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Threatening Online Tablature

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the base-do-you-copy-do-you-copy- dept.

Music 266

mr_don't writes: "Howard Sacks, president of RenegadeOLGA, has recently released this statement describing the future of RenegadeOLGA after being threatened by the powerful National Music Publishers Association and it's attack dog, the Harry Fox Agency. The website has posted a lengthy description of the events that led up to the legal threats. Apparently, the Harry Fox Agency is working with NBCi to develop a digital sheet music site called, and they are using legal threats to eliminate any competiton." Outlawing amateur tablature is a bit like outlawing sports spectators from reporting scores on games they watch -- that is to say, not currently as outrageous as it should be.

cancel ×


Re:sports scores (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#258629)

Yes, it's exactly like a bystander giving a play by play, albeit a flawed and lame play by play. *BUT*, the important difference is that they're not giving an on air play by play... They're going home and telling a friend the memorable bits play-by-play. They're not running pirate radio and telling everyone in the county how the game went. In most cases, you have to prove you're being financially damaged by someone's use of a derivative of your product. Which they aren't. None of these people are airing unauthorized cover songs on the radio, they're playing them in their rooms or with their garage bands. Point being: No money is being made. Last comment: We all know the sue-out-the-competition business model fairly well. Now we're seeing an offshoot: 1.) Sue the competition out of business in an area where there is no profit. 2.) Attempt to sell something no one is used to paying for. 3.) Convieniently forget that the only people who want your product are the people who you sued out of business, and that most of the content that your competition used was used contributed and that you just pissed them all off. 4.) Close your new Tab website down becuase it's maintenece costs have you working at a loss because almost no one is willing to pay for what they can still get for free from virtually everywhere. ______ Memory is another word for regret.

Re:rip-tab (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#258630)

Yeah! That's a great idea! And right after we do that, let's end world hunger, resurrect the dinosaurs, and fly to jupiter! Those wouldn't be huge projects either, right?

Re:So let me see... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#258632)

What Vuarnet wrote reminds of the following:

"They first came for the communists, but I was not a communist so I did not speak. Then they came for the jews, but I was not a jew so I did not speak (etc)"

Not to compare them with Nazis, but you get the idea. We have to realize that these are not separate things. It's all the same. When will the persecution stop?? It's up to us to do something, I guess.

Re:rip-tab (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#258636)

The level of naivete evinced by this post is truly astounding. Clearly the poster has never played with FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms for frequency analysis). The problem with a Fourier transform is that you must collect a large number of samples in order to get reasonable frequency resolution, unfortunately, that causes you to loose time resolution. So you only get the frequency components of a very looong note.

At least one PhD dissertation [] has been written on using wavelet transforms to attempt to reconstruct musical notation from a recorded performance. It wasn't terribly successful....

I tend to think that it would be a bit more that a small project to come up with rip-tab!

"not currently as outrageous as it should it"? (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#258637)

Can someone parse this please? Methinks Timmy's been hanging around Rob Malda too long.

- A.P.

Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

The web ruined OLGA. (1)

yet another coward (510) | more than 13 years ago | (#258638)

I found OLGA about 1992. I do not know when it was established. Back then, and (maybe with additional subdomains) were the real deal. Then UW Parkside made the archive available via gopher, and we really had it made. Then people started to notice, and the Henry Fox attack dogs started snapping. The archive has been more scattered, less complete and slower in growing ever since. Harmony Central does a good job of providing a search engine and links to archive site, many of them outside the USA. It's a losing battle, though.

Copyright is theft (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 13 years ago | (#258647)

Information shall be free, and cannot be owned.
If you want to make money, you're free to try,
but we will ignore your claims of ownership.

A long time... (5)

crisco (4669) | more than 13 years ago | (#258651)

This fight has been going on for a long time. The tablature has been online since the 'good ole days', I remember one of my fellow guitar students talking about back in about '91, when I was like 'duh, how do I get internet'.

The first step was to get the archive dumped off of the University of Nevada's servers. Then anyone else hosting it would get the nasty letters too. You'd have to hope the cross-atlantic links and the Italian site hosting the archive were up and hope you'd be able to find the tab you were looking for quickly enough.

Of course the maintenance goes downhill too, when you can't connect to the archive or officially host it you can't very well keep adding tabs for all the new stuff that keeps coming along, and whether your preferences run toward the newest Blink182 or the next Satriani album or even Shania, being able to grab tab is nice.

And while some might look at tab as 'cheating', don't forget how many beginners learn from it, people that might not get to hang around with decent guitar players or have money for lessons.

Again, the issue comes down to fair use in an interconnected society and the inability of old distribution and reward models to fit to an interconnected society.

Good luck to OLGA!

Chris Cothrun
Curator of Chaos

Re:Where did they get their tabs from? (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#258680)

Don't be such a narrow-minded idiot. There are official publications which have the actual tabs used by the bands during their recordings. Is the site ripping these off, or are the members coming up with their own by ear? Or ripping them off from other places which have created them by ear?


Re:So let me see... (1)

Nightpaw (18207) | more than 13 years ago | (#258681)

Okay, please remit US$5000 to the estate of Martin Niemöller or prepare to face charges of copyright infringement.

I think the AC did a fine job quoting enough that we got the point. He also (surprisingly enough for a Slashdot poster) correctly spelled "Nazis" without an apostrophe.

