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Postby rparker » April 13th, 2010, 2:58 am

dhodge wrote:Hope you'll enjoy these just as much as the old lessons (which will hopefully be back relatively soon - we're working on it).


Sounds promising. (??) Fingers crossed and deities summoned all over the world. :)
Roy

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Postby Laz » April 14th, 2010, 4:47 am

Lies, damn lies, and statistics! The GAO says that the it is impossible to quantify the cost of piracy.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100414/tc_pcworld/governmentsaysdataestimatingpiracylossesisunsubstantiated

... just stirring the pot :shock:
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Postby rparker » April 14th, 2010, 9:12 am

Laz, that was a good read. Funny, in a sad way.

Real life dialog that I stole from a joke about 5-6 years ago. The COO was high power exec who everyone feared. I was lowly database programmer and loving it.

COO: I need a report on how much ....blah blah blah
Me: What would you like it to show?
COO: I want it to be accurate!
Me: Of course, and it will be. I still don't know what you want it to say, though.

Point was, and we discussed for a long time afterwards and on many occasions, that numbers can be made to prove whatever point you want. That discovery, made years earlier, also cemented in the nail that is my Cynicism. I digress...
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Postby Ricochet » April 14th, 2010, 9:47 am

I believe very little money has been lost to piracy. Most music downloads, I think, are of stuff the downloader never would have bought on CD. And since this is a thread about tab, I'll venture the same opinion about that. I'm not a downloader of music, and I've never found the tabs I've downloaded very helpful. I've suspected the music publishers of spamming the tab sites with deliberately bad tabs, but I suppose the principle of "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence" applies. But there is the precedent of "The Anarchist's Cookbook," which has realistic recipes for making all sorts of explosives and such, but each one contains a fatal flaw. Supposedly it was concocted and disseminated by the CIA during the heyday of American domestic terrorism in the late '60s-early '70s (yeah, some of those "peaceful protesters" burned and bombed buildings) so the would-be bombers would blow themselves up. I think the music publishers just might do that.
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Postby bjourne » April 19th, 2010, 8:20 am

This sucks so very much. I hope you will pull through still. Stupid "#%&#"! lawyers.
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Postby kent_eh » April 19th, 2010, 11:11 am

dhodge wrote:Just finishing writing one that will be online this week on Where Did You Sleep Last Night, featuring Nick Torres singing on the MP3 example. Plus I'm finishing up a new podcast that will demonstrate some fingerstyle techniques that can be used in lots of songs you're already playing. That should be up online sometime next week.

Hope you'll enjoy these just as much as the old lessons (which will hopefully be back relatively soon - we're working on it).

Peace


"Next week" had arrived:

http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/where ... ast-night/

David, thank you once again for your tireless efforts.
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Postby bangthatdrum » April 23rd, 2010, 6:43 pm

Ok, my apologies for my abrasive style but seriously, highly specialized tutorials without the corresponding tabs. Give me a break. I suspect a lot of other beginners will also be less inclined to visit this great site without the entire lessons. A great shame, as its obvious a tonne of work has gone into them.
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Postby kent_eh » April 24th, 2010, 3:12 pm

bangthatdrum wrote:Ok, my apologies for my abrasive style but seriously, highly specialized tutorials without the corresponding tabs. Give me a break. I suspect a lot of other beginners will also be less inclined to visit this great site without the entire lessons. A great shame, as its obvious a tonne of work has gone into them.

It's not like it's the fault of the folks here that they got threatened with an expensive legal challenge.
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Did you check out the new lesson (complete with tab) that I linked to a couple of posts back?
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Postby Glorfindel » May 1st, 2010, 9:33 pm

greybeard wrote:
bangthatdrum wrote:Well I'm a beginner and I come for the lessons. How can you learn the songs without tabs? Socializing may be great when your an expert but when your just starting out you need this. Also calling my comments crap does not convince me this is a great place to hang out.

