I'm a Human Inbox

Friday, December 09, 2005

Lyrics on the Internet are Illegal

[Media: Article]

I've been cutting back on posts about Copyright issues because honestly there's just too much to cover. To be honest, if I wasn't doing I'm a Human Inbox, I'd probably be writing a Copyright Issues Blog instead.

But this story today is a taste of how ridiculous some people and industries can get about copyright law. The MPA wants to crack down on Lyric and Tab sites on the Internet. Lyrics!
The Music Publishers' Association (MPA), which represents US sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006.

MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed. He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were "completely illegal".

Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".

I can understand why the music and movie industries feel that the Internet takes a huge bite out of their revenue, but lyrics is another story. Lyrics have been on the Internet forever, even before music and movies, so this seems like a really late time to get into this.

The author of PearLyrics, a program which acts like a search engine for song lyrics, got shut down recently too. The program will find lyrics for songs in your music collection and add them to the MP3.

Although I realize that the MPA legally has the rights to crack down on Internet lyrics, I find the whole issue is at odds with common sense. Finding lyrics or tabs for a song is a reflection of love for the music. Anyone who wishes to know all the words to a song, or to learn how to play one of their favorite songs is a huge fan of the artist. By cracking down on things like this, the only thing that gets restricted is the customers desires to enjoy music.

I don't know about you, but I hate being treated like a criminal, especially when I'm a customer.

Update: Warner/Chappell Music has issued an apology to PearLyrics

Link (via Boing Boing)