And your version is not necessarily correct:

Not just the music industry (5)

marxmarv (30295) | more than 13 years ago | (#258685)

The social institution of DIY has been in danger for years now. I think it started with the War On (Some) Drugs making it almost impossible for an individual to acquire fine chemicals, and orders for listed chemicals are subjected to scrutiny by chemical distributors and prosecuted for anything from controlled substance manufacturing to terrorism if the buyer can't come up with a good story. Radio Shack, once a source for electronic components, now is a glorified consumer-electronics also-ran that won't even sell you a 6.5536MHz crystal anymore. The DMCA neatly banished research of copy control to corporations, with even the ivory tower of academia under attack for research the law explicitly permits, and very nearly makes a crime out of verifying the operation of something you paid for. In some places, you can't buy CO2 or hair bleach

Innovation has become the sole province of corporations, it seems, and this is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. This is an unprecedented attack on the sovereignty of the individual, on many different fronts, concocted by people who have few common ties but the ability to profit from conformity, and it isn't getting any better. We can keep fighting them point-by-point to slow down the machine's progress, but what can we do to reverse the trend? What can we do to restore discovery, initiative, and independence to their rightful place as the cornerstone of Western achievement, in a world filled with prefab, overpriced, purpose-built, rubber-bumpered crap?

Hey, Katz, if you want to do something useful for "The Kids", then quit defending mindless entertainment and start advocating mindful engagement. Ten million zombies playing Quake are not going to fix the problem.


Great (5)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 13 years ago | (#258686)

I expect to read soon that that Harry Fox Agency will start cracking down on jam sessions because guys share lyric sheets and show each other popular licks.

I would genuinely like to know just what successes there have been against obvious greed by a corporation in the courts over the last eighteen months or so. I define success as something along the lines of: an impartial judge considers the facts of the case and what implications his or her judgement would have and then tells the corporate entity bringing the action to go and stick it.

Do you guys get that over there occasionally? Can you get rid of judges who are clueless? Do you have any frigging say in the way your country is run at all?

And they did such a good job with too... (5)

einTier (33752) | more than 13 years ago | (#258690)

Anyone remember I do. I remember when it was the place to go to get lyrics to songs. Sure, the song lyrics were copyrighted, but didn't exist to defy copyright. It was there so you could look up the half-mumbled lyrics to that new song you heard yesterday -- so you could sing along, and possibly enjoy the song more. Or, if you were a parent, you could actually see what your kids were listening to without having to listen to it yourself for extended periods of time. Keep in mind, not all CDs contain lyrics (though thankfully, most do). I used to print out pages and pages of song lyrics for the privacy of my living room (the print on CDs tends to be really small too) or to refer to in the car.

Apparently the Harry Fox agency didn't like that. And, they ruined They tried to change it, and in their zeal for total content control, they made it unusable. Now, you can't print the lyrics, and you can't scroll back to read the ones just displayed, you can't even control the speed of the scrolling. Plus, most songs aren't even listed. Great solution guys. I can only see how helped promote music, but copyright is king today.

Now, I see they're going to do it with guitar tabs. Nevermind that some of these tabs (as was some of the lyrics on are "backward engineered", in that they are other people's interpretations of what the lyrics or tabs might be or probably are. They'll be determined to keep control to the point they'll make their tabs completely unusable. Copyright holders need to look at things in a different light.

Rather than asking how they can keep people from making money off their IP, they need to ask "why are people making money off this?" and "how can I make it better and easier to use, so they like my service better?" I'd be willing to pay a nominal fee for lyrics or tabs or god forbid, mp3s. If and only if, I can do whatever I want with them after I purchase them. Don't cripple them, don't worry about me misusing them. As it is, I'm not buying any intellectual property until these strong-arm tactics are under control.

Copyright law is ruining the intellectual underpinnings of our society.

Shooting themselves in the foot (3)

miahrogers (34176) | more than 13 years ago | (#258691)

The ability to get free tabs makes playing music much easier, which in turn creates more musicians, and makes the recording industry MORE MONEY. If they shut down the tab websites, they'll get back the INCREDIBLY small amount of money from people who'd rather hear a local band perform an artist's song than the artist themself.

Do I have any less desire to see Clapton in concert because I heard FuzzBucket perform "Tears in Heaven"? Absolutley not.

Re:affecting sales? (1)

mefus (34481) | more than 13 years ago | (#258692)

I am pretty sure that there are many people out there who have not bought an album/single or two because they have it as mp3s.
Maybe if they listen to Britney Spears or Boyz in the Hood... but not an appreciater of good music.

um, er... eh -- *click*

Its not hard to figure . . . (2)

werdna (39029) | more than 13 years ago | (#258694)

Consult the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. s. 106, which provides that the copyright holder owns exclusive rights to reproduction and distribution. With respect to a copyrighted work directly from the original sheet music, a recording or a performance of a copyrighted work, if you record the tablature, and published that result, you have implicated both reproduction and distribution rights. There are some merger issues, but for many tunes, you will run into quite a few walls trying to defend on grounds of noninfringement.

A better claim might be fair use. Much depends on the particular facts of the case; the work, how much is taken; impact on the publishing marketplace; for what purposes the tablature was recorded, and so forth.

Not the law . . . (3)

werdna (39029) | more than 13 years ago | (#258696)

Nope. That was settled in the Motorola cases not too long ago. There is nothing copyrightable in the subject matter of a sporting event. Of course, you can't simply rebroadcast a particular sportscast, or use excerpts of the play by play commentary -- that (the photography and the content) is most certainly protected.

however, the subject matter of what is shown on the newscast -- that's no violation of copyright.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the common law action for misappropriation would apply. The law varies from state to state whether the action protects contemporaneous rebroadcast of "hot news." But that is another (really hypertechnical, but fun for geek lawyers) issue.

What is clear is that traditional sporting events, itself, is not likely to be protected by copyright. (There may be interesting issues in highly choreographed events, perhaps something like pro wrestlying).

sorry, no (4)

CoughDropAddict (40792) | more than 13 years ago | (#258697)

Ya know, it wouldn't be a huge project to write a program you plug your sound recording into and it writes the tabulature to the screen or file in real time. There's only a finite number of ways to finger to get notes out of a fretted instrument, so run a frequency analysis and then apply some simple algorithms for fingurability. Add basic harmonic analysis and it's easy to separate the bass from the guitar from whatever.

You, my friend, are talking straight out of your ass. If you could implement even a fraction of what you say "wouldn't be a huge project," you would single-handedly show up all of the current experts in the field.

I recommend you read the alt.binaries.sounds.midi FAQ [] , where the task of converting WAV->MIDI is discussed in depth (section 1.4). This is equivalent to the process you propose, the idea of taking a digital PCM sound file and decomposing it into musical "events." The discussion concludes with the following:

Think of it this way: If you don't mind spending more than the US national
debt on computer equipment and waiting a few years for the job to complete,
you can have a system that MIGHT accurately convert the digital waveform
data of a 5 minute song into a small, compact MIDI file.


Wow...that songfile website sucks. (2)

EEEthan (41747) | more than 13 years ago | (#258698)

So, so opens a new window for every thing you want to do and then at the end, there's no instant access to the song have to put it in the basket. WTF?
Now, if the site rocked and charged micropayments, it might be sweet, but there's just something so perverse about paying for something that is worse than the free alternative.
I guess it's nice to see the system working for somebody...too bad it's not us.

Re:sports scores (1)

aufait (45237) | more than 13 years ago | (#258700)

I find that hard to believe based on my understanding of copyright law. Do you have a reference?

How is this different from a movie reviewer giving a plot summary?

Re:sports scores (3)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 13 years ago | (#258702) a play by play account of a sporting event. Which, guess what, that's copyright infringement.

Nonsense. Describing something - a plya-by-play of a sporting event, a review of a play, a transcription of a song - in my own words does not violate anyones copyright. My description is my creation. In fact, I automatically hold copyright on my description.

Anyway, I thought these assholes at Harry Fox would have learned their lesson when they went after the orginal OLGA [] , only to have mirrors spring up all over the place - the same way pressure on Napster has led to things like OpenNap. I said it then [] and I'll say it now: Music is not a crime.

Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

outrageous (5)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#258703)

Distributing tablature derived from listening to music? That's outrageous! It's almost as bad as communally deciphering and publishing lyrics! These people need to be thrown in jail, along with softcore drug users, and encryption users.

Re:same sad story, yet again (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#258704)

Yer, cause we all know that the laws werent made to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. At least figure out what it is your attacking before you attack it.

Re:So let me see... (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#258705)

please at least show enough respect to quote the entire thing:

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me -
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

- Pastor Martin Niemöller

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#258706)

you know, before all this sound recording junk came along musicians used to make a fair living off sheet music. Of course, that was before the intellect expected of fans dropped low enough for "tabs" to be necessary.

Re:The trick is peer-to-peer sharing: (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#258707)

That's great! Now you can close your eyes and pretend the law doesn't exist because there is no way to enforce it. Yah! An alternative, would be to do something about the law rather than just giving up on society.

Re:So let me see... (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#258708)

The common satire:

First they came for the hackers.
But I never did anything illegal with my computer,
so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the pornographers.
But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway,
so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the anonymous remailers.
But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from,
so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the encryption users.
But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway,
so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

My google skills are unmatched :)

Re:Great (3)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#258709)

No see, judges have a specific purpose in civil suits, to decide who is right and who is wrong in the eyes of the law. It is not a judge's duty to make new laws, modify the existing ones or otherwise devine some lofty moral goal. Congress has the power to make new laws and recede old ones. The law in question, copyright, was made specifically for this purpose. It's a stupid law, but that's my opinion. It has been highly effective at promoting the arts and as such is not likely to be receded any time soon (in fact it is being strengthened with such laws as the DMCA, as we all know). So stop bitching about "greedy corporations" and judges doing their job, and come up with some good reasons why the law should be changed.

Re:But wait (5)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#258710)

Music score is like source code and tablature is like object code and the sound is like the gui! That's why Oasis isn't in jail for rippin' their look and feel off The Beatles.

Re:A long time... (3)

gcrocker (74615) | more than 13 years ago | (#258718)

Content like the tab archive should be posted in Freenet [] . Go learn about it or have all your rights taken away by the companies that own the US government.

Oh, and while you're at it, get at the root problem, and join Common Cause [] .

Stop being such fsking victims. It's lame. Take control of your information.


SSince when is proposing a solution offtopic? (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#258719)

Since when does talk amongst yourselves mean
repeat the same old rhetoric. I was proposing a solution. Traxinspace has a huge following they could buy out in no time.

QUALITY: the real reason for OLGA (5)

fanatic (86657) | more than 13 years ago | (#258723)

I can tell you from personal experience that most of the "official" sheet music that comes out for guitar is pure garbage. Example: I paid a great deal for a Led Zeppelin book to understand "The Rain Song". It was a VERY POOR approximation, in that it didn't even have the correct tuning of the guitar (which is how the strings are tuned, and makes a huge difference in how the song is played and how it SOUNDS). The publishers can take a hike until they produce a quality product at ANY proce (which they've spent 25 years that I know of proving that they can't or won't.



geekster (87252) | more than 13 years ago | (#258725)

It is not like hacking in and stealing the sources. If it's like anything it's reverse engineering. It's an interpretation of the song, put on the web for free.

What if I were to play a song I'd learned from an... uuuh... illegal tablature, in my own room, by my self. Would this be like running Win98 compiled from stolen source code?

Anyway I think it's a bad idea comparing it to source code since the code can't be kept a secret, the music is the code, it's never in some sorta binary form.

