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RIAA Forces YouTube to Remove Free Guitar Lessons 341

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.
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:30AM (#19777257)
    Why any artist would care if someone learned their works.

    Oh, because the RIAA aren't artists?
  • Wraa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <>> 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 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?
  • 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,

    Justin Sandercoe also has a teaching Web site --

    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.

  • by NobleSavage ( 582615 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:51AM (#19777377)
    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.

  • 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 iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:26AM (#19777543) Journal
    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's not just an economic issue. The government is behind this as much as anybody. These laws provide a means of censorship while at the same time allowing plausible deniability. Cool trick that never fails no matter how many times it's done.

    If you want to play the guitar, or any other instrument(including your voice), I'm sure the industry will offer up a player's license at a reasonable price so only authorized people can purchase use the instrument. And most people won't care. They're expecting a tax cut from the same politicians, who will be re-elected over and over. This issue will not endanger any of that. There was a time in the USA when it was illegal to teach slaves to read, so it's not like this is really a "new" phenomenon or anything.
  • Re:Fair use (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:30AM (#19777559) Journal
    "in particular when used for "nonprofit educational purposes"."

    and before someone says "but there's a link to his website so he's technically profiting!"... no, he isn't. Anyone can watch those lessons online for free, he didn't sell it to you. Now if you decide you like his work and want more lessons and want to pay him for lessons that's fine, but you didn't pay him for the original lesson. Think of it as a teacher showing you something in a class, but then you decide to hire the teacher for private tutoring.
  • Re:Fair use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GizmoToy ( 450886 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:34AM (#19777573) Homepage
    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.
  • by babbling ( 952366 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:59AM (#19777667)
    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 trelayne ( 930715 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:08AM (#19777705)
    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.
  • 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?
  • 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: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?
  • by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:36AM (#19777823)
    Those record companies are the "industry". Independent artists doing their thing isn't an industry.
  • Re:Fair use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@yahF ... m minus language> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:56AM (#19777901)
    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 play guitar. Plenty of great guitarists learned how to play just fine before the internet was even a glimmer in Al Gore's eye.

    (Yes, that's a joke.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by myspace-cn ( 1094627 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:40AM (#19778109)
    Hey don't stop.


    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 copyrighted. It's finite, unless your music sounds like shit, because your no longer playing anything but random noise.

    I played a lot of Stones in my time. The only legal problems, I ever had was the cops coming late at night for disturbing the peace.

    The article said, "a music company accused him of copyright infringement for an instructional video on how to play a Rolling Stones song." So that is not the RIAA. Just a FYI. But in my opinion, it is "poisoned music" at this point. Yes the music (the stones) is good, but it's poison. Fuck man the stones are a foundation of learning rock music. If you can't play every fucking song by the stones you probably suck. In fact you ought to be able to play every song you hear on the radio by ear. I ain't the type that used a lot of music teachers, I had some. In school, and out of school. But this is not good any way you look at it. It ain't funny, and it ain't good.

    We need to go back to the days of the Bard.
    Fuck this fascist fucking crap our country is in now.

    I don't have an solution beyond that, I don't see how your going to break through the corporate media to get real news out. We can't change the laws because we can't vote, we can't vote because the electronics in the machines, then looking at our senators, and oath of office breakers they're never prosecuted because the justice system is owned, and non of this shit will make it past the media blackout.

    We are fucked.
  • by TheSeer2 ( 949925 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @05:03AM (#19778195) Homepage
    ... 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 Admiral Ag ( 829695 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @06:38AM (#19778513)
    You must be joking. If one site is shut down, some other method of sharing information will arise. It's already happened numerous times. Trying to ban file sharing is like trying to ban masturbation. Good luck with that.
  • Re:Fair use (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neildiamond ( 610251 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @08:55AM (#19779083)
    I hope so! It would be much better if it actually taught people how to play guitar. Midi guitars do exist.
  • Chords (Score:3, Insightful)

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

    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?
  • by pkaeding ( 1085893 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @09:50AM (#19779439) Homepage

    Whose side was everybody on then?
    Oh come on. This is slashdot. You can't expect us to hold corporations to the same standards as 'the little guys'.
  • by dgun ( 1056422 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @10:26AM (#19779691) Homepage
    I was humming a copyrighted song this morning in the shower and my wife overheard me. I'm a bad person.
  • 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 like complaining about gravity - say what you will but the law still applies to you.

  • by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @11:45AM (#19780263) Homepage
    I've never argued for 95 year terms for copyright. I would personally be happier with shorter terms. However, when people on slashdot start whining that "teh whole copyright system is teh eviL" and use this as a justification for taking other peoples work for free, those of us who *do* create original work, are naturally inclined to defend the current system, and its defenders (even if that's the RIAA) against those idiots who seem to think that not only does the world owe them a living, but that the efforts of everyone creative in the world should be provided to them at zero cost.

    Its great when everyone else works hard to entertain you for nothing, however, its not sustainable. I'm happy to pay $30 for someone to make pizza and provide a nice restaurant for me to eat it in, and I'm happy to pay $20 to a band to buy a copy of music that maybe took them a year to write, after maybe 10 years learning to play. I really don't give a fuck if the restaurant owner or the musician in question becomes rich from doing so. Just because some of them do, does not entitle me to take the fruits of their labour for free. Amazingly, I consider what *I* get for my money, and whether or not it's worth it to *me*.
  • by TheCouchPotatoFamine ( 628797 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @11:49AM (#19780295)
    It's odd that I'd take a devils advocate position here, but as both an enthusiast musician and a consultant programmer, i've got to take issue. What's so horrible about a label owning a song performed for them? It's called work-for-hire, and *every* programmer encounters this on a regular basis. Company A pays the bills and Company A owns the work. To be upset about a music label doing this is to somehow claim that music itself is somehow more priceless then, say, the code I write on the job (both are equal to me).

    The afore should highlight why i do music for myself and programming for a living.

    I think it's time for musicians to realize that if they want to get paid for what they do without starting their own business to do it - be ready to do what most every programmer has done: Suffer the proprietary slop because it's eaiser, or support Open Source Music because it doesn't mean you sell control away. (but.. but... how do we get paid?? look at open source business!!)

    Complaining that a company owns a work-for-hire done for them, sounds alot like musicians are just out to get a fast buck.

    /o rly?
    //music for kids by kids
    ///because we wanna, not because we gotta!
  • Re:Fair use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:05PM (#19782373) Homepage Journal
    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 timing or emphasis. The result would not be a comedy performance, and so it would not infringe on the comedians' creative rights.

    It would get interesting if the comedians had their own instructional videos in which they use their own materials. That would get interesting.
  • "Don McLean Fans (yes, I'm a bit older then most),"

    that's not so old.

    "but I've seen Matlock a lot of times "
    That is!

    The DMCA needs to be modified so that ISP are still not liable for what people post(which was the main selling point) and only have to take stuff down if given a court order.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.