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Threat To Free, Legal Guitar Tablature Online

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-would-prefer-piracy? dept.

Music 223

An anonymous reader writes "Recently Hal Leonard Corporation, the world's largest songbook publisher, sent an email to the music publishing and copyright community urging them not to license guitar tablature for free, advertising-supported use online. The email includes a number of factual errors and was potentially very damaging to the potential for a free, legal, and licensed destination for guitar tab online. Musicnotes and MXTabs have posted the full letter along with their response."

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223 comments

Infuriating (5, Insightful)

robgig1088 (1043362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140459)

One thing i cant stand is big companies taking "legal" action against free services just so they can charge the user money. Infuriating.

FUD FUD FUD (1, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140557)

When SCO pulled their FUD moves some while ago, that triggered a rash of FUDding through various industries. Various patent trolls etc woke up and started sniffing about.

The latest MS vs Linux FUDding is very widely reported in the popular media. Perhaps that's triggering another run of this behavior through various industries.

Re:Infuriating (1, Flamebait)

MichaelKaiserProScri (691448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140753)

So am I violating the license by possessing an unlicensed copy of (read "have memorized") a song?

Re:Infuriating (5, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140777)

So am I violating the license by possessing an unlicensed copy of (read "have memorized") a song?

Yes.

All your brains are belong to us.

- Music industry

Re:Infuriating (1, Insightful)

WeblionX (675030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140981)

We've replaced the brains with a new low-fat, low-stupidity replacement. Let's see if they notice.

Re: Your Brains (2, Funny)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141063)

All your brains are belong to us.

- Music industry
"Heya Tom, it's Bob, from the office down the hall..."

Re:Infuriating (5, Funny)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141297)

All your brains are belong to us.

- Music industry

When you think about it, the there are a few similarities between the RIAA and a shambling herd of zombies.

  • Both believe that they have a right to our brains, when in fact, they have no such right.
  • They don't have any brains to speak of, which probably explains the zeal with which they pursue ours.
  • As somewhat uncaring entities, both will not hesitate to destroy other people, even the progress of civilization itself in carrying out their vague goals.
  • Both are pretty stupid. They are slow to react to external threats and changes, and seem to respond with aggressive action, rather than adapting with inventive and innovative ideas.

Uncanny!

Re:Infuriating (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141895)

"All Your Brains are Belong to Us" roughly paraphrases "Whisperer in Darkness" by HP Lovecraft too...

Re:Infuriating (-1, Troll)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141001)

No, you are not. Stop being a stupid pedantic fuckwit or go kill yourself and spare the rest of society.

Re:Infuriating (1)

Jessta (666101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141037)

posessing is not a problem, even recieving is not a problem.
i.e for a client/server network only the server is liable.

Copyright only applies to distributing.

Not true in the U.S. (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141207)

That may be the case in Australia (based on your au TLD), I can't say for sure, but it's definitely not the case in the U.S. If I download something from a server that's copyrighted, without authorization, both the client (me) and the server are violating copyright. I'm doing the copying, and the operator of the server is probably in violation themselves (for making the copy that's present on the server), but also for distribution and contributory infringement.

This is why, for example, the RIAA can go after music downloaders, as well as uploaders. Generally it's easier and more effective to go after the distributors of unauthorized content rather than the end users, but the law allows for a "demand side" approach as well.

Re:Infuriating (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141985)

Copyright only applies to distributing.

Um ... it also applies to copying (even sans distribution).

Re:Infuriating (2, Informative)

hpavc (129350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140945)

Hey when the RIAA claims earnings from music they are not holding contracts for and if you write a song and provide the tabs for free and you get a SAD order it is infuriating.

Its just a 'machine' like spam, it just gaming the largest distribution of cheap opportunities and attempting to get a few hits. Its also maximizing any other opportunities it can along the way that may come of it, charging more for licenses, and creating markets for DRM.

Some day they will make a 'legal' mechanism against this 'rackets', just need one of these guys to fall first so racketeering charges can be brought.

Re:Infuriating (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141367)

Yes it is infuriating but also FUD.

I was so infuriated that I actually read the article, and it seems to me that it's just hot air and bad title on Slashdot's part.

The company (HAL?) basically sent emails and made phone calls to musicians urging them not to use the site, and calling the site basically a music sheets pirating (if such thing existed) site.

No one is suing anybody, it's just a FUD scam from that company.

If I was MXTabs I would be on the phone with my lawyers right now for a nice defamatory law suit against that company.

Re:Infuriating (5, Interesting)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141531)

One thing i cant stand is big companies taking "legal" action against free services just so they can charge the user money. Infuriating.
It's not even the money that bothers me, it's that it flies in the face of the whole intent of copyright: that by temporarily granting limited monopolies, society benefits. I imagine the following scenario:

A young guy picks up a guitar and messes around with it. He can't play a thing, and isn't really interested in investing the time to take proper lessons. He discovers OLGA. He downloads a few simple tabs of Nirvana songs. He works his way up to Metallica, Alice in Chains. He eventually realizes his technique could use some improvement. He starts downloading Bach, Beethoven, etc., because they present more of a challenge. Eventually, he is playing complex works like Leyenda and Capricho Arabe.

Eventually, he notices there is something fundamentally different in the approach modern music takes from classical music. It "moves" differently. He starts to pay attention to the notes, chord changes, rhythms, and eventually decides that the IT career that he never really cared for just doesn't compete with the idea of learning and perhaps teaching music. He signs up for music theory at his local college. It turns out his technique is good, and he has a knack for music theory, he has perfect pitch, and has such a knack at piano that he has gone from barely being able to read a staff to playing Bach Preludes and Beethoven. All in all, a promising student. He has a 4.0 GPA and a letter of recommendation to one of the most prestigious music colleges in the US where he will study music theory.

Not so far fetched, that's me. I wouldn't be going for a masters in music theory (or composition, I haven't quite decided) had it not been for OLGA helping me learn that I have quite a knack for music to begin with. If I had to stick to public domain stuff, I probably would have given up. I simply didn't expect it to be anything but a hobby I did when I came home from programming all day. But OLGA got me started enough to realize that, for me at least, it was worth the investment.

