AfterDawn: Tech news

Legal crackdown on lyrics and song scores sites

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 09 Dec 2005 7:17 User comments (45)

Obviously getting fed up with suing file sharers for sharing their music files, the music industry is now looking to target sites that offer "unauthorised" lyrics and unlicensed song scores. The Music Publishers' Association (MPA), which represents US sheet music companies, said it will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006. However, lawsuits alone aren't good enough for the MPA. MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed.
He told the BBC that these sites that are widely available on the Internet are completely illegal. He said he didn't just want to shut down the sites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective". Publishing companies have taken legal action against some sites in the past but this is the first co-ordinated effort by the MPA.

"The Xerox machine was the big usurper of our potential income," Mr Keiser said. "But now the Internet is taking more of a bite out of sheet music and printed music sales so we're taking a more proactive stance." David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers' Association, added his concerns. "Unauthorised use of lyrics and tablature deprives the songwriter of the ability to make a living, and is no different than stealing," he said. "Music publishers and songwriters will consider all tools under the law to stop this illegal behaviour."

Yesterday we reported that UK-based Warner Chappell forced down PearLyrics, which worked with iTunes to search lyrics on the Internet for songs in a user's playlist. "I just don't see why PearLyrics should infringe the copyright of Warner Chappell because all I'm doing is searching publicly-available websites," PearLyrics developer Walter Ritter said. "It would be different if they had an alternative service that also provided lyrics online and also integrated [with iTunes] like PearLyrics did. But they don't offer anything like that at all."

BBC News

Previous Next  

45 user comments

19.12.2005 8:12

will this affect me? i created a guitar tab site (admittedly a poor, empty one but thats not the point). or is just people who have copied out lyrics/tabliture from a book which is published?

29.12.2005 11:37

What's next? People won't be allowed to sing along to a song? Cos you know you have a copy of the lyrics and the tune and timing up in your head. This is just stupid...

39.12.2005 12:05

this is ludicrous, and is probably because they've got nothing better to do. this will really only affect young girls or teenagers as they like to sing along to songs. what they are doing is taking fun away from these types of people, what idiots!what they gonna do on weekends now!it was supposed to keep them occupied! lets thank them for the great work they've done, idiots! thats what they are!

49.12.2005 12:14

MOther of god, this is the most insane unjust evil vile greedy missing the point un artistic corparte c*ck sucking thing ive heard IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. are you serious? lyrics? tablature. f*ck you, i will download your songs. I will play them at cofee shops, via sheet music ive read for free on the internet. come jail me mother fckers. This is the most evil insane thing i can imagine, my god. I can understand the right over ones production, the hard work and mizing and engineering and creativeness that goes into makeing a song. I understand that. If someone plays YOUR song ans says its THERES, thats plagerism. But if someone is useing it to advance there skill, then who the fck are you to stop that. I am an artist, and i object to this action with ever fiber of my existance, fck the RIAA, fck the mpaa, fuck the mpa, jesus christ, protect britney spears and all your zombie idiot poster kids that you use to suck money out of 12 year olkd girls, i dont care, but if you try and stop the flow of information from one artist to another and try and make someone PAY to know how to COVER a song, then you are commiting moral sin you sick sad greedy pieces of sh*t. If you honestly make your liveing publishing music, but try to say your doing it the name of the artists being deprived of there right to only have them know there lyrics are songs(wich in and of itself is a silly symantics argument obviously fraught with idiocy), why dont you ASK some of those artists, have some of them represent you, and have them say "no, even though its obvious im playing an a chord or c minor, and im singing 'stacys mom has got it going on', people should still have to PAY ME for that knowledge in written or textual form", i doubt you could ever find a recording artist who would, i doubt even a soulless bitch like madonna would mind if someone knew the riff to "hollywood". It's information and knowledge and evolution of the art form known as music, not plagerism, not theft. Fck You.

59.12.2005 18:54

Sing Along ? If you heard it played then you just downloaded it to your memory in your head an you sould be sued, hung, put in jail, beaten an what ever them nice people at the RIAA would have done with you for stealing that song an God forbid that you may have seen the lable on the record/CD tape or whatever. That May Happen yet too. after all it is a form of recording or copying is'nt it ?

69.12.2005 19:05

Now would it be illegal for me to tape a song off a radio station that doesn't step all over the music. Or would I have to pay the radio station for the free music I just heard.

710.12.2005 3:05

O.K. Tell me how am I going to know the national anthem of Mongolia if it's not on the net? :( AND Why won't my 78's play in an Xbox 360? We could always stop buying and listning to music ... That would make the music industry happy I guess!!!!