Reporting games scores IS ALREADY ILLEGAL (5)

Seth Finkelstein (90154) | more than 13 years ago | (#258727)

Too late. Reporting game scores in certain commerical circumstances is already illegal, and has been for decades. Search for the term hot news misappropriation. For example: []

Morris Communications Corp v. PGA Tour Inc (MD Fla 10/23/2000)

PGA Tour invested millions of dollars in an electronic relay system called Real-Time Scoring System (RTSS) that facilitated the transmission of the real-time golf scores to an on-site media center. PGA Tour granted Morris Communications the right to gather scores from the media center on the condition that the information was not to be syndicated. Morris Communications claimed that in conditioning the use of the media center, PGA Tour was acting as an illegal monopolist. In response, PGA Tour contended that it had a right to condition access to the media center, and thus the scores the RTSS compiled in order to protect its property interest.

The court held that PGA Tour was entitled to condition access to information gathered by the RTSS. "Plaintiff cannot point to a sufficient reason why Defendant's uniformly applied rules represent anything other than a legitimate business decision intended to allow it to reap the benefits of its investment."

International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 US 215 (1918), was the first case to set forth the "hot news" theory of intellectual property. In that case, the Supreme Court stated that a newspaper publisher had a property right in time-sensitive information when the publisher had expended resources to collect the news. The court allowed the PGA Tour to assert the hot news theory to protect its investment in the RTSS system. "It appears in this case that Plaintiff wants to capitalize not just on the golf scores themselves, but also on Defendant's mechanism for simultaneously gathering and generating the scoring information."

And with database treaties, this will probably become even more of an issue

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, just interested in the topic.

Yet another Case for 2600 to refer to (2)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 13 years ago | (#258728)

Although I personally have my doubts as to how much this will help 2600's case, this article is yet case they will be able to refer to in their hearing tommorow. See yesterday's article [] about the university professor who had to back off due to legal bullying.

Tablature an endangered species???? (5)

musiholic (94408) | more than 13 years ago | (#258729)

This is completely retarded. Somebody nuke NBCi and this other group for me.

The number of times I've consulted on-line, amature tablature for both bass, rhythm, and lead parts cannot be counted. Its a great way to find out how to play songs - especially since no one ever completely gets it "right". Each person's transcription has its own character since we all hear things a little bit differently. It would be a disgrace to musicians everywhere to allow legal hound dogs ruin this tradition over "potential competition" to something I doubt I'd ever use.

Again, someone nuke them now. It seems the only sane thing left to do, other than outlaw lawyers, but that's a little too paradoxical.

Clean Room TAB Writing (4)

cei (107343) | more than 13 years ago | (#258739)

So if I listen to a song a few times without an instrument in my hands, then walk into a room where I can't hear the original, but do have an instrument, and I work out the TAB from what I remember in my head, then that would constitute a clean room reverse engineering which has been protected by the courts, right?
WWhhaatt ddooeess dduupplleexx mmeeaann??


jpr1 (115308) | more than 13 years ago | (#258740)

The tabs on the site are transcribed by people that listened to the music. This can be compared to running a program and then making your own that is similar without looking at the source code. The reason they want them closed down is they think people are copying the tab books they sell, but iirc the sites quit posting tabs like that and only take ones that are done by the individual.


forkspoon (116573) | more than 13 years ago | (#258741)

Just put all the tabulature on Freenet. It's obivous! Thanks, Travis

affecting sales? (2)

Forrestina (120989) | more than 13 years ago | (#258742)

i dare you to show me some numbers that prove this. sales have gone up since the whole mainstream mp3 thing. and i've bought over 1/2 my cd collection because i found some of it in mp3, and liked it.

lyrics. oh please... some of us like to know what mr. stipe is mumbling in his songs. we're not going to sell the lyrics, we just want to read them. i don't think thats wrong.

tabs. yeah... illegal to play a song that someone else wrote! if not for tabs, i know a lot of people who would never have learned to play a guitar. this is just ridiculous.


Just outlaw the tools (5)

katana (122232) | more than 13 years ago | (#258743)

If you take away the guitars, then there's no chance of infringement. I can think of many people who need their guitars taken away, and would be happy to provide a list (with home addresses) to facilitate this action.

Or I suppose you could just stop selling strings. That would work too.

Re:A long time... (2)

jcsmith (124970) | more than 13 years ago | (#258745)

Freenet is an excellent idea. Maybe some sort of organized effort could be put together to work on putting the tabs into freenet.

Re:This is old and Harry Fox is right... (2)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 13 years ago | (#258750)

you do realize, of course, that most of the tabs you get in books are transcribed by someone hired to figure out the music, not the musicians. a fine example is sunhawk [] . Just busineses transcribing tab, or even sheet music, and trying to get people to pay for it. A lame concept in and of itself (as most guitarists will get a hell of a lot better by just jamming to the radio rather than playing from tab). And the only reason companies are starting to get pissed is because they can't bear the idea that most people would rather figure the music out themselves than pay for tab.

But who knows, this may make for better guitarists in the long run. Perhaps even revive the lost art of the trained ear.

After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network

Re:sports scores (5)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 13 years ago | (#258751)

i think this is a far cry from some play by play (which, AFAIK, isn't copyright infringement).

1) Anyone who is getting these tabs is usually getting them for personal use. They'll either use them to play when they're bored, or they'll play them when friends come over for shits ang giggles. That, my friend, is definitely fair use. Unless, of course, there is something sinister about playing covers for your friends, and, dear god, not charging them for your private show.

2) Any half-way competent guitarist should be able to figure out any song without use of tablature. Sure, there are some discrepancies(sp) with the way that the song is played, sometimes complete chords are fubar'ed, but - it's really not that difficult to figure out what the musician was doing by listening to a song a few times (hell, i figured out Travis' cover of Hit Me Baby, One More Time because i couldn't find it on the OLGA. The only reason most people use sites like that are because of laziness, not because of some sinister desire to undermine the profit margin of the music industry. Outlawing sites like the OLGA isn't going to stop cover bands, and it's sure as hell not going to stop anyone who can play anything more than power cords. (Subnote: It's a good song, and no, i'm not gay).