You've got 2 posts, I have over 7500 - I think that tells you what I think about "hanging out" here.

We get many beginners, who come to ask questions of people that have already confronted the beginner's problem. No matter what your question, you'll get an answer - and no flames, no derision. That's socialising and it's for beginners, intermediates and those that actually know a couple of songs all the way through. How do you think you learn? By being around those who know more than you, currently, do. What do you do with that knowledge? Here, you pass it on to those who know less than you do.

As an aside, I think that had your first post not been so abrasive, you would not have got a such an abrasive answer back.


I just want to point out that this guy made a very valid point. The site owner should fight this. He never said you should put yourself at risk in doing so. Indeed as others have pointed out there are a ton of low or no risk methods that you can pursue in order to try. I fail to see how his post at all insulted the site or its administration in any way, in fact quite the opposite from my interpretation. People who don't appreciate something don't usually go out of their way to type passionate responses when it is threatened.

Pointing out post counts, on the other hand, is in fact seen as incredibly bad taste and low tact. Much much worse than anything this person said. So bangthatdrum, keep on going and don't let it get to you. People get upset at too little too easily, and are quick to flame.

Now... on to what I came here to say before that irked me.
-------------------------------------------

I've been following the intellectual property lawsuits since Napster, and though I rarely see anyone win, it does happen. Guitar noise is one that I think likely can. Appeal to the artists. Contact the EFF, a non-profit organization specializing in this type of thing (http://www.eff.org/about). While there are hosts out there who will not fold to the requests, they aren't always a long term solution. Publicity is your friend. In the case of Napster, ISOHunt, TPB and similar, they were the nasty evil pirates. You are the friendly guitar teacher. They don't want that kind of bad publicity so spread this story around as much as you possibly can. Consider contacting the other similar sites hit with this, such as Justin Guitar.

It might be worth noting that this was likely not targeted at your site directly at all. They send these types of letters out in huge quantities and rarely follow up on them to even check compliance. I even got a C&D from Blizzard Entertainment as a young teen once, though I'd already lost interest in the project it was regarding well before. That project is still running strong under another lead today.

The prior is simply brainstorming based off what I've seen others do in the past. I am no lawyer. Take it for what you will.

Good luck!
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Postby greybeard » May 2nd, 2010, 12:10 am

There are several members here, who have more than a little experience with the intricacies of musical intellectual property law, which is very different from, for example, software IP.

Fighting it is a possibility, if you have the money, but lawyers don't work for free.

"Contact the artist" - the artist will think "do it for one, you have to do it for all". Where does education stop? How do you define it? Can you be certain that no-one will find a sneaky way to get round the "education" stricture? A couple of years ago, most tabs had the education disclaimer, not that it did them any good when the lawyers appeared.

You're not just dealing with the artist. What about the company that has the sheet music rights? What about the composer(s)? What about the recording company, they have rights, too?
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Postby Glorfindel » May 2nd, 2010, 3:05 am

Can EFF represent me?

Maybe. EFF is a small, grassroots legal advocacy nonprofit supported by member contributions. We provide pro bono (free) legal assistance in cases where we believe we can help shape the law. Unfortunately, we have a relatively small number of very hardworking attorneys, so we do not have the resources to defend everyone who asks, no matter how deserving. If we cannot assist you, we will make every effort to put you in touch with attorneys who can. If you're in trouble, you can contact us at information@eff.org.


Just because the chances are small, doesn't mean they aren't worth trying. Considering the massive amount of time spent on the content, I imagine it would be worth at least shooting off a bunch of e-mails to anyone who could possibly help. Hiring a private lawyer and engaging in a legal battle is not the only recourse available. As for the artists, I agree that getting a message to them might not be plausible, but I don't think it can be argued that it could hurt, nor that they would all share the same view point. The bottom line is that the only guaranteed failure is in not trying. I don't mean to say that no actions have been / are being taken, I'm sure some have. The power of the internet lies in the ability to pool ideas and knowledge, and to that end, I have provided mine with nothing but good intentions.
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Postby greybeard » May 2nd, 2010, 3:19 am

glorfindel,

I'm sure that Paul is doing everything possible - even going the eff route.

Any constructive help is appreciated.

Sadly, in my experience, there is no free lunch. Somewhere down the line every lawyer wants paying.

Incidentally, if you do a search, you'll see that IP rights have been the subject of some very long and detailed threads.
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Postby NoteBoat » May 2nd, 2010, 5:56 am

I'll throw in my two cents - I've been following copyright issues for a long time. And I've been thinking about this for a few weeks, since the issue first started.

I'm not an attorney, but I see the arguments over GN's use of tab to fall in four areas:

Educational use
In GN's favor:
- section 107 of the US code provides a fair use exclusion for educational purposes

Against GN:
- While section 107 provides that the use of copyrighted material for teaching is a fair use, section 107.1 sets out a determining factor of "nonprofit educational use". Since GN sells advertising space, there is a demonstrable commercial motive, and unless GN is registered as a not-for-profit enterprise with the IRS, this could negate the educational use provision.

My opinion: GN should file for not-for-profit status. With it, the educational use can be tested on its own merits; without it, the argument against can focus on the wording of copyright law, and "nonprofit" is clearly in the law. With it, GN also would get two other benefits, no matter how the tab thing shakes out: they can accept tax-deductible contributions, and they can apply for grants from arts organizations.

Incidental educational use
In GN's favor:
- a 1961 copyright office report that lists instances that would be regarded as fair use, and the list includes reproduction of a small part of a work by a teacher to illustrate a lesson

Against GN:
- Fair use exclusions are clearly limited as to the amount and substantiality of the material that can be quoted. The GN lessons do not use a small excerpt to illustrate a technique; instead, the lessons are based on an entire copyrighted work.

My opinion: GN is likely to lose on this point. The lessons are based on entire copyrighted works. But lessons could be re-cast to avoid this issue: for example, if a particular segment of a song illustrates syncopation in strumming, a lesson on syncopation could include small examples from a dozen songs, rather than one. It might also be possible to create an index for the lessons by song - so that each segment now included in a single song-based lesson is treated in separate lessons illustrating techniques, but all segments could be found through an index.

Effect on the market
In GN's favor:
- one of the factors a court is to consider in a fair use claim is the effect of the use on the market as a whole, and the value of the copyrighted work. GN could potentially show that musicians purchase more sheet music as their ability increases, and that the use of excerpts in lessons is actually of benefit to the copyright owners, rather than diminishing the value of their intellectual property.

Against GN:
The burden of proof rests with GN. Even if GN is able to demonstrate that their use of copyrighted material in fact benefits the copyright holders overall, they must also show that it did not harm specific copyright holders. Using a song by Green Day (or any other artist) to illustrate a lesson will almost certainly reduce sales of sheet music for that particular song and/or artist to the visitors of GN; those artists have a valid claim for damages, even if the use secondarily enriches other artists and publishers.

My opinion: this one probably won't be the central argument. If GN could plausibly show an overall benefit to the publishing industry, the MPA might lose 'standing' on this issue, and the pressing of claims would shift from one lawsuit (the MPA v GN) to hundreds (Green Day v GN, Rolling Stones v GN, etc). This would mean higher costs for both sides, but it would also mean lower potential judgments for each case. The real risk would be in the first one - if the MPA successfully sued on behalf of one artist, they'd have a precedent for additional claims. I'd bet they'd be tempted to bring one case to test the waters, but I'd also bet they'd take a long hard look at it first... because the burden of proof would be on them to show a specific loss for a specific artist's print music sales as a direct result of GN's use, and that may be hard to do.

Interpretation
In GN's favor:
- the works are "transformative". Rather than present a step-by-step guide to playing a particular song, the original material is transformed for use in presenting broader concepts. Neither the chord progressions nor the techniques used are subject to copyright protection.

