Legal Issues

by Carlo Longino




If You Can Read This, You're Infringing

from the stretching... dept

The recording industry's fight against sites posting song lyrics online has taken a slightly bizarre turn, with music publisher Warner/Chappell shutting down a Mac program (via Boing Boing) that simply searches the Internet for lyrics and displays them. The freeware application shows the lyrics of whatever song's playing in iTunes, getting the information from freely available, unaffiliated lyrics sites. Sending a cease and desist to the program's author isn't remarkable, but where it gets slightly odd is that Warner/Chappell's lawyers cited the Grokster case as their reasoning. Just to recap, it said that file-sharing networks could be held responsible if they took "affirmative steps" to encourage copyright infringement. Song lyrics are copyrighted, that's not disputed -- but how could simply viewing the lyrics be infringing on the copyright? The infringement (if any) is in publishing the lyrics, not in looking at them in a Web browser. What's next? Get Internet Explorer and Firefox shut down because people can view lyrics in them? Hell, let's shut down the entire internet since it's needed to access the lyrics. Predictably, the program's author took it down because he doesn't have the resources to fight -- like most of the people the music industry picks on.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2005 @ 10:54am

    amaroK

    KDE's mp3 player, amaroK has this function as a standard feature. Will they be next?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dan, 7 Dec 2005 @ 11:22am

      Re: amaroK

      That's the first thing that came to my mind. I really hope not, it probably isn't my most used feature in the app, but it is definatly up there.

      I just can't figure out how free access to the lyrics can hurt the RIAA or the artists. It's not like they are losing sales, because they don't sell lyrics. Lyrics only add to the enjoyment and are useless without the music.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Music Pirate, 7 Dec 2005 @ 11:06am

    No Subject Given

    Wow, just wow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jszpila, 7 Dec 2005 @ 11:09am

    logical conclusion

    the music industry will obviously not be appeased until we buy CDs or download mp3s that we can't hear but are somehow forced to buy anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thom L, 7 Dec 2005 @ 11:28am

    What about Public Libraries?

    Maybe all the public libraries should shut their doors for letting people read copyrighted materials? Will I get fined for possessing a book that I didn't actually buy? What about the music that I check out at the library? Sounds like a dangerous precedent could be set. . .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Brian, 7 Dec 2005 @ 11:57am

      Re: What about Public Libraries?

      Or maybe in the future, we will have to pay the record companies royalties every time we sing in the shower,at a karaoke bar, or in your car on the way home from work...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    curt, 7 Dec 2005 @ 11:40am

    education

    Where did these people get their education from ?
    Oh, I know. Off the back of a (c)copyrighted bubble gum wrapper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    commonsense, 7 Dec 2005 @ 11:53am

    if you can read this

    I'd say starting with a 45 day boycott of the industry would make them take notice, another
    45 if necessary might send them back to their
    drawing boards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Curt, 7 Dec 2005 @ 4:15pm

      Re: if you can read this

      I own a store that sells computers, office supplies,phones, cds, music players etc... I had a sale and sold out all of my Sony products and replaced them with a similar product of another brand. I can't believe the public how they turn their noses at the Sony products. We aren't boycotting the line, it is just necessary to replace it to survive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2005 @ 12:20pm

    No Subject Given

    He should fight this. You don't even need a lawyer. Any competent judge would laugh this out of the court-room. Should MSFT and AAPL be sent cease and desist letters because people use their software to run their computers to "infringe" on copyrighted material? Should Dell and Intel IBM be responible for providing hardware? Should local electrical utilities get C&D letters for powering these devices ? Cable and telco for running the networks? Where does this crap end?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    pegagos, 7 Dec 2005 @ 12:40pm

    retarted

    This is stupid!!! Half the cds you buy don't even come with lyrics. I would really like to be at some of the board meetings these companies have and see how they really come up with these things. It will proably be really funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2005 @ 5:00pm

      Re: retarted

      They are prolly high or drunk. Like it ain't even a board meeting they are just at some party.


      The world is full of idiots.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2005 @ 12:57pm

    tv show?

    I can see this a new reality tv on ABC nex fall. "Who will the music companies sue next?" would be a good grabber I think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crystalattice (profile), 7 Dec 2005 @ 1:37pm

    Can't the EFF help out?

    I thought the EFF and affiliated lawyers loved to take these cases. Getting them involved would make good publicity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 7 Dec 2005 @ 1:39pm

    shut down the internet

    Hell, let's shut down the entire internet...
    That's the idea. Put the internet genie back in the bottle and turn the internet into something like cable TV. It'll happen, just watch. Big, bad internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    lawyers suck, 7 Dec 2005 @ 2:20pm

    the problem is..

    lawyers are just SO DAMNED EXPENSIVE that sometimes people are left with no other choice. I had a similiar experience, a crappy ISP sued me and I tried & tried to find legal representation to fight it but lawyers won't even talk to you unless you shell out $$$$$. If i had the money to pay lawyers, I would have taken care of the ISP issue well beforehand.

    Lawyers SUCK. These slime are just another example. The RIAA is going to squash that woman and leave her bankrupt .... although thanks to our asshole President and his rich Republican gift to the financial industry, she'll just live out her days as a debtor slave.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Newob, 7 Dec 2005 @ 10:17pm

    They can't sue you if they don't know who you are

    Well this clinches it. If we want to avoid living in a 1984-type dystopia where the RIAA monitors everything we see and hear, then we have to start working together now and offer ANONYMOUS software tools for doing the things they don't want us to do. Later, when the RIAA is dead because their copyrights are worthless, then we can get back to trying to take credit for our own works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Howard, 8 Dec 2005 @ 8:13am

    Copyright of Lyrics

    It would seem that this is the easiest to understand. 120 years ago Music was sheet music. And copyright was about publishing paper. Now it is about publishing copies (electronic and physical).
    1 - Lyrics are copyrighted. Putting them on a website, in e-mail, on a blog, or typing copies for your friends WITHOUT autorization is illegal.
    2 - To view the lyrics on your system requires copying to the local memory and screen. Also illegal. There fore ...
    3 - Fair use for listeners to learn the words is the printed material that came with the album (CD or vinyl) or request a printed version form an authorized source.

    Considering the efforts put forth in preventing us from copying songs from one media to another, is it any surprise they don't want you to know the words. Personal interpetation of music is still legal (as long as no one hears you.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Randy, 8 Dec 2005 @ 2:53pm

      Re: Copyright of Lyrics

      Well the way around this is to put up a site that does not publish the "real" lyrics but allows users to guess and/or "comment" about what they are. That is probably why KissThisGuy.com does not get a C&D letter.

      Randy

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Adam Antoszek-Rallo, 10 Dec 2005 @ 1:56pm

      Re: Copyright of Lyrics

      That's bollocks. If I listen to a piece of music, write out what I think the lyrics are, and share them, I have broken no laws. That was my interpretation of the lyrics, not the lyrics, and no matter how innacurate or accurate they amy be. This model has been protected in court many times before, harkening back to the bios on the first clone PCs.

      I am a musician and publisher, have a huge legally obtained music collection, and I think this move by Warner-Chappel is sick. I spoke to them on the phone the other day and gave them a piece of my mind, and will be encouraging others to do the same, and refuse to pay for any WB media until these lawsuits and actions are dropped. There is no place in my society for corporations to limit my thoughts (ie. ability to ear read) and ability to share my thoughts. (ie. the chord chard I wrote out) That's just sick, and it's not protecting art or artists.

      -Adam

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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