back to article US music publishers sue online lyrics sites

Music moguls are opening up another can of web whoop-ass on alleged copyright-infringement miscreants, this time suing online lyrics sites. And no, this isn't a move by the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA), which is apparently still basking in the glory of its $1.92m victory over the file-sharing mother of four, Jammie …

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FAIL

Golden-egg laying Goose, meet frying pan

The media industry seems awfully interested in making their offerings as unappealing and uninteresting to the world as possible.

I can only hope that their determined drive to hoard it all for themselves will soon lead to them having sole possession without any party expressing interest in it ever again.

EPIC FAIL MORE.

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WTF?

Why?

Seriously, why does it matter that the lyrics of songs are posted online for people to view? Have you ever actually known someone that would go out and purposely BUY just the lyrics for a song (be it via sheet music or some other form)? Can you honestly say that the music industry is losing money due to "lyric piracy"? I'd love to see the figures on that.

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Greedy gits

How long before they start charging us to sing along?

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Incredible

What next? Sue Amazon for displaying the CD covers?

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C-N

@Greedy gits

It's been done.

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/communications/ASCAP.html

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FAIL

@Eq

Actually I think you do need a license to display the covers because they are protected by copyright too. That's why MusicBrainz doesn't allow people to simply upload covers, you usually have to link them from Amazon or CD Baby. I can barely understand the logic behind that. As for the lyrics, that is just insane.

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J 3
WTF?

Ridiculous

As AC said above. WTF? I've never seen anyone buy lyrics. Or sell, for that matter. What with you being able to hear it by yourself and all that. Of course there are reasons to seek lyrics. As a non-native English speaker, I could not understand lyrics just from hearing them years ago -- an even now it is sometimes difficult, depending on the singing style. So in such cases (or for other languages I don't, and will never, know) it is useful to have the lyrics. But not enough that I'd pay for them just to sing along.

And nowadays, with digital music, we don't get those CD sleeves with the lyrics anymore. So they want to fleece us once again for that too? Some bands do publish their lyrics, and sometimes even tabs and sheet music, on their official websites. I do buy a lot of sheet music for guitar and organ, sometimes even for stuff in the public domain. But lyrics, I don't see the point. Someone?

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FAIL

But on quite a few occasions

I'll remember a catchy lyric from the radio, on a jukebox or hear someone else singing it as they walk past.

Then I'll go google that lyric to find the song

Then I'll head off to $legal_music_store and buy it (if available)*.

Without this huge morass of sites giving away lyrics to songs I'd not bother finding new songs. Or I'd only get the ones I'd heard AND knew the titles of.

And it's not like the artists are actually being ripped off- there's an argument about that when you're downloading MP3s but not with the lyrics. You don't get a sense of the timing, the intonation and pitch of singing, any fancy vocodery stuff or odd vocalisations- and that's before you factor in actually missing the song itself.

The licensed outlets will always have a place- I'm not going to have my programs looking stuff up on some random site when there's Gracenote sat there. But they can't be allowed to dominate the market.

*I normally head off to Youtube etc first to listen to it, then if it's any good I'll buy it.

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Black Helicopters

See Kids

This is what happens when you drop too much acid or have a dodgy chemist. You become an administrator in the music industry and ultimately a laughing stock to the web community

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Flame

They already sue for singing

I seen to recall that in order to sing "Happy Birthday" you should pay royalties. These greedy good for nothing nincompoops are ruining the Internet. First they destroy Pirate Bay, Mininova and now lyric websites. Are there anymore things they want to target?

I watched House when it was on channel 5, now they bottled it so it's only available on Sky, there is no justification for me to get Sky satellite just to watch House. I hardly watch much telly anyway. I had to rely on mininova to watch House. Now no more.

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Unhappy

Sigh...

From what I was taught at school, its illegal to photocopy lots of music, but you can copy it by hand free of charge.

So what happens if you sit down, listen to the song, type the lyrics up and post then online??

Idiots!!

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Anonymous Coward

Umm...

Do they honestly think that there are people out there who download lyrics (to keep) for songs they don't own? After all, this is the only group of people causing the music publishers to lose money: anyone who already owns the song has already paid the "licence fee." **

Sheet music is a different issue, and that is something which should be charged for, but that's not what these sites are providing. Of course, one could argue that making sheet music available for free would encourage people to become musicians and actually be beneficial in the long term (since you actually have to have some talent to convert sheet music into the song).

**As for people illegally obtaining the songs, that's a whole different kettle of fish and has nothing to do with the lyric sites.

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Happy Birthday

@Corby

>How long before they start charging us to sing along?

And that's exactly why you never see anybody singing along to Happy Birthday on TV.

No doubt we'll all have to stop singing too (or pay of course) once the State are securing us with in-home monitoring...

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Flame

Well...

if the Oxford English dictionary would claim copyright to it's contents it would make a small fortune and destroy civilisation.

I would love to know who only looks at lyrics and ignores the actual song. Without music, most lyrics suck and are all clichéd anyway. How the hell can you copyright a cliché!!!

Fire because I'm well pissed off.

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Silver badge

Classical music

Classical music is considerably better than any of the complete arsebiscuits that come out of the excuses that the recording industry makes for songwriters nowadays. And royalty free, so you can tell the NPAA (or whatever the fuckheads call themselves -- who cares?) to piss off. I haven't bought a copyrighted (in terms of the music; the performance is copyrighted probably) album for years. And I'm educated by it, as opposed to the barely cognisant idiots who listen to songs like 'Smack my bitch up' or the aforementioned 'Pussy monster' (whatever the hell song that is...)

In conclusion, fuck the recording industry. Fuck them in the ass.

(I might have had something to drink. Maybe.)

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Not just lyrics

They have shut down a few tabs sites with legal threats.

For those who dont know, tabs are bass/guitar music tablature, enthusiasts work out chords/bass lines etc. for songs and post them up for free. Most have small errors and are not 100% true to the original but are a good starting point for working out a song. A couple of good sites have closed recently after legal threats, pure madness.

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Paris Hilton

Pussy Monster

LOL @ Pussy Monster

Paris Hilton for obvious reasons.

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FAIL

Are the record companies...

...prepared to give me a full refund on any records, tapes and CDs I return on account of not quite being able to make out what exactly is being sung? As an alternative, I'll happily accept the artist being recalled to the studio and remaking the recording taking care to pronounce each word more carefully.

Maybe they're worried that people will switch to MIDI files for the backing music accompanied by the MS speech synthesiser singing along from the lyrics file (can't be worse than most rap artists).

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Anonymous Coward

Works for me

The more pirates that are prosecuted, heavily fined and imprisoned, the better off the world will be. I say hang every one of the scum bums.

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Anonymous Coward

Clutching at straws...

God! They're like dying men clutching at straws aren't they? And intent on taking everyone down with them as their outdated business models sink forever.

Lost LYRICS profits? Whatever the hell next?

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WTF?

The importance of lyrics

It is very necessary to get the lyrics absolutely right, as exemplified by this example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RgL2MKfWTo

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Coat

@ Glen 9

I think it would be rather more than a "small" fortune!

-checking pockets for spare change

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FAIL

Unhappy with the music industri?

STOP buying there products. Lots of people complain about there policies and there heavy handed greed but you all still buy there music. So why should they care that you complain? you still give them money.

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Black Helicopters

@ Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 27th August 02:05 GMT

Nice to see that music industry arseholes in the US do actually keep an eye on the Register. Maybe they are aware that most of the world think their tactics are ridiculous.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Happy Birthday

I'm pretty sure I saw Prez Obama et al singing Happy Birthday to Ted Kennedy on the news last night. Somebody call the lawyers!

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Fail

Is there somehow vast riches to be made by alienating one's customer base, i.e. the people who've bought the songs whose lyrics they'd quite like to decipher? That's the only possible explanation I can think of for this unrelenting crusade of apparently pointless litigation.

Well, that and stupidity, in which case anything that hastens the culprits' demise is surely a good thing.

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FAIL

@Fozzy 1

Do you think corporations and these organizations have any measure of respect for "the web community"? The web to them is a toy and communities are populated by misanthropes incapable of meaningful and normal communication.

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WTF?

Due Diligence

"Music fans are the biggest losers when licensed businesses, like LyricFind, Gracenote and TuneWiki can't survive and prosper because unlicensed, illegal businesses are allowed to thumb their noses at the law."

Music fans don't lose anything, there would always be the non-royalty paying sites.

If he *really* wants the licensed business to survive, make their licenses free.

It would seem Mr David is only interested in one loser, himself.

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Bronze badge

@DavCrav

I think you've missed the point - this is not the recording industry that is taking this action. It's a body that represents composers - a completely different thing. The recording industry does not, in general, own the copyright to the lyrics or compositions, only particular recordings. Copy a classical recording within the copyright period and the recording industry might be interested.