Society benefits from the free and open spread of information. Copyright is just a means to that end: provide incentives for artists to continue creating. But IP is not Freedom of Speech or Habaeus Corpus - it is not a fundamental right. The DMCA hurts society, and I hope to God that somebody important pays attention to the fact that it is being used to shut down educational sites.

In fact, now that I think about it, nothing that was copyrighted after I was born will move into the public domain before I die of old age... That goes for me, you, my kids, anybody born within the past 20 years. Do you remember when it came out? Then you will never see it in the public domain. But no, apparently we need even tougher copyright controls, can't have people learning how to make the music that got you rich enough to buy the politicians who keep sponsoring idiotic legislation like the DMCA in the first place. Idiots. /rant

Re:Infuriating (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141823)

Thank you. The spread of information benefits society in general, while its restriction benefits the inviduals who hold the keys.

Communist countries may forget that society does not function without individuals, but America seems to have forgotten that individuals operating outside of society can bring it down.

BTW, congrats on your new career. I wouldn't call it a common path, but that's besides the point. Nothing like discovering what your true love is.

Make music illegal (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140477)

If things keep progressing at this rate, and if they do start enforcing these fucking insane laws, it'll only be a matter of a few years before owning music is undesirable as it would be difficult ot prove any music is legit and could have you thrown into jail at any moment.

Why not just cut out all the BS and just make any kind of music ownership illegal. Musical instruments could be covered by the DMCA too since they can be used to copy (read play) a tune.

Oh that's we can't skip the BS right, because rich greed assholes can a make profit for a while this way.

Owning/buying music is quickly becoming no different morally to owning/buying blood diamonds. Hell, if they make musical instruments illegal perhaps the penalty for owning one could be that they cut off your hands.

IP law? It's just fucking entertainment. Get a grip!

Re:Make music illegal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140577)

Oh my God, little Johnny just learned how to play the lead part of Smoke on the Water; Honey, we can't afford to keep paying *insert randomly infuriating monetary amount* every time he wants to learn a new song. Now imagine if little Johnny likes Nirvana...

Re:Make music illegal (5, Insightful)

soxos (614545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140675)

Once again, Frank Zappa was unbelievably precient

This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER...
it is my responsibility to enforce all the laws that haven't been passed yet.
It is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of you to the potential
consequences of various ordinary everyday activities you might be performing which
could eventually lead to The Death Penalty (or affect your parents'
credit rating).

Our criminal institutions are full of little creeps like you who do wrong things...
and many of them were driven to these crimes by a horrible force called MUSIC!
Our studies have shown that this horrible force is so dangerous to society at large
that laws are being drawn up at this very moment to stop it forever!

Cruel and inhuman punishments are being carefully described in tiny paragraphs so they
won't conflict with the Constitution (which, itself, is being modified in order to accommodate
THE FUTURE).

Re:Make music illegal (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141003)

...could have you thrown into jail at any moment.

That's the plan...The authorities will always have "probable cause", making you subject to arbitrary search and seizure, and of course, arrest. Nice convenient end run around the 4th amendment, for those of you keeping score. That's what you and your neighbors vote for every two years. So it doesn't leave much room for complaint, does it? Democracy at work...Turn off American Idol, and think about it for ten seconds.

Re:Make music illegal (2, Insightful)

Docboy-J23 (1095983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141131)

Why hasn't anybody anywhere mentioned fair use? In the comments beneath the response from MXTabs.com, folks were talking about Weird Al's parodies, and the legality therein. If, in order to parody a song, copying the music is legal, MXTabs.com's business model should be legal as well. Al parodies a song, the artist gets the negotiated (or compulsory) royalties for the use of the music. Al gets the royalties for the words. All of this can happen whether or not the artist approves, but Weird Al asks every artist out of respect (except for the misunderstanding with Coolio [wikipedia.org] .

I don't mean to veer off topic, but if parodies work acceptably as such under fair use, so should written interpretations of recorded music. I'd like to see somebody try to prove that a written interpretation of a song by a listener/fan/student would have the long-term effect of preventing artists from wanting to create more music. Isn't that one of the reasons copyright exists, to help keep the creators connected to their respective Muses?

So the net continues to cause tectonic shifts in the world of information, blah blah, &c. &c. As MXTabs.com points out, the people buying the printed tab aren't the same ones interested in another musician's interpretation. Paper music publishers have a choice of either adjusting to the inevitable widespread exchange of individuals' ideas, or cause a whole heap of trouble kicking and screaming through it. Maybe even set rotten legal precedents that blow the whole thing back a couple decades while they're at it.

Because of certain others (cough, cough) and their failure to adjust, recorded music in the audio format has been devalued to almost nothing. It's all about the live performance, that's where the money is to be made, for artists and the businesses that support and promote them. And let's not forget T-shirt sales!

I'd also like to share a very valuable link [cifraclub.com.br] . When things get hairy in the USA, the internet can always take you someplace better for it.

Re:Make music illegal (4, Insightful)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141873)

I can't wait until I take a guitar lesson, and the instructor tells me that he isn't allowed to teach me, for example, and Warner music, because he only has a Sony license.

Just wait. It'll happen.

OLGA taught me guitar. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140501)

Back in the day. This was a non-commercial use for educational purposes and they killed it, so screw them.

Re:OLGA taught me guitar. (1)

222 (551054) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141621)

Out of sentimental reasons, I had to reply. Back in the day, guitar tabs were literally the first thing I searched for.

OGLA was a good source, as were a number of other sites. It struck me as odd how I had been paying 20+ bucks then (more than the album cost!) for a book that contained tabs.

This was essentially the first time I realized the power of information sharing that the internet possessed.
BTW, OLGA was the Online Guitar Archive...
RIP, OLGA.

Re:OLGA taught me guitar. (2)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141657)

Some bands publish their own tabs as part of their promotion. You might want to check out http://www.blacklabelsociety.net/modules.php?name= Tabs_and_Lyrics [blacklabelsociety.net] . Zakk doesn't care about tabs or bootlegging, since he really makes his money by touring. Most musicians do.

Already Killed (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140513)

The Harry Fox Agency, which got its rights to "mechanical reproduction of music" by getting monopoly control over the piano roll market a century ago, has already taken down most tablature from the Web on its flimsy pretext to copyright (and its big lawyer and lobbyist payroll).

