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RIAA Forces YouTube to Remove Free Guitar Lessons 341

Posted by Zonk
from the quit-trying-to-learn-things-you-ungrateful-grubs dept.
Bushido Hacks write "Is it so wrong to learn how to play the guitar? According to NPR, a record company ordered YouTube to remove videos of a man who offered to show people how to play the guitar for free. One of the songs that he taught was copyrighted, and as a result over 100 of his videos were removed from the internet. 'Since he put his Web site up last year, he has developed a long waiting list for the lessons he teaches in person. And both he and Taub say that's still the best way to learn. If someone tells Sandercoe to take down his song lessons, he says he will. But his most valuable videos are the ones that teach guitar basics -- things like strumming, scales and finger-picking. And even in the digital age, no one holds a copyright on those things.' How could this constitute as infringement if most musicians usually experiment to find something that sounds familiar?"
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RIAA Forces YouTube to Remove Free Guitar Lessons

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  • Fair use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SniperClops (776236) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:31PM (#19776545)
    These lessions should really fall under fair use.
    • Re:Fair use (Score:5, Informative)

      by randall_burns (108052) <{randall_burns} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:27AM (#19777225)
      I agree-and we all should get hold of our representatives and let them know that.
    • Re:Fair use (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:52AM (#19777381)
      He's not just putting pirating instructions on YouTube, but also owns a intellectual property infringement device. He should be jailed.
    • Re:Fair use (Score:5, Informative)

      by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:13AM (#19777481) Homepage
      100% agreement, this should be an exception under fair use.

      People have figured out chords to songs from the radio for decades. Is playing the song for a friend, or teaching them the chords, a violation of copyright? Then I should be signing checks to the RIAA every other day, it seems. But that is silly; it's just simple sharing. Doing it over the internet is nothing new (although, doing it over the internet commercially is something else. If anyone makes money, it should be the artists).

      Here is a little sharing of my own. I figured out the chords to 'Cloudbusting' by Kate Bush the other day. But I won't post the actual chords (which might be 'copyright violation', supposedly), instead, I modulated the song to a different key. So actually they aren't the chords to anything:

      B#m A G / A /
      G A B#m A
      B#m A G /
      And anyway these are probably inaccurate, like 95% of internet chords.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Kabuthunk (972557)
        What came to mind with your comment of "People have figured out chords to songs", it makes me wonder about games like "Guitar Hero". Is the RIAA going to go after THAT next?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by GizmoToy (450886)
          I doubt it. I'm sure that royalties were worked out for all the songs in Guitar Hero. A commercial product would likely not receive an exception under fair use, but this guy's lessons probably should.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by senatorpjt (709879)
            For covers, you still have to pay royalties to the songwriters, but not the performers.
      • Re:Fair use (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Fred Ferrigno (122319) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:22AM (#19777761)
        OK, so how would you feel about watching a comic on TV, memorizing all his lines, and posting a video of yourself doing his act on YouTube?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Admiral Ag (829695)
          Old and busted.

          Carlos Mencia already did that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014)
          Well, your analogy is really too badly constructed to be much use.

          Taking an entire routine would be like taking an entire album. Also, you are positing somebody doing a comedy act, not non-commercial instruction or criticism.

          Basically, you are making your point by amplifying the situation in question, which is not valid.

          A more precise analogy would be if you did a comedy instruction video in which you took individual jokes from various comedians (credited) and showed how they could be told with different t
      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        Just don't depend on Youtube for distribution.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bob8766 (1075053)
        This takedown notice has absolutely nothing to do with the music they are playing. There are hundreds of videos of people playing entire songs on YouTube. These sites are being attacked because they are cutting into the DVD video training market, with products (at least Sandercoe's, in my opinion) that are better than most of the 'professional' videos out there.

        The 'copyright violation' is just the excuse they are using to get them off the market.
      • People have figured out chords to songs from the radio for decades. Is playing the song for a friend, or teaching them the chords, a violation of copyright? Then I should be signing checks to the RIAA every other day, it seems. But that is silly; it's just simple sharing.

        I've technically broken copyright laws almost every day of my life, because yes: we all tell each other lyrics, chords, stories we've read etc etc ad nauseum. Even when I took singing lessons, my teacher was always giving me copies lyric

        • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @07:30AM (#19778697)

          Justin could make good money selling DVDs. More power to him for chosing not to, but he doesn't have the right to make that choice on the songwriters' behalf.

          Justin does sell DVDs, as you can see at his site [justinguitar.com]. So really, these freebies are in part adverts for his products.

          Essentially, he is using copyright material for his advertising campaign. It's no different from when Coca-Cola's marketing people ripped off 7 Seconds of Love's song Ninja for an Argentinian TV ad. Whose side was everybody on then?

          HAL.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        People have figured out chords to songs from the radio for decades. Is playing the song for a friend, or teaching them the chords, a violation of copyright?

        I play in a few bands and recently checked out a book from 2000 called "The Band's Guide to Getting a Record Deal". In the book it explained a lot of the stuff that comes between me writing a song in my bedroom, and you listening to it on a nicely packaged CD. It's a hell of a lot more complicated (and bullshit-loaded) process than you'd imagine.

        The mi

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gig (78408)
          > The song they they own the publishing rights to isn't just that individual recording you did of it. It's that specific combination
          > of chords and lyrics, that melody, that drumbeat.

          No, it's just the melody and the lyrics that make the song. You write them together on one piece of paper, put a title at the top and sign your name to it and you are done. That is called a "lead sheet" and it's all that is "written" when you write a song. The melody part counts for half the money and the lyrics count for
    • We live in the modern dark ages. One day, we will afford to ignore all copyright. The Pirate Bay "youtube", if it can be sustainable, should start to do that. Every technology and innovation on earth should be used to encourage and protect the sharing, morphing, and creation of culture.

      Innovation itself is at risk because of this stifling stranglehold. This is why the pirates mock the legal warnings of microsofts and the RIAA.
      • by cliffski (65094) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:58AM (#19777913) Homepage
        what bullshit. And how exactly are you going to encourage people to create new works? J K Rowling (Harry Potter) was an unemployed single mother when she wrote her first novel. In your world, she would have gone to work stacking food in a supermarket instead of wasting her time thinking she might make money as a writer.
        Try to think it through before spouting knee-jerk anti-copyright nonsense.
        And don't make us laugh by suggesting donationware (seen not to work or anything but a trivial scale) or state sponsorship. I don't want the government to approve all entertainment, and neither should you.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:11AM (#19777981)
          > what bullshit. And how exactly are you going to encourage people to create new works?

          Imagine two scenarios:
          1. you write successful book/album and it stays copyrighted indefinitely, bringing you income forever
          2. you write successful book/album and the copyright expires in 14 years, depriving you of income

          Under which scenario are you MORE likely to write a new book/album?

          > J K Rowling (Harry Potter) was an unemployed single mother when she wrote her first novel.

          And it was a hugely successful novel. She could easily have hung up her writer's cap and lived off royalties from the first book, but she felt compelled to write more Potter novels. Why? Just for the money? You want to tell her that to her face?

          It's time to stamp out the myth that "without copyright, nothing creative would ever be produced." It wasn't true in the past, it won't be true in the future. The only thing that won't be produced is fat-cat middlemen who think music isn't something to be ENJOYED, it's merely something to be bought and sold!
        • by Arterion (941661) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:13AM (#19777987)
          Thousands if not millions of people have to work stocking supermarkets. What makes her any better than anyone else? What would be truly fair is if supermarket-stockers made a fair living wage. Hey, if people could work freely and not have to stress over feeding their kids, we might see a lot more artwork come from people that would otherwise be too downtrodden to be creative.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by whoop (194)
            What would be truely fairest of them all is if supermarket stockers could get a fair living wage without the burdens of having to work for it. The stress of having to show up at the store on time, perform a job adequately, etc is crushing the artistic spirit of billions of people around the world. Only then will one's mind be free to create artworks. ... And who's to say me watching Spongebob all day is not art?? Only close-minded people, that's who.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Just Some Guy (3352)

            What would be truly fair is if supermarket-stockers made a fair living wage.