On another point, all those amateur musicians who have recorded covers of copyrighted songs on YouTube without authorisation are all technically in breach (as, of course, is Youtube).. However, I haven't heard of any copyright holders (or their representatives) chasing these down. What I have seen is live cover versions of Hallelujah (written by Leonard Cohen) taken down off of YouTube. Not amateur covers, but some live recordings of that song by Brandi Carlile (I know somebody who had an account suspended for that reason). Live recordings of Brandi's own songs remain up so this will almost certainly be down to actions by those representing the rights to that song. The rights to Leonard Cohen's songs have been the subject of some bitter legal proceedings which may well be connected.

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Idiots...

If I hear a song I like on the radio, I try to remember a segment of the lyrics and then Google them to find the name of the song. From there I go to Youtube to find a copy of the song to hear the whole song to see if it's worth buying.

Only Youtube's probably not allowed to play it in my region and now the lyrics can't be found on the Net?

Well, I'll just save my money for beer then. Epic Fail by the increasingly irrelevant media corps...

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Grenade

Words Without Music

Lyrics, in the absence of music, is usually referred to as Poetry.

These ****tards are, in effect, removing poetry from the internet on the basis of their 'ownership' of the material. Note well, that these people are not the artists, the poets, who wrote the works, but the twunts who've managed to 'buy the rights' and are now seeking to maximise THEIR profits.

Who owns the right to Shakespeare? Blake? DeFoe? Are we going to see all instances of their work removed from the public view as well? Where will these morons stop?

For myself, I intend to listen to a few albums that I legitimately own, scrawl down the lyrics as I hear them (IE, probably not correctly) and then post them to my social networking pages, along with crosslinking to Amazon etc. where the album can be purchased. I'd like to see them even try to sort that mess out, even if they can prove that the lyrics I've written down 'belong' to them.

Exactly how inaccurate do the lyrics need to be before I am *NOT* impinging on their so-called 'rights'?

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Grenade

@DavCrav

Your arguement ig, except for one minor flaw.

One not all classical music is royalty free. There is still "classical" music being made today, with full copyrights applied. So please rephrase that.

Next, you opion is you own, but remember clasical music was once the pop music of the day. You may say that modern popular music played on the radiophonic devices won't be around, but the Beatles,Elvis's Buddy Holly songs are already half a centuary old. Even more "modern" ones such as the the like of the Jam's going Underground are knocking on 30 years old.

How many "Classic tunes" from 1850 can you name? I bet hundreds were written, but only the very best are still around. the same for modern music.

And by classical, what do you mean. I love Violin concerto's, yet at the same time love "Smack My Bitch Up" (which you proberbly have never even heard or know what it is actually about). I hate hip hip, but love Fur Elise.

You see unlike yourself, I don't have such a bigotted, narrow minded view of music, pretend to be suprior to other at the same time showing utter ignorance to the world around with you.

If we all listend to your ideas of what is good taste, we'd all still be bangning sitcks against tree trunks.

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Hope this gets defended properly

Think of the consequences if the record companies with this. Newspapers won't be allowed to quote anyone for a start.

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Silver badge

Sing something simple

DavCrav

"And I'm educated by it, as opposed to the barely cognisant idiots who listen to songs like 'Smack my bitch up'"

Right, where do we start with shite lyrics? Beatles?

'Nothing to get hung about.'

Anyway, always thought that it was the music and production that made 'Smack My Bitch Up' such a cracking chooon. When you see teenagers these days still jumping around and singing along to 'S.M.B.U.' , years after it was released, you know it's a classic.

(most old classical was pure Stock Aitken and Waterman stuff, produced for a specific market, reins held by someone else and controlled by other people)

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Stop

This would reduce my legal music purchases

Re: Anonymous Coward's comment

"I'll remember a catchy lyric from the radio, on a jukebox or hear someone else singing it as they walk past. Then I'll go google that lyric to find the song. Then I'll head off to $legal_music_store and buy it (if available)."

I've just done a quick check of the last 10 CDs/Vinyl I bought and 4 of them fall into this category. In other words these sites have generated over £40 of legal sales.

That sounds to me more like free advertising than copyright theft.

Saying 40% of all my music purchased involved lyric sites is probably not very scientific but it feels about right (I'd guess 20-50% result from internet searches of some form). I buy way more music than most people I know too so am probably the sort of people record companies should keep sweet.

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FAIL

Re: Works for me

"The more pirates that are prosecuted, heavily fined and imprisoned, the better off the world will be. I say hang every one of the scum bums."

