News You Could Do Without

by Carlo Longino

Throw Them In Copyright Jail!

from the misguided dept

The entertainment industry continues to be confused by copyright laws, now calling for people that run web sites with unlicensed lyrics and song tabs to be thrown in jail. No matter how hard Hollywood tries, copyright infringment isn't theft. Even if they set up their own police force, or manage to get the FBI to do their dirty work, the solution to their outmoded business model isn't to throw people in jail, it's to figure out how to compete. The head of the Music Publisher Association says photocopiers were "the big usurper of our potential income". The industry seems to have survived, without throwing copy machines in jail, so it should be able to negotiate the internet as well. The battle over song lyrics seems particularly pointless. Keeping them from getting out "unlicensed" is sort of hard, since, you know, they're sung in the song and everything.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 11:26am

    Let's fight fire with fire

    Henceforth the big bullies should be called "copyright monopolists".

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

  2. identicon
    whosawhat?, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 11:49am

    Why do they care?

    It seems like they are really looking for things to bitch about.

    Song lyrics? I don't even have to try and make them look stuipd on this one...

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

  3. identicon
    arb, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 11:50am

    Re: Let's fight fire with fire

    Imagine if Newton or Einstein had their intellectual property copyrighted, where you had to pay to see their work and pay to use their formulas and Theorems.

    We would still be back in the stone age.

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

  4. identicon
    Dave, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 12:05pm

    corporate intelligence

    I can imagine these entertainment industry stiffs in their board meeting - "Monopoly not work anymore... duh, I can't think of any other way to sell media because I'm just a corporate drone with no understanding of technology, so let's just see if the legal department can come up with some crap. Even if it's complete B.S., maybe that'll scare 'em". (huzzahs all around the table)

    And it's interesting how this ill-advised "copyright protection" seems to only "help" groups that are already millionaires... are there any efforts on behalf of groups that actually need money?

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

  5. identicon
    craig, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Let's fight fire with fire

    further evidence that they are clueless morons.

    You know what the main use of those lyrics sites is, at least with myself and people i have talked to? Simple.

    You've heard a song you really loved but have no clue who it is...

    You go to google and type in the words you can remember "and the frog went BOOM!" and up come the lyrics sites, telling you the name of the song, the artist, and the CD. Then you buy the CD.

    No lyrics site, no sale of the CD.

    I hope they successfully eradicate all lyrics from the web - they deserve the inevitable result: lower sales.


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

  6. identicon
    Bob, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 1:00pm

    On copyright

    Well, whether you might agree or disagree, the law on copyright protection regarding song lyrics is clear:

    "2. musical works, including any accompanying words"

    I'll agree it does seem pointless, but law is law. If you want to change the outcome of it, then you need to work to change the law itself.

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

  7. identicon
    Shaun, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 1:24pm

    Sing a Song....

    Next thing you know, it will be illegal to sing along with a song that is playing.
    Fair use only allows you to listen to it, you can't copy it, you can't copy the lyrics, and you can't sing along with it.....

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

  8. identicon
    shameless bastard, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Let's fight fire with fire

    I think Hasbro should copywright the name Monopoly so that companies can't use it in such pointless trials. If I wanted to get song lyrics, I would listen to the song and write them down. Plus the people that either mak web pages about song lyrics and the people looking up song lyrics probibally have bought at least one CD for 15 bucks+ which I think gives them the right to know what is being sung on the songs.

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

  9. identicon
    spam, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 3:45pm

    Re: On copyright

    I wish. we don't have billions of dollars to buy Congressmen. :-(

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

  10. identicon
    Music Pirate, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 4:53pm

    No Subject Given

    I don't support terrorism but Im starting to think that the music industry needs to have its offices taken out.

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

  11. identicon
    Anarchy_Creator, Dec 10th, 2005 @ 7:27pm

    I have a very good question...

    What about guitar tabs?
    Sites like, and produce results that are almost if not exact replicas of the tabs used for most major, and indie bands.
    In a sense I can download the latest Metallica tab from OLGA, learn how to play it, play it at a birthday party, or bar mitzvah, and earn gig pay.
    Wouldn't that be worse then being able to learn the words to a song?
    And if they did somehow get all of the song lyrics off the web would it then be illegal to swap song lyrics on emule, or shareaza?
    Would my ISP be getting a John Doe suit sent to my IP address when I'm caught sharing that new Offspring songs lyrics on P2P?

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

  12. identicon
    bigpicture, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 3:31pm

    Throw Them in Jail

    The recording companies are not responding to the changing, technology and required new business model very well. In each crisis there is opportunity, but if the focus is always on the crisis then the opportunity will go unnoticed. Music and literature is first cultural and second commercial, the commercial interests would like the cultural part to go away. There is market place demographics and cultural tastes, along with a host of other market factors that effect sales. It is about as complicated as modeling the weather, which they have not been able to do yet. So how about creating music that is marketable to the majority market demographic that would actually buy it, instead of to a minority demographic market. Instead of blaming the internet and downloading for sales decline.
    Before the printing press there were scribes who copied the written works. It was a paying occupation, a livelihood if you will. After the event of the printing press, and the social and commercial upheaval that this caused. How was the publishing house business model developed? The recording companies "reproduce and distribute" business model is now really obsolete, in reality recording companies are not required. The artist has a direct "reproduce and distribute" linkage to the consumer. The "scribe" is no longer needed, and will have to find another occupation.

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

  13. identicon
    Boo, Dec 12th, 2005 @ 12:40am

    on the other hand...

    As a guitarist, I actually got angry when I read this one. But now that I've had time to digest it, I figure it's probably good news. People reading lyrics/ tabs/ sheet music and learning how to perform popular music can only help boost sales of the original music... so they are accelerating the the demise of their doomed business model. I can almost hear the ticking of the open source music time bomb!!!

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

  14. identicon
    Ray Trygstad, Dec 13th, 2005 @ 7:33am

    Don't They Have Lawyers? Are They THAT Stupid?

    I always thought corporations and especially industry associations always have a slew of lawyers on staff both to litigate and to explain legal issues to poor dumb executives. Where are the MPA's lawyers? Have they never explained to their bosses the difference between civil and criminal law? Under what possible statute do the execs think they can send "lyric pirates" to jail? As for my second question in the subject line above, it's really rhetorical, because obviously--they are.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2005 @ 9:59am

    song lyrics = news

    Hmm. what if say, you were to preface every page of lyrics you heard with:

    "I heard on the radio today and this is what s/he sang:..."

    then it would simply be reporting news, not copyright infringement. LOL

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

  16. identicon
    TMS, Dec 17th, 2005 @ 12:37pm

    No Subject Given

    Why don't they just stop selling the music! That contains the lyrics!
    When will these people finally learn that THEY ARE F***ING IDIOTS?!?!

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

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