Tablatures are interpretations of the music as heard by someone. They're not even the public performance of music that whistling your favorite song as you walk down the street would be. But once public places are comprehensively wired for sound and video, Harry Fox will be sending you a bill for every time you do just that.

These insane government monopolies on content already part of folklore, from which folk activity they get nearly all their current value, must end. They are justified in the Constitution as a compromise with 1700s economics only "to promote progress in science and the useful arts". Instead, they now prohibit that progress. Copyrights must end no later than after a human generation of publication, shorter for media other than songs and books, and probably earlier than when 10x their registered production investment is recouped.

Re:Already Killed (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140729)

...has already taken down most tablature from the Web

Oh, really? [google.com]

Certainly, Harry Fox delenda est, and copyright-as-we-know-it is an idea whose time has passed (if it was in fact every a good idea to start with). But HFA has not been successful in removing tab from the web.

Re:Already Killed (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140795)

Tell that to the OnLine Guitar Archive [olga.net] (OLGA):

OLGA is currently offline while we attempt to resolve legal issues with the archive.

We received a 'take down' letter (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 ) from lawyers representing the NMPA and the MPA.

Re:Already Killed (4, Informative)

ralphart (70342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141445)

Lest we forget, it was Harry Fox who also did their best to do a takedown of all "unlicensed" MIDI archives a while back.

Evil bastards.

But we showed them; we learned how to download MP3s.

BooYah!

They're shooting themselves in the foot. (1)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140535)

I really wonder if companies that go on the warpath over internet copyright violations really think in their long-term best interest. Look at the RIAA, for instance. For all of the money they've spent and the lawsuits they've threatened, they're back at square one when it comes to halting internet file sharing. Guitar tabs are even easier to redistribute. What makes Hal Leonard think that they'll do any better?

Re:They're shooting themselves in the foot. (2)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141053)

...think in their long-term best interest.

To mangle a famous phrase: Three months should be long enough for everybody.

Who's "they"? (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141259)

I really wonder if companies that go on the warpath over internet copyright violations really think in their long-term best interest.

You make a common mistake -- thinking that a "company" has a brain of its own somewhere. Obviously, it doesn't; it's made up of people -- and those people are working in their own best interest.

It may be, and probably is, that the interests of the people running the company, and perhaps even the majority of the stockholders, are not the same as the interests of the "company" as an organization.

For instance, it might be in the major stockholders' best interests to do idiotic things that will get them media attention, and run the share price up, so they can sell it, make a bundle, and leave some other people with the bag. Witness SCO -- I hate beating a dead horse around here, but it's a great example. If the people at SCO have any brains at all (debatable, sure), they could be making tons of money while simultaneously running the organization into the ground.

It's quite possible to crash and burn a company and come out on top; some people have practically made careers out of it.

Corporations take all the fun out of music... (2, Informative)

flar2 (938689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140551)

just pick up your guitar and play.

Re:Corporations take all the fun out of music... (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140781)

Just like yesterday!

now if the next post is "Then I'll get on my knees and pray"
and the following one "We don't get fooled again"
or the equivalent TAB to this WHO song Won't Get Fooled Again [sing365.com] has any one person broken copyright? Information could also be segmented across multiple websites.. like a webring.

Similar to the ancient petition style of signing in a names in a ring, so no single name was at the top of the petition.

Re:Corporations take all the fun out of music... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141555)

I would, but I'd probably get sued for doing so.

educational resources DO have exemptions (3, Insightful)

weighn (578357) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140553)

IANAL but this is a valuable aspect of freedom of use.

I began playing guitar in 1995 and discovered OLGA [wikipedia.org] early on. Hal Leonard (the person) was a great teacher. The Corporation OTOH ... once again knowledge & your right (Hal and many of the great teachers used to call it an obligation) to pass it on once again comes up against the almighty dollar.

I spent a couple of years teaching in the late 90s. I'll try to avoid waxing lyrical about the philosophy of teaching but music is a LIVING thing. If you restrict it, less will find it and it withers. With regard to learning music (and any other discipline outside of Scientology and ITIL) information wants to be free.

Re:educational resources DO have exemptions (5, Insightful)

d3matt (864260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140999)

I agree! OLGA was a great resource for learning how to play guitar. Art is 99% derivative. Olga was where guitarists spent time transcibing notes by ear in much the same way painters make copies of the Mona Lisa trying to learn their style and method. In my opinion, it is only a further honor to have your work meticulously copied down. Oh well, I'll probably have to tell my kids about the good old days when we were allowed to talk to each other over the internet about how to play riffs.

Re:educational resources DO have exemptions (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141317)

Very well said. The ITIL reference made me laugh out loud. The company I work for recently restructured the entire IT dept to be in line with ITIL. Nobody knows what they do or how they do it anymore. It's like ... alchemy for the information age. Or opium. Your choice.

This is why many real musicians operate outside of the music industry (Zappa, many jazz greats, and groups like Thievery Corporation). Babylon is just way too oppressive. First, to the musicians, and now to their customers. Brilliant strategy, criminalize consumption of your product.

Re:educational resources DO have exemptions (3, Insightful)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141659)

IMO music is withering, and it started right about the same time a guy named Sonny Bono sponsored legislation to extend copyright terms. Musicians with real talent can't be faked or manufactured. It takes years and years of study, practice, and dedication. Unless you control a society's access to music so much that you can convince the public that utter garbage deserves a gold little trophy called a Grammy, the best music flourishes because ... well, there's yet to be another Bach. With the way things are set up, it's just a system of controlling the public. "We manufacture it. You will buy it." Sorry, I probably better quit posting. This has me pretty upset. (P. S. I'm following in your footsteps in terms of teaching music, hoping to get a Masters, but it's hard work. Cheers.)

Re:educational resources DO have exemptions (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141883)

Dude, he didn't sponsor the legislation, it was named after him because he happened to get himself killed acting like a moron at the right time.

Do they have say in this? (2, Insightful)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140555)

Is this not a threat to U.S. Constitutional rights. A person should have the ability to tell others about a way (s)he learned to play something extremely similar to a song. It is not actually the song, as most tabs are not 100% accurate. Therefore it is just a song the themselves made up, but is heavily based on the song they were trying to copy. Even if there isn't enough of a difference to distinguish one from another, the tab is still the fruit of their labor, and thus should be shared at their own will.

