Copyright crackdowns - a sad road we are on

3 Sept 2010

Copyright crackdowns - a sad road we are on

I'm asked quite often (and I also note from google search terms for this site) why I don't put up chords and lyrics for popular songs, or video tutorials.

Well, that was originally part of my plan but in the last year the greed machine that is the corporate music business decided that people giving up their own time to try to educate others in music, for no reward was just 'not on'...

The obvious cases involve the excellent Ukulele Tabs website and YouTube (though I'm sure there are others, such as chordie)

In the case of the former, UT is a community created database (massive database!) of all sorts of songs with full lyric and chord listings for uke.  Then the greed machine stepped in and pointed out they were infringing copyright and hit them with very real threats of very nasty legal action.  The UT site appealed to it's members who diligently went through the 1000's of songs and replaced all but first lines or key change words of songs with XXXXXXX.  This apparently gets them off the legal hook, but makes using the songsheets a bit of a pain.  A sterling effort from the fans but to me the site just isn't as much use now.

As for YouTube, a number of uke playing colleagues who have posted their uke versions of popular tunes online (as I have) have been hit with angry emails from YouTube telling them to remove material or have their accounts closed.  In one case an account was indeed closed.  Again, these videos are put up by passionate people who want to spread the ukulele word and help others- they ain't trying to get a record deal or get paid!

Now I don't know the full legal INS and OUTS but I was advised that if you put music and lyrics up not for profit and for educational purposes, then that is ok.  Seems the lawyers prefer the heavy handed approach and are hitting everyone.  We are all greedy crooks apparently (surely it's the other way around???)

As for me, I can't be doing with the hassle, and therefore this blog will continue as a useful tech source of info, with reviews, humour and snippets I like.

I do have some songs on my YouTube page, but am waiting on my email to remove them.  I've linked a couple on here in the past, so check them out.

Google will find you lots of uke chord sheets for your own use, so equally I would only be repeating what others already do so well

I think it's a really sad state of affairs. I fully understand the music biz trying to crackdown on file sharing or pirated cd's, but honestly, does posting the lyrics of a song accompanied by ukulele tabs pose a real threat to the music industry?

In a bygone era, songs were always copied, reinterpreted, passed on - that's what folk music is. Didn't stop the really talented dudes getting record deals and getting rich...


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