Against GN:
- transformation of works is excluded under copyright law only in the case of parody or criticism. The transformations in the GN lessons do not include any commentary or review of the original material, so the criticism exclusion does not apply. The uses also do not transform the original works sufficiently as to create entirely new works - they are not parodies of the originals. At best, the transformation creates a musical arrangement, which is defined as a "derivative work" under section 101. Section 106 grants the copyright holder the exclusive right to prepare and/or authorize derivative works.

My opinion: GN probably loses on this one. I think it would be far easier to make a plea for an educational fair use if the material was presented verbatim - that removes the derivative work element. If a lesson is an 'interpretation' of a song, the law rests on the side of the copyright holders, because they have the exclusive right to authorize adaptations of their work. The GN use of illustrations doesn't go as far in changing the original works as successful fair use cases (Campbell v Acuff-Rose Music) - and they lack the humor element to make a strong parody defense. Even if the lessons were re-written to twist the original works and include a humor element - which would be hard to do - it would be hard (and expensive) to fight - some cases (Liebovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp) have succeeded in a fair use defense, while others (Dr. Seuss Enterprises v Penguin Books) have failed. And it's worth noting that those cases all had very expensive legal teams in the fight.

In total, I'd say Paul is doing the right thing by pulling all the tabs. And if he decides it's a fight worth pursuing, there are three things he should do first to make the case strong: get not-for-profit status, drastically cut the length of the illustrations used in lessons (and not use more than one illustration from the same song in a lesson), and make sure all the tabs are dead-on accurate to remove the risk of a derivative works claim.
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Postby kent_eh » May 2nd, 2010, 7:19 am

Aside from the substance of the legal opinions is something that comes up in almost every legal debate on the internet: Jurisdiction.
Because so many people in the debate are Americans, the debate often slants toward USA law, but it may not be that straightforward.

The people complaining are representing a trade association which is based in the USA, and represents American companies.
The web site owner is not a citizen of the USA. Nor is he resident in the USA, or in his country of citizenship.
While many of the lessons were written in the USA, by Americans, several were not. (Some, for instance, were written by a Brit living in Germany at the time IIRC)

And the people viewing the lessons are located in every country of the planet.

Typically, (as I understand it) court happens in the location where the "offence" took place.
Where is that? Where the lesson was written? Where it was viewed? Where the original song was written? Where the web site is hosted? Where the site owner lives? Where he is a citizen?

UK? Canada? China? USA? Germany? Australia?
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Postby NoteBoat » May 2nd, 2010, 8:08 am

Kent, as I understand things, those are questions of jurisdiction. And a decision last year in the 9th circuit (Brayton Purcell LLP v Recordon & Recordon) basically gives that to wherever the plaintiff lives.

The decision was 2-1; the dissenting judge wrote this: "Under the majority's opinion, every website operator faces the potential that he will be hailed into far-away courts based upon allegations of intellectual property infringement, if he happens to know where the alleged owner of the property rights resides."

It might seem like the "if he happens to know" part could perhaps serve as a defense. But it really had no bearing at all on the case - Recordon & Recordon had hired a third party to work on their website, the third party had plagarized text, and Recordon & Recordon had no knowledge of either the infringement or the existence of the copyright owner until they were sued. It still cost them $184,000 (plus whatever their own lawyers charged them).

I think where a particular lesson writer lives isn't of any consequence. In GN's case, there's an editorial process, so it's pretty clear that Paul knows (or delegates the responsibility for knowing) exactly what passes through his website, which means he assumes liability no matter where the lessons originated.

Napster was held liable for infringement even though they had no specific knowledge about what was going through their portal, where it came from, or where their infringing users lived. If not knowing about a specific infringement wasn't a defense for Recordon & Recordon or Napster, it sure won't help Paul - who knows exactly what's being put on his site.
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