Hi Gary:

    After reading the letter it appears that they have been asked by the members of the NMPA and MPA to take all appropriate steps to remove unauthorized sheet music and tablature versions of the publishers' copyrighted works from the Internet.

    The main reason which the lawyers offer is that it insures motivation for people to write new music and receive royalties from them. Unfortunately it is usually not the artist that gets to retain most of the royalties, but the publishing companies. In fact, publishing companies do prefer the cheap inaccurate versions that they publish. After all, who wants someone to sound better than the original artist? In my humble opinion, what they are offering is counter productive to stimulating the creative thought process.

    My advice?

    Since the copyright holder under the copyright law owns the specific right to publish his music, doesn't he bare the responsibility of accurate publication? Let's hold copyright holders accountable to the same standards that everyone else is, or force them not to publish the rubbish that they have been throwing at the public all of these years. After all, 'personal interpretation' not withstanding, if the copyright owner fails to publish an accurate lead sheet, should not he be held accountable for fraud under federal and state guidelines?

    Interesting food for thought. Thank you Gary for bringing this subject to light.

    Best,

    Peter.
    Peter Buchta
    pbuchta@earthlink.net
    Mac Book Pro 1.85/1GB Ram, Mac 8 core 3Ghz/1 GB Ram, NI Komplete 4, NI Kore, NI Tracktor 3.2, Garritan GPO, Jazz, Strativarius, MOTU DP 5.12, Traveler, Novation Remote61, K2661, Yamaha NS10M, Waves Native, Bias Peak, FCP.

  9. #9

    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    Do I recall a very simmilar thread not too long ago, about guitar tabs and lyrics as well, somewhere here? With many pages of discussion, and me saying that I will go and play songs no matter what you do and that it's easy and so on...

    Such a pity

    Such a pity

  10. #10

    Re: Legal Dept:Guitar Tablature Suspended Under Legal Pressure

    Looking at the big picture, could this mean that more guitarists will learn to read sheet music? That could be a good thing...

    Either that or there will be more commercial tab books.

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