mudcat.org: <B>Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2</B>
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2

Max 04 Nov 99 - 11:13 PM
Jeri 04 Nov 99 - 11:46 PM
Tom on Comfort 04 Nov 99 - 11:53 PM
Áine 05 Nov 99 - 12:08 AM
Bill D 05 Nov 99 - 12:15 AM
katlaughing 05 Nov 99 - 12:25 AM
katlaughing 05 Nov 99 - 12:30 AM
lloyd61 05 Nov 99 - 12:38 AM
alison 05 Nov 99 - 12:45 AM
05 Nov 99 - 12:51 AM
Pauline L. 05 Nov 99 - 01:01 AM
Bugsy 05 Nov 99 - 02:32 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Nov 99 - 04:08 AM
catspaw49 05 Nov 99 - 07:24 AM
Micca 05 Nov 99 - 07:38 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 05 Nov 99 - 08:38 AM
Vixen 05 Nov 99 - 08:50 AM
MMario 05 Nov 99 - 08:56 AM
Bev Lawton 05 Nov 99 - 09:06 AM
katlaughing 05 Nov 99 - 09:20 AM
katlaughing 05 Nov 99 - 09:25 AM
Mudjack 05 Nov 99 - 10:04 AM
Barry Finn 05 Nov 99 - 10:07 AM
GutBucketeer 05 Nov 99 - 10:07 AM
Jeri 05 Nov 99 - 10:26 AM
MTM 05 Nov 99 - 10:31 AM
Vixen 05 Nov 99 - 10:44 AM
M 05 Nov 99 - 10:48 AM
MTM 05 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM
Alice 05 Nov 99 - 11:09 AM
Roger the skiffler 05 Nov 99 - 11:12 AM
Vixen 05 Nov 99 - 11:15 AM
Mían 05 Nov 99 - 11:24 AM
MTM 05 Nov 99 - 11:50 AM
annamill 05 Nov 99 - 12:20 PM
Vixen 05 Nov 99 - 12:31 PM
Max 05 Nov 99 - 01:24 PM
Bert 05 Nov 99 - 01:52 PM
Charlie Baum 05 Nov 99 - 02:38 PM
Metchosin 05 Nov 99 - 02:45 PM
MTM 05 Nov 99 - 03:05 PM
Bert 05 Nov 99 - 03:24 PM
Alice 05 Nov 99 - 03:27 PM
wyowoman 05 Nov 99 - 03:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 99 - 06:32 PM
Paul S 05 Nov 99 - 10:51 PM
BK 05 Nov 99 - 11:30 PM
_gargoyle 05 Nov 99 - 11:49 PM
WyoWoman 06 Nov 99 - 01:02 PM
bbelle 06 Nov 99 - 01:17 PM
MMario 06 Nov 99 - 07:20 PM
Paul S 06 Nov 99 - 11:20 PM
katlaughing 06 Nov 99 - 11:27 PM
katlaughing 07 Nov 99 - 12:17 AM
Banjer 07 Nov 99 - 08:59 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 07 Nov 99 - 11:50 AM
Áine 07 Nov 99 - 12:33 PM
WyoWoman 07 Nov 99 - 01:01 PM
Áine 07 Nov 99 - 01:32 PM
katlaughing 07 Nov 99 - 03:08 PM
Mudjack 07 Nov 99 - 03:09 PM
Sapper_RE 07 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM
Frank Hamilton 07 Nov 99 - 05:14 PM
katlaughing 07 Nov 99 - 05:37 PM
Jeri 07 Nov 99 - 06:39 PM
BK 07 Nov 99 - 11:56 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 08 Nov 99 - 09:28 AM
Frank Hamilton 08 Nov 99 - 10:52 AM
katlaughing 08 Nov 99 - 02:10 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 08 Nov 99 - 04:35 PM
katlaughing 08 Nov 99 - 05:16 PM
Ferrara 08 Nov 99 - 06:20 PM
Roger in Baltimore 08 Nov 99 - 06:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Nov 99 - 08:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Nov 99 - 08:42 PM
katlaughing 08 Nov 99 - 09:02 PM
Lyle 08 Nov 99 - 09:33 PM
kendall 08 Nov 99 - 10:56 PM
08 Nov 99 - 11:50 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 09 Nov 99 - 12:39 PM
Bert 09 Nov 99 - 12:45 PM
MMario 09 Nov 99 - 12:56 PM
Ferrara 09 Nov 99 - 01:35 PM
katlaughing 09 Nov 99 - 02:09 PM
Charlie Baum 09 Nov 99 - 02:41 PM
Bert 09 Nov 99 - 02:51 PM
Jeri 09 Nov 99 - 04:03 PM
A Publisher 09 Nov 99 - 09:35 PM
annamill 09 Nov 99 - 10:14 PM
Barry Finn 09 Nov 99 - 11:18 PM
Max 09 Nov 99 - 11:47 PM
SeanM 10 Nov 99 - 12:28 AM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 12:38 AM
Jeri 10 Nov 99 - 09:31 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 10 Nov 99 - 09:38 AM
Max 10 Nov 99 - 10:10 AM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 10:40 AM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 10:49 AM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 10:59 AM
MTM 10 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 11:24 AM
123 10 Nov 99 - 11:32 AM
Sourdough 10 Nov 99 - 11:35 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Nov 99 - 02:23 PM
Jeri 10 Nov 99 - 02:34 PM
lamarca 10 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM
A Publisher 10 Nov 99 - 05:28 PM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 05:44 PM
10 Nov 99 - 05:47 PM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 06:06 PM
Áine 10 Nov 99 - 06:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Nov 99 - 09:17 PM
A Publisher 10 Nov 99 - 09:24 PM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM
Margo 10 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM
Malcolm Douglas 11 Nov 99 - 01:36 AM
Pauline L. 11 Nov 99 - 03:36 AM
Jeri 11 Nov 99 - 12:25 PM
MTM 11 Nov 99 - 01:43 PM
11 Nov 99 - 02:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Nov 99 - 02:31 PM
Margo 11 Nov 99 - 02:49 PM
Margo 11 Nov 99 - 03:03 PM
11 Nov 99 - 03:09 PM
Jeri 11 Nov 99 - 03:22 PM
Bert 11 Nov 99 - 03:42 PM
A Publisher 11 Nov 99 - 03:46 PM
Bert 11 Nov 99 - 03:54 PM
A Publisher 11 Nov 99 - 03:57 PM
12 Nov 99 - 09:32 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 17 Nov 99 - 01:22 PM
Roger the skiffler 22 Nov 99 - 09:04 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 22 Nov 99 - 11:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 99 - 09:24 PM
GeorgeH 02 Dec 99 - 09:43 AM
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Max
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 11:13 PM

Well, round 2 went down today. Spoke to an attorney for The Harry Fox Agency today. There story is that they are no obligated to provide us with specifics until they file charges. All they would tell me is that one or more of there thousands of Publishers has complained and they won't even tell me which one(s).

Very circular argument.

They say: Provide us with a list of all songs in your database that are not public domain, and we will then tell you what you have to do.

I say: tell me what my options will be once I do this.

They say: You have to talk to the CEO for that info and he has nothing to say till you provide us with the list.

I say: Can I buy some sort of license from you to work this out?

They say: You'll have to talk to the CEO, We won't know that till you send us the list.

I say: OK, what is the CEO's #.

They say: You cannot talk to him.

I say: I want you to tell me what is objectionable, then I will have insight in which to ponder this.

They say: We only have to provide that information if we file charges, and we don't want to do that for your sake. You don't want this to go to court do you? You are braking the law, not only civily, but also criminally, you could go to jail. All we are trying to do is help you. We want you to have a legal site so you can help bring attention and press to music, because we love music and what you do is good for music.

I say: Well, I will have to think about this because not only is this a legal decision for me, it is also a moral decision, because I know what I am doing is right and what you are doing is wrong.

They say: What you are doing is illegal. What you are doing is a crime and we are the police, and I doubt you would be arguing like this to a police officer.

I say: Wanna bet?

They say: You do have the right to ignore us and negotiate with the publishers individually.

I say: OK, great, which ones have issues, I choose to negotiate with them independently.

They say: We are not obligated to say, so you will have to contact all 22,000 of them.

I say: I read about how you keep crushing lyric sites, just trying to be helpful?

They say: We're only trying to help people be legal.

I say: And it has nothing to do with your for profit lyric server with banner ads and such?

They say: We only represent the music publishers in our association.

I wanted to say: How to you sleep at night? Or do you believe your own lies?

If we provide the list, we are basically saying "Here is all the ways we are breaking the law." These bastards got this down, they know how to fawk with us, no doubt. I could tell, that they were running me in circles on purpose. This is a strategy.

They kept trying to get me to guarantee a call back within a week too.

I said: Am I obligated by law to do so, or is this a threat? If so, please send me a certified letter telling me when I must respond by before it hits the fan.

They say: No, your not obligated, but for your benefit, we don't want this to go on forever.

We ended the call, and I was angry. It is a clever strategy, and not one that seems to give us much option. And my efforts to penetrate the legal mumbo jumbo to get to the deeper meaning of this failed. She wavered, but did not crack. I think she (the lawyer) saw me as defiant, and probably noted so to the HFA. I guess I will call them back next Thursday, so here we go… what do you all think?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 11:46 PM

Trying to help people be legal when they won't even tell you who made the complaint or what the complaint was specifically about? Yeah, right. Are they aware of the number of people who think they're being jerks?

Sounds like they want you to send them song titles so they can make a case. I think it's up to them to do the research. If they can't tell you what they object to, they probably don't know themselves. The song database is available to the public, and they obviouly know the URL.

You have to be found to be willfully breaking copyright laws, don't you? If you don't know you're doing it, how can it be willful? I still think they're trolling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Tom on Comfort
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 11:53 PM

Good work, standard-bearer!!! Hangin in there! Goddess give you strength!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Áine
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:08 AM

Max,

At this juncture, I would advise you to get a lawyer! Have you checked to see if there are any non-profit organizations in your area that could help refer you to an attorney? You are NOT obligated in any way to provide ANYTHING to these people!! If they have a complaint against the Mudcat, then they must provide evidence of their complaint. Don't let them talk you into doing their dirty work for them!

I hope that you are keeping WRITTEN records of your conversations with these people, as your records could be used as evidence of your actions, in good faith, to find a reasonable way of dealing with them (if, God forbid, this goes to court).

The only way you can be made to provide ANY information to this attorney is if it is subpoenaed in a lawsuit. Do NOT let this person bluff you or bully you into ANYTHING!

Again, I would strongly advise you to get an attorney ASAP. Contact your state's Bar Asssociation for help -- their number should be available by calling information; or contact a local non-profit assistance organization. Until you get some good legal advice, I would suggest that you do not communicate further with these folks.

-- Áine


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:15 AM

...and this thread has ended up in my list RIGHT after the one on The Corporate World!...

did you ever notice how those who have the least feeling for goodness and rationality manage to work themselves into the positions where they can do the most harm?...No?...have you seriously studied your memebrs of Congress lately?.....

Harry Fox and his minions flatly DO NOT CARE that we are willing to remove any offending songs...they want to establish lots of cases for their position! It is in their best interest to create a no-win situation for ANYONE publishing lyrics who does not walk their line!

Can we, being 95+% compliant beat the rap?..*shrug*....I think it's worth a try....but I don't have to make those calls Max is stuck with.....

OLGA and The Lyrics Server and a few others KNOW they are putting up banned lyrics, and hoped to keep hiding on foreign servers and doing it anyway...we do NOT intentionally break the law. (Wonder if Cowpie has been hassled?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:25 AM

I absolutely agree with Aine, Max. They are blowing a lot of hot air. As Jeri said, they are looking for your list so that they can try to make a case. I doubt anyone has even complained to them. At the risk of more notice, maybe there should be a banner somewhere that says, "If you are a publisher, please talk to us, etc." So that they know they can go to you directly if they notice something wrong.

YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE ANYTHING MORE TO DO WITH THEMDIRECTLY. FROM HERE ON OUT ANY COMMUNICATION SHOULD BE THROUGH A LAWYER ONLY. There are laws of discovery and evidence. You have a right to know specifics of what you are being accused of before you can be hauled into a court of law.

What a bunch of fawkheads! You handled yourself very well, Max. Don't let them bluff you. Have you had a chance to check out the PA law websites I posted early on in the other thread? Also, in NYC there is an advocacy law group for non profits. I've called them and had them research a copyright question for my brother for free; their law students do it for the experience, but everything goes through lawyers with experience. I see if I can find their number tomorrow.

This is gonna cost, Mudders. How about making a committment to send in a "widow's mite" once a month. If we all do that, it could add up to a mighty sum to help pay legal fees. Heck if the 70-100 regulars Max mentioned the other day, each sent in $10 per month that would be a good bit of help, I am sure. Barring that, see if you can put something in the auction and tell your friends to visit it.

Max, I willtalk to my paralegal friend, tomorrow. She will have some idea of what they can and cannot do re' providing you with info, etc. Honestly, though, I think you've got to play hardball now and get a lawyer and don't cave in to their demand for a weekly phone call. They are just jerking your chain.

luvyaKat and gawdesses and gawds bless you and the Mudcat!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:30 AM

Had another thought. Wouldn't suggest this without talking to a lawyer first, BUT we could mount a huge publicity campaign with press releases and organise a letter-writing-through-email petition campaign-type thing. The Internet is fast becoming the first line of political action etc. and this has great potential for news coverage, IMO, based on the underdog and big bad meany. I've done a lot of this in the past and would be more than happy to launch it and/or help in anyway, including doing one of my columns on it. I've done a couple on an org. which was one of the first to use the Internet as a tool that way, called moveon.org.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: lloyd61
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:38 AM

Max……

I don't think they are trolling. This is big business. With proper Legal intervention you will be able to hold them off for a while, but in the end they will win. It is time to start thinking of alternatives. We will need to get permission publisher by publisher. I have to believe that we would have to deal with only a hand full of publishers to cover most of the traditional songs. Also, It may be time to consider the Mudcat Publishing Company. I wonder how many unpublished songs are out there written by Mudcat people. I have over a dozen songs looking for a home. Good Luck.

Lloyd61


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: alison
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:45 AM

Get a lawyer Max...... they know what they are fighting against.... you could be making things a lot worse for yourself by trying.

Good luck

alison


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From:
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:51 AM

You can sue them today for threatening you under 'abuse' provisions already in force. They asserted you did something illegal and refused the normal inforamtion. Whiping a horse for not thinking is cruel!

Second you can sue them for impersonating the police and misguiding you. Pretending to be a Doctor and refusing aid to a choking person, maximus naughtius.

Third you can sue them for wasting your valuable time as a public sservant! You do Mudcat free and we need you Max. Public servants are protected by the state in your case Pensylvania.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Pauline L.
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 01:01 AM

Max,

I agree very strongly with Aine and kat/katlaughing. WE NEED A LAWYER. It is important to know what our rights and liabilities are. It is also important not to speak to those jerks directly, but through a lawyer who can "run interference." In my neck of the woods (Wash. DC Metropolitan area), most lawyers will give you a one hour consultation for free. Just be sure not to let them think that you are lawyer-hopping.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bugsy
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 02:32 AM

Max.

Having been through this with a company I used to work with, I too suggest that you contact a Copyright Lawyer. I also strongly suggest that you involve your federal parliamentary representative. Send him a letter of complaint in this regard along with copies of all correspodence you have had so far.

That's what the poli's are paid for. To represent their electors.

Good Luck.

Bugsy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 04:08 AM

Hey, Max, When you've finished wiping the floor with the heavies, can you come to London and do my industrial tribunal next year??

Seriously, cover your back, keep written records of everything, and try not to have solitary conversations with these people. Broadcast the notes somewhere public so you will always have copies. Always try to take a third person in with you, as a note taker if necessary, or ask if you can record the conversation. If you ask them, and they say yes, it isn't illegal and may possibly be admissible in court, if they say no, refuse to talk without a third person taking notes. Too often have I been on the wrong end of the 'You said, I said' scenario.

And if they have said that they 'are the police' they are guilty of misrepresentation and possibly impersonating a police officer, something I believe doesn't go down too well that side of the pond. And if they insist you talk to the CEO (sorry, no idea what that is, but sounds important), but then refuse to give you the opportunity to do so, like witholding the number, then they are guilty of obstructing due process. You have offered to rectify the situation by calling the CEO and they have obstructed you.

Go for it, and nil illegitemi carborundum or what ever it is.

(Don't let the "persons of doubtful parentage" grind you down)

Liz the Squeak


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 07:24 AM

Probably need to see a lawyer Max. Avoid any more unrecorded one on ones.

So what is the process if HFA were to "Close" the 'Cat? Obviously they can't without involving some government people. So who are THEY and how would HFA go about it? Could you talk with whoever that is and explain the situation.....that you'd like to resolve it, but don't know who or what you're trying to resolve? That HFA is portraying themselves as police but refuse to play by the rules of the American justice system? That you will happily resolve individual issues, if indeed there are any, but this strikes you as a witch hunt?

Just a thought......Has anyone else tried to "bypass" HFA in this manner?

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Micca
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 07:38 AM

I disagree with loyd61 I suspect that what he says is what they want you to think. "If we make big corporate noises at these"small fry" they will send us the "evidence "we need to prove our case". If you need subscriptions for a fighting fund put up a BS thread and I will happily contribute, a secure credit card line so that us Europeans can contribute easily would be great Otherwise , to TC (thread creep) I think its a load of Bollocks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 08:38 AM

Max,

OK, let me get this straight.

You, Max, are in allegedly in violation of the law because you are making copyrighted material readily available to the general public without permission.

Yet this material that is so readily available that they can't get their hands on it, and need you to send it to them.

This was just a test to see if they said jump whether you would say 'How high?'. Get a lawyer.

And if you've go a device to record phone calls, don't talk to them without recording the conversation. Be sure to let them know that thats the only way you'll talk to them. If they complain, ask them, "You're not going to say anything to me that you'd be ashamed to have a judge or jury hear later are you? No? So whats the problem with a permanent record of this conversation?" If they balk, have them send you a letter in writing.

Best Regards

Jack


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Vixen
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 08:50 AM

Dear Max, et alia--

This is a public forum. The HFA/NMFA can read this and other things we say in posts and perhaps use our own written words against us.

GET A LAWYER!!!!

V

NOI NOI NOI, really! I'm scared that the 'cats are going to be trampled by the HFA/NMFA organization.

V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MMario
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 08:56 AM

I would think in this position, they would HAVE to provide information. Why should the site close down on THEIR say-so? Especially if they do not give specifics. they should at LEAST be able to provide copies of the complaints.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bev Lawton
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 09:06 AM

Max - there is either a certain amount of bluffing and/or ignorance involved here. The DT is available for download on this site so unless they ARE stupid they will already have downloaded it anyway. It may be prudent to remove that facility temporarily anyway. This has been happening on various ABC sites - particularily Bagpipe ones. You could put a disclaimer notice out when people access the DT saying that to your knowledge all songs are in the public domain - and if a publisher has a claim on a song to please contact you etc to arrange removal/fee etc etc. Bev lawton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 09:20 AM

Good advice, Bev. Max, there is something called the Copyright Tribunal that is supposed to be the watchdog for copyright protection of music. These creeps are acting as though it is a done deal and it is not. At this point it is their very iffy word against yours; two private citizens, so to speak. For anything to be criminal a district attorney would have to get involved, investigate, interrogate, and decide if there were enough to charge you with, very doubtful. I think this would be strictly civil. They still would have to identify exactly what you are bing accused of.

JUST SPOKE TO MY PARALEGAL FRIEND. She says Intellectual Properties Rights is the fastest growing field in law, right now, because of the Internet. SHE SAID TO FIND A LAWYER WHO PRACTICES THAT TYPE OF LAW, IMMEDIATELY. Things are changing so fast, in that realm, that you absolutely need a lawyer.

MUDDERS: TO CONTRIBUTE, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CLICK ON THE "QUICK LINK", PULL DOWN THE MENU AND CLICK ON "CONTACT US". That will give you the addy, etc. FOR THOSE OF YOU IN THE UK AND EUROPE, YOU CAN DO IT BY CREDIT CARD, just go to the SHOP & Auction or to Support the Mudcat to find out how. I'll go double check that and post exact instructions in a minute, if Max doesn't get to it first.

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 09:25 AM

Here is what you find if you click on the fish jumping out of the banjo where it says, "Support the Mudcat":

If you do feel compelled to make a contribution we won't stop you. You may do so on our secure server here with Visa or MasterCard , or calling 610-738-9050, or send checks to The Digital Tradition, 28 Powell Street, Greenwich, CT 06831 or The Mudcat Cafe, 5 W. Gay St. Suite A, West Chester, PA 19380.

In this paragraph on that page, there is a link directly to the secure server. Max is at the Pennsylvania addy with the Mudcat; Dick and Susan are at the one in Connecticut with the DigiTrad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Mudjack
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:04 AM

Bev's right, they think they have something. I say put an attorney on retainer and wait. When two opposing attorneys get involved, the first thing they seem to discuss amongst themselves is, "How much can we milk these Pilgrims for?". And then they come back to their clients and give their best impression of really caring. The sad part is, it's the only game in town and no alternatives.
Regardless of what comes down the pipe, We Mudcatters need to campaign using the power of the people to give the HFA a tar and feather treatment. Are they really that powerful or are they selling bull shit?
A check is on the way......Keep up the good fight Max.
Mudjack


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Barry Finn
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:07 AM

I'm no legal begal but I was always under the impression that a defendant never is required to get evidence against themselves or implacate or self incrimanite themselves. Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:07 AM

Max:

I agree with everyone that has already said GET A Lawyer.

Another suggestion is to contact the OLGA people and anyone else that has gone up against these guys in the past. They may even recommend some firms that are already familiar with the HFA tactics. In my distant memory I seem to recall that one of the reasons the DT was moved from the Xerox site (It was at Xerox before wans't it?) was the threat of something like this happening. Does Dick recall what that was all about?

Also, are they concerned more with the database than the forum? I read that OLGA grew out of the Guitar TAB newsgroup, which is still active and where people still post TABS and lyrics. The OLGA site also is still worth visiting for information files etc. The database is just no longer available. I wish I knew more about the law.