810.12.2005 3:52

As a former musician and guitar player I'm a big fan of lyrics and tab sites. Tabs can't be legitimately called a score since there are no sheet music with actual notes involved. Copyright laws are getting out of control because they're coming close banning freedom of speech and even creativity itself. If the US government desires a mindless population bereft of any form of higher thinking processes then they are on the right track. A free thinking society is necessary if that society is to remain free and creatively productive. They couldn't stop people from downloading and uploading multi meg MP3 music and 500 megs plus AVI movies. And now they think that they can stop people from downloading and uploading 6K to 10K text files containing lyrics, chords, and tabs? LOL

910.12.2005 9:54

dumb fuckers will do anything to make a quick dollar. Soon it's going to be "Yeah you can't look at the United States on a world map because it belongs to the US and you cannot be allowed to look unless you pay a fee." Money is the greatest tool of the Devil, and he uses it VERY well.

1010.12.2005 11:08

Except for the colorful but funny language used in the opinions posted, I whole-heartedly agree! This is insanity in the purest form. The love of money is the root of all evil and since these unsharing, uncaring, greed obcessed people are obviously in love with currency, let's take it away from them. If we stop buying any of their products, they won't mind sharing or providing it at a cheaper price. If no one is buying, it's not worth much!

1110.12.2005 13:31

Complete Shit Heads!.............#What these people need r more iffiecient jobs for themselves. Like making them go and pick the agricultural fields. Knock some that politician/legal shit out of thier head. Kids will be kids and sometimes men will have bullets for brains.

1211.12.2005 22:40

(Ummmm.....) Perhaps one of you AfterDawners could help me out on this: If I wipe my behind with a piece of copyrighted toilet paper, would I have to pay a fee? Would this be known as a pay-per-swipe deal? Or would it be some sort of pay-per-flush arrangement? Would I need a serial # to unlock the roll? What if I needed a piece of tissue real quick, but I forgot my password? I mean, I wouldn't want to go to jail for using someone's else's copyrighted bathroom tissue. That's why I've always believed in open-sourced toilet-paper (and besides, it's gentler on my bum). I mean I don't mind hooking up my toilet to a modem line, as long as it doesn't "phone home" every time I take a dump - I just hate it when Big Brother is watching - and I absolutely refuse to install a web-cam inside the bowl. If you could shed any light on this quandry, 'twould much appreciated. Thankee. -- Klingy --

1311.12.2005 23:01

holy shhii this is the stupidest thing ive ever heard.. how the hell would a record company loose money by having lyrics on the internet? do they really think that if the lyrics and tablature was free, people would stop buying music cause they could learn to play it themselves? how stupid can you be. i want to shoot the people that thought of this.

1411.12.2005 23:02

I've always believed in open-sourced toilet-paper (and besides, it's gentler on my bum).
Haha, funny Guy =P

1511.12.2005 23:12

Unauthorised use of lyrics and tablature deprives the songwriter of the ability to make a living
Now I am all for a talented Artist getting their well deserved earnings. But please spare me the 'Your fave musical Artist is going to end up on the streets' malarchy

1612.12.2005 5:31

Question.... "If I wipe my behind with a piece of copyrighted toilet paper, would I have to pay a fee?" (klingy) Answer ... No!Because it would have a short term licence and a self destruct mechanism, but always check for the silver hologram on the inner core. Syeberman.

1712.12.2005 7:33

Well alright then, maybe I could just rent a roll or two for a while? I would probably just want to use the tissue once, and I could return it right away with a good flush. The paper itself wouldn't have to contain any song lyrics, copyrighted or otherwise. I think Apple Corp. is currently considering the release of a DRM-Enhanced Toilet, tentatively called the 'iPoop'. Unfortunately, you wouldn't be able to use your tissue on anyone else's iPooper, but for a flat monthly fee, Apple will let you download 20 fresh rolls of iPaper per week, or give you 200 flushes (whichever comes first). For an additional fee, the iPooper will play a nifty little ringtone every time you flush. The iPooper contains a small screen which conveniently tells you how many flushes you have left. You can download a free demo-roll of iPaper from their website. The only limitation is that the free iRoll expires after 30 days, and the iPooper won't flush anything if you try to use it after the 30-day trial. (Could be problematic if you don't carefully read the User's End Agreement.) I'll try to keep you updated on any new developments in this area.

1812.12.2005 10:41

The only time I ever use these lyrics websites is when I'm trying to find out the title and artist of a song I've heard. I hear the song on the radio, but don't know who the artist is, or even the name of the song. So I google as much of the lyrics as I know, along with the word "lyrics", and usually the search results will return a site with the full lyrics along with the artist name and song name. NOW I KNOW WHAT I NEED TO KNOW TO ACTUALLY BUY THE SONG! Take away those websites, and I won't be able to buy the music anymore! Seems self-defeating to me!