            They do. They make exactly what the job market says they should be making. If stocking were a more difficult skill, the supply of capable stockers would go down and they'd make more. If more stores open and they need more stockers than are available, they'd make more. Until one of those things happen, the law of supply and demand says they won't make more.

            You can argue all day about what constitutes a "good" wage, but supply and demand is busy setting the true fair value. Complaining about that is

        • by nanosquid (1074949) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:23AM (#19778033)
          And how exactly are you going to encourage people to create new works?

          Media companies don't want to encourage the creation of new works, they want artificial scarcity. They want to create the impression that making music, making pictures, writing stories, and making videos is some kind of black art that only they can do and that costs millions in investments. As far as they're concerned, if teaching music were outlawed, it would be all the better because they could just keep selling the crap they are selling right now.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by TheSeer2 (949925)
            ... the GP isn't advocating the current system. They're just attacking the people that always have that over-done "eradicate copyright" (altogether) "foo wants to be bar" response.
        • by bit01 (644603)

          Try to think it through before spouting knee-jerk anti-copyright nonsense.

          Try to think it through before spouting knee-jerk pro-copyright nonsense.

          Copyright as it is currently implemented is only one of a virtually infinite number of ways the law could be organized with respect to intellectual endeavor.

          Stop pretending there could be no better alternative when not even something as simple as the copyright period has been scientifically justified. Let alone justification for the current regime.

          ---

          • by cliffski (65094)
            "scientifically justified". Explain that one to me. My best mate is a scientist, and amazingly, he is not bamboozled by the concept that if someone writes a really good book, he should pay money to purchase a copy of the book.

            Let me know about these other wonderful ways of rewarding investment in intellectual property. There is the current system, there is communism (hardly a hotbed of great IP), there is patronage, and government subsidy. Which one are you keen on? and feel free to explain how it will sti
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Maxwell (13985)
              I'm with you man today's way is the ONLY way!

              The RIAA was founded in 1952. It was started to ensure that all records would be compatible with all players.

              We all know that before 1952 there was NO MUSIC, NO BOOKS, and NO MOVIES!! Because they could not exist without the RIAA and the financial incentives the RIAA gives to artists to produce music!

              My grandparents talk about music they listened to in the 30's and 40's. Obviously they are lying because back then we didn't have 100+ years of copyright, and there

    • Re:Fair use (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spyderblade (914512) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:21AM (#19777751)
      As a person who picked up a guitar 2 months ago, this trend is devestating. I only really got push to finally buy a guitar after watching some *amazing* youtube covers of a couple of songs I happen to love. I absolutely depend on online guitar tabs and these youtube vids to learn... I don't have the money or time or transportation to get real lessons. I mean ... come on... I'm sure the artists don't have a problem with people "reverse-engineering" their songs for personal pleasure (......chicks dig guitars...). I've been wondering what happened to a few of those youtube lessons, this clears up that mystery. If this continues, my guitar will collect dust for sure, I'm just not talented enough/have the time to come up with an acoustic guitar version of gnarls barkley's 'Crazy'. Sure once I learn it, I'll add some personal touches, but without this resource, none of it will happen. And I'm sure it has been mentioned, but do these people realize that they are biting the very hand that feeds them? Do they think budding musicians only play original music? Or un-copyrighted music? These are the people that are going to be your future talent, they should be encouraging them. My first 2 cents on slashdot. (this irks me enough to break a 6 year silence.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by badasscat (563442)
        As a person who picked up a guitar 2 months ago, this trend is devestating. I only really got push to finally buy a guitar after watching some *amazing* youtube covers of a couple of songs I happen to love. I absolutely depend on online guitar tabs and these youtube vids to learn... I don't have the money or time or transportation to get real lessons.