Do we have a rough idea of the proportion of entries that are public domain in the data base? Don't answer that in a public forum.

Here is one last idea. Are the lyrics on their site only from their members? It might be worth if the more known Mudcatters check for their songs in HFAs files. IF they find some and did not give permission, or are not getting royalties. BINGO ! It would be really cool to find them in violation of their own rules.

JAB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:26 AM

Max, I'll refrain from saying "you should" because 1) it's your ass, and 2) I'm no expert. Some possible good ideas:

Lawyer.

If you want to escalate, I'm sure they'll play along.

Publicity does wonders. You could make a public written statement of the facts only, and send it to Sing Out! and other folk and general music publications, various internet newsgroups (I'm willing to post it for you if you want.) There are loads of folkies who are probably unaware of this threat because they only access the DT and don't ever read the forum. Caution: this may fall into the heading of "escalation."

It seems to me that if you have a license with BMI, ASCAP, or whomever, and the artists complaining (if there really are any) have registered their copyright with those organizations, they may be up the creek sans paddle.

If anyone wants to read the actual copyright laws, they're here

See also House Approves Digital Copyright Legislation Got a phone number for the American Civil Liberties Union? They have layers. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MTM
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:31 AM

Max-

Copyright infringement threats very rarely represent the interests of authors or composers. I have dealt directly with other rights clearinghouses (never HFA) assessing claims of infringement whose claims were rebuffed when the authors were consulted.

In my case, I did find it necessary to find a lawyer. Investigating the "fair use" clause of copyright law, which includes parody, became the basis for what would have amounted to a defense if the had taken us to court, which they did not.

First and foremost, though, remember that these people don't represent the law, they represent money and a lot of lawyers and corporate scare tactics. They can never shut down the database, only force you to not "publish" lyrics of their "clients". Whether you actually "publishing" or they are actually representing their "clients" interests are different legal matters all together. Intellectual Properties Rights will become the hottest topic of the next decade now that big corporations have recognized the power of the internet and the ways they can control it. Either copyright law is going to be turned on its head or the internet will become a silent fizzle. Big business doesn't want that eiher.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Vixen
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:44 AM

REPEAT! A WARNING!!!

Until Max has legal counsel, the rest of us should shut up on this topic. We may be making the whole thing worse. HFA/NMPA can read, and print everything we say here.

Just my $0.02, FWIW

V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: M
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:48 AM

Max,

If this is a public server, available to everyone, then why are they requesting that YOU send them the list of songs? If they can read anything we write, THEY should already have the list of songs in the Digitrad. It seems like they're jerking yer chain. They probably do know what they're doing, but are going about it in a nefarious and possibly illegal manner. And they do NOT care if other people think they're jerks.

Humor me a little...the Digitrad is a virtual library, no? One could conceivably go to a physical library and find all sorts of songbooks, and take them home and copy a/o learn songs from them. The library would not be liable for breaking copyright laws by just having the books. No? Doesn't copyright protect the songwriter/artist's creation form others using it and MAKING MONEY on it? I thought the monetary-gain aspect of it was the point. Would a disclaimer stating that the Digitrad is for personal use ONLY, that one couldn't record these songs without getting permission first, help cover it? I know copyright is a murky area, and I only have knowledge of it in regards to (printed) artwork, so if I am wrong, please correct me.

The advice to stop communicating with them directly is dead on. Find a good lawyer--there are some out there. Good luck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MTM
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM

It's important to continue a dialog on this topic. Max can not be held liable for opinions posted to this forum, except his own, and even then it's iffy. I have nothing to lose for expressing mine. Perhaps being wary of not P.D. lyric requests is a good idea, but I've dealt with similar blowhards, and I don't think we should let them scare us into silence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Alice
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:09 AM

Max, check your onstage email. I sent you the name and phone numbers of two copyright attorneys. -alice flynn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:12 AM

The massed slouching and drooling band of the Neil Young Center (tiples, kazoos,accordians,banjo-mandolins and ocarinas) are going to play outside the HFA offices all weekend.
When their lobby is knee-deep in drool and possum poo they'll know with whom they're messing!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Vixen
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:15 AM

OOPS!

I *DON'T* mean we shouldn't talk about this, or let "them" scare us into silence!!!

I *DO* think we don't want our own words used against us, and we should keep our comments reserved for personal emails, rather than posted for whatever "enemies" we might have to read them. Perhaps Max can set up a secure discussion forum to which he only admits members he knows personally. I just think there must be a better way to discuss this than where anyone can read it to use as he or she deems fit.

V (sincerely apologizing for her lack of clarity!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Mían
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:24 AM

If they won't give you the individual names of publishers with issues, will they give you the entire list of 22,000 publishers?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MTM
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:50 AM

Sorry Vixen--

meant no disrespect. I do not know Max personally, but perhaps such a secure forum is ideal for his trusted mudcatter friends. I am willing to share my experience with copyright litigation, as I think this is a wonderful site, and ungrounded harassment of musicians by copyright clearinghouses pisses me off.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: annamill
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:20 PM

Max, get a lawyer. My contribution is on the way. Vixen is right. Let's shut up before we topple our arguments.

Love, annap


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Vixen
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:31 PM

AWK!

I put my foot in my mouth AGAIN!!! When I said "personally," I didn't mean to create an "in" group and an "out" group! MTM--please don't go away!!! I meant folks that Max "knows" because he has in some way verified they are not associated with HFA/NMFA. Max does, after all, have access to all the subscription info we gave him when we joined...

V (apologizing for muddying the muddy waters further!!!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Max
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 01:24 PM

I think its fine that we talk here. I don't care what they read. This is a public place, run by its public. I am just one of you that happens to host this place. We will deal with this together. You all should feel free to say what you will, it only might matter if I were to divulge our strategy or whatnot, but your suggestions and your disdain are fine here. Don't worry, this'll be fun...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 01:52 PM

Well if it's fun you want; we could all copyright a load of traditional songs and then we can sue THEM ;-) Make them appear in every small claims court in the country for publishing Barbara Allen and Cindy and all the others. Tee Hee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 02:38 PM

Nothing about this case is criminal, certainly not yet! Claims of copyright infringement are a legal dispute between two or more parties, none of them the government, which makes this a CIVIL case, not a criminal one. If, and only if, the civil case results in a judgment against the DT or Mudcat,and the DT or Mudcat THEN does not comply with the cease and desist order, does anything approaching criminality come into it. First, they have to prove that there is a copyright infringement; then they have to prove you're doing nothing about it.

Of course, you should consult a lawyer about this.

Or move the database to a place beyond the reaches of the law, like Abkhazia or North (Turkish) Cyprus.

--Charlie Baum


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Metchosin
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 02:45 PM

All this s**t thats coming down in Round 2 has Buffalo Springfielded me back to the 60's. Anyway here's my rant, but I didn't know exactly which thread to put it under. I was so excited about finding this site after months in the ethernet wasteland, that I've been high for a couple of weeks. God, finally a place where where the people were erudite, had a sense of humor, were discussing subjects that I could relate to and were doing something for posterity that I could really support. I'd finally found my way back home and I'm really pissed off and upset that corporate greed and legal beagle ambulance chasers could take it away. Dick is right re the "public domain thread", just look at what Paul Simon did to Bert Jansch and the lyrics to Scarborough Fair. Since it all boils down to money and greed, why not offer them their percentage on royalties from the "profits" of the DT and the Mudcat, seeing thats what they're really after, and if there are no profits? Well blow me! You could run that by your lawyer, and do get one, preferably one who's also a musician. Oh yeah, I have sent in a small donation to the "fund" and put my money where my mouth is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MTM
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 03:05 PM

painfully stupid idea to follow:

take all non p.d. works in the dt and transform them into parodies, using the definition provided by the fair use clause of U.S. copyright law. then they can't touch. nya nya.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 03:24 PM

Or we could send them on the two way trip through the translator;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Alice
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 03:27 PM

ha ha ha! Bert, that's funny!! Lyrics clear as mud.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: wyowoman
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 03:45 PM

Hi-- I'm at work and just logged on for a minute. `

A couple of thoughts, ere I log off again: You might want to tape record any subsequent conversations with these guys, and make sure you let them know you're taping the conversation. (In some states, it's against the law to tape a conversation without informing the person you're taping.) This will serve to let them know that they can't say just any old thing, and that you're keeping a record of the conversations, so they will be held to account for what they say.

Second, I agree that you probably need an attorney at this point, if only to up the ante on their bluff, which it's apparent they're trying to pull. They want you to produce your song list so they can go to the publishers of the music with it and try to get them as paying clients. Maybe if they realize that you aren't going to be bullied into doing their work for them, they'll back off.

Also, I"ll ask our investigative reporter when he gets back from lunch if he can do a couple of searches (not on company time, in case my publisher is looking in) on these guys. He's a wonder at finding obscure information about people and organizations, so maybe he can get some background that would be useful in fighting fire with fire.

Hold your ground, m'dear. We have yet begun to fight...

WW


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 06:32 PM

If wyowoman is right in her speculation that "they want you to produce your song list so they can go to the publishers of the music with it and try to get them as paying clients", that in itself is a valid reason why it would be wrong (and I suspect illegal) for you to copmply with this request.

If any songs on the Digital Tradition should happen to be songs for which I hold the copyright I would object most strongly to any information identifying these songs being supplied to this organisation, which might lead to them trying to get in touch with me or seeking to represent me in any way. I think that this is a view which many songwriters would share, and which ought to provide you with a valid reason to decline to send them the list they request.

As I see it, there are in principle four sets of songs involved.

The first, and I imagine the largest set consists of songs which are in the public domain, which exist in variants in many parts of the world;

The second set of songs would be songs ones which are copyright - but where the people who own the copyright have explicitly or implicitly indicated that they are in full agreement with them being included on the site.

The third set of songs would be any which are copyright, and where the copyright holders are represented by Harry the Fox and friends.

And the fourth set of songs would be songs which are copyright, and where no specific consent has at this time been given for them to be included on the site, but whose copyright holders are in no way represented by Harry the Fox and friends, and who might indeed be disgusted at the idea of being so represented.

The only songs with which Harry and co have anything to do with are the third set - and here you have already explicitly agreed that if you are supplied with a list of them you will ensure that they are removed from the site.

And of course you have already supplied a list of all the songs in the Digital Tradition, by the mere fact of putting them on the site in a downloadable fashion.

What I take it they are doing is trying to scare you, and to push you into making some kind of concession that they have a case, which they can then use to push you into making some further concession.

It's like the technique of interrogation/torture - once somebody starts answering questions under pressure, their resistance is weakened, and it becomes increasingly hard to resist the next round of questions.

Incidentally, any time I think there are a few songs that need re-homing on the net, I'll be happy to supply one, and I'm sure there are lots of other people who will as well. And that won't require permission from anyone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Paul S
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 10:51 PM

Max, a couple of points I haven't seen touched upon:
First: I wouldn't have been dedicated enough to make and maintain the Mudcat in the first place; you should be commended for that.

