It does seem silly to put up some of these restrictions, but I think it actually makes sense for the libraries to have to own a copy for every instance that a book is loaned at the same time. If, that is, each copy costs the same (or less) than a physical copy of the same book.
This could be handled automatically, so when someone wants to check out the eleventh copy of an ebook the library only "has" ten of, the library's credit card would be hit for the $7.00 and the loan would happen as normal. From then on, the library would have eleven copies to loan out at the same time.
If all the lawsuits from entertainment industry associations are based on the claim that "making available" is illegal, then shouldn't that apply here as well?
And if the "making available" part is authorized (as they say it is), then where is the problem with downloading these authorized files?
I can't help but see a parallel with police busting a drug dealer or a prostitute. A cop posing as a prostitute can't actively solicit a potential customer in order to bust him for pursuing a prostitute. And yes, I realize these media companies aren't officers of the law, but it's difficult to see how their behavior isn't just as illegal.
Sometimes I'm compelled to click on the article link just to be sure someone isn't making this up. Then, I check the calendar to make sure it isn't April 1. Finally, all that's left to do is sigh and shake my head.
I've always thought that aggressive policing of school zones and work zones makes pedestrians less safe, because rather than focusing on them, some drivers are likely focused more on the speedometer and on looking for police cars.
I believe the same is likely true for red-light cameras. If a driver knows there are red-light cameras around, and he finds himself going through a red light (because he was looking down when it turned yellow, or just because he thinks he can beat it), he might be looking for a camera rather than looking at the road to avoid other cars in the intersection.
I have no data to back this up -- just my thoughts on the matter. It'd be interesting to see a review of photos from these cameras to see where the driver is looking, especially the ones that caught an accident.
One point that hasn't been mentioned yet, at least not directly, is that song lyrics aren't worth a whole lot on their own to most people. People don't want to just read lyrics -- they want to listen to the music and hear the artist sing the lyrics.
I would argue that the same is true of lines from a movie. Nobody would want to just "read" a movie without being able to also see and hear it.
The labels also seem to be missing the point of how the lyrics are used. There are two situations in which I (and I surmise most others) use a lyrics site: (1) to find a song by looking up a line that I heard on the radio, or (2) to figure out what the singer is actually saying. One obvious result of the first point is that it may lead to a purchase.
So to those of you who say that these sites are "obviously stealing", what is it exactly that they're "stealing"? The lyrics are useless without the music. If your answer is that it helps people download music illegally, then you've missed the point and there's not much left to argue about. By your reasoning, Netflix and Blockbuster are also "obviously stealing" because they let people rent movies that they might rip.
This is a great opportunity for the music labels to actually compete in this space. The cost would be low (the number of ad-funded lyrics site is evidence enough for this) and the returns would likely be high. The labels could put some money into SEO to make sure the site shows up at the top of any search results. Plus, everyone would start linking to the "official" lyrics for a song.
Another benefit is that the lyrics would be correct. Most times I visit a lyrics site (as a result of searching Google of a line from the song in order to find out what it was and to go buy it on iTunes), some of the lyrics are clearly wrong or are misspelled. This would eradicate that issue as well.
Speaking of all the incorrect lyrics... it would be amusing for one of these lyrics companies to claim a fair use defense because enough of the content is different form the original that it's not really a copy, even though it was intended to be. THEN the record company lawyers might then be ready to talk about intentions...