Re:Do they have say in this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141091)

Guitar tabs should be free to share, yes.
But if guitar tabs for any given song are even based on the original song, that makes those tabs a derivative work. The original copyright holders are given some say on how derivative works are published--or in this case, not published.

They're shooting themselves in the foot. (0, Redundant)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140571)

I really wonder if companies that go on the warpath over internet copyright violations really think in their long-term best interest. Look at the RIAA, for instance. For all of the money they've spent and the lawsuits they've threatened, they're back at square one when it comes to halting internet file sharing. What makes Hal Leonard think that they'll do any better, especially because guitar tabs are just TXT files and arguably even easier to redistribute?

Re:They're shooting themselves in the foot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141109)

Maybe your comment will get modded up if you say it for a third time. You know, third time's the charm and all that.

They're shooting themselves in the foot. #3 (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141211)

I really wonder if companies that go on the warpath over internet copyright violations really think in their long-term best interest. Look at the RIAA, for instance. For all of the money they've spent and the lawsuits they've threatened, they're back at square one when it comes to halting internet file sharing. What makes Hal Leonard think that they'll do any better, especially because guitar tabs are just TXT files and arguably even easier to redistribute?

Self defeating? (5, Interesting)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140581)

And I wonder what this will do to the next generation of musicians? Back when I began learning how to play guitar, much of my progress was because of the availability of free tab, which allowed me to play along with CDs. It would be grimly appropriate if the industries pushing this kind of litigation were shooting themselves in the foot when the talent pool in 20 years has shrunk down as a result.

mod parent insightful (2, Interesting)

weighn (578357) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140663)

It would be grimly appropriate if the industries pushing this kind of litigation were shooting themselves in the foot when the talent pool in 20 years has shrunk down as a result.
this is spot on ... isn't their game "maximizing profits"?

if they tighten the belt too much it stifles learning and enjoyment of music. If you don't enjoy it, you are less likely to buy.

The conspiracy theorist in me says that they are not this stupid and their end goal is to have some sort of nazification of the Arts. Wanna own/play a guitar kid? You'll need a license. What are you playing? License. Playing in public? Upgrade your license. Singing a protest song? Jail.

Re:Self defeating? (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140851)

Do you think American Big Business really cares about things like the "long term" anymore?

Look at the IT industry - they're regularly outsourcing the jobs that used to serve as entry-level positions. In 20 years, are they going to have a domestic talent pool to rely on?

Re:Self defeating? (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141431)

Maybe the net effect of all this clamping down will be something similar to the original purpose of copyright, to encourage expression, creativity, and development.
Stay with me now...The more "they" try to control all the content, the more the true artists and creative thinkers will work both inside those rules and outside of them. Think mp3 blogs with insane mashups, unauthorized derivative works, etc. The more they tighten the grip, the more things slip through their grasp, to paraphrase some reference most of you will get.
All of these examples of "you won't be able to whistle a song while walking down the street", etc, are of course hyperbole, but what if things actually did get that bad? Could the need for expression really be constrained by lawsuits or threats of lawsuits?
I guess I'm thinking sort of a fahrenheit 451 scenario, where things are so stifled, that people have to find a way to work within the rules to keep their culture alive.
I know this isn't what the current crop of **IA is after; they just want their money. But the way they're going about it is sure raising enough hackles that creative types are forced to think of new ways to use their influences.
Most of the greatest artwork throughout history came about under/during some kind of oppression. Being free to do whatever one wants is great, but it doesn't necessarily help creativity.
When I'm working on a piece of art, be it music, painting, whatever, that I need some kind of limits to have to work within to get the juices going. And if I can make it work while still working under those limits, I often find that I'm happier with the outcome.

Re:Self defeating? (4, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141637)

Shoot themselves in the foot? No, not at all. What you described is what the recording industry always wanted. If only authorized people can play music, and they are the only people who can authorize, then they control the market completely.

Re:Self defeating? (2, Interesting)

dominious (1077089) | more than 7 years ago | (#19142173)

And I wonder what this will do to the next generation of musicians?
well, it will be like back in the 70s when they didnt have the internets to check for tabs.
to be honest, removing tabs would be like filtering out all those non-talented musicians who would give up learning if they can't LISTEN to the music. ofcourse the RIAA wants to remove that as well.

And copyright law says... (0, Flamebait)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140617)

Can you feel me now??? HAHAHAHA!!! Bend over, you're mine, baby!

Nothing to be said that hasn't been said already. Depending who you are, the system works, or it doesn't. For those of you that are getting screwed, you should at least get dinner and a movie out of the deal...And I would expect a kiss, too.

Re:And copyright law says... (0, Troll)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141319)

(Score:0, Flamebait)

I know there's a oil shortage an' all, but let's throw a little gasoline on this bonfire for the homecoming queen:

Copyright, the new date rape drug of choice, AND it's totally legal! In fact it's mandatory! Ain't that nice? Oh yeah! Gotta get me some of that lovin'. Now, roll over, and take it like a man!

I mock you, and fart in your general direction. hahahahohohohehehe...I am the eggman, and... "I was the Walrus! PAUL wasn't the Walrus! I was just saying that to be nice, but I was actually the Walrus! Him and that RUBBISH he's been singing! Eastman was an ANIMAL!! A FUCKING STUPID MIDDLE-CLASS PIG!! I won't let fucking animals like that near me!! Yoko is a SUPREME INTELLECTUAL! I'll tell you why nobody likes her music--because she's a woman and she's Oriental, that's why! WHERE ARE YOU, MOTHER?! THEY'RE TRYING TO CRUCIFY ME!!"...thump...

Nothing New Here... (3, Informative)

Alicat1194 (970019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140627)

Lots of the larger tabs sites have had takedown messages sent to them (example here [guitartabs.com] ), which, quite frankly, sucks if you're trying to learn to play.

Re:Nothing New Here... (3, Insightful)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141377)

Yes, and ironically...is anyone going to their local music store to buy all the Hal Leonard tabs? Anyone? Someone? Yeah. Didn't think so.

