Among the more ridiculous campaigns waged by music publishers in their bid to control every aspect of their copyrights, has been their war on guitar tablature. Tablature is a simple notation system that helps people write down and learn how to play songs. For many years, there were a number of sites devoted to organizing all the tablature on the web, much of which was posted originally on message boards and fan sites, with these sites serving as popular destinations for amateur guitar players looking to learn their favorite songs. Although you'd think the music industry would be thrilled by the prospect of people learning to play popular songs so that they'd maintain an interest in the material, the big sites have all been basically shut down. Needless to say, all the tablature is still available elsewhere on the web, but if you want to find it, you just have to search a little bit harder. Now, the industry has worked out a deal to legitimize online tablature. One of the sites that had been shut down will reopen and its advertising revenue will be shared with music publishers, which will then supposedly share it with the artist. This is a positive development for guitar players, but it's still not clear why the industry went down this road in the first place. These companies admit that they don't derive any significant revenue from selling published tablature, so it's not as though the presence of it online was hurting its sales. It's the same thing as when the industry went after people posted videos of themselves dancing to certain songs on YouTube. Instead of appreciating the fact that fans were expressing interest in their music, and figuring out a way to take advantage of it, their first inclination is to treat their most avid fans like criminals.
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