Monday, August 21, 2006

The War on Guitar-Tab Sites

I'm not a believer in illegal downloads, but I think that going after guitar-tab sites is a little ridiculous. The New York Times has the story:

"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.

"Assuming a tablature site musters the legal resources to challenge the publishers in court, some legal scholars say they believe publishers may have difficulty arguing their complaints successfully. Jonathan Zittrain, the professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University, said 'it isn’t at all clear' that the publishers’ claim would succeed because no court doctrine has been written on guitar tablature."

I shouldn't get involved, because I have a personal stake in this. After all, without tab websites, I could have never figured out that the chorus of"Waterloo Sunset" is G/D/E.


Fred Speaks True said...

It seems to me the law is pretty clear on this subject, and that people who want to learn the chords to "Sweet Jane" or "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" will have to pony up and pay for the sheet music.

Cool Noise said...

As I pick up my guitar to play my own very individual version of Heroin, I can hear the Police helicopter overhead, the rumble of Army trucks through the streets of Oxford. Neighbouring houses are being requisitioned by surveillance teams with their snipers.

This is the face of the music industry today. If I play a G chord then I will spenf the rest of my life paying off the fine. God forbid I add a D because that will condemn my children to a lifetime of poverty.

One day everybody will have their ear for music removed at birth in case they figure out the chords to a song. It's already happened to Radiohead.

bologna pony said...

Dear Fred,
How is the law clear on this in any capacity? Secondly, i would like to say that i see a real future for casual guitarists "ponying" up for sheet music for three chord songs. but i will applaud you for the most assanine statement i have seen in a long time.

bologna pony

Anonymous said...

im a diehard corpse and sfu fan....and i still think that radiohead fuckin rocks