Here's what you'll do: you will get with a more experienced player and learn from him, go to the library, or *gasp* learn it by ear (which how the old school musicians did it).

It's not such a smart move to criminalize your would-be consumers. It's called shooting yourself in the foot. Especially considering the target audience for guitar tabs: teenage and twentysomething guys. Not exactly the most forgiving lot, especially for these kind of shenanigans.

How long will this go on? (5, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140633)

Nine years ago, I was interviewed for this article [augusta.com] about the original OLGA kerfuffle.

Nine years. You'd think that after that long, the traditional music publishing industry might have learned something from their complete inability to stop the spread of on-line guitar tabs [google.com] .

Hey, publishers: It's over. You lost. You're not going to get to stop people from talking about how to play music. Quit whining, join the world in the 21st century, and you might yet find a way to profit.

Re:How long will this go on? (2, Interesting)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141089)

Hey, publishers: It's over. You lost. You're not going to get to stop people from talking about how to play music. Quit whining, join the world in the 21st century, and you might yet find a way to profit.
I don't get what they're so afraid of. Call me old fashioned, but I strongly prefer to work with music printed and bound (not inkjetted and stapled). I will even pay for public-domain scores, especially if they include some nice program notes/commentary. Unfortunately, pretty much all I run across most places I go are tabs of old rock or jazz standards. All they have to realize is that there's not much money to be made telling people what everyone already knows (no, this market segment isn't dead, but you can only use so many fake books).

torrents (3, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140671)

so this means to get tabs i go to piratebay and snatch a massive .RAR or every song i could possibly want to play, right?

Why shouldn't I share my efforts ?? (5, Interesting)

madbawa (929673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140689)

If I have spent my own time trying to figure out the tabs/sheet music of a song, why shouldn't I share it with millions of others who may want that song's tabs?? Just because it takes business away from some other people doesn't mean they can put restrictions on my freedom and willingness to share my effort. Its not as if I have stolen the tabs from someplace where they were being legally sold. Its my time that I've spent. So whats the solution to such a problem? Or does this end up as a stalemate? These people are curbing the free flow of information and knowledge. I myself have learned guitar by looking at countless tabs from OLGA and other sites.

Re:Why shouldn't I share my efforts ?? (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141299)

Agreed. Although I hardly ever use tabs to learn a song (I learn by ear only and in my experience on-line ones have been inaccurate), I often do write my own. What really can take up time sometimes is slowing the song down in Audacity and listening to it countless times to get the notes down and transcribed into a text file. Normally, I do not share them, however I would not see the problem AT ALL if I decided to share it, whether it be torrents or even on a website like OLGA or MXTabs.

Paging Larry Flynt .... (3, Funny)

DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140749)

Wait, you mean these sites Musicnotes and MXTabs feature BARELY LEGAL examples of rubbing and stroking and vibrating TIGHT thin little stringy things, all in a series of Web pages that have been deemed TOO REVEALING and EXPLICIT by the leading moral authorities?

And we can get all this too-racy-for-the-Web content for free right now for a limited time only in the privacy of our own homes, and it will help us learn to "play" like rock stars?

Hott.

Wait, what were talking about again?

Silly (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19140775)

All of OLGA can be zipped into like a 40mb file.

The music industry can't stop me from downloading a 300mb album.

The movie studios can't stop me from downloading an 1.4gb XviD.

The software industry can't stop me from downloading an 8gb ISO.

Who are these people kidding?

IP landgrab (5, Insightful)

palladiate (1018086) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140811)

You will see companies battling for information controls for a good while. We are living in the IP landgrab. Current speculation is that information is property, and probably far more valuable than goods. An ear of corn is pittance to the knowledge of the process of raising, harvesting, and distributing corn. 1000 years ago, you couldn't restrict someone from telling their neighbor or son how to do any of those. Today, we have patents, copyrights, patent-copyrights (for software), process patents, plot patents, etc, etc.

We will see new instruments of IP control before this is over. The current consensus among MANY think tanks, blowhard economists, and business leaders is that if it has value, it should be owned and exploited. In that case, expect to see the future demotivator poster and lolcat memes protected. Memes have value, specifically cultural value. You may even see a day in which safety and consumer protection information owned and protected.

In the dark past, we had to band together to form libraries to preserve our knowledge and culture, and to share it. Today, we are the librarians, and we MUST do our jobs to protect our collective knowledge and culture, and to make sure it is freely sharable. All we are is flesh and knowledge. We cannot let either be subject to trade.

As an aside, when did capitalism become about giving trade rights to those who can charge the most? Shouldn't that argument fall on its face? Capitalism is a method to efficiently manage resources, in which those who must charge the most are the least efficient, and those that are more efficient are rewarded with the most or all profits. The most expensive price is the red-headed stepchild of capitalism, not it's pinnacle. The capitalist hero is not the whiny John Gault, it IS the busy looter or pirate. The pirates are the ones that realized a far more efficient method of production or distribution.

Re:IP landgrab (2, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140935)


1000 years ago, you couldn't restrict someone from telling their neighbor or son how to do any of those. Today, we have patents, copyrights, patent-copyrights (for software), process patents, plot patents, etc, etc.


The strangest part of of all this is they have to know that no matter how many laws they pass they will never stop people from sharing simply because it is a natural survival trait that enables humans to pass knowledge and culture from one generation to next.

Re:IP landgrab (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141441)

In that case, expect to see the future demotivator poster and lolcat memes protected. Memes have value, specifically cultural value.
Yes! You may have our technology, our software and our right to think,

BUT YOU WILL NEVER TAKE
  . . .
OUR LOLCAT!

Re:IP landgrab (1)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141461)

Neither Gault or the pirate are the pinnacle of capitalism - the person down the street from you that runs a company is.

Capitalism works best when there is minimal govt interference, though it does require *some*. For the most part a limited copyright and limited patent process is quite good. For those types of things there needs to be a short period of time wherein you can recoup your R&D.

The pirate, due to not have to endure the cost of the research & development process, can *really* undercut everyone. For some industries that makes creating a new product near instant bankruptcy.

By far the best examples of this are medicines - it takes over a billion dollars to do the lab work required to produce one (if you factor in FDA protocols, most that do actually need to be there). No company is going to spend well over a billion to produce a drug and loose most of it - no company *can* do that no matter how much someone wants too.

Things like Music are on the very bottom end of "needed", the R&D cost are VERY minimal. In fact so minimal as to generally be irrelevant when pro-rated over the life of the music. The cost there is through advertising and distribution (something the pirate has to deal with as much as any one else). Of course, this is also why medicines are patents and songs are copyrights.

The line isn't exact or totally obvious and there will be (and should be) argument where to place it, but the original patents and copyrights worked quite well and I see no reason to have ever changed them. At best you only had something different, at worse - well you get where we are quickly heading.

However, we have moved to where many have realized that our system of govt can extend that artificial protection as far as they feel like - after all it is simply a piece of paper that can be written anyway one wants. Since few people seem to care unless they directly see it, money talks and gets passed. The advertising people are very sharp, they make it case of nice legal corporations vs anti-capitalism pirates. Unfortunately too many of those "pirates" do fit that bill or have such a narrow focus that they do not always go outside of that focus, it truly is a false dilemma that is too often presented. For the average person the anti-capitalism anti-corporation stance is crazy so the other must be true.

As a tin-eared wannabe, I despise them! (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140875)

I can't play guitar by ear, so I am totally fucked if I want to learn to play a song that I can't get the tabs for legally. And the best part is?... I CANNOT BUY THE DAMN TABS EVEN THOUGH I'D PAY GOOD MONEY FOR THEM!!!

Part of the copyright law should be full sheet music and tablature for all music submitted to the library of Congress. That wouldn't hurt the songwriters, who'd probably be able to make even more money because all you'd have to do to get their work is go to the Library of Congress, download it and pay them their royalty. It'd only hurt the companies that selectively publish tablature.

And it would also benefit bands because it would encourage them to do cover songs, which would be yet another stream of revenue.

But no, a songwriter and band really benefits by shutting down the only way I could have gotten tabs for their music, without providing me any legal way to do it.

Morons. I hope the welfare office runs out of money for them and their families when they go bankrupt.

Re:As a tin-eared wannabe, I despise them! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141427)

If you are that tone deaf, the rest of us are probably better off it you can't play the guitar anyway.

And stay out of karaoke bars too.

the tabs must be accurate enough... (3, Interesting)

tjr (908724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140893)

Hal Leonard claimed that the tabs are inaccurate, made by kids. If the tabs are really inaccurate, then I would think that the users of the tabs wouldn't be happy with them, and this alleged tab black market would disappear.

The tabs must, on the contrary, be reasonably accurate for Hal Leonard to be noticing any loss of business, which, as TFA explains, they probably aren't.

Greed is Blind (4, Insightful)

qengho (54305) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140929)

It astonishes me that the morons at Hal Leonard can't see that MXTabs is analogous to the iTunes Music Store: a different-yet-profitable delivery system. The letter refers to the easy availability of digital sheet music, ignoring the fact that a single song typically costs US$5.00, far more than it's worth to garage musicians. Licensed tabs that are ad-supported or reasonably-priced will generate revenue.

Equally astonishing (well, not really) is that the *AAs haven't realized that tablature is useless without a copy of the song it represents. Basic tablature doesn't completely specify a work in the way that standard notation does, so someone who downloads a tab will need an audio file. And not all of those audio files will be pirated, as recent studies indicate. It's a gain for music sales in general.

Morons.

Re:Greed is Blind (1)

gusmao (712388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141509)

Equally astonishing (well, not really) is that the *AAs haven't realized that tablature is useless without a copy of the song it represents
Yes, but know we have much more sophisticated tablatures, such the ones from GuitarPro, where you can play along with the song and hear all the instruments. They are excellent for learning purposes and you don't need the original song.

But there are still lost of sources of revenue: the more an amateur player learns, the more he spends in instruments, teaching classes, dvd lessons, studio time and of course, official songbooks. Well guess what they are doing? Closing down every site that provides free GuitarPro tablature. The biggest one [mysongbook.com] has now this message on the front page:

"Providing some tabs - even made by ear - of copyrighted music is illegal. In order to respect the law, downloads have been limited to the [Composition] and [Competition] files"

Mind you, even if you make your *own* interpretation of the music and you don't copy anything from anywhere you cannot distribute it. I suppose they'll go now for the amateur bands that perform small gigs with their favorite songs...

Really, it is amazing how this people are destroying their own market. If they continue in this path, eventually having fun with amateur music is gonna be such a pain that people will move on to other hobbies, or more likely, do everything illegally.

Re:Greed is Blind (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141565)

I agree, and would not mind an ad-supported (no DoubleClick annoying ads; maybe Google got rid of the annoying ones) tab/lyric site. A lot of tabs posted come with lyrics too (this helps anyone trying to learn the song). I am glad I can learn by ear pretty easily but I know there are people out there who simply cannot or have not spent enough time and do not want to spend that time to get into learning by ear, so I see why people like tab sites (although I avoid them at all cost pretty much).

Let's not forget that these sheet music books cost $15 upwards! They are supposedly very accurate, sometimes written with the help of the artist, but $15 is most of the time more than the album. And yes, a nice glossy cover (front, spine and bank) with the same design as the album, can be quite costly to produce and even break even. The pages are never printed on recycled paper or anything cheap (to look nice, so to speak), except new expensive paper, on purpose, to raise the final cost. The music stores make literally nothing on these books and some carry little to no music books now because no one buys them. They are too expensive to even consider. Maybe these companies should reduce the cost of production so the retailer can reduce the retail cost, and maybe people who need the tabs will at least rationalise for at least one minute over getting the book or not. Maybe a smaller size book would work out better, at a price, like $3-5. I do not think people would fret over that, but $15 upwards is insane. Apparently you can listen to the CD for $10 (I think listening is more interesting than reading), but reading the notes to each song is DEFINITELY "gonna cost ya."

By attempting to shut down more sites, they are hurting the free exchange of information on the internet, forcing it underground rather than embracing and attempting to make money. We hear more and more how corporations are trying to shut down sites hosting literally TEXT. By this I mean tabs and lyrics, and even documentation (like the 09f9 number). Looks to me everyone who is not involved with a corporation is simply going to go in hiding on-line as best they can soon enough, because freedoms are being restricted based upon how much money people have now, more than ever.

Sad.

Interesting move from this company (5, Insightful)

WatchTheTramCarPleas (970756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140937)

Considering this company is capitalizing on the old Real Book http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Book [wikipedia.org] an illegal book (songs in there were unlicensed) used by jazz musicians for decades, I am curious as to where they intend to go with this. For a perspective on a similar experience in the past, back in the day jazz musicians could only find the standard songs in the lead sheet format (Chord chart and melody line) through illegal means, the most prevalent one being the Real Book. They were difficult to find though and were only available through word of mouth (though the internet helped a little). Recently however Hal Leonard has published "New Editions" of the three main volumes of the Real Books which I have found to be quite good, but unfortunately missing many of the standards that the original Real Books had. The biggest advantage these new Real Books have is that they are extremely easy to find. One of the biggest differences here however, is the Real Books were completely unlicensed and illegal, there was no consent by the authors of the songs. Though many of them probably owned the illegal books themselves and may have benefited by the fact their songs were now standards. It seems that with this online database however, with the intent to hold only licensed songs and an easier to find product, they stand on better grounds than the Real Books of old. It may be a battle of who can provide a better service, and if Musicnotes and MXTabs can keep persuading artists to release their tabulature freely. With the record store going away, I don't know how long the printed music store will be able to hold out against the internet.

Libel? (2, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19140991)

IANAL.

It looks to me like MxTabs would have a good chance of winning a libel suit over this (and possibly other stuff like 'interfering with a business relationship' or something.) The letter repeatedly claims they are publishing illegal music, when in fact it is all authorized. Indeed, the letter is trying to convince people not to grant permission to MxTabs, which would be utterly pointless if MxTabs were illegally ignoring permissions. (Other bits might also be libelous, but this is the stand-out obvious one.)

However, the likelihood of winning in court does not guarantee that there is a good business case for suing.

Is there a lawyer in the house who might like to comment?

Feeling the Pain (5, Insightful)

moehoward (668736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141007)


I very much miss easier access to tabs. They have taken down so many sites already. OLGA, of course, is most missed. I donated to several sites over the years, including OLGA. Figured it was like teaching someone a new dance. Who knows if Dance Dance Revolution will be going after people who imitate their dance steps 10 years from now.

The problem with the guitar tab situation has been that it is a difficult situation to explain to non-players. Everyone knows that almost all great rock players have openly admitted for 40 years that they learned by imitating records, writing down what they knew, and sharing it.

First it was the lyrics, now the tabs are gone. Not only will they ultimately hurt the music publishing business, but the instrument business as well. God knows how much money I have spent on guitars/music toys ONLY due to the existence of tabs.

On the next cool evening, I shall be burning any Hal Leonard books I own in the pit outside.

Re:Feeling the Pain (3, Insightful)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141239)

Okay. You are losing access to guitar tab transcriptions because of the activities of Hal Leonard Inc. Your response would be to burn the books from that place that you already own and lose access to even more guitar tabs?
Be sensible. Post the contents of your Hal Leonard books on your website (preferably behind password guards) or on the Pirate Bay, where anyone with technical skills can find them. Surely that would be more fitting a punishment.

Re:Feeling the Pain (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141467)

Scan the books, OCR to a text format, and then burn them.

Re:Feeling the Pain (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141703)

Scan the books, OCR to a text format, and then burn them.

no, scan them and post pdf's of the scan on torrent and usenet... that way, you keep the notation on the staves intact...

Re:Feeling the Pain (2, Interesting)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141451)

Who knows if Dance Dance Revolution will be going after people who imitate their dance steps 10 years from now.

Konami, the producer of DDR, keeps a very close watch on the open source project StepMania [stepmania.com] (not GPL), which has enabled all players to play their copyrighted songs AND the copyrighted steps on their computer all for free. Konami is also trying to protect the concept of DDR, which they have a patent for. They already are suing one company who based their game off StepMania and so far nothing has happened but it it is still scheduled. Konami, however, never licensed the Japanese version of the game for North America (most DDRs, especially DDR Extremes at Namco arcades, are pirated in the US; you should ask the manager to let you see the CD in the arcade cabinet, it'll be a CDR). ITG (In the Groove), the commercial StepMania derivative, was made after 3 years of having no new DDR version come out beyond the fact that the Japanese versions are technically illegal in North America. The last legal one for US was made in 2000 and is very dated in that sense. Only last year did Konami make a new DDR version (in response to ITG) licensed for US, realising that DDR is still popular around the world, unlike in Japan where it is nearly dead.

Much like the guitar tab posting community, the so-called "DDR community" online has been copying the exact step patterns from the games for years and converting them into a plain-text format that can be used with a number of game simulators (including StepMania). These do take time and people are just nice enough to share. Different is that there's also music being copied which makes sites that host much more liable for copyright infringement, and they also feel the need to rip the graphics associated with each song (StepMania, with skins, can look near-perfectly the same as a real DDR game; the ripped graphics from the game further enhance this capability). Konami has got a few sites hosting dance steps and songs to shut down before and has threatened legal action.

Basically, Konami is fully aware of the "DDR community" and its activities (there have been other simulators threatened legal action in Japan by Konami as well), and it has been since about late 2002 when a fair number of step patterns, song recordings, and graphics were stolen from a beta testing machine (of the new version of the time) in an arcade in Japan, and then were subsequently converted to a format usable by StepMania. People were not supposed to be allowed to record at all at the beta testing, but apparently they did not check well enough. Now Konami never lets anyone come to beta test a machine without a full check to make sure they do not have any kind of recording device, including a cell phone that can do more than calls (which is every phone in Japan).

Re:Feeling the Pain (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141881)

Where have you been? Roxor (unfortunately) lost and is not allowed as settlement to continue In the Groove - Konami now has all rights. Get with the times. ~_~

if free interpretations of music are made illegal (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141021)

what will happen to places like wikipedia? what about http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/ [ilovephilosophy.com] ? places where everything is fair game: interpretations, new ideas, rehashings, you name it. if "publishing" to the internet your ideas about how a song is played is made a serious crime, how long will it be before other forms of information and knowledge exchange are quashed?