1916.12.2005 5:14

get rid of democrats//jim wynn/wiregrass news dear edutir: democrats want to take god out of the pledge of allegiance and remove IN God WE Trust from the nations currency. They wasnt to do away with The 10 commandments and put an end to prayer in public places> They are opposed to even mention of Christmas,which honors the birth of Christ. Thier unlimate goal appears tob to Eradicate the christian religion because its teachings are contrary to those of the democrat party.. Perhaps we should do away with the Democratis party.. You see ,,how the people are letting the GOV take over completely,,we got to vote, we hire these people to do all this to US ..merry christ mas

2016.12.2005 7:24

Around the mid-70s, the MPA went after churches for copying religous sheet music and won a few cases. The problem was that the MPA and the lawyers got all the money. The artist/songwriters never got a cent. The same thing will happen again.

2116.12.2005 8:09

Has the music industry thought this through? Someone hears a song, doesn't know title or artist, just remembers a few words of the lyrics. If they can stick that in a search engine and get the details they need they might actually go out and BUY it.

2216.12.2005 8:56

The idiots obviously dont want songs to exist at all. As someone said earlier they are now beginning to infringe our freedom of speech such as it is. I reckon we should take no notice and elect for a jury trial. I am pretty sure that no jury would convict someone for having the words to a Cliff Richard song etc on a website. Song Lyrics are free publicity for the companies and the artists and help to sell songs, maybe we should just charge the record companies and publishers for buying their products.

2316.12.2005 16:50

edited by ddp

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Dec 2005 @ 19:05

2416.12.2005 18:00

The directors name is David Israelite.
You mean Jew, right?
What does that tell you about him?
That you think that he's a Jew, and that's a problem.!! RIGHT!?
I know what it tells me.
Yes!!!! It tells you and everyone that you're a bigot and proud? The same thing that we think you're telling yourself too.

2517.12.2005 17:12

edited by ddp

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Dec 2005 @ 19:02

2617.12.2005 17:14

edited by ddp

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Dec 2005 @ 19:03

2717.12.2005 17:39

g$$$ Read my earlier post for my honest opinion. I'm not defending him or his policies because I think that they're wrong. What I was doing was repudiating you and your choice to use him as a cause to denigrate an entire group of people.

edited by ddp. sorry
Can you say S-Y-K-E-S? People like you don't help a cause, you hurt it, by proving that only the lowest common denominator support's it. Why don't you just say what you are, a Neo-Nazi skinhead, with 3rd grade language skills and a full of hate for everything that is better than you.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Dec 2005 @ 19:07

2817.12.2005 17:42

g$$$ Can you say S-Y-K-E-S? People like you don't help a cause, you hurt it, by proving that only the lowest common denominator support's it. Why don't you just say what you are, a Neo-Nazi skinhead, with 3rd grade language skills and a full of hate for everything that is better than you.

2917.12.2005 18:25

Sophocles, I think engaging in any way with this little boy with the dirty mouth and the undeveloped mind is merely wasting time. He hides behind anonymity and has nothing to contribute other than a nasty smell. The best procedure is to continue the debate about lyrical copyright as it began and possibly make a formal complaint. Racism is a criminal act in many countries, let the authorities deal with him.

3017.12.2005 18:41

frankacne I agree with all that you say, but even still I would reply to such ignorance, to do otherwise is to condone it. On one end we have a debate about how the works of artists can be reflected and enjoyed by aficionados' and on the other we have this human poison polluting the waters of intelligent debate.

3117.12.2005 19:03

OK Sophocles as you wish, but if you decide to make a formal complaint to the mods or whoever, I am witness to what has been said and have made a copy as evidence to be used as needed.

3217.12.2005 19:08

frankacne Thanks, but I'm sure the mods have already seen this decay and will respond to it in their own time. OK mods! Where are you?

3317.12.2005 19:10

don't worry as read his piece & banned the idiot. edited both g$$$ & part of Sophocles's posts. sorry about that Sophocles! been here for about 10 minutes, what took you so long to call!!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Dec 2005 @ 19:11

3417.12.2005 19:12

ddp No big deal, better that I lose some words here and there than to allow this idiot be allowed to pollute the well.

"Please Read!!! Post your questions only in This Thread or they will go unanswered:

Help with development of BD RB: Donations at:

3517.12.2005 19:19

2nd that as he deserved it royally.

3617.12.2005 19:24


Sophocles! been here for about 10 minutes, what took you so long to call!!
I wanted to make sure that others read his content and caught his grammatic innuendo. His post could have been left forgotten as it was with no repudiation.

3717.12.2005 19:31

was just bugging you as i edited on the 10 minute piece when i saw your post calling out to the mods.

3817.12.2005 19:41

ddp You're proving to be a great mod with very large eyes and ears. LOL Bigots such as g$$$, offer nothing of benefit to anyone.

3917.12.2005 19:52

except for maybe others of his kind!

