What's Next? Raiding Garages?

First music file sharing. Now "Stop sharing our lyrics"...

"The U.S.-based Music Publishers Association is calling for a halt to websites that share song chords and lyrics.

The move is an escalation in the copyright war against file-sharing on the internet.

Guitar licks and song scores are widely available on the internet but are "completely illegal," association president Lauren Keiser told the BBC.

The sites seldom have sheet music, such as a music publisher would print, but outline guitar chords for amateur musicians trying to pick out their favourite songs. They also have text of the lyrics.

Amateur guitarists and bass players have long copied popular songs by ear. The internet has become an alternative source for when they can't figure out a chord.

Keiser called for closing of sites that share guitar licks and lyrics and recommended jail time for site administrators who don't comply.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in June opened the door for lawsuits against file-sharing websites, especially those that encourage sharing of songs and movies.

The recording industry has begun taking action against websites and software developers, but this is the first salvo by music publishers.

"The Xerox machine was the big usurper of our potential income," Keiser said. "But 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."

This week U.K. music publisher Warner/Chappell sent a cease-and-desist letter to the developer of song-lyric search software, pearLyrics.

The company claims pearLyrics "enables people to copy and download lyrics" and that is a copyright infringement equivalent to copying songs online."

I'm all for rights of songwriters. In fact I've written over twenty five published songs.

Yet by and large in spite of the Supremes ruling on file sharing, you can still - and will continue be able to get music free. I'm not saying that is right, but it's the reality. But now Lyrics, chord sheets? What's next, raiding garages for bands for playing BTO's "Taking Care of Business"? Good luck. Google the lyrics of that song and you get over 7 million hits.

One blogger commented,(next) "I’ll get arrested for walking down the street and singing the freakin’ song!"

Notwithstanding that there are the thousands of bar bands in around the world playing "cover" for songs long since dead from airwaves or people's memories. It's simply a waste of court room space.

In case you don't know, artist don't make squat from these lawsuits, but rip off artists like the the RIAA do, and now the MPA wants a piece of the action.