Last week, we noted that LyricWiki had been pressured to kill its API
after music publishers threatened it with a lawsuit. In the comments to that post, someone insisted that there haven't
been any lawsuits over lyrics online. If that's true, it just changed. Apparently the removal of the API wasn't enough, as the parent company of LyricWiki, Motive Force Web, along with LiveUniverse (the site run by former MySpace exec Brad Greenspan) have both been sued by a group of music publishers
, who are insisting that such sites are unfairly "profiting on the backs of songwriters." I'd really like to see them prove that. These sites aren't profiting off the backs of songwriters, they're helping
more people find and understand the lyrics of songs they like. That gives fans a closer connection to the music and more reason to buy things which will actually bring songwriters money. It's stunning how shortsighted and backwards the music publishers are being here.
Even worse, the music publishers didn't stop at just suing the two companies here. They also sued the individuals behind them personally. This is a trick that the record labels have been pulling
lately as well. It's legalized bullying. These companies realize that by suing execs of these companies personally, it puts that much more pressure on those execs to settle, even though there's no basis whatsoever to go after those execs personally.
So, nice job Peermusic, Warner/Chappell, Bug Music and your lobbying buddies at the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), you've pissed off more music fans, made them less likely to find or be interested in music of the songwriters you represent, and have filed misguided lawsuits against individuals who dared to try to provide useful information to the public.