        Look at it this way: neither did Jimi Hendrix.

        That said, I agree with your other points. Just not the one about "depending" on the internet to learn how to pl
    • by erroneus (253617)
      Yes, I agree. Wouldn't that fall under scholarly pursuits or something along those lines? The whole point is teaching, not the song or art in question. Does he perform the whole song front to back uninterrupted? Or does he break apart and teach portions? It really shouldn't matter too much as you can guess at some point it is broken down and if at some point it is, in fact, played front to back uninterrupted, he's probably just illustrating how it all comes together anyway.

      That really bugs me though...
  • by L4m3rthanyou (1015323) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:41PM (#19776609)
    The RIAA is usually (more) rabid about defending guitar tabs and such... I honestly find it funny, in a pathetic sort of way.

    Come on, guys. The vast majority of rock music uses the same few chords. They're not secrets. There's really no use in trying to hide them!

    And, why does the RIAA always try to squelch those who are interested in learning guitar? Don't they need a steady influx of "talent" to exploit?
    • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:26AM (#19777221) Homepage
      We're watching a media industry commit a slow suicide. When it dies, they'll blame it on those who merely wanted to hear and view their product.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NobleSavage (582615)
        Agreed! I just hope that if at the last minute if they decide to become "the good guys" that the collective voice of humanity calls BS. They have gone way to far, far to long. The only justice at this point is for their entire empire to crumble into tens of thousands of pieces to be picked up by true innovators and artists.
        • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:58AM (#19777423) Homepage

          I just hope that if at the last minute if they decide to become "the good guys" that the collective voice of humanity calls BS. They have gone way to far, far to long.
          The industry collective is kind of like a thinking entity. It sees new technology and new media channels and it's scared. It wants everything to stay the same--stay stable. Maintain the status quo to avoid disruptive change.

        • I'm not one to give out second chances much.

          RIAA and MPAA have used at least 50 by now.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        Your "media industry" is a propaganda machine that must control what we hear and see. So these actions are necessary to that end. This has always been the law's intent, and the law is getting stronger, not weaker. Copyrights are getting longer, not shorter. There's no end to that trend anywhere in sight. If they feel the need, pretty soon they'll start a shooting war over this. All over the world the cops are waving their guns around and taking people away. The need for absolute control is that critical. It
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by babbling (952366)
        What do you mean the "industry" is committing suicide? There will always be music. Music can't go out of business. It's just the current crop of record companies that are eventually going to go away.
      • by bit01 (644603)

        We're watching a media industry commit a slow suicide. When it dies, they'll blame it on those who merely wanted to hear and view their product.

        True, but it's not "their product". They're just middlemen in the process of being squeezed out.

        They might even have to get real jobs where they actually do something productive for their money. One can hope.

        ---

        DRM'ed content breaks the copyright bargain, the first sale doctrine and fair use provisions. It should not be possible to copyright DRM'ed conten

    • by pasamio (737659)
      No, since the middle of the 80's (and perhaps earlier) companies have invested in creating talent on their own. Recently this is has been tied with the reality TV scene where they make money that way as well as producing talent that is locked into a record company contract (Idol, Popstars, etc). This is why there are so many small and independent labels as well as labels that consist of one band.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by sincewhen (640526)

      Don't they need a steady influx of "talent" to exploit?
      Perhaps they are afraid that we will learn that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anyone_Can_Play_Guita r [wikipedia.org].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:35AM (#19777289)
      It's actually sad. A composer or performer CANNOT copyright a harmony (the chords). The melody, yes.