You are Lars Ulrich and I claim my five pounds ...

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid move, IMHO

I have bought music on the basis of hearing part of a track, liking it and then searching based on the snippets of lyrics I remembered.

If I couldn't do this, or it was more difficult I would just shrug and move on.

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The real problem

I don't think the problem is actually posting lyrics publicly, we can all agree that this is stupid. I believe the problem stems from creating a for-profit site that depends on publishing lyrics without license.

Had LyricWiki remained a community site, which allows users to share lyrics, without any affiliation to private organizations looking to make a buck (or a quid, as you please), it perhaps would not have gartner so much attention. As it stands, it is owned by Motive Force LLC, which is a company trying to make money off the social-networking craze. In this way, LyricWiki is used to attract traffic and extend services in order to increase profits. And of course, you know that the music industry will not stand still when encountering someone--anyone--else making money off what they think is exclusively theirs.

-dZ.

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Megaphone

What a shower of barstards.

Music industry executives: Scum. Of. The. Earth.

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Coat

What about....

.... sites like http://www.kissthisguy.com/ which list all the misinterpretations of incomprehensible lyrics...?

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alternative artists

I have recently started to notice that many of the bands and artists i have recently started to like and paid to see (yes paid money to them directly for a live performance)... have shunned record labels and their punitive ways.

Many artists are being ripped off too and those who are vaguely smart are turning to their own websites to offer their tunes (via an indy label) or offer their merchandise etc.

The big music biz idiots have already killed their golden egg laying goose, they are just not letting it lie without making a big noise about it!

SO... keep your stinking lyrics, i wont be able to find and buy the song legally, i'll then ask a friend if they will be able to tell me what the tune was and then put some mp3 on a usb stick...

I hope people who are writing academic literature for business studies courses are noting this down in the "How to ruin a fairly good business" section.

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Stop

@Graham Lockley

Guitar Tabs would come under the heading of Sheet Music. I think they have a point with shutting down sheet music sites - you can easily buy legal tabbed sheet music. As the illegal sites are attempting to duplicate the artistic arrangement of the copyrighted work. If it was a unique arrangement of the music then I could see your point. But a few errors do not, in my opinion constitute a unique arrangement.

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Stop

Sing along with Mitch

Stop that!

Stop that!

We'll sue!

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Anonymous Coward

I

I don't blame the music types but the sorry state of western law that allows this kind of insanity.

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Re: Why? Madness! WTF? etc

"Have you ever actually known someone that would go out and purposely BUY just the lyrics for a song (be it via sheet music or some other form)?"

I used to have ambitions as a pub singer (when RSI was threatening to make any other job impossible.

I now own quite a few songbooks, and in general the most important bit is the lyrics, because in many cases they're not pronounced clearly on the recordings. You don't have the same problem with tunes.

Plus, the lyrics don't belong to the performer, but to the writer. Sleevenotes usually only contain lyrics where they were written by the band -- the band forego the possibility of extra royalties from the printed material in order to make a more appealling product and increase sales. The increased sales benefit performers more than writers, so most professional writers do not license their lyrics for sleevenotes as they want to sell more songbooks.

Basically, it's someone's work and fair dos -- they want paid.

@Paul 125

" From what I was taught at school, its illegal to photocopy lots of music, but you can copy it by hand free of charge. "

Not quite. What you're talking about is out of copyright stuff like Beethoven, Mozart et al. The tune is in the public domain, but a particular publisher's typesetting is in copyright, so you can copy the tune freely, but not the typesetting. With music that is still in copyright (Beatles, Stones, Rogers & Hammerstein, Jackie Wilson etc), copying the tune is still technically infriging on the writer's copyright.

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Pint

Guitar tabs

Just wanted to give a shout out to Derek Forbes (ex of Simple Minds). He's put a few instructional videos up on YouTube showing the correct way to play old SM basslines. Good work, fella !

He's been known to have a wee drink of beer whilst making the vids, so here's one on me !

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Pirate

Re: @Graham Lockley

So, anyone who has looked at a lyric on an unapproved site, or watched some music on YouTube, is a pirate. So much for illegally downloading music, it would seem that printing off lyrics or tabs is just as bad.

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agree with "Paul 125" - read the copyright law before you sue...

copyright doesn't prevent someone to come up with the same "words" or ideas or creation independently, plus I've seen many art students go in museums and "copy" the artwork with their own hands... which is perfectly fine by the copyright laws!!!

this is a no-brainer case and the judge should dismiss it as soon as he/she reads the claim...

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