3. Most importantly, these songs were "reverse engineered" so to speak. 99.9% of the tab you see on places like the OLGA weren't written by anyone who had anything to do with the music industry. They were written by average joes like you and me who decided to help others out. They weren't, and aren't, doing anything more than providing easy instructions for a product that doesn't come with an instruction manual.

In that sense, the music industry is trying to outlaw do-it-yourself manuals. Why don't we just take the next step and outlaw Chilton's car guides and Time-Life Home Improvement books.

Quick personal note: When art forms an industry, and decides to make the public pay for its use, it ceases to be art. Art is that which enriches your soul for no greater price than that of your time.

After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network

sports scores (2)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#258768)

No, it's more like outlawing sports spectators from giving a play by play account of a sporting event. Which, guess what, that's copyright infringement.

Re:Where did they get their tabs from? (1)

baxissimo (135512) | more than 13 years ago | (#258770)

No that's not the issue (at least not the one the previous poster was referring to). Some people just copy tab directly out of the various tab books that are put out by the music companies. These really shouldn't be allowed to be copied. But most of the tab on the net is created by people listening to the notes and chords and writing down what they think they are. This sort of thing should be allowed.

Re:affecting sales? (1)

enneff (135842) | more than 13 years ago | (#258771)

"Maybe if they listen to Britney Spears or Boyz in the Hood... but not an appreciater of good music."

I think the definition of what is 'good music' and what is not is irrelevant, especially since what we would classify as 'bad music' tends to be the most popular.

Re:rip-tab.. interesting.. (2)

enneff (135842) | more than 13 years ago | (#258772)

Or, why not apply an accoustic-analysis procedure and create a file that, when fed to the appropriate program, reproduces the music almost exactly how it was played! Still free?

Oh wait...

Re:This is old and Harry Fox is right... (3)

enneff (135842) | more than 13 years ago | (#258773)

If you play guitar and can't transpose a riff between keys (especially when you've got the original to compare to, and it's obviously wrong) then you should probably just give up.


Re:affecting sales? (3)

enneff (135842) | more than 13 years ago | (#258774)

"sales have gone up since the whole mainstream mp3 thing"

To me, this is one of the most crippling arguments in the whole MP3/napster/whatever debate.

Music sales have been going up for about, hrmm, the last 50 years or more. This is due to the fact that there is constantly more and more music out there to buy. Trying to calculate the number of sales lost, however, is no simple task. This is because every single album will have different sales. Because the market relies largely on people's tastes (okay, that's a stretch), there is no real way of projecting the sales for any particular album, hence no way to calculate losses.

I am pretty sure that there are many people out there who have not bought an album/single or two because they have it as mp3s.


grapeape (137008) | more than 13 years ago | (#258776)

Insightful? Try moronic...comparing tab to stolen code is that way of thinking I guess Linux would be concidered stolen unix?

same sad story, yet again (5)

e_lehman (143896) | more than 13 years ago | (#258783)

I am so sick of laws that have no purpose other than to enrich a few scumbags by creating artificial markets:

  • "We can't make a business out of that; it is already conveniently available for free."
  • "Ah, but we get the convenient, free service declared illegal and then we get rich!"

How can executives at these companies not look at themselves in the mirror each morning and think, "I am a disgusting parasitic leech of a human being"?

I just don't know. Maybe they just need a reminder. []

The trick is peer-to-peer sharing: (5)

jcapell (144056) | more than 13 years ago | (#258784)

I can always find the TAB I want at Harmony Central's search engine [] and the search target always seems to be hosted on a different site all the time.

Re:Owning music is the most stupid concept .. (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 13 years ago | (#258785)

OK assuming there's only 88 Standard notes (see also the piano Keyboard) then if i copyright the key of C can i claim that everyones else is just transposing my work?

Languages are based on standard rules etc, yet books continue to be copyrighted.

Your iea is nice but flawed

Re:This is old and Harry Fox is right... (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 13 years ago | (#258786)

Say they write it out in with a drop D but it is really a STD tuning (see also Dem Bones) you'll "never" play it right.

I know when it is wrong, I neversaid i couldn't play it b/c it was wrong. I said it was wrong. Very diff't.

Re:rip-tab.. interesting.. (1)

Ig0r (154739) | more than 13 years ago | (#258789)

Wouldn't that be the same as a clean re-implementation, and be legal?


Does this serve the public? (5)

TheFrood (163934) | more than 13 years ago | (#258799)

The purpose of copyright law, according to the U.S. Constitution, is to promote the creation of new works. (Art.I, Sec.8, Cls.8).

Does prohibiting the distribution of amateur-created guitar tabs serve this purpose? Would the extra income generated by having exclusive guitar-tab-creation rights result in musicians producing more music? And if so, would the public benefit more from that increase than they would lose from giving up the right to create and distribute their own guitar tabs?

Unless the answer to both questions can be shown to be "yes" (and shown convincingly), people should be free to create and distribute their own guitar tabs. (Note that I'm not talking about what current law says, I'm talking about what it should say.)


Re:Just outlaw the tools (1)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 13 years ago | (#258801)

But then you screw things up for the good guitarists. Instead, I propose the amps are locked to come on only when the guitarist can play a Dick Dale type solo.

Outlaw tabs? (5)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 13 years ago | (#258802)

As a citizen of the U.S., I'm pissed.

As a human being, I'm outraged.

As a guitarist, I'm fucking homicidal.

To think that anyone would PAY for a guitar/bass/drum/keyboard/whatever tab, is beyond me. Personally, when I'm trying to figure out a song, if there's a part that just doesn't sound right, I look up the tab to see the correct (or semi-correct) fret.

While it may not be _too_ much of an inconvieniance for me, I know as a beginner, you look for a tab _then_ try to figure it out for yourself. By putting a system in place where you must pay for tabs, most people will not pay, and therefore never learn.

In the name of profits.

Tabs aren't perfect. (5)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 13 years ago | (#258803)

I see a lot of people saying tabs:music::source code:programs. However, I can tell that most of the people making these statements has never played by a tab they got off the internet.

You see, depending on the tab writer (and the tuning of his guitar, amp settings, skill, etc), the tab itself is not^H^H^H never 100% accurate. This holds true especially when a song uses something more complicated like alternate tunings, artifical harmonics, effects, etc. In my experience with tabs, they vary from a 50% to 99% accuracy. Most get the main body of the song right, but then lose accuracy on a solo, bridge or the like.

Anyway, I'm pointing this out because in order to show that any given tab you pull off the internet will not be like source code because it will never be 100% accurate (I have seen exceptions, but those are few and far between). Therefore, it's not the same as the original work. You could even go so far as to call it a remix. Whatever you call it, it's not the same, and therefore cannot (or atleast should not) be held under the same law.

My guitar wants to kill your lawyer.

rip-tab (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 13 years ago | (#258807)

Ya know, it wouldn't be a huge project to write a program you plug your sound recording into and it writes the tabulature to the screen or file in real time. There's only a finite number of ways to finger to get notes out of a fretted instrument, so run a frequency analysis and then apply some simple algorithms for fingurability. Add basic harmonic analysis and it's easy to separate the bass from the guitar from whatever.

If this is copyright violation, then so is just listening if you have perfect pitch and the background to imagine the finguring as you hear it - which a whole lot of better guitarists can do, actually. If a computer augments your intelligence to match another guys or gals, this should be as free as thought.

Re:Sorry guys, this is straight-up infringement . (1)

Capt. Beyond (179592) | more than 13 years ago | (#258812)

I agree totally with you. This is nonsense. What's next, copyright infringement for listening to music? How about all those bar bands that play nothing but cover songs? I guess they should pay to play music. How about Xerox copy machines, heck, they do more copyright infringement than anything. Why not put a copy tax on all copy machines that goes to music publishers? This country is getting ridiculous.

Re:So let me see... (2)

firewort (180062) | more than 13 years ago | (#258813)

Thank you for posting the correct quote with attribution. I was about to, but you got there first. I appreciate it.

A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close

Re:Guitar reccomendations (2)

firewort (180062) | more than 13 years ago | (#258814)

Don't get the cheapest thing you can find, take the electrics coverplate off and see that you aren't buying plywood- buy a solid body electric, made of whole wood instead of plywood- You can see the plys as you look inside the electrics cavity.

Then, take it to the local guitar shop and have them put strings on it, adjust it, and tune it.

When you go to the pawn shop, take a friend who plays guitar with you. He can play it through an amp and you can decide if you like the sound of the guitar... and he can tell you if it's any good or not.

A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close

Re:Great (4)

firewort (180062) | more than 13 years ago | (#258815)

And it'd be nice if that were true:

Judges have been making their decisions based on what the social change will be since the 1920s.

Judges rule on many civil matters from a position of ignorance and redefine existing laws in the name of morality and social change. (They make a ruling as they see fit, and that ruling goes to precedent. Not many judges care to reverse the rulings of their collegues.)

A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close

Music Chords (3)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#258816)

Problem is that there are some chord changes that are essentially the same for a number of songs. For example, the theme for the Flintstones TV show sped up, or slowed down, are the same as the chords for many other classic jazz tunes. for example, "I've Got Rhythm"

Other songs that have similar chord changes are between thenselves are: "Heart and Soul", "Last Kiss", "Stand By Me", "D'yer Myker", and most of "Grease".

Also Check out Rage Against the Machine's "Wake Up" from the Matrix soundtrack and Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir".

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

Re:rip-tab.. interesting.. (1)

psyclone (187154) | more than 13 years ago | (#258823)

How about using supposed frequency analysis to a much more refined degree and creating playable music (enhanced sheet music with much more information) for an entire ensamble. Then pass that to an electronic ensamble that reproduces the music in near-duplicate to the one you recorded from. Still free?

Who the hell do they think they are ? (5)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 13 years ago | (#258828)

There is no way in hell this will hold out in court. If this guy can prove that nbci is working to eliminate competition, it will immediately be thrown out. Its abuses such as this one is why America should join Canada and other countries in legal system reforms. Basically in a reformed system, an abusive company that practices unreasonable prosecution has to pay the legal defense cost of the guy being sued. With all the news about the SDMI research being stoped because just one suit by the mpaa will cost alot of money to defend, makes a strong arguement for it.

The guys like NBCI and the MPAA will always ( finicially ) win because they have big pockets. If your a defendent and win a lawsuit what do you gain? You just lose your house, some cars and perhaps your childs college fund just to prove that you did nothing wrong.

Big corporations have nothing but gain. IF they lose the case it doesn't hurt them finicially. IF they win it rewards them with bigger profits.

All the corps do is point and they win hands down every time. IT so unfair.

Cheap Shot (5)

NetGyver (201322) | more than 13 years ago | (#258829)

Cheap Shot - John Mellencamp

Well the record company's goin' out of business
They price the records too damn high
And the boys in the band could use some assistance

Well the record company's goin' out of business
They price the records too damn high
And the boys in the band could use some assistance
Get a daytime job just to get by
Well the P.D.'s they won't play the record
They're too worried about that book
And the D.J's they all hate the song
But they're in love with the hook

So na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na
I bet you've heard this song before
Take your cocaine and hit the door

Well folk rock, punk rock, power pop music
Turned out to be the latest trends
And ther ain't no more progressive music
The business has put it to an end
Ol' "Rolling Stone" has gathered some moss
No they ain't what they used to be
They try to look like "Look" with their political pages
And advertising all over T.V.

Appariently in 1983 he knew that the business would put alot of things to an end. Go figure.

Now, we got a business who wants to sell digital sheet music and kill off other simular services who offer simular stuff (albeit not exact) for FREE!!! The great thing about OLGA is that first its free, and the tablature isn't THAT BAD. Its enough to give you a feel for the chord structure, and some of them are very very close to the real thing.

Tablature is a great way for a beginner to get his feet wet playing guitar. I've personally used OLGA for a number of songs that i wanted to learn how to play, and it's a great service with a good deal of tab selections to choose from.

Most guitarists know there are songbooks out by popular artists with the exact chord structures (in the form of sheet music) in them. You need to pay for this, but it's worth it, if you want to play the song exactly how it was written musically. And i have bought a few.

However, services like OGLA, I use on the side (and a good bit) when I don't want to spend $10-$20 dollars for a whole freakin book of sheet music. I just want to learn one damn song, not the artists whole album in sheet music. It's a waste of money, unless your a big fan of that artist.

Why can't they just advertise their service by saying "it's the ORGNINAL and EXACT reproduction of the artist's music" or something to that effect instead of just crushing the tab sites? How are sites like OGLA competition? They know they got a better, truer product, why not just hype that and be done with it?...It'd be too damn easy.

- NetGyver

"A penny for my thoughts? Here's my two cents. I got ripped off."

So let me see... (5)

Vuarnet (207505) | more than 13 years ago | (#258830)

...downloading the MP3 is wrong.
...downloading the lyrics is wrong.
...downloading the Tabs is wrong.

What's next? Buying the CDs online from any store other than their website? Downloading wallpapers and WinAmp skins of your favorite artists? Someone send them a clue, please.

Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Re:So let me see... (1)

dnh (210171) | more than 13 years ago | (#258832)

absolutly not, but making it available to someone who doesn't own it is, as is getting one which you don't own. I have mp3s of cds that I don't own, but don't expect companies such as napster survive. This does seem stupid, but they do own the rights to it. Honestly i'd make lyrics/tabs easily accessible, to everyone, all it could do is help them sell more records.

Re:affecting sales? (1)

dnh (210171) | more than 13 years ago | (#258833)

Last month here in Canada there were figures relased showing sales had gone down by something like 5%. Unfortunatly my local news comes from papers with poor web presence, or that only archive 7 days. I'll post a link if I find one.

Re:So let me see... (2)

dnh (210171) | more than 13 years ago | (#258834)

>...downloading the MP3 is wrong.
its copyrighted, this is simple and has been the cause for as long as mp3s have been around. Yeah we used to be able to get them easy, but it went mainstream and now we can't anymore. Thats the way it goes

>...downloading the lyrics is wrong.
Well they are copyrighted too. Downloading them is really not wrong, but distributing them might

>...downloading the Tabs is wrong.
Same as above

Its not that strange, when it was just a few of us it wasn't a big deal, now its actually affecting sales, so we can't anymore

Re:Guitar reccomendations (1)

grokmiskatonic (212300) | more than 13 years ago | (#258835)

Depends on what type of music you want to play. If you like Blues or Rock, Fender Standard Stratocaster or Standard Telecaster are pretty cool - I have both the Mexican and American models, and I can tell you the Mexicans are well worth what you pay for them . If you like heavy metal, Ibanez and Jackson low end models seem to be pretty good. That's sort of the ~$300 range of starter guitars. check out alt.guitar.beginner , alt.guitar, and other guitar related NGs . My advice if you are open to all kinds of music, get the Mexican Standard Fender Telecaster.

Another evil four letter acronym. (1)

X-Dopple (213116) | more than 13 years ago | (#258836)

IDSA - Evil company that shuts down ROM sites harboring blatantly illegal Atari 2600 ROMs, and, on occasion, Cease and Desists' popular emulation sites like Snes9x.

MPAA - Evil company that hired Judge Kaplan to lay the smackdown on 2600 by issuing his, IMO, incredibly narrowminded ruling on DeCSS.

RIAA - No description need be written about this horrible spawn of Cthulthu (sp?)

NSPA - New kid on the block, wants to stomp out the horrendous evil of publishing songs

Owning music is the most stupid concept .. (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 13 years ago | (#258838)

Considering that most of the music is built by standard rules and standard rythms.

Also, the search space soon will be exhausted IMHO.

It is not .. (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 13 years ago | (#258839)

If you bring 2 million venture capital I'll show you why.

Re:So let me see... (1)

Cirvam (216911) | more than 13 years ago | (#258841)

So if I have a cd, and my friend has the same cd, and I make my cd into mp3s because I spend too much time on the computer, and don't want to shuffle around for cds. Then I let my friend download the mp3s from me, even though he has the same cd, its wrong?

Re:Sorry guys, this is straight-up infringement . (2)

Cirvam (216911) | more than 13 years ago | (#258842)

So if I write down the chords I think I'm hearing its infringement?
How do you figure that?

Re:So let me see... (1)

Uncle_Chachi (218434) | more than 13 years ago | (#258843)

It's funny that you quote Pink Floyd in your .sig, because EMI was typically one of the worst offenders [at going after .tab hosters]. I think there was an organized boycott of not buying any EMI music at one point.

Understatement of the year (5)

JohnTheFisherman (225485) | more than 13 years ago | (#258849)

...especially since no one ever completely gets it "right".

Man, half the time I'm not even sure I'm looking at the right song.

And yes, someone nuke NBCi.


NonSequor (230139) | more than 13 years ago | (#258850)

That's brilliant! If it's on Freenet, then we can be certain that no one will see it.

Er... Well, y'know. You can't make an omelette without um... destroying a forest. Or something.

Re:Another evil four letter acronym. (1)

Kalabajoui (232671) | more than 13 years ago | (#258851)

Actually, in your example sentence you use the acronyms MPAA, RIAA, and NSPA as pejoratives. Of course it's also not necessarily the number of letters in a word or an acronym that creates negative connotations or denotations. A word or phrase becomes loaded above and beyond it's literal meaning depending on the general context with which it is used. To that end, it is safe to say that you are not alone in associating your contempt for the above organizations with their acronyms.