      The number of songs that use a standard blues progression is STAGGERING. Half of a Blues Brother's CD is straight blues progression, which you can find being recorded by any other reasonable blues artist.

      The number of songs based off of George Gershwin's I've Got Rhythm are so numerous, jazz improvisers know the progression by heart so they can be more versatile at jam sessions and gigs.

      What's the lesson, RIAA? Lack of a copyright, or non-enforcement of a copyright, produced MORE art. Enforcement of a non-existent copyright KILLS art. The RIAA is killing the goose in search of more golden eggs.
      • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:07AM (#19777955)

        It's actually sad. A composer or performer CANNOT copyright a harmony (the chords). The melody, yes.


        Actually, no. In 1994, SCOTUS found that using a melody from another song is legal fair use [benedict.com], if the new version is genuinely a new song, even if the entire song is noticeably similar to the orignal.

        Anything else would effectively be a ban on the creation of new music - there are extremely few places where genuinely new melodies are being created, and most of those are experimenting with bizarre tunings or similar things. The number of possible pleasant-sounding melody themes in the 12-note scale is not so large that we're still capable of finding large numbers of new ones. Most new songs just put existing melodies together in new ways. SCOTUS declined to ban the creation of new music, so there is no such thing as a copyright on a melody, only on the complete song.
    • by shark72 (702619) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:41AM (#19777321)

      "The RIAA is usually (more) rabid about defending guitar tabs and such... I honestly find it funny, in a pathetic sort of way."

      Nope -- the RIAA doesn't care about guitar tabs, either. The RIAA has had nothing to do with the shutting down of the guitar tab sites, just as they had nothing to do with this -- the submitter was lying, and he fooled you good and proper. All the record companies care about is the copyright on the recordings. That's why they sue people for trading copies of recordings.

      I guess it's easy to use "RIAA" as a catch-all for anybody who attempts to protect their rights in a way that we find distasteful, but I think it's important to understand the difference between record companies and publishing companies, and the respective rights that they hold. To fight your enemy, you must first understand them.

    • by Cadallin (863437)
      You're flirting with proclaiming one of the great evil secrets of the recording industry. The vast majority of all Rock/Pop/Country/Rap/etc music from the 20th century and afterwards is extremely simple. It thus utilizes a fairly small subset of all possible music. The real truth is this: if someone were to compare those works with the works of just the great classical master (Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, etc, etc) it is a probability approaching certainty that all modern musical melodies exist in
  • by gtoomey (528943) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:32AM (#19777271)
    The article is rather lame and fails to mention the website http://www.nextlevelguitar.com/ [nextlevelguitar.com]
  • by shark72 (702619) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:32AM (#19777275)

    The RIAA owns the copyrights on recordings. Publishing companies own the rights to music and lyrics. If it's an "unauthorized public performance," it's ASCAP and BMI -- who represent the rights of composers and songwriters -- who get you. Not the record companies. Not the RIAA.

    That's the ugly truth here -- sometimes it's the composers and the lyricists who are the bad guys. Not everybody who protects their rights (or, perhaps, overprotects in this case) is the RIAA.

    This raises the question: did the submitter really think the RIAA was behind this, or was he having a joke at Slashdotters' expense? If the latter, it's worked -- there are already several posts from people who are just shocked that the RIAA would do such a thing.

    If this pisses you off, you should be upset at ASCAP or BMI -- who, again, are run by and for composers and lyricists. The RIAA doesn't have a monopoly on evil.

    • The RIAA owns the copyrights on recordings. Publishing companies own the rights to music and lyrics. If it's an "unauthorized public performance," it's ASCAP and BMI -- who represent the rights of composers and songwriters -- who get you. Not the record companies. Not the RIAA.

      I don't understand why it doesn't fall under fair use for educational purposes. Learning to play guitar is a form of education. It's not a public performance in the form of a concert or playing in a bar.