Tabs aren't going anywhere (2, Insightful)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141031)

Ok, so published tabs are under fire. People will do what they have always done: learn popular songs and teach other people and maybe put the tabs online. Seriously: apart from guitar mags, who buys tabs? I think I bought two tab books during my teenage days (one for Metallica and one for Soundgarden Superunknown). That's not much.

The real problem is that sites like olga.net get taken down because of OCILLA [wikipedia.org] , which is ridiculous. I mean, how is posting tabs to popular songs bad? It's no different than what people did before the net, that is, teach other people how to play songs. It's not as though anyone learning songs from TAB is going to put the original musicians out of business (it's TAB!!! for goodness sake!). Besides, one of the biggest honors a band/songwriter can have is legions of cover bands playing their music.

OCILLA is just another example of the GREEDY MAFIAA stepping on musicians, both professional and amateur. I am sure you could count on your hand the musicians who oppose kids/cover bands playing their music, so this is obviously the suits. Sad. Don't they have more no-talent losers to ink deals with like Britney and Jesse McCartney?

Hal Leonard writes CRAP Music (4, Funny)

B_SharpC (698293) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141041)

These Hal Leonard folks are pretty music illiterate. I have used their junk. How can you copyright crap?
 
I will post a guitar B Sharp cord (B# = C) lol. I dare almighty Hal 9000 to censor it!
 
  Censor This HAL!

_______________
  E A D G C E
  | | | | O |
  | | O | | |
  | O | | | |
  | | | | | |

Re:Hal Leonard writes CRAP Music (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141201)

Standard tuning is EADGBE. Maybe Hal Leonard has a point about that accuracy thing...

Re:Hal Leonard writes CRAP Music (1)

B_SharpC (698293) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141337)

But you should not post an accurate EADGBE tuning.
You might get sued for reproducing exact music. LMAO!
Like Karaoke flips one note to bad so it is not an exact reproduction. LOL!

Re:Hal Leonard writes CRAP Music (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141837)

If we assume that "C" string is meant to be tuned to "B", and that the two E strings are meant to be played open, that's actually a Cmaj/E chord since you have the 5th doubled in the bass :)

Why are TABs not clean room? (1)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141067)

I've always believed that TABs should be treated just like clean room design. Unless you can prove that the person who detailed out his way to play a song did so using unlicensed means (something like took official tab book and published it as his own). I really don't know how even a misinterpreted TAB could be property of the label who owns the song recording. I guess this is just one more piece of evidence that the whole patent/copyright system needs to be re-looked at, because it's just completely fucked up as-is.

ABC format is another threatened format (2, Interesting)

InsMonkey (324276) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141169)

In addition to TAB, the ABC [plus.com] format is also being threatened by Hal Leonard Publishing. ABC is probably more of a threat to their revenue stream because it can easily be translated into midi and into sheet music. A lot of traditional musicians use this format and the many ABC readers that are available online. Many prefer this to published books not just because it is free, but because the music is closer to the way the songs are really played.

Re:ABC format is another threatened format (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141295)

No. Hal Leonard must not be allowed to wipe out the abc format. If they're not using it or anything resembling it, then they shouldn't get to wipe out the notation. Especially not for songs in the public domain!

Potentially (1)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141203)

There are potentially too many potentialities in the summary.

It doesn't run on Linux! Bad site design! (2, Informative)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141365)

I'm running Kubuntu 7.04 and Firefox 2.0.0.3 and I tried to access a song on MusicNotes.

"We're sorry, but we are unable to show you this digital sheet music. That would require our Viewer plugin, which is not yet available for your current web browser and/or operating system."

They ought to consider using open formats like MusicXML [wikipedia.org] and running the picture||PDF generator for the browser to show on the server-end.

Beyond that, why do web authors continually insist on fixed width pages where upped font sizes will never work and plus it looks bad? My Firefox is set to 12 pt minimum so it messes up that page. Ever since I really started looking into web accessibility like a year ago, I have stemmed away from using invisible tables for page layout and fixed width for my designs.

Re:It doesn't run on Linux! Bad site design! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141397)

Musicnotes' software can do a lot more than Music XML can.

Oblig Simpsons Reference (1)

Hashi Lebwohl (997157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141463)

This reminds me so much of the ep where the Simpsons are Christmas caroling to various neighbours, and they come across Burns's lawyer. He informs that they can't sing certain carols due to copyright by Disney. Homer promptly goes "D'oh!", as he does. The lawyer says "That was D flat, also copyright Disney. You may use any other note you like. "D'oh!" in C#. It would be funny if it wasn't so completely ridiculous.

Re:Oblig Simpsons Reference (3, Interesting)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19142127)

That reminds me of this site: http://everything2.com/?node_id=1029506 [everything2.com]

He talks about a court case that determined only 4 notes had to be in common to violate copyright. With that logic, he determined that there are only 46,656 distinct melodies.

Assume that all songs use a Western musical scale and that such a scale contains twelve distinct intervals. Assume that a judge (not a musician but a judge) will distinguish three distinct note durations (which roughly correspond to eighth, quarter, and half notes, or through a trivial change in time signature, to quarter, half, and whole notes, or to sixteenth, eighth, and quarter notes). Thus, there are 36 possible distance vectors from one note to the next, and 36^(n - 1) melodies of n notes.

And not all of those would be worth listening to... so pretty much any 4-notes you play probably violate someone's copyright.

Fri57 stop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19141523)

leas7 I won'mt

That noise you hear... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19141887)

... is Woody Guthrie spinning in his grave so fast it's affecting the Earth's orbit.

mo,d down (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19142129)

It's a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19142167)

...that we still have YouTube! After all, they seem to handle all the lawsuits really well, so I'll just surf YouTube when I want copyrighted entertainment. It's a lot like free porn in that you only get to see short clips before you have to start clicking again, but hey, that never stopped us from porn surfing, did it?

Tablature accuracy (1)

xanadu113 (657977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19142231)

The damn tabs are usually wrong anyway I've found! But I would hate to see these disappear! What's next? Banning audacity so that guitarists/bassists like myself won't be able to slow down songs while preserving pitch to find out what the musicians were doing?
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