Song site operators could face jail time

The latest offense in the music industry's copyright war has been launched by the Music Publishers' Association, which represents U.S. sheet music companies. According to aBBC story, beginning next year the MPA plans to take legal action against Web sites that offer unlicensed song score and lyrics.


MPA president Lauren Keiser apparently doesn't want to stop at fining offenders. If authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective," he said, according to the story.

Keiser said the MPA will target big sites that people think are legitimate. He added that first the Xerox machine usurped his members' potential income, "now the Internet is taking more of a bite out of sheet music and printed music sales so we're taking a more proactive stance." Bloggers, however, wondered if jail time isn't taking things a little too far.

Blog community response:

"No matter how hard Hollywood tries, copyright infringement isn't theft. Even if they set up their own police force, or manage to get the FBI to do their dirty work, the solution to their outmoded business model isn't to throw people in jail, it's to figure out how to compete."
--Tech News Plus

"Did you know that most CDs you buy now a days DON'T have lyrics in the inserts?...So do a search on the Web for them. Usually lyrics like these have been done by people like you who want to sing along to the music, so they spend the time and do the best they can to try to decipher the words. They write them down and share them with the world so others can sing along too. Well, apparently you just broke the law."
--Once Again...

"Fining people for sharing the music online isn't enough, so now they're after imprisonment for telling people how to play songs themselves. I can understand the idea that the lyrics and music are copyrighted, but doesn't there come a point where things are going just a bit too far? It's because of this sort of thing that we need the Open Rights Group."
--Pig Pog

Tech Culture
About the author

Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.


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