      • by shark72 (702619)

        "I don't understand why it doesn't fall under fair use for educational purposes. Learning to play guitar is a form of education. It's not a public performance in the form of a concert or playing in a bar."

        Whether these would fall under fair use is something that a court would decide. I sure ain't the hell no lawyer, but I agree with you that there's a fair chance that it would. But, it looks like it won't get that far. Whoever owns the rights to the Rolling Stones lyrics and music -- ie. Messrs Jagger o

      • by mrbooze (49713)
        I can tell you that where I take lessons instructors probably photocopy thousands of guitar tab pages a day for popular songs that they've worked out simplified chord progressions for. The justification for this is usually a vague claim of Fair Use, but I've long assumed that this has never actually been challenged, and that the sheet music people would love to avidly punish music schools for stuff like this.
    • by shark72 (702619) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:07AM (#19777463)

      A followup to my own post. The copyright claim was filed by ABKCO [wikipedia.org], which happens to be both a record company and a publishing company. So, stating that they were hassled by a record company is correct -- because in this case, the record company has a music publishing arm.

      Per the Wikipedia article, ABKCO was also behind the Verve / Bittersweet Symphony mess. It appears that the article has already been updated to reflect ABKCO's action against the guitar lesson fellow.

    • You know, those stupid 9-14 year olds jumping up and down on their beds lip syncing to some rap/whatever shit that they call music. Better pull them down too.
  • Wraa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:32AM (#19777277) Homepage
    This is starting to get surreal. I'm half-expecting them to come out claiming they hold a patent on ALL music, thus all production of music by non-RIAA approved people must cease immediately.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:33AM (#19777281) Homepage

    This isn't an RIAA issue. They sell recorded performances. It's the copyright in the composition that's involved here. That's licensed separately, in the US usually through the Harry Fox Agency. [harryfox.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mark-t (151149)
      So what does that mean for people who can play songs by ear and don't even purchase the sheet music?
  • by diamondmagic (877411) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:38AM (#19777303) Homepage
    Does TFA actually say anything about videos actually being taken down?

    He thinks it's only a matter of time before a licensing company orders YouTube to take them down.

    Not only that, the phrase "RIAA" doesn't even appear in the NPR article.
    Didn't anyone bother to proof read the article before posting it, or did another strikingly similar (but different) article about guitar and YouTube get linked?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Your Pal Dave (33229)

      Does TFA actually say anything about videos actually being taken down?

      He thinks it's only a matter of time before a licensing company orders YouTube to take them down.

      It's a little confusing. The article about the take-down is mentioned in the first paragraph, which is a actually follow-up to the main article with pictures on that page. The bulk of the information is in the audio broadcast on the first "listen" link.

      Not only that, the phrase "RIAA" doesn't even appear in the NPR article.
      Didn't anyone bother to proof read the article before posting it, or did another strikingly similar (but different) article about guitar and YouTube get linked?

      They only say "music company" on the broadcast segment.

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:43AM (#19777329)
    Nevermind not reading TFA. People don't even read the posting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by shark72 (702619)

      "Nevermind not reading TFA. People don't even read the posting."

      It's actually worse than that. Just like "RIAA", "a record company" was a figment of the submitter's imagination. This is a public performance licensing issue, not a recording copyright issue. Record companies have nothing to do with this.

      The submitter trolled everybody real good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:44AM (#19777335)
    From TFA:

    Taub sees the videos, at least in part, as a marketing tool for his paid instructional Web site, NextLevelGuitar.com.

    Justin Sandercoe also has a teaching Web site -- justinguitar.com.

    This does get uncomfortably close to using copyrighted material for profit (e.g. these videos are basically promotions for their sites, which are ad driven and have videos and products for sale.) Considering there are tens of thousands of amateur performances of copyrighted music on Youtube that aren't threatened I wonder if the RIAA sees it this way too.

    By the way I'm all for fair use (and am no fan of the RIAA), but this seems a little murkier to me than the summary makes it out to be.