Second: I have to agree with Jeri on one of her points; it's your ass. I certainly wouldn't think any less of you if you decided that the possible risks to your livelihood, and extra time commitments, are not worth the bother. If it were my site, I'd probably give in and shut it down. .....BUT.....that being said, I hope that you fight and win, because I love this place.
Paul


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: BK
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:30 PM

I work in a prison & have worked in several; IMHO this is - pure & simple - exactly the kind of scummy sleaze I see coming from inmates all the time. And of those in prison who file suits, I can tell you it's almost always the guys who've committed the most heinous crimes whose lawsuits generally make the most sweeping assertions, w/the most dramatic high-minded statements of moral outrage (all the while you know for a FACT that they are total pathological lies!), like the litigious chap who was imprisoned for sexually molesting children, and he knew while doing it that he had HIV! One oh the major goals of these legal actions is to bully & intimidate.

IMHO, the character of what I'm seeing is very much in line w/the typical legal threats from inmates. I come home from dealing with some of these people & feel as though I've been morally slimed. I hate to see it here too, it's bad enough at work, but, dammit, Max, don't cooperate w/these vermin. It was probably time for the Mudcat to establish a working relationship w/a legal professional any-way, given the litigious nature of our screwy society, what's happenned to OLGA, etc. So get a relationship w/a lawyer & invite these bullies to go play in the freeway. my 2 cents worth.

BK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: _gargoyle
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:49 PM

You are "speaking" MC....

Not "DT" right?

They are two completely separate beings - Correct?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: WyoWoman
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 01:02 PM

BK-- having been a journalist for 20 years and receiving mucho mail from inmates, I tend to agree with you. Has those overtones, doesn't it?

Max--my investigative reporter friend was sick today, but I'll follow up on Monday and see if we can find out anything about these guys. Meantime, don't give 'em jack.

ww


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: bbelle
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 01:17 PM

Max ... You need to find a lawyer posthaste and if money is an issue you need to let us know, because this issue affects many of us. In addition, do not let your idealism, which I adore, be blinders. Truth and right do not always will out and the big boys will use whatever ammunition is available to them ... moonchild


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MMario
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 07:20 PM

gg - though it's the MudCat that is getting the heat, the REASON is probably the DT.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Paul S
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 11:20 PM

To be honest, I don't understand a lot of the copyright issues, and the stuff that Harry Fox is about, but here (CLICK) is an essay I found on the web. It's pretty informative.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 11:27 PM

The original letter was sent certified to Max and Dick, as shown in the beginning of the first thread on this, NO BS Mudcat Under Attack.

From what I understand, money is always needed, esp. when one has to engage a lawyer. I posted info earlier with addys etc. for how people can donate.

I am sure Max would feel better about getting a lawyer, if he knew it was coming or already had a lot of monetary support. He makes this spot for us to create, so we all have a vested interest. Where else can we have this much fun and learn so much at the same time?! Please do what you can afford and if you don't have cash, like Bert said before...go through your attics, donate a piece of handicraft or what have you to the auction; anything is helpful, I am sure.

Sorry if it sounds like I am ranting. I just feel it so important to us all. And, Max, I agree with BK, Moonchild, and WW.

luvyaKat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 12:17 AM

Okay, I was in a seach the net mood, so, I hope I get all of these links right:

MAX, MOST IMPORTANT: The Art Law Line is in NYC at 212-319-2910, you can ask a question or two for free. This is the place I was talking about earlier, that I had called. It may take a few days for them to get an answer, BUT they are very helpful.

As an offshoot from that, in PA, there is a branch of the above, called the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, at 215-545-3385.

Pres. and CEO of HFA is Edward P. Murphy; used to be with Schirmer Pub. in NYC.

According to a non-HFA site I found, which was fairly current, HFA reps only 17,000, not 20,000 pubs. as they claim and it went on to say for "records, tapes, cd's and imported phonorecords" as well "worldwide for publishers for use in films, commercials, television, programs, and all other audio/visual media." Didn't say anything about print or net pub, whether that means anything or not, I don't know.

These guys have a notice at their midi site which they've closed temporarily due to harassment from HFA. They say they are going through their files with a fine toothed comb to remove all copyrighted material. Maybe they have some helpful hints. They can be emailed at theboys@bellsouth.net .

Hereis a message forum on music law, where questions have and can be posted. Or this is the main page where that forum can be accessed. I forget! There was a music lawyer who had a message on there who can be reached at www.salawzar.com.

I think that is it, for now. Hoep some of this helps, Max, esp. the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

luvyaKat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Banjer
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 08:59 AM

This whole thing, although I don't understand all its implications, seems to me like the ever ongoing battle. Whenever a group of folks seems to be enjoying something some other group either wants to ban it or profit from it. There comes a time when it becomes necessary to take a stand against the greed or power hungry attitudes of such organizations and this is one of those times!

FIGHT 'EM TO THE BITTER END!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 11:50 AM

I've been giving this a lot of thought over the weekend, and I'm going to say some things that might not

As terrific as this site is, it is not the sole source of folk music information and fellowship in the world. If it were to vanish completely tommorow, I would still be able to pursue and enjoy my interest in the genre, and find friends who share my passion. I would grieve the loss of this particular outlet, one of the best I have ever found if truth be told. However, neither folk and traditional music, nor my/our interest in it lives and dies with this site.

That said, whatever the outcome of this conflict, I very much doubt that it will involve the complete and permanent shutdown of the Mudcat. They can make a lot of threataning noises, but in the end, most of what we do here isn't covered by copyright law and would have to be allowed to continue--provided Max could afford to keep it going. That means the Forum, the personal pages, the Radio, essentially everything but the lyric database aren't under the domain of laws being invoked by our attackers. In short, we would still get to talk to each other, still get to plan gatherings, still get to hear the radio, and still get to share lyrics that we know.

Third, a great deal of the DT is public domain, or at least listed with the songwriter's written permission. So even if HFA forces the issue, all they can really make Max and Dick to do is to find the "offending" lyrics (if any) and either a) remove them, or b) obtain permission to include them. That could mean a temporary shutdown while the 'clean-up' ensued. It would be a pain, but it would fall far short of a death knell. Even OLGA, who's database was far more dominated by modern popular materiel (i.e. copyrightable stuff), is working its way back. We might have to follow the same road.

Fourth, (and here I'm just spitballing but I think I'm right), if individual's share copyrighted materiel in a public forum it is not a copyright violation. For example, I can take "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkahban" out of the Library and read it to my Cub Scout Den without being in infringement of copyright. I can tell my neighbor the lyrics to "Subterranean Homesick Blues" as an excercise of my free speech rights. In short, in a public forum we can talk to each other and write to each other about published material of any kind in as much detail as we wish, down to the specific words themselves. In short, as individuals, we can communicate amongst ourselves about lyrics in the public arena, verbally or in writing, in excruciating detail, till we're blue in the face and we're protected by the First Amendment. So if (for example) Katlaughing wants to tell me in a public forum about a song I ask her about, she can. Given that we all have our own collections of lyrics, we can continue to share these lyrics with each other and with any other interested individuals, even if the central DT database is shut down or modified. Max would be no more accountable for this type of exchange than the phone company is for what people say to each other over their equipment. Please not that I am not an attorney, and am just expressing what I think is true. This is not formal legal advice.

Finally, I've read a lot of posts that can be paraphrased as "Max, get in there and fight". There's lots of 60's-style rhetoric about fighting the evil corporate greedheads. Well, its one thing to join Greenpeace yourselve, and navigate your boat between a whale and an explosive harpoon on a pursing ship. Its another to tell someone else to do it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Áine
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 12:33 PM

Dear Jack,

I'll let others comment on your other comments, but, I do agree that there is more needed here than just moral support -- however heartfelt that support may be.

I encourage everyone who wants this site to continue to contribute not only their moral support but their monetary support. Here's the address you can send a contribution to:

Max D. Spiegel The Mudcat Cafe 5 West Gay St., Suite A West Chester PA 19380 USA

I know that Max appreciates all the cheerleading we're doing for him, but the 'Cat team needs the 'alumni' to kick into the kitty!

-- Áine


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: WyoWoman
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 01:01 PM

Jack, I pretty much agree with what you've said. However, I don't believe the advice to hang in there and not allow himself to be bullied by someone is mere cheerleading or impotent Sixties rhetoric. One of the ways attorneys work (and some of my best friends are attorneys, honestly, so this isn't a smear of the legal eagles) is to bluff and pressure the opposition into dancing to your tune as early as possible.

We/he may need to comply at some point and in some form or other, but I say the demand that he send them the entire database so they can pick out the pieces of it they want to object to is outrageous and shouldn't be negotiated. I may be wrong on this, but I think THEY should be the ones to come up with specific "charges" rather than sweeping in and telling him that he has to present them with a menu.

Just my thoughts at the moment.

ww


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Áine
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 01:32 PM

Dear WyoWoman,

I was the one the used the term 'cheerleading', not Jack. Perhaps my attempt to use a sports metaphor was not exactly the right way to say what I meant.

I believe Jack is right to point out to us that 'we' aren't the ones feeling the pressure from the HFA 'thumb' -- Max and Dick are. To paraphrase Jack's metaphor, Max and Dick are the only ones who "have to navigate their boat between a whale and an explosive harpoon on a pursing ship."

At the same time, we all can't fit into the 'boat' at the same time. However, we CAN help Max and Dick get the fastest boat they can -- by contributing to the Mudcat with funds (as well as supportive words).

If I've got this all wrong, Jack, please post again and clarify your point. Until then, let's don't start backbiting each other about this -- that's exactly what HFA and their ilk would want.

-- Áine


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 03:08 PM

Max & Dick, if it would be helpful, those of us who have time, could start going through specific blocks of the DT and note which are copyrighted, by whom etc. If we split the work up, it wouldn't have to be just you guys trying to do so, although you'd have to take the info we gather and delete or write for permission. Either way, please let me know if this would help, in a proactive way. If HFA hasn't even narrowed it down, perhaps we can before and if they even get a chance to point out the *offenders*.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Mudjack
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 03:09 PM

I have some special words for the Harry Fox Agency, eat catsh#8 and die"
Jack, I have to agree with what you're saying, but that would mean "go and get a life". You mean there is life after the Mudcat?
Mudjack


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Sapper_RE
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM

Does this Harry Fox shower of Sierra Tango have offices on this side of the pond? If so, where and what is the phone number?? Sounds like they need shafting up the arse with a barbed wire pole!!!! Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 05:14 PM

I've been trying to figure this out. What does the HFA have to gain by shutting down DT? What are they afraid of? Does anyone know?

It seems to me that these questions have to be answered. It's too easy to say that it's all about corporate greed or naked power. What is the HFA issue? As far as I can tell, they feel that they are protecting the rights of copyright and songwriters and composers as well as the right of publishers to collect royalties on the use of the material that they represent.

In short, it's too easy to demonize them and it's time beter served to get to know what they are worried about and address that issue. What is the real agenda behind their position?

I have thought for a long time now that copyrights have not served the public as well as they might. They do serve songwriters, publishers and composers by protecting their financial interests.

I get the feeling that in this battle there are two opposing sides who don't speak a common language. This may be the key to the solution. IMHO the more you demonize the HFA and attempt to run at it Don Quixote style, the sooner the noble goals of DT might be defeated.

What is the stated issue on behalf of the HFA about this?

Frank Hamilton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 05:37 PM

Frank, Max tried to figure that out, but they were unwilling to dialogue, fromt he sounds of it. I think it is an issue of control. The more they gobble up the smaller sites, the more they will control of all lyric sites on the net.

The only way to deal with these sorts is through a lawyer who can obfuscate and dissemble the same as thier lawyer. If you look at the first thread, where Max printed the original letter, you will see they are NOT being straightforward at all in their stated puprose. How can we divine that without a clue from them?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 06:39 PM

I also believe they're trying to gain control of this site, or at the least set themselves up as THE lyrics site.

If they were protecting their clients' rights, they would simply have given Max the information he requested - what material they found objectionable. They say they will do this when they file charges. Why do they want it to go that far when he's perfectly willing to work to resolve the issue? Possible reasons:

They don't know what songs are in the database because they've never been there. They quite possibly have not had any specific complaint, and are going on an assumption that if it's a lyrics site, some of their clients' songs must be included. This would be a reason to ask Max for a list of songs.

Their main goal is NOT to get the offending material removed, thereby protecting their clients' rights to have their songs made available to the public for free only via the HF website.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: BK
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 11:56 PM

Frank: As others have said, it appears that the character of their communication indicated not a legitimate interest that they are valiently trying to protect, but rather a bullying onslaught, presumably to reduce competition on the internet of sources for distribution of materials similar to (but not necessarily the same specific songs as) what is in the DT, which prompts the "demonization." I suggest it's possible that there are few or no actual songs in the DT of interest re their stated purpose. Eliminating potential competition is almost inevitably the real purpose, and one of the oldest ploys in human behavior. If someone spends 30 minutes here, they probably won't simultaneously be also at their site & they potentially loose advertising. (Actually they COULD be at both sites, I have a browser I almost never use that'll do it..)

There is every indication that a reasonable dialog, such as you suggest, is completely counter to their true purpose, & that they carefully wish to avoid any such dialog. Would a field commander tell the enemy troops of his goals? Of course, you are dead right any way, in that it is very important to ATTEMPT to understand their goals. However, IMHO, a realistic understanding will not likely come from them in plain words, if they can help it. I'd be surprised if anything other than bullying & lies came out of "dialog" them. Understanding will have to come in other ways.

I do agree & understand, I think, that you are warning against high levels of moral indignation perhaps jollying folks into thinking that our morally valid cause will surely win in any contest, because we are obviously in the right. (Like the Spanish Civil War? - the bad guys won then... but the good guys had the best songs..) As one of my more cynical lawyer friends used to constantly remind me, "It's not a court of JUSTICE (no matter how it's labelled), it's a court of LAW." Sadly, there's a monsterous difference. There ain't necessarily no such thing as justice in this. You can get justice, but you may have to struggle for it. It's why such demonic folk get away w/their scummy evil.

Yeecchhh, they stink... BK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 09:28 AM

With regard to Harry Fox Agency and its purpose.

By removing most of the physical barriers to communication, the internet has thrown the regulation and monitoring of the use of copyrighted material into dissarray. Were experiencing a minor skirmish in a larger ideological war over how information, particularly electronic information should be treated and handled. On one side you have the 'maximum openness' camp, on the other side you have the 'apply the old regulations the same way as before'. The battle rages on several fronts. In the arena of software and operating systems you have the Open Computing advocates represented best by the LINUX operating system, and on the other side you have the closed, proprietary model personified by Microsoft and Bill Gates. The interesting thing is that Gates' views are not an outgrowth of his wealth. Way back before Microsoft was founded, back when Apple was 3 guys in a garage, Gates publised an open letter to the computing community basically stating that the practice of getting software without paying for it by making a copy electronically was Piracy--open and willful theft of another persons work. In fact, Microsoft has assisted in the prosecution of software pirates just to set the example for others.

In the publishing arena, the fact that lyrics, songs, music, books, newspapers, journals etc can now be treated the same way, has the people who make their living off publishing thinking the same way.

My guess is that the publishers represented by HFA have given the agency marching orders. "Try and get a handle on this internet situation. Do something to make sure that if paper publishing becomes obsolete, we still have an inventory! The internet laws will have to get sorted out in the legislature and the courts, but in the meantime, see if you can get these people to stop putting our stuff on the web till we know what our rights are. Twist some arms, set some examples, whatever it takes."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 10:52 AM

I can see that there is a different agenda at work here. I support the idea that a legal precedent needs to be set and getting good legal representation is the best approach. Apparently, the reps for HFA have appeared inflexible which leads me to believe that these are not the decision makers but the lower echelon enforcers paid to "do their job".

One of the ways to solve this dilemma is to involve the public. Newspaper articles and reports on NPR would illuminate the difficulties. This seems like a newsworthy issue because it entails the issue of "free speech" and who controls it. Rather than taking a vindictive stance, information should be shared on a factual basis in press releases, public forums and broadcasts.

The issue of "free use" came out some time ago when ASCAP decided to charge the Boy Scout camps for singing songs in front of the campfire. The publicity created by this enabled ASCAP to save face by clarifying their position so that they amended their ruling. Sing Out! would be a starting point for a good article but also getting a columnist to work on this for newspapers would be helpful. A suggested title would be "Who controls the Internet?"

Frank Hamilton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 02:10 PM

Good idea, Frank; I had mentioned such publicity, too and offered to help out. I am sure the Liberal Opinion Week www.liberalopinion.com and the Casper Star Tribune would carry one of my columns on this, as I am a regular of theirs. I also have fax numbers for a bunch of other national media. kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 04:35 PM

Kat, not to discourage you from trying, but what are we going to tell the liberal press? Nothing's happened here yet but some threatening noises from some lawyers. Lawyers making threatening noises is not news. They do that in their sleep. Until charges are filed or a case is pending or some action is taken, what are we going to say, that they hurt our feelings?

And while the Boy Scout case is instructive, I wouldn't put much stock in its applicability to our situation. Scouting has been and is a significant part of the childhood of millions, and it is something into which people still put great stock. They have, built in, a large, passionate, highly sympathetic support group. All they had to do was couch the issue in the right terms to inflame that support group, stand back and watch the fur fly. "ASCAP TRYING TO STOP THE BOY SCOUTS FROM SINGING CAMPFIRE SONGS!" ASCAP may have had a case, but it also never had a chance. Without that kind of backing, we won't get the same kind of response.

In the end, we're probably stuck with the following.

1. Make sure we are in compliance with the law, and have full documentary proof of that fact. That's our best defense. Putting that proof together is going to take a tremendous amount of work on our part. But in the end, were not only going to have to be on the right side of the law to survive, were going to have to be able to prove it.

2. We have to find a way to get lawyers working for our side. And believe me that's going to take more money than we are likely to raise. We may even get enough to get started and to get an initial plan together, but unless we get some pro bono assistance or link up with other groups in some kind of defense coalition its not going to be enough.

3. We will have to take a long view. We might have to suffer through early retreats, or change the way we operate, but if were going to win in the long haul, we're going to have to have two objectives, a) Protect Max & Dick, and b) Keep the group/community intact.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 05:16 PM

Good points, JackwicJ, but I already posted numbers for lawyers who do pro bono and I wasn't talking about just the liberal press. Maybe it would have to start with folk press, but with Gates being declared the owner of a monopoly and the myriad of interestes there are in how the net operates these days, I feel it is already noteworthy, esp. if one does their research and makes a good share of the article about who HFA has already shut down and that they are not stopping in their reign of intimidation etc.

I agree with your points and options. I am just saying I've got a mouth and I am ready to use it to help if requested.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Ferrara
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 06:20 PM

Frank, publicity could be a two-edged sword. BTW, a headline such as "Who Controls the Internet" probably would draw yawns these days, because the copyright issue is already discussed a lot. Maybe "Does Folk Music Still belong to Folks?" would be better.

Jack WICJ has a *very* good point that the best defense may actually be compliance with the law. *This is probably NOT the same as compliance with HFA/NMPA!!!*

The DT database already has permission from several publishers and organizations (Dick has the details) to publish their material without royalties. THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Max, I agree too that we need a banner now, addressed to music publishers. It should link to a page where you invite them to comment on the copyright controversy (not likely!), state if the DT contains any of their songs, and indicate whether they will give you a royalty-free right to carry the songs or would rather have you take it off the DB.

I think having this mechanism for a publisher to protect their copyrighted material would help your legal position immensely. *I also think it's the right thing to do.* We aren't out to pirate copyrighted material, just to share songs.

You might replace any songs that are removed with a statement naming the publisher and stating that they have asked that the song be removed from the database for copyright reasons.

Maybe publicity should focus on this: On the one hand a substantial number of music publishers are willingly working with the DT, and on the other hand we have HFA/NMPA who ain't even willing to share the most basic information regarding what they're complaining about.

Best of luck with all this. - Rita F


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 06:30 PM

Max and Dick,

If there is any way to help, I will.

It does seem perverse that HFA will not tell you what their specific complaint is until they file a suit. One way to document your conversation with them is to send them a letter outlining what you understand their requests to be and the response that you have offered and the stonewalling with which they have replied.

Telephone conversations, even taped ones, are less effective evidence in a court than are written conversations.

Of course, any advice I might offer has no legal validity other than I think it to be a good idea. I am not a lawyer and I am not giving you legal advice.

I just think they will be more wary of a paper trail and may temper their requests. Clearly, if they thought you were in violation, they could quickly check the thousands of songs on the DT and verify it. So your letter should give them the means of accessing the DT as a reply to what is on your web-site.

GG of course, is trying to make a point that echoes his own desires. I hope that GG is aware that if things have to go, the only thing that clearly stands up to legal review are the BS threads that contain no music content at all and the PD songs. But I'm sure GG has not thought that one through.

I suspect HFA is asking about both the Forum and the DT. They have one concern. They want to protect their publishers ownership rights (copy rights). The problem they have is this: If they allow violations of their copyrights, they, in effect, lose credibility that they can guarantee any protections. They cannot selectively press their rights. So they are going after internet sites, knowing they are shooting fish in a barrel, one at a time (saves on legal staff). That is why they won't go to the DT or the forum search and look up lyrics. With 20,000 publishers with 100's of songs each (maybe), they have more to protect than they know. They may have a list, but it probably is not easily searchable.

For the publicity hounds, I should note that OLGA had a little publicity, I think it made the AP. Its public cause sank like a stone. Everyone says that they are closed. On the face of it they are, but I search there regularly and go to their shadow sites and get whatever I would have gotten before. Some kind of closing. But the notice that they have closed goes on and on.

Keep it in writing. Keep it friendly (on the face of it) just as they are.

Good luck, Max.

Roger in Baltimore


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 08:08 PM

Given that you have agreed to remove from the data base any songs which Harry the Fox and Co can plausibly identify as being copyrighted to anybody whom he represents, and that a complete copy of the data base has been made available to them, I find it hard to believe that any court would give time of day to a bid to use it to harass the MC or the DT at this point.

Of course courts are funny places, and the law is an ass, and America is another country. But I would have thought that this would be the kind of thing that is meant by legal terms such as "abuse of process".

So at this point it sounds like bluff. Where it could get trickier is if they move to a stage of trying to claim that various traditional songs are covered by copyright, or that the people who may have granted permission for them to be included do not own the copyright (for example, where the person who wrote the song doesn't own the copyright.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 08:42 PM

Max

It really isn't safe to talk to them on the 'phone. Make sure that everythingis in writing. These are clearly not honourable people.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 09:02 PM

Roger and Malcolm brought up good points! Paraphrase them, in your letter, reiterating what you heard them say to you. Send it certified, return receipt requested. Then you can produce that as proof.

Rita, excellent post. Nice to see you here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Lyle
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 09:33 PM

I hate to look at worst case scenarios until it is absolutely necessary, so this is (I hope) premature. But possibly the worst case is not as bad as it seems. The only thing that they could make mudcat do is remove the lyric archive from the current format of mudcat. That could be inconvenient, but not fatal. Most of us who use the mudcat have large enough machines to download all of the archived lyrics, and still have lots of room to spare. Then if someone wants the lyrics to a particular song, all that person has to do is start a thread asking if anyone knows the lyrics, and those of us who have downloaded the file could email it to the person requesting it. There is NOTHING wrong with sending lyrics to a friend! We could even simplify that by having one person be responsible for the AÕs, one for the BÕs, etc. Is it ideal? No, but it is certainly better than no mudcat at all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: kendall
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 10:56 PM

seems to me that this sort of crap happened before back in the 50's. Then it all blew over. I remember it produced some pretty awful songs because no one dared to sing copy righted material. I'm not about to offer legal advice, but, I do know that the 5th amendment forbids them from forcing you to give evidence against your self.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From:
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 11:50 PM

Actauly there are more non musical threads than other so it would not make any difference if the database was not there, the bs threads and Mudcat Tavern would still be there.

Re the Songs and copyright, seems to me nobody cares a hoot any more as radio/audio is a serious declining media, and video is taking over. If Harry Fox and friends do manage to gag all the lyric sites, people will make their own entertainment just like they used to do way back in the 1800's. Harry can have all the old c/r stuff since most of it is crap and irrelevant to todays society.

In fact releveancy to today is almost certainly not copyright for obvious reasons. It used to be possible to push a release on radio, not anymore!

A folksinger today is some ole guy with 2 strings on a beat up guitar sitting on a porch playing the wildwoodflower.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 12:39 PM

Lyle hit the nail on the head. Its usually better to duck, and in spite of the old saying, sometimes the best defense isn't a good offense. A partial retreat to a good defensive position can be the turning point of a war (see Gettysburg, also Napoleon v. Russia and Hitler v. Soviet Union, among others). There's a difference between surrender and retreat; between cowardice and just keeping your head down. Sure the time may come when you have to charge up the hill, but you'd better be right about the time, and be sure that you have the men, resources and strategy to take it and hold it.

I believe Lyle is also right about the worst case scenario, i.e.that most of the Mudcat won't be effected, and we can work around the rest through the excercise of our free speech rights.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 12:45 PM

Anon, the last time I sat on my front porch playing the guitar and singing the police came by and stopped me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MMario
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 12:56 PM

What worries me, is that HFA/NMPA are the ones that threatened and sued the ILS (Internatinal Lyric Server) and NOW the NMPA claims the ILS as "a subsidiary of HFA, Int." My, my, my, isn't THAT a coincidence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Ferrara
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 01:35 PM

McGrath of Harlow said, "Given that you have agreed to remove from the data base any songs which Harry the Fox and Co can plausibly identify as being copyrighted to anybody whom he represents, and that a complete copy of the data base has been made available to them, I find it hard to believe that any court would give time of day to a bid to use it to harass the MC or the DT at this point."

Max, there's much value to this point of view BUT MAKE SURE YOU CAN PROVE that you've done the above. Send a registered letter *and* a certified one with proof of receipt if necessary.

A lot of the posts here have made similar points: Bolster your case in any way possible, document everything, keep it in writing, avoid being overtly adversarial, don't converse with them over the phone or face to face without a lawyer present etc. Sounds like good advice to me.

And for us recipients of the Mudcat bounty, "try to find ways to support the financial drain on Max" is also good advice. - Rita F


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 02:09 PM

The one thing nobody has pointed out, if we were to take the DT out of commission, is how Dick and Susan, who've spent their lives compiling and maintaining it, would feel. I understand the points made, I just think it sounds kind of crass or casual about their commitment and, after all, their property. They should NOT be forced off. Neither should HFA be able to assimilate their efforts' result into their site, as has been done with ILS.

I guess what I am trying to say is let's be a little sensitive and try not to sound so casual about dumping someone's life work.

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 02:41 PM

I had this strange dream last night: Max sent HFA the ENTIRE Mudcat database as a 20 gigaterabyte e-mail attachment. (Actually it's probably bigger than that!)

--Charlie Baum


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 02:51 PM

Or how about one email message per song. That should keep them out of our hair for years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 04:03 PM

Whatever happens - and I mean WHATEVER - the Digital Tradition will survive. It was around for quite a while before it ever found a place on the web. I don't know if there are facts or figures on how many people have downloaded it, but it's far too many for Harry Fox to do anything about, even if they legally could.

In the worst case, as Lyle suggested, if the database had to temporarily go down, we could post lyrics from our own copies to threads, and the threads are searchable. This isn't any different from what goes on in Usenet newsgroup discussions all the time, other than Max providing a place for the discussion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: A Publisher
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 09:35 PM

Hello everyone. I am not a regular here, and am, in fact employed by one of the very publishing companies that HFA/NMPA represents.

Judging from your posts, this is mostly a reasonable group of people, and this is a reasonable site dedicated to a distinct niche of the music market.

After reading this thread, I hoped that I might be able to shed some light on this situation for all of you. Roger in Baltimore has pretty much nailed the situation on the head.

You see, your site is only one of literally THOUSANDS that we publishers send HFA/NMPA to on a DAILY basis. The truth is, what NMPA is doing is at the request of the publishers that own the vast majority of copyrights in the U.S. and they have a very small staff and little funding to accomplish this. However, this is a very serious matter that cannot be ignored. This is probably why they come across as more heavy-handed than this site, in particlar, may warrant.

They've dealt with an enormous number of downright abusive and angry people who are willfully and blatantly seeking to thumb their noses at copyright law - and who post extensive databases of current, money-making lyrics. I do not see that as being the case here, but no-one at NMPA has the time necessary to do the searching which I have just done at this site. In fact, it is extremely rare that I have this much time.

The publishing community is overwhelmed right now - and make no mistake about it MOST OF THE PRESSURE IS COMING FROM THE WRITERS THEMSELVES. Picture this, if you will. You are the person who designed this site, and in it, you designed a number of distinct pieces of art as well as a database method that has not been done before. Let's even up the stakes - the site's owners paid you to do this. Designing websites is how you make your living and feed your family. Someone comes along and copies all your artwork and your code and freely distributes it on the web. Several potential customers download the freebie and cancel their contract with you. How would you feel?

There has been a lot of bad blood built up on both sides of this digital uses issue, but the clear fact is that THE LAW CLEARLY STATES THAT COPYING COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE OWNER IS ILLEGAL. You DO have such copyrighted material on this site and what my company pays NMPA to do is gain a list of those titles which we may own so that we can work on finding mutually acceptable solutions. We ARE NOT HERE TO SPOIL ANYONE'S fun. We are here to PROTECT THE SONGWRITER who makes his/her living from royalties paid on uses of their songs. Even in the case where a songwriter may be deceased, very often their heirs are making their livings promoting and maintaining the works of their parent.

We are all music lovers here. What we need to keep in sight is that, without the ability to earn a living writing songs, we would be so much the poorer culturally. We need to protect the individual's right to claim ownership of their works. Please, I would like to request sanely that you simply provide NMPA with the list of titles on your site. I will be in touch them personally to discuss this site and make clear that I do not see it as being equivalent to an ILS.

Thank you for listening!

P.S. - I won't give my name here simply because my e-mail can handle no more hate mail than I already receive.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: annamill
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 10:14 PM

Interesting....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 11:18 PM

Dear Publisher
My copyrighted material is here on this site with my written permission (I refuse to tell you what they are as well as refuse to allow any to send along my material to an agency that makes it's own profit from copyrighted material) as well as some of the material of a few others that I sing with, they have also given permission. You do not represent me nor does any other agency. I have yet to see any material posted to this site be used in any way to gain profit. It's a crime & a shame that an agency spouts to be the avenging angel of the music world while trying at the same time to censor the thing that it claims to be saving. In the best of worlds you would die unnoticed & broke, in the worst of worlds you'd live forever, powerful, rich & beautiful in an artless vacuum, without song. You need to restructure your logic, approach, the means you use, your priorities & what you're really after. Basically do a reality check & then come back without your school yard bulling ways & ask for our lunch money instead of our wallets. It is the songwriter that supports you & gives you a lively hood. It was once us that fed you when you first came to our watering hole, now it's you who feed off us in this frenzy where the waters are now soiled & no longer draw or support life, "You'll miss your water when the well run dry", sue me. Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Max
Date: 09 Nov 99 - 11:47 PM

There will be no list, but that is not to say there are no other options for amicably resolving this issue. Let me repeat, there will be no list!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: SeanM
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 12:28 AM

Good for you, Max!

May I also point out that someone purporting to be a representative of one of HFA's vassals signing on would mean that they should know full well that they have already accessed the list that they request?

"Publisher"'s letter creeps me out. It sounds very much like "You are doing this to yourselves. Stop being fussy and knuckle under already." Notice also the unsubtantiated claim that "You DO have such copyrighted material on this site", yet also the refusal to state WHAT material is found to be offensive... only the repeated absurd demand that a full list be submitted to them. They've obviously decided to pursue escalation through pure intimidation.

Max, though I'm unable to financially help at the moment (soon, though...), best thoughts and wishes for this. You are an intelligent man, and I know that whatever course is chosen will be the best. May the muse that guides us all protect.

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 12:38 AM

Since coming to the Mudcat, my whole perspective on the music industry has changed. My brother writes classical symphonies,piano concertos, solo piano pieces and romantic pop songs. All are copyrighted. I was his manager for over 20 years, on a part time, volunteer basis. With no money, we accomplished much, in my opinion. We shunned publishers because they were too high and mighty to notice the person who wasn't already well-known. So, we published our own music and produced our own tapes. All copyrighted. It was to be his living. For reasons of his own and others it has not provided him with a living, yet. In that world, copyrights are guarded fiercely. We were very careful of who we provided scores to. Those scores usually represented many, many hours of laborious torture of beautifully calligraphed fully orchestrated symphonic scores of glorious music.

So, when I came here, even though my dad and mom played for dances and we sang around the campfire, I had never known artists who gave their works so freely as folkies. I have come to understand and admired that as the "folk process". At the same time, I understand and respect my brother's right to retain control over his music and to expect compensation from its performance. I would also understand that of any folkies who want to make their living as songwriters.

I think HFA and the publishers need to learn the difference between the way the classical, pop/rock, top 40 worlds operate and the way the folk world operates. And, they need to honour and respect the folk process.

Asking for the list is rude, lazy, and like asking the accused to produce evidence for the prosecution. I am proud of and agree with your convictions Max.

Anonymous Publisher: most of us do not give our email addys out on this forum; any kind of nickname would have sufficed. You needn't have feared hate email, but perhaps you should think about why you do receive so much.

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 09:31 AM

I appreciate the guts it took for A Publisher to post here, and I appreciate him/her poviding a view from the other side. Demonizing is something that both sides have been doing. They think we're intentionally ripping off their artists, we think they're money hungry corporate bullies. The truth of the matter for both sides is somewhat (or much) less sinister.

The problem seems to be one that could have been avoided had the HFA/NMPA not come in here loaded for bear. The threat of legal action may have worked if the folks on this side been aware of wrongdoing. "Ooh, they caught us. Better play nice and suck up." Instead, they managed to rile up a bunch of righteous folks.

If the HFA/NMPA lawyers choose to go after not-for-profit sites where the focus is on public domain material, and threaten someone with legal action and jail time, they're going to have to be willing to look for their own 'evidence.' It's very easy to get the information, and demanding Max provide it on a silver platter is nothing more than a test of how much of an effect their scare tactics have had. Either that, or the lawyers haven't actually been to this site, which is the simpler and more reasonable explanation.

I wonder if anyone's ever been held liable for information shared by other people in an unmoderated forum. I suspect they'd have to go after each individual poster of lyrics. I wonder how much a songwriter makes royalty-wise from having his/her lyrics published at the HFA/NMPA site. I wonder if any of the green clickies promote the music of HFA/NMPA artists...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 09:38 AM

Kat, I wonder if Henry Aaron would agree with your implication that volume of hate mail is a good barometer of whether a person is doing the right thing?

Also, with regards to your other post. I am very sensitive to Dick and Susan's feelings, particularly how they'd feel if, they and Max were devastated financially, AND forced to shut down the Mudcat and DT by a legal ruling that could have been avoided by sensible courses of action. You don't avoid telling someone that they might need surgery just because it would upset them. Sometimes you have to be frank.

And one last thing, for Max, Dick, and the whole gang that actually put this thing together. I will presume to speak for the community when I say, you have our unqualified support. We will stand by you to the best of our ability until you tell us to stop, and perhaps not even then. We believe in the Mudcat, the DT, and the Music. Whats more, you have given us every reason to believe in you. Know that we do.

Your's

Jack (who in this instance won't mind being called Frank)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Max
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 10:10 AM

I'm already financially devastated. What will they sue me for, 2 buttons and some lint?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 10:40 AM

And all those empty 'Black & Tan' cans.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 10:49 AM

Seriously 'Publisher', why can't they just give or sell us a license? BMA gave us one, Max is getting one from ASCAP for a reasonable fee. What's wrong with HFA? Why are they making things so difficult?

And what about you? May we use your stuff?

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 10:59 AM

Sorry, JackwhoisbeingFranktoday, I meant no personal offense. As for Henry Aaron, sorry, I miss the reference?

Good questions, Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MTM
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM

Max I wonder if it would be helpful for Mudcatters to scour the DT for songs that may be published by HFA clients. If indeed they continue to harass and threaten litigation, we would then know exactly what offensive material would need to be expunged. I can volunteer my services for that or any other concerted Mudcat effort to lighten your load in this fiasco. From another perspective, despite the claims of "A Publisher", I've found in my dealings with publishers and rights clearinghouses that although they claim to act as a proxy for composers and lyricists, their interests are not always in line with their clients. For instance, copyright term that extends well beyond the life of the composer benefits these agencies far more than it does the estates. As laborious as it may sound, seeking the permission of like-minded artists represented in the database may at least up the ante in your favor. The express permission of at least the regular Mudcatters represented in the database could be a good start. Barry Finn has the right idea here and his letter might be a good place to start a new thread.

Anyhoo, are you indeed seeking contributions to offset legal fees and whatnot? If so, I'd like to fedd the kitty.

MTM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 11:24 AM

I know we have Mudcatters who are music publishers. I think that the DT & Mudcat may be of some small benefit their business. Perhaps 'Publisher' (and HFA) could talk to them and find out how much they, themselves, are missing by not being part of our community.

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: 123
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 11:32 AM

abc< abc< abc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Sourdough
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 11:35 AM

I thought that the message from "A Publisher" was reasoned and articulated well his, their, point of view. However, it is just that, their, point of view.

I hope that they can see that Max's refusal to supply them with a list is a reasonable reaction from his (our) point of view.

Sourdough


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 02:23 PM

I just noticed something peculiar - in the original letter back in October there were 700 publishers. Then in the phone conversation it turned into 22,000. This organisation must be expanding at a hell of a rate...

If there really are 22,000 publishers, and HFA only represents 22,000, that would suggest that, even if there are copyright songs in the data base, this particular organisation is only involved with a tiny fraction of them.

In these circumstances, even if Max were to wish to send them a list of any copyright songs which HFA has anything to do so, that would be completely impossible. All he could do would be to send a list of all songs on the site, and let them work it out for themselves. And since they've got the URL of the Mudcat Cafe and the Digital Tradition, they've already got that list.

Reading "Publisher", and looking back at the original letter, it seems pretty likely that it is a form letter which has probably been dashed off by some lowly employee, to a list of sites which s/he has never looked at, the aim being to make people jump to attention and close down. And in almost all cases that is what is going to happen.

This would mean that, if the thing gets out of hand, and it ends up with HFA getting egg on its face, (bad publicity and so forth) somebody in that organisation is likely to damage their career prospects.

So a face-saving withdrawal on their part might well be on the cards. It could even be that the posting by "publisher" might be a move towards that.

So let's not to rude to the stranger.Perhaps "publisher", who has expressed a concern to be helpful, could write to HFA pointing out that they already have, in their computer, a full list of all the songs on the site, and that their appropriate course of action might be to send a list to Max of the songs which they would wish to see removed, in the interests of their clients?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 02:34 PM

Bert, Max has only spoken to the lawyers in charge of bashing people over the head in a friendly manner designed to help because they love music, not the lawyers in charge of explaining things and helping people get licenses. If they refer everyone they threaten to the second group, there would be a diminished need for head-bashing and this could threaten their jobs. I think you need to pursue the license separately and talk to different people.

Edward P. Murphy is the CEO of NMPA.

Contacts in the NMPA including e-mail addresses of the licensing department. There is also a phone number for questions about HFA or a license request. Here's the e-mail addy for the Intenet Licensing Information Department: :ihotline@harryfox.com


Here's an article on the lawsuit NMPA vs the International Lyrics Server, which states:<br>

Murphy regrets that this issue has come to litigation, but, noting that at least one publisher spent over a year attempting to secure the voluntary cooperation of ILS to enter into licensing negotiations, asserts "it is the only recourse left to our publisher members and their songwriter partners."

and

"NMPA is optimistic that the Swiss judiciary will rule that under local Swiss copyright laws, diminishing or destroying the value of a musical work is as injurious as stealing it and selling it directly for profit," continued Murphy, noting that ILS includes advertising on its website, proving that it is indeed profiting monetarily from the theft of songs. "This is a crucially important and unprecedented internet case," Murphy concluded, "and NMPA intends to support it with all necessary energy and resources. Songwriters and copyright owners of every size and at every income level are severely injured by such widespread, unauthorized use of their works."

Please note, folks, Max knows I'm not giving legal advice, and I don't think he's going to hare off and follow every suggestion. What we're doing here is brainstorming and offering opinions. I have a tendency to try to play devil's advocate and try to understand where the other guy's coming from before I jump on anybody's bandwagon. The more I look at this issue, the more I think it's a case of the guys on the other side thinking they're doing the right thing and having made a gross error in judgement. While some of us need to see them as evil in order to better fight them, they are doing the same thing with us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: lamarca
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM

A little reality check here, folks, about Copyright Law and Public Domain. The Digital Tradition and Mudcat Forum can't sit back and assume that just because we're dealing with folk music, that the bulk of our material is Public Domain. Copyright and Intellectual Property Law is a very complex field.

All the songs formally on the DT and informally in the Forum have been submitted from one of these sources: remembered lyrics, transcriptions off recordings or transcriptions from printed sources. Any one of these sources of material could have a formal copyright attached (including remembered lyrics!)

Unless the person who submitted the lyrics also submitted the complete provenance of their sources, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to track down copyright. Even traditional songs can carry copyright if they are a particular version - John Jacob Niles copyrighted "his" versions of Child ballads, etc. Whether this is morally "right" or not matters not a whit in a court of law; if a particular set of lyrics is copyrighted as "Trad./Arranged by...", it still has a valid copyright in the Court's view. If the lyrics are transcribed from printed material - "Sing Out!", Gale Huntington's "Songs the Whalermen Sang", the Dover edition of Child's ballads, whatever, there can be a copyright holder of note for the collection, if not the individual song.

HFA is certainly able to obtain the complete "list" of what is in the DT's database without Max giving them a physical list. However, they will have to examine each entry, piece by piece, and see if it matches a copyrighted version somewhere. Unfortunately, in order to legally protect ourselves from actionable claims, we need to do the same thing. It will involve a tremendous amount of work, especially since many, many of the submissions to the DT came without provenance.

If the note from "A Publisher" is any indication, HFA and/or those publishers may eventually be willing to work with us to establish clear boundaries and limits - at least, that is what I read into this passage from his/her posting:

"You see, your site is only one of literally THOUSANDS that we publishers send HFA/NMPA to on a DAILY basis. The truth is, what NMPA is doing is at the request of the publishers that own the vast majority of copyrights in the U.S. and they have a very small staff and little funding to accomplish this. However, this is a very serious matter that cannot be ignored. This is probably why they come across as more heavy-handed than this site, in particlar, may warrant.

They've dealt with an enormous number of downright abusive and angry people who are willfully and blatantly seeking to thumb their noses at copyright law - and who post extensive databases of current, money-making lyrics. I do not see that as being the case here, but no-one at NMPA has the time necessary to do the searching which I have just done at this site. In fact, it is extremely rare that I have this much time. "

I have long been a stickler for citing sources when people post lyrics to the DT. In the long run, it may help us come to a resolution of this issue that is satisfactory to both parties. Getting angry isn't going to help as much as getting busy in trying to improve the DT to make it a reference site to be proud of.

Maybe we could start by sorting the DT by contributor, sending contributors a list of their entries, and ask each contributor to fill in the appropriate source info for each entry - which book, recording, performing artist, etc. this particular version of this particular song came from. We would then have an easier time going to the correct artist or copyright holder to ask for permissions.

For really huge blocks of material taken off the Forum we could split up the work between 'Catters that have the time and resources to do the research. I have a pretty good music library, and could devote some time to an important project like this; I'm sure there are other folks here who could do the same.

My main concern is that the financial burden of protecting Mudcat and the DT may be too heavy for Max and/or Dick and Susan to shoulder, if it comes down to neededing expensive copyright law attorneys (which may be what HFA is counting on - you don't need to establish a good legal case if your opponent can't afford to even go to court). If we can possibly keep negotiations with HFA/NMPA on a civil scale, we can perhaps lessen the need for pricey legal eagles...and splitting up the provenance establishment work among a bunch of volunteers will help, too!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: A Publisher
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 05:28 PM

Lamarca is a wise person.

No, mine was not a form letter. And I nor my company can give you the right to use printed versions of our copyrighted material. That is because we have an agreement with Hal Leonard, whom we have given the EXCLUSIVE right to use printed versions of our lyrics.