4017.12.2005 20:02

How true, they do seem to find each other.

4118.12.2005 1:19

What really makes mad about this, its that these companies (MPA or RIAA) always shield behind the songwriters and singers saying "the Songwriters and the Singers will get homeless beacause if you download and dont buy their things, we cant give em their 10 cents of share. Because will get ruined." All they want is money for them and only them, so they can keep their expensive lifestyles.

4218.12.2005 3:35

This is absolutely ridiculous! The MPA trying to shut down tab sites and lyrics sites because they are, ‘ not making enough money and they’re not as rich as they used to be’ Oh Boo Hoo! Poor them! Best “shut down lyric sites” so that the only way people will ever find out the words to a song is by giving these nice innocent people at MPA about £15 of their pocket money so they can buy a lyric book. WAKE UP! People can figure the words out themselves you stupid idiots! I couldn’t believe a claim made on the BBC website that "Unauthorised use of lyrics and tablature deprives the songwriter of the ability to make a living, and is no different than stealing," Oh, the poor songwriter…has anyone ever seen this ‘song writer’s’ tab book in a music shop. Or is it just me who has notices that all the tab books are from huge artists such as Green Day and Blink 182 – and I highly doubt we are depriving them of a living by not buying there tab book…after all the MPA is only looking out for it’s artists interests, not its own…right? Maybe the MPA should also charge people for the lyrics and tabs along with hearing the song…just in case people “remember the words” without purchasing the lyrics, and “figure out the tabs” without purchasing a tab book. I can thank tab sites almost entirely for me learning to play guitar. If I had been stupid enough to pay £15 - £20 for a tab book, probably with about 12 –15 songs on it 3 years ago, I highly doubt I’d be anywhere near the level of playing I am today, let alone if I would still be playing! It’s educating mostly teenagers about the techniques, styles and damned hard work needed to play guitar, or any other instrument. Surely that’s a more positive hobby than alcohol, drugs and crime. I try to see the MPAs point of view, but I simply cant see it as anything other than blatant self-interested way of depriving everyone of the resources needed to learn guitar, so that they can increase their huge incomes by a half a percent. From the BBC website - “Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shutdown websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective". Jailing people for giving people the resources needed to learn an instrument?! I suppose in the MPA’s eyes, the people who run these tab-sites are malicious, immoral, beady-eyed computer nerds whose sole intention is to deprive the poor songwriter of bread and butter. I suppose file sharing of music files is somewhat more controversial and has fairly equal arguments on both sides, and the MPA does have a an extent, but this is just out of spite. I think if people have any morals anywhere, they will realise that tab sites and such are NOT depriving artists of a living, and that they ARE HUGE LEARNING resources for those who have the dedication, time and pure effort to learn an instrument. It seems people are desperate to demand money everywhere you turn these days…

4318.12.2005 7:24

Spite and greed is nothing new for the recording industry nor many of the artists. They dont want artistic control they want total control and dont give a damn what damage they do to music or the other arts in the process. However, like file sharing they will never really be able to controll it. To do so they would have to literally shut down the NET and the music publishing business. If a song can be played it can be copied, if a lyric can be heard it can be remembered and copied. In both cases it can be streamed, pirated, copied and published. To controll all this would cost them all their profits and much more. Truth is that most young people now realise that they dont really need the major companies and labels any more, as long as there is the net, they can publish and market their own stuff without the bloodsuckers. Who for instance really needs Macca and his tunes except EMI and there is a pervers pleasure in seeing the greedy devils locked in legal meltdown. My contacts in China tell me for instance that they know they cannot even control the huge amount of piracy of music and have quietly done a deal with the pirates and agreed to accept as little as a £1 per disk rather than the normal cut, because it suits them. Most old songs do not sell enough in the West to make large profits, even for the pirates and only current top forty tunes have any real value. Old songs do however still have a market in the far east and developing world. Consequently they will take what they can get and will not spend a kings ransom on pursuing hoards of little guys and gals who have little or nothing to give even if the legal parasites could catch up with them. Peer to peer has many other vital uses and benefits besides allegedly illegal sharing of files and it should not be villified in order to chase a few genuine crooks. Tens of thousands of people go online every week now and there is no really effective way of anyone controlling it. Long live the Internet community. "Hi Ho Silver Lining" is a terrible old disco favourite that i am singing along with as i type this. So Sue me!!!

4418.12.2005 7:27

EMI is being taken to court for non-payment of $52,000,000.00 of royalties to the John Lennon estate, Paul McCartney, and quite a few other artists. Seems to me that protecting artists is the furtherest thing from these peoples minds.

4519.12.2005 0:15

ha, ha, harr! EMI ..... That will teach you for acquiring a certain logo from a German record company as a reparation payment after the world war. Woof, woof, woof. Now where's my gramophone? lol Syeberman

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive