Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Washington Post
Iraq Order of Battle
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News

Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Digby's Blog
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Monday, August 21, 2006

Here we go again

Now the Music Industry Wants Guitarists to Stop Sharing

Published: August 21, 2006

The Internet put the music industry and many of its listeners at odds thanks to the popularity of services like Napster and Grokster. Now the industry is squaring off against a surprising new opponent: musicians.

Lauren Keiser, president of the Music Publishers’ Association, says guitar tablature Web sites reduce the earnings of songwriters.

In the last few months, trade groups representing music publishers have used the threat of copyright lawsuits to shut down guitar tablature sites, where users exchange tips on how to play songs like “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Highway to Hell” and thousands of others.

The battle shares many similarities with the war between Napster and the music recording industry, but this time it involves free sites like, and and even discussion boards on the Google Groups service like and, where amateur musicians trade “tabs” — music notation especially for guitar — for songs they have figured out or have copied from music books.

On the other side are music publishers like Sony/ATV, which holds the rights to the songs of John Mayer, and EMI, which publishes Christina Aguilera’s music.

“People can get it for free on the Internet, and it’s hurting the songwriters,” said Lauren Keiser, who is president of the Music Publishers’ Association and chief executive of Carl Fischer, a music publisher in New York.

So far, the Music Publishers’ Association and the National Music Publishers’ Association have shut down several Web sites, or have pressured them to remove all of their tabs, but users have quickly migrated to other sites. According to comScore Media Metrix, an Internet statistics service, had 1.4 million visitors in July, twice the number from a year earlier.

The publishers, who share royalties with composers each time customers buy sheet music or books of guitar tablature, maintain that tablature postings, even inaccurate ones, are protected by copyright laws because the postings represent “derivative works” related to the original compositions, to use the industry jargon.

The publishers told the sites that if they did not remove the tablatures, they could face legal action or their Internet service providers would be pressured to shut down their sites. All of the sites have taken down their tabs voluntarily, but grudgingly.

The tablature sites argue that they are merely conduits for an online discussion about guitar techniques, and that their services help the industry.

“The publishers can’t dispute the fact that the popularity of playing guitar has exploded because of sites like mine,” said Robert Balch, the publisher of Guitar Tab Universe (, in Los Angeles. “And any person that buys a guitar book during their lifetime, that money goes to the publishers.”

Mr. Balch, who took down guitar tabs from his site in late July at the behest of the music publishers, added that, “I’d think the music publishers would be happy to have sites that get people interested in becoming one of their customers.”

Cathal Woods, who manages, one of the pioneer free tablature sites, said he had run the site for 14 years with the help of a systems administrator, “and we’ve never taken a penny.” Mr. Woods, who teaches philosophy at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, said had earned an undisclosed amount of money by posting ads on Google’s behalf, but he said that money had paid for bandwidth and a legal defense fund.

posted by Steve @ 1:32:00 AM

1:32:00 AM

The News Blog home page


Editorial Staff

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans