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.
" 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.