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Statement Regarding Legality of TabsWhat I have to say...


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#1 rbalch

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 11:40 AM

July 17, 2006

To all "Guitar Tab Universe" visitors:

The company which owns this website has been indirectly threatened (via our ISP) with legal action by the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) as well as the Music Publishers' Association (MPA) on the basis that sharing tablature constitutes copyright infringement. At what point does describing how one plays a song on guitar become an issue of copyright infringment? This website, among other things, helps users teach eachother how they play guitar parts for many different songs. This is the way music teachers have behaved since the first music was ever created. The difference here is that the information is shared by way of a new technology: the Internet.

When you are jamming with a friend and you show him/her the chords for a song you heard on the radio, is that copyright infringement? What about if you helped him/her remember the chord progression or riff by writing it down on, say, a napkin... infringement? If he/she calls you later that night on the phone or e-mails you and you respond via one of those methods, are you infringing? I don't know... but I would really like to know. If anyone has information on this, please email support@guitartabs.cc.

Apparently, the NMPA/MPA believes that the Internet may be on the foul side of the legality line they would like to draw here. For me, I see no difference. It's teachers educating students and covered as a 'fair use' of the tablature. The teachers here don't even get paid nor do the students have to pay this website to access the lessons.

An attack on this website is really an attack on every one of you who have told someone (in person, or via the written word, telephone, or e-mail) how you play a song on guitar. And who, especially among small websites, has the deep pockets to fight the NMPA/MPA? They use scare tactics while there is, in fact, no legal precedent on this matter (to the best of our knowledge). If you are interested in expressing your opinion to the NMPA/MPA, contact them via their respective websites. Please do not resort to vulgar language or insults.

Millions of people use the Internet to learn guitar, in one form or another. It appears the NMPA/MPA and their members do not want to support us and help us further our education. To you visitors from outside the USA or UK, can you find your favorite artists' "official sheet music" at your local music store? Even in the United States and United Kingdom, we often can not. The NMPA/MPA have a choice to make: either they support us as aspiring guitarists, or they choose to alienate their customer base. To date, not one sheet music publisher has contacted this website to either inquire as to our activities or to express interest in any type of dialogue or collaboration whatsoever. All we deserve is a cold, indirect, impersonal threat without any explanation? They should embrace new technologies or else become relics of the old economy.

Since I'm now 'worried' about working around tabs at all, I'm in a tough situation! Luckily, I'm fairly confident that if I alone listen to a song and then figure out how to play it by ear, I will then be able to enjoy using that knowledge to practice and improve my guitar playing skills. Is that what is necessary for everyone to do? Work these things out alone? What a sad situation. noani.gif

Sincerely,
Rob Balch

Manager of "Guitar Tab Universe"


If you would like to help out and join the effort to fight for our freedom to tab and share, please check out MuSATO.
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#2 Graeme! Yes, Graeme!

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 11:55 AM

Hear hear, Rob.

#3 jumping_jack_splash

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:24 PM

this is bad...but will the MPA ever listen?

We're all going to be just dirt in the ground.

#4 dorio

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:39 PM

QUOTE (jumping_jack_splash @ Jul 18 2006, 01:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
this is bad...but will the MPA ever listen?

Make them listen, don't buy their products!
Posted Image

#5 kurtlives

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:44 PM

why is gtu now guitarzone?? blink.gif

EDIT: never mind me found out

Edited by kurtlives, 17 July 2006 - 12:45 PM.

Let the pretend take over
And that season be the first
Shadows we're in become us
So we set up interspersed
Between here and away
Become your space every day


Check out my New DIY Site! (work in progress)

#6 Naan

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:52 PM

oh god can't we contact artists [not likely i know] and get them on our side I bet they did what we first did just without such a widespread audience....

#7 jumping_jack_splash

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:56 PM

QUOTE (dorio @ Jul 17 2006, 09:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (jumping_jack_splash @ Jul 18 2006, 01:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

this is bad...but will the MPA ever listen?

Make them listen, don't buy their products!

would it be worth trying to get in contact with some famous musicians, and put forward an argument?

and yes, a boycott is in order!

We're all going to be just dirt in the ground.

#8 aethos

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:04 PM

You know those commercials showing someone drinking a can of coke? Yeah when they want to drink it, they pull up on the back of the tab until the can opens and then they push the tab back down.

I'll be expecting a call from a lawyer soon.

#9 shibbyjames

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:20 PM

Man! i cant believe what is happening !! what is the world comming to ! i owe alot of my guitar playing skills and knowledge to guitartabs.cc i have loved comming here every now and again picking up new riffs to learn, ive been using this site since i was 15 (im now 20) and i truely believe without this site i would be less talented and knowledgeable in the art of the guitar. Keep up the fight guys !!

James

#10 jumping_jack_splash

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:26 PM

we need you to help man, send emails to the members of the MPA, be polite and formal, dont insult them, try to reason with them, but be firm, stand up for what you believe in

We're all going to be just dirt in the ground.

#11 Naan

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:33 PM

QUOTE (shibbyjames @ Jul 17 2006, 05:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Man! i cant believe what is happening !! what is the world comming to ! i owe alot of my guitar playing skills and knowledge to guitartabs.cc i have loved comming here every now and again picking up new riffs to learn, ive been using this site since i was 15 (im now 20) and i truely believe without this site i would be less talented and knowledgeable in the art of the guitar. Keep up the fight guys !!

James


er why do you only have 'one' post or have you changed your name recently ??

Edited by Naan100, 17 July 2006 - 01:33 PM.


#12 jumping_jack_splash

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:35 PM

he may of just used the tabs not the forum

We're all going to be just dirt in the ground.

#13 Slayerfan

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:35 PM

So, what they are telling me is that my 5th grade band teacher was a criminal for photocopying music to hand out to his students instead of buying a new copy for every student? We are not stealing music here. Sites such as this are a great way to share tablature. I just never thought being a musician would label me as a law breaker. I wonder if anyone at these so called "associations" know that they are loosing credibility? Do they even care? Keep fighting! Oh, wait...we might get in trouble for copying what Napster did by defending our own actions....

#14 bgawthrop

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:45 PM

I am sorry but not surprised when I hear of things like this. I will support GTU anyway I can. Please keep us posted.
The site is obviously not a commercial venture and as you state in your response, this is musicians at every level getting together to help one another become more proficient at what we love to do. We are all sitting in a "Cyber garage" if you will, trying to have a jam session. If anyone will take the time they will see that the tabs offered are sometimes not proffessional and rarely completely wrong, not unlike advise we have all recieved at one time or another. On the whole however, thanks to many people who are truly motivated to helping people improve, I have found this site extremley useful and cannot imagine how anyone could find this offensive.
Cordialy
Bud

#15 Jiveturkey

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:49 PM

QUOTE (Slayerfan @ Jul 17 2006, 03:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So, what they are telling me is that my 5th grade band teacher was a criminal for photocopying music to hand out to his students instead of buying a new copy for every student? We are not stealing music here. Sites such as this are a great way to share tablature. I just never thought being a musician would label me as a law breaker. I wonder if anyone at these so called "associations" know that they are loosing credibility? Do they even care? Keep fighting! Oh, wait...we might get in trouble for copying what Napster did by defending our own actions....

Technically yes, photocopying anything that is in print and under copywrite is illegal. Of course he's not going to be pursued or prosecuted for something so trivial but if the publishers did so wish then they would have every legal right. The tablature available on this site is differnt however as it is each person own interpretations (or so is claimed) and I highly doubt anyone could prove that they were otherwise. Also you really couldn't compare this to Napster. Napster made a serious dent in the profits of the music industry, there's no way sights like this could inflict anywhere near so much fianancial damage.


I realise this makes me sound like I'm on the side of the MPA while I must stress that I am far from that.

#16 weldfish

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 02:09 PM

This really stinks. Almost all of the songs I have learned over the years have been from tabliture. It sounds like corporate greed gone wild.
Weldfish

#17 superwinkie

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 02:32 PM

It won't let me register for MuSATO?
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#18 MagMa

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 02:36 PM

Wasn't the internet designed for the specific purpose of freely sharing information or was I dreaming that? Now add guitar tabs to the laundry list of things that have been ######-slapped by some "professional" organization who's afraid they might be missing out on the almighty chance to make a dollar.

I regularly purchase "official" sheet music as well as scan the net for tabs. Let me tell you that I've had much better luck with the folks out there tabbing by ear than with any of the horrible Hal Leonard and others' arrangements of original tunes. Also, for someone who doesn't read music very well, the format of these tabs is a godsend.

It's a shame that the corporate greed monsters are now targeting creative franchises like yours instead of partnering with them. I hope there is someone at NMPA with a few firing neurons left who can figure this out before it's too late.
MagMa
PS: Never fear, my letter to NMPA will be a little nicer.

#19 Slayerfan

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 02:36 PM

QUOTE (Jiveturkey @ Jul 17 2006, 04:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Slayerfan @ Jul 17 2006, 03:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

So, what they are telling me is that my 5th grade band teacher was a criminal for photocopying music to hand out to his students instead of buying a new copy for every student? We are not stealing music here. Sites such as this are a great way to share tablature. I just never thought being a musician would label me as a law breaker. I wonder if anyone at these so called "associations" know that they are loosing credibility? Do they even care? Keep fighting! Oh, wait...we might get in trouble for copying what Napster did by defending our own actions....

Technically yes, photocopying anything that is in print and under copywrite is illegal. Of course he's not going to be pursued or prosecuted for something so trivial but if the publishers did so wish then they would have every legal right. The tablature available on this site is differnt however as it is each person own interpretations (or so is claimed) and I highly doubt anyone could prove that they were otherwise. Also you really couldn't compare this to Napster. Napster made a serious dent in the profits of the music industry, there's no way sights like this could inflict anywhere near so much fianancial damage.


I realise this makes me sound like I'm on the side of the MPA while I must stress that I am far from that.




Yeah, you're right about the Napster comparison. Sorry, just the only thing I could compare it to at the time.

#20 evilbunnycorpse666

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 02:37 PM

this is dumb i like to play guitar for the fun of it guitar.gif and even watch anime sometimes i like to draw my favorite anime characters. im i copyrighting ??? if they dont want kids playing there favorite songs on there guitars they shouldnt sell it to them. the kids can learn how to play there favorite songs on the guitar just as kids can draw there favorite anime characters.when kids draw anime characters they dont publish them!!!!! thats the same way with guitar we jus wanna be able to play guitar to show yer family and friends if u dont want us to play music on the guitar u can also do some legal orders with websites that show lyrics to music....y dont u go to them.... its pretty much the same thing here they teach u the words to a song here they teach the riffs to a guitar !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its not like kids are gonna start making records with these songs!!! if it gets to that point then ok i can understand y u would charge copyright infigment but its not to that point kids jus wanna learn these songs for fun jus as they want to learn to draw there favorvorite anime characters for fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




james, arizona



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