Re:Another evil four letter acronym. (1)

nidarus (240160) | more than 13 years ago | (#258860)

Another evil four letter acronym

Yep. NSPA, like the MPAA or the RIAA is a four-letter word.

Therefore, I have only one thing to say: MPAA you, you RIAAing NSPA!

Re:Guitar reccomendations (2)

LordArathres (244483) | more than 13 years ago | (#258863)

Buy something cheap, then after you get better and realize you actually want to play, then there is only one choice


The best! guitar on the planet.


I love my iBook. I use it to run Linux!

Next Logical Progression (5)

the real jeezus (246969) | more than 13 years ago | (#258864)

Next some pushy recording industry group [] will decide that singing in the shower obviously violates precious Intellectual Property rights. I just wonder how they'll enforce it.

Isn't it ironic that the RIAA and other groups are raining on everybody's parade, yet they artists are getting screwed just as badly as the fans? Methinks they are exercising their fictitious yet inalienable right to profit without limit.

Ewige Blumenkraft!

Hrmm. (2)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 13 years ago | (#258866)

While I was reading the letter I thought up a scheme which would prove interesting to watch unfold in court.

What if someone were to change all of the tabs in some musical way? Like.. shift all of the notes up or down, add in new notes (according to a map), and change the tempo. In other words, do enough to the song so that if played, it wouldn't sound much like the original. Would the court find these tabs to be in violation? What if there were a utility available to convert the tab back to the one the author intended? Would this utility become a circumvention utility?

How close does a song have to be to the original before it can be declared the original?

All men are great
before declaring war

Re:What next... (1)

ascii7 (312086) | more than 13 years ago | (#258869)

And following this same line of logic, students should never be allowed to write any form of a report in school. This would include reports that had a works cited page and gave credit to the sources. Guitar tab is the exact same thing. It is one persons opinion of a song, with the original creator being named (how else would you be able to find it?). It would be a different scenario if it were taken from an authorized source and then transcribed to the web, rather than a song that someone listened to.


fluffhead234 (319072) | more than 13 years ago | (#258871)

I am not so sure about that. The Harry Fox agency (to the best of my knowledge) does not represent that peoplle that own the rights to the sound recordings or the air time. I also do not think that they have the rights to the covers. There is some clause that allows bands to play covers without being sued. If you do not believe me than explain why there are legal bands that do very little but cover others works (i.e Itchy Fish and excellent perl jam cover band)

How will they enforce it? (3)

Regolith (322916) | more than 13 years ago | (#258873)

That's easy. They will get a bribed judge to mandate that all showerhead manufacturers build surveillence microphones and GPS units into each of their showerheads. When installed, these will enable the RIAA to monitor all sound emissions created in your shower, and locate your position for purposes of prosecution should you dare to hum the tune of the newest Brittney Spears song while cleansing yourself.


Re:Where did they get their tabs from? (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 13 years ago | (#258874)

"Are their members creating them themselves, or are they just ripping them off from other places?"

So I should be arrested for copyright infringement for being able to identify a chord I hear? How ever will bands and orchestras be able to stay in tune? The next step is outlawing tuning forks!

What's next? Elementary school students can't sound out a difficult word for fear of infringing upon the author's copyright? Best Buy won't be able to use an album's name in its advertisements without consent of the copyright holder? Will Microsoft sue me for typing the word "microsoft" in my browser in an attempt to get to

When do they get to my brain? (1)

VisualFuture (411826) | more than 13 years ago | (#258877)

So if I listen to a Led Zeppelin song, and then memorize the drum part, aren't the brain cells that store that drum part an illegal copy of the music? I'll be expecting a nasty letter from the RIAA thought police any day now...

correction (1)

crazyprogrammer (412543) | more than 13 years ago | (#258878)


Chordfind []

sorry, my bad.

NMPA, you will not get your way. (5)

crazyprogrammer (412543) | more than 13 years ago | (#258879) [] Lots of guitar tabs.
Wholenote [] Guitar tabs and a MIDI guitar tuner.
Chordfind [] use this site to find out how to play any chord.

Is this how the Internet should be? (1)

bsquizzato (413710) | more than 13 years ago | (#258880)

Well, the internet was supposedly a great place for gathering information all with ease. Now people step in and start restricting us from this information. Great job.

Re:What next... (1)

CaptainStormfield (444795) | more than 13 years ago | (#258884)

It probably is copyright infringment to listen to music and write down the tabs, just as it is copyright infringment for someone listen to a play or a movie, take down what the actors say, and publish their own script. (IANAL but I am a law student).

This post should not be mistaken for legal advice.

But wait (5)

Lothar+0 (444996) | more than 13 years ago | (#258885)

If tablatures are outlawed, only outlaw garage bands will be able to cover Stairway To Heaven.

Re:Guitar reccomendations (2)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | more than 13 years ago | (#258886)

in all honesty, go to a pawn shop, find some old beat up fender (musicmaster's are usually pretty cheap unless collectors have gone crazy again) and hack away. No sense in putting a bunch of cash in some brand-new shiny guitar - the milage of a used one adds significantly more than charater: usually a lot of the "bugs" have been worked out such as neck warpage. Just make sure the electronics still work and aren't too dirty sounding.

Re:So let me see... (1)

a.tomaka (447587) | more than 13 years ago | (#258890)

But how often does this actually happen? Not very. In most cases, people are looking to get something for nothing. If your friend owns the same CD, he can rip them just as easily as you can.

And in other "Tab" news.... (1)

sbeast702 (447699) | more than 13 years ago | (#258891)

....The Stuff Tabernacle is back up..... :)
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