  • Future headline:

    NO MORE GUITARISTS - ALL TEACHERS SUED
    RIAA innocently shrugs shoulders and says, "wot?"
    • NO MORE GUITARISTS - ALL TEACHERS SUED
      I guess the current young crop of musician wannabes will just have to give up those crazy dreams, cut their hair, and get an office job. No one left to rage against "the man". Nothing but musak in the elevators.

      Some would consider that hell.
  • by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@gmail.3.14159com minus pi> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:50AM (#19777369) Journal
    I listened to the NPR article at work today.

    One of the tests of fair use is if the offending use of said work is non-commercial. While the videos themselves are available for free, they contained advertisements to the teacher's pay site: they could be construed as advertising for it. Thus, the work could be construed as being "for profit" and thus not falling under fair use.

    I'm not saying I necessarily agree with this interpretation, but I do think it's a good idea to give both sides of the story.
    • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:33AM (#19777569)
      Merely being a commercial use does not automatically exclude it from also being fair use. For example, I can write a news article where I include a reasonable-sized quote from a book or other reference material, and then sell that article to a magazine or newspaper. I'm still making fair use of the book, but I've sold the article for commercial gain.
      • What he should have said was one of the criteria for fair use is commerciality (commercial-ness?). Others include portion of the work used, educational value, etc. These criteria are all taken into account to determine if fair use applies.
  • I'm no expert on music law or anything, but it appears to me that the website in question is selling sheet music (in video form) of songs that he does not own the rights to.

    I don't believe you can listen to someone else's song, figure out the notes, and then sell that to someone else. It seems to me that the original composer aught to be able to control that.

    The kinda reminds me of the websites which were offering music lyrics for free, and earning revenue from advertising. I remember a number of those we
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:16AM (#19777503)
    Was that same, single song in all 100 videos taken down? Either this guy REALLY likes this song, or somebody has WAY OVERREACTED.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:23AM (#19777523)
    Every time a record company issues a takedown notice like this, God downloads another song to all the P2P networks.
    • by mrjb (547783)
      downloads another song to The terms are 'to download from' and 'to upload to'. You can't download *to* a P2P network, that's called uploading.
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:45AM (#19777623)
    I'm waiting for the RIAA to turn on its own artists and sue them for playing at a party or something where they didn't collect revenue from the attendees who witnessed them playing RIAA copyrighted material.
  • Guh!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sunami88 (1074925)
    Maybe this has been mentioned already, but I feel like speaking up.

    How about asking the fscking artist if it constitutes copyright infringement? If they say yes, will they still pull ALL of his vids because of a misstep like this? God damn the RIAA.
    • Odds are the artist doesn't own the rights to the songs in the first place - thus asking him is really pointless without ascertaining that first.
  • covers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:08AM (#19777707)
    what he plays is effectively a cover, as far as i know it's not illegal to play a cover since it's not the same as the orginal anyway?
    • by cliffski (65094)
      when a cover is recorded and sold, royalties are paid to the original songwriter. When a cover is merely performed live, as I understand it, the licence paid by the venue covers it. But make no mistake, there is legal acceptance of the fact that the original songwriter should be compensated when their song is performed for money by other people.
  • by houghi (78078) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:39AM (#19777841)
    My roommates have called in the RIAA to stop me singing under the shower.

    They have even videotaped it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTp7UrhCOmk [youtube.com]

    However I was singing my own song and I am now have asked the RIAA to sue THEM for putting my nusci on line.

