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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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  • 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 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 flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:43AM (#19777329)
    Nevermind not reading TFA. People don't even read the posting.
  • So what does that mean for people who can play songs by ear and don't even purchase the sheet music?
  • Re:Fair use (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kabuthunk ( 972557 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <knuhtubak>> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:25AM (#19777529) Homepage
    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?
  • Guh!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sunami88 ( 1074925 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:50AM (#19777647)
    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.
  • Re:Fair use (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bob8766 ( 1075053 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @05:42AM (#19778333)
    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.
  • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @07:22AM (#19778671)

    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 lyrics that she probably hadn't got a license for. But the internet is an entirely different beast for one reason only: scale. The JustinSandercoeSongs channel has 1005 subscribers. One of his videos on the song Yesterday has already been viewed 3,827 times. And the channel has only existed for a week. That's reproduction on an industrial scale.

    Songwriters make money on instructional materials. DVD producers pay royalties to them. If thousands of people can be taught the song for free, they'll have to stop making DVDs and the songwriters get less money.

    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.


  • Re:Fair use (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mattpointblank ( 936343 ) <> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @08:02AM (#19778819) Homepage

    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 middlemen between the record label and the general public (as I understand it) are publishers. They earn a large cut of the royalties/the band's wages for their role, which isn't either a) creative (like the band) or b) directly marketing the result (like the label). As far as I can tell, they simply license the use of the song for sale on the medium in question (CD, iTunes, etc). There's a caveat though: the definition of 'song'. 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. It's a very specific ownership. This rule means that many bands have recorded an album for a label, decided they don't like the label and want out, and have been held to ransom by said label, because the band no longer own their own songs. They can't go somewhere else and re-record them because that would violate their publishing. All the label has to do is wait, and the band will agree to any terms. This is absolutely disgusting to me as a musician and makes me feel nauseous just thinking about it.

    In this situation then, we can see why the RIAA have a case. This guy is using their published material for his own ends (apparently). Of course we know that he's just trying to teach people a fun instrument and not trying to deprive artists (most of the smaller ones don't have guitar chord books available anyway). The RIAA are not representing the interests of the artists in these cases, and I am one hundred per cent certain that almost every band you could care to ask wouldn't give two shits about this. This commercial rape and insult to creative people needs to end soon because the 'industry' of music is stifling what little creativity we have left.
  • by Maxwell ( 13985 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @08:48AM (#19779045) Homepage
    There's no appreciable difference.

    Income twenty years from now is discounted to nearly nothing. This is especially the case if you are signing over rights to your work. If there were a rule that reverted copyright to the creator after fifteen years, you might have a point.

    You assume the reprinted 40yr old books will sell at the *original* price. The $1000/yr would automatically be inflation adjusted as the price of books go up. A 40yr old book that is still selling would produce useful income every year.

  • by Bunderfeld ( 1113805 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#19779225) Homepage
    If any of you are Don McLean Fans (yes, I'm a bit older then most), then you know Don SHARES the Chords to his songs freely. Since the RIAA owns the copyrights of these songs, I guess that means that all Don McLean fans that learn his songs, from HIS chords, will be going to jail. I know I'm "preaching to the choir" here, but the RIAA is so over-stepping their boundaries here and just about every where else they go. I can't understand how some Federal Judge with these new counter-suits going on hasn't slapped a temporary injunction on the RIAA for possible relief from their illegal activities. Taking down the RIAA would be a simple matter of a Class Action Lawsuit, once the "victims of the RIAA" could prove the RIAA's illegal activities, and there seems to be enough court room documentation for that, the courts could force the RIAA to bring ANYTHING to a Federal Judge before acting on it for a Judicial Review. Of course, INAL, but I've seen Matlock a lot of times :)
  • 50 out of 490 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gm a i l . c om> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @10:18AM (#19779623) Homepage Journal

    RIAA and MPAA have used at least 50 by now.
    Which according to Christian holy texts means that you would only need to give 440 more second chances. Even Jesus gave only seventy times seven chances [].

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell