Friday, December 16, 2005

Online lyrics issue garners an apology

As I mentioned earlier this week, the UK's Warner Chappell Music was targeting music lyric sites for copyright issues and had already shut down PearLyrics. Billboard.Biz now reports that executives with Warner/Chappell spent the day "privately and publically apologizing to Walter Ritter, the 31-year-old Austrian programmer behind PearLyrics."
Publisher Apologizes To Online Lyrics Tool: "W/C’s apology was the right move, but may have come as a result of a publicly posted argument from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Not only was Ritter’s application probably legal in the United States, reasoned the EFF, but such threats against U.S. developers could open Warner Music Group to federal liability.

The music industry might want to think these actions through more thoroughly, and not just to avoid legal strife. Dyball’s letter to PearLyrics was copied to Kevin Saul, an Apple Computer lawyer, and links to similar applications quickly disappeared from the Apple Web site.

This was two opportunities lost. For one, by taking the text from illegal lyrics sites, applications such as Ritter’s—which seek no revenue and are, at least arguably, legal—were taking eyeballs away from, and thus diminishing the ad revenue of the very illegal, very revenue-seeking sites that archive and distribute unlicensed lyrics."
Apparently the Electronic Frontier Foundation played an integral role in the change of attitude by Warner Chappell Music executives.

Thanks to Boing Boing for the update.

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