    You know, those people realy are there to protect me, REALLY!
  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:41AM (#19777849)
    Given the amount of power that media industry organizations have been given, I predict:

    1. The Red Cross will copyright blood, an prohibit its usage without written consent.
    2. The SAG will trademark all acting, including lying to your parents about where you were last night.
    3. The MPAA will claim ownership of all video recordings.
    4. The RIAA will claim ownership of all audio recordings.
    5. No work, of any type, will be allowed without the explicit approval of the Teamsters.
    6. No one may participate or watch baseball, despite it being the national sport, without written consent from the MLB.
    7. Everyone must change their name to John or Jane Doe, becuase all other names will be trademarked.
    8. Sexual intercourse will be classified as "Unauthorized Genetic Experimentation", and prosecuted as such.
    9. ASCAP will copyright the concept of the "Birthday Party".
    10. The AKC will trademark the term 'Dog'.
    11. All colors will be trademarked.
    12. All smells will be trademarked.
    13. Someone will patent 'Oxygen' and all of its allotropes.
    14. You will have to pay a royalty fee for waking up in the morning.
    15. Languages will be copyrighted/trademarked.

    I hope I die before people in the United States are forced to wear neutral gray clothing, live in neutral gray colored houses, speak in monotone voices, and communicate using hand gestures because everything else will have been copyrighted, patented, or trademarked.

    I wonder why they are called 'royalties'..... Is it because the rights-holders like to feel as if they are kings over everybody else?
    • Unfortunately for you, they'll probably also copyright tin foil hats.

      Oh, the humanity!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by myspace-cn (1094627)
      Hey don't stop.

      Copyright

      Star Spangled Banner
      America The Beautiful
      USAF Theme
      USMC Theme
      NAVY Theme
      Hail To The Chief

      I have played guitar for over 30 years, I Have my own style. I play keyboard, I play drums, I play just about everything I can get my hands on. But if you want to get technical that style is based on other styles, without which I would never have developed my style. Fingers are so long, guitars have so many strings sizes and frets, there are only so many notes, eventually everything could be cop
  • there's nothing about RIAA in that those thing. just a lawyer saying he thinks the RIAA might. way to go /.
  • There really aren't that many chord progressions that work, and many of them have been known for probably a century and are in public domain music. What exactly could be copyrighted there?
  • Lessons... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Coolhand2120 (1001761)
    Here's half of every blues song ever written in every key:
    14145415
    Here's another quarter of them:
    141415415
    And the rest:
    345

    For the non musical, 1234567 represents the notes in any key. The upper paragraph represents about 200 years of rock and blues history, ranging across tens of thousands of songs. Almost all of the songs have a copyright but when you play it yourself no copyright can be claimed because it's your version of a song not the version that has a copyright, hundreds of songs of course a
  • I'm not sure I understand how the RIAA fits into all of this. They are about policing the use of recordings produced and distributed by their member companies.

    I was under the impression that if someone else (other than the original artist) performs the piece, then it falls under the broader and more reasonable terms of compulsory licensing of sheet music, which should be handled by an entirely different organisation since neither the original performing artist or their recording company really has any sta

  • Chords (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Evil Cretin (1090953) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @09:24AM (#19779245)
    FTFA:

    There's a very strong argument that the re-use of well-known chords in the sequence the instructor played them would be a violation of the copyright
    I really don't think the use of a sequence of chords should count as copyright violation, unless there really is something special and significant about them. Perhaps a very unusual chord progression with a particular rythym might have some merit (extend this idea far enough and we have an entire song, which does deserve copyright status), but really, who would really think the sequence "G C D" should have any copyright value? They are exactly as described in the article - "well-known chords".

    It's incredibly common to see songs using the exact same chords as each other (maybe in a different key), often with the same strumming pattern, e.g.:
    - "Someday You Will Be Loved" by Death Cab for Cutie uses the chords of "House of the Rising Sun" all the way through, except in a different key, and with one chord made minor instead of major.
    - "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day and "Wonderwall" by Oasis use the same chord progression - this is just a very common progression.

    But no-one cares about that, do they? So why should this case be any different? It's not illegal to play a popular song written by someone else, on the guitar. Try and find an electric guitarist who hasn't ever played the riff from "Smells Like Teen Spirit". So why on Earth should teaching someone to do so be illegal?

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