As a member of several internet communities in my own spare time (none of which violate any copyright laws), I sympathize very much with your feelings in this situation. Unfortunately, that does not change the fact that, on a VERY quick check of your database, I have already encountered one of my company's best selling titles. You ARE violating copyright law, whether that is wrong or right, it IS LAW.

We have 1/4 of a million titles in our catalog - many of which date from the 1930's. I do not have the time to peruse your database looking for all our titles, but I will nonetheless print out your database and take the time, because I see that many here do not wish to be breaking the law. Please do not make the assumption that an older song is PD. You'd be surprised at the songs that are NOT.

I will provide NMPA with a list of titles you have which are copyrighted by my company. I am unable to negotiate or deal with you on an individual basis, nor is my company able to do so, as NMPA has been made our agent in this matter. Time and sheer volume of illegal internet posts do not allow any other manner of negotiation.

A message for Max. I DO sympathize - I know you won't believe that, but it is true. My advice for you is to try to allow your members here who are willing to help you in clearing off all copyrighted material. It will make your life easier in the long run. Legal battles are very costly and emotionally exhausting. You can avoid that by sticking to TRULY Public Domain titles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 05:44 PM

Publisher,
1. We have ASKED NMPA for a license. Why are they being so awkward in refusing to discuss licensing?

2.Why should we clear off ALL copyrighted material? Some of it is used with permission and some under BMI license.

Thanks for continuing to discuss this with us. With luck, you may be able to steer us and NMPA towards a reasonable resolution of this problem.

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From:
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 05:47 PM

Kat, I am not offended in any way.

FYI from the National Baseball Hall of Fame website.

Aaron, Henry Louis, aka, Hank, Hammerin' Hank Born: February 5, 1934, Mobile, Alabama Bats: right ; Throws: right Elected to Hall of Fame: 1982

Aaron holds the Major League Record for Career Home Runs with 756. He broke the old mark if 714 held by Babe Ruth, April, 1974 in Atlanta. At the time he set the record, he was recieving more mail per day than any other person in the United States, a sizable fraction of it hate mail from people who didn't want Ruth's record broken, particularly by a man of african american descent.

The one thing in this discussion, (and if it seems like I'm singling you out, I'm not. There are lots of posts that this applies to) its the fact that very few are even entertaining the possibility that the Mudcat and DT are even partly in the wrong. Most of us are so cocksure that everything we're doing here is perfect, because....well, just because we like it the way it is. Well, to borrow a copyrighted lyric...It ain't necessarily so. We might have to change things, not because we're threatened, but because were partly in the wrong. As long as that possibility exists it would behoove us all to keep a cool head.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 06:06 PM

Well, thanks, Jack. I understand the reference, now. As for thinking we are so perfect, I know you aren't singling me out,m but I, for one, agree with lamarca about the provenance of each song. I also have posted numbers for FREE LAWYERS, for Max to ask advice of, PLUS volunteered to help comb through the database.

For everyone who might have posted persmission for the Mudcat to use their works in the thread I started a while back, I am sure it would be better if you sent Max a hard copy of that permission, for his files.

Publisher: I am puzzled as to why you cannot tell us which "best seling title" you found on the DT. It seems a bit facetious to note that but not tell us which one, if, as you intimate, there is a sincere desire not to wind up in costly litigation. If we knew and Max took it out, it wouldn't be as though we'd destroyed "evidence", since removal seems to be the ultimate goal, anyway, right? If it is just because that would be seen as usurping their repping you, then I guess it makes some sort of bureaucratic sense.

kattryingtounderstand


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Áine
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 06:12 PM

I hope no one will think I'm jumping on the 'paranoid' wagon here; however, I would like to inject a little common sense into our view on 'Publisher's' correspondence on this thread.

Although the same can be said of most of us here on the Mudcat Forum, the person who has signed on under the above mentioned 'nom de plume' could be anyone. Yes, even someone from HFA/NMPA.

If this person is really in the position which they describe, then they should get in touch with Max or Dick personally -- via letter written on business letterhead -- and not on a public forum such as this. This is what makes me more than a little suspicious of the veracity of 'Publisher'. A true professional would have contacted Max in a professional manner, and not thrown their two cents into the hat here.

The address and telephone number(s) for the Mudcat Cafe / Digital Tradition are clearly posted on this site in several places. I would suggest to 'Publisher' that if they would truly like to offer assistance and/or advise in this situation to the proper, responsible persons, that he or she use the normal business communication means.

This is not meant to be insulting or demeaning to this person, just a reminder to them (and all of you) that there are more appropriate ways for this particular person to become involved in this situation.

-- Áine


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 09:17 PM

"No, mine was not a form letter" writes "A Publisher". Very intyeresting. This browser.s wonderful little "find" thingy has just confirmed that the only time this expression has been used previously in this thread was in my last posting, when it specifically referred to the original letter from the Harry Fox agency that started all this stuff off.

So either "A Publisher" is the person who drafted the original letter - or s/he is just misunderstanding what I wrote, and took it as referring to the first "A Publisher" posting on the thread (wich would be a bit odd, since nobody could have taken that for a "form letter".

In either case, the point made in the second coming of publisher that: "And I nor my company can give you the right to use printed versions of our copyrighted material. That is because we have an agreement with Hal Leonard, whom we have given the EXCLUSIVE right to use printed versions of our lyrics" calls for the obvious response that in this case, all that would be called for would be for the company to tell Hal Leonard, whoever Hal Leonard may be, that they would have no objection to Hal Leonard allowing the lyrics to be included in the Digital Tradition.

Of course the question whether "printed" covers stuff on a website is an interesting one. Does this really mean it would be all right if they were written out by hand and included as pictures?

Several people have suggested in this thread that there is something to be said for copyright in relation to folksongs, or at least modern songs in the folk tradition. This is an interesting topic, that I think deserves a thread of its own, away from the legal ins and outs of this particular dispute. So I'm starting one up - "BS Copyright and folk", because I think it might be a good idea to keep this one dealing directly with how Max should respond to this pressure from Foxy and Co, and how 'Catters can help out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: A Publisher
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 09:24 PM

I'm not posting here as an official representing my company. My posts here are to help to educate all of you about copyright. That comment is not meant as a snub to any of you - almost everyone I know that doesn't work in music publishing doesn't understand it. Not as a remark to anyone here - but that includes musicians and writers, who are often unaware of their rights. (As an aside, a songwriter who has a deal with a music publisher does not have the right to grant permission for a use - that must come from the publisher).

Kat - you are correct about stepping in where I do not belong, I cannot state titles or my name or my company in this forum BECAUSE, as Aine noted, this is not the proper place for business to be conducted. And Aine, my appointed representative, the NMPA, HAS been in contact with Max in a private manner. I repeat, we CANNOT negotiate directly with any site, as we have existing agreements which cover that. THAT is why, with regard to print rights, even if you contacted me personally tomorrow, I would refer you to someone else. That's just the way it works.

I reiterate - the only reason I've opened up this dialog here is that this appears to be a group of sane, reasonable lovers of music - deep lovers of music. We are not that far apart - the only reason myself and the people I work with are in this business is our love of music. The internet has created a SCREAMING need for public education about intellectual property and copyright. Prior to this there was simply no reason any of you needed to understand it (unless, of course, you pursued a career as a writer). When I see people who appear to be capable of understanding and are open to learning, I take that opportunity. That's the only reason I'm here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM

Thank you for the clarification.

FYI- Hal Leonard bills itself as the largest print music publisher in the world. It has gone from starting out as a couple of guys with a band to what you can find < a href=http://www.halleonard.com/hal_original/about_main.icl?userid=ID418694164048>at this site.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Margo
Date: 10 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM

Dear Publisher, can you recommend a site online that does just that, educates us musicians about intellectual property? Is there such a site?

Margarita


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 01:36 AM

While "A Publisher" has said some very reasonable things, which we would do well to take seriously, it is nevertheless possible that he may be assuming that claimed copyright amounts to sustainable title in law. With particular reference to traditional music, I daresay that a lot of people here are familiar with Paul Simon's documented claim to have written "Scarborough Fair", a song which pre-dates his birth by a couple of hundred years, and to which he has no more right than do I to, for example, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". Bob Dylan and many others are equally guilty of attempting to annexe traditional material for purposes of profit. That, I think, is a particularly strong reason why claims made against the DT need to be properly substantiated by whoever is making them; as AP makes clear, the initial letter was simply a mass trawling exercise. It is, of course, unfortunate that that letter was couched in threatening language and clearly intended to intimidate. On the face of it, that is scarcely an appropriate basis on which to begin to establish any kind of working relationship; though it is also worth bearing in mind that, as several people have pointed out, at least one "lyric site" attacked by these people has now re-appeared as an owned subsidiary. One may reasonably suspect that empire-building is perhaps as important a motive in this case as is "doing the right thing". After all, nobody so far has provided any evidence that they have any legal right to represent any supposed (and, so far un-named) copyright holders whose intellectual rights may or may not have been infringed by the DT. While it is perfectly true that the database contains some songs which are not properly credited to their authors (either because the people who have provided the material have made unjustified assumptions about their provenance, or because the performers from whom they obtained that material have failed to check their sources) it is equally true that some songs which are demonstrably in Public Domain have in the same way been credited to people who have simply claimed rights to them without any historical or moral justification.

Having said all that, I must say that I do not believe for a moment that the publishing of song lyrics on a non-profit-making basis on the Internet can in any way compromise the potential income of the originators of those lyrics: it is far more likely to increase their income; provided, of course, that the owners of any recordings or sheetmusic concerned are prepared to ensure that they are in print and available for sale. It may, of course, feel threatening to the owners of the copyright in those lyrics where they are commercial publishers rather than the actual writers concerned. Many of us, I suspect, know people who have found "their" intellectual property being defended very assiduously by people they have never heard of, and whose devotion to duty does not seem to involve actually publishing anything, or passing on any of the royalties that they purport to collect.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Pauline L.
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:36 AM

I am just as committed to the Mudcat cause and the financial security of Max, Dick, and Susan as anyone else. In fact, I want to thank the 3 of you for committing so much time and work to Mudcat. I hope it's been a labor of love for you, just as we all love using Mudcat.

Max, there's been a lot of talk on this thread about donating money to the cause. If I send some money, what will it be used for?

Pauline L.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 12:25 PM

I don't think the HFA/NMPA understand Mudcat and folkies in general. They're unaware of the concern most of us have for the history of a song. Often someone will ask for lyrics in this forum, and wind up with not only the lyrics, but information on who wrote it, a short biography of the author, links to their web page, a pointer to their recordings and song books, and information on who to contact should the enquirer wish to record the song.

A. Publisher - copyright and copyright law is discussed quite frequently here. You wrote "Prior to this there was simply no reason any of you needed to understand it..." I disagree. There are, unlike (I'd suspect) quite a few other forums, loads of musicians here. There are also publishers, DJs, songwriters, and other music professionals from various countries, who probably aren't very kindly disposed to HFA/NMPA at the moment. There's absolutely no excuse for going straight to acrimony without any attempt at reason first. It's as if someone you've just met punches you in the face instead of offering their hand.

Is it in HFA/NMPA's best interest to do business this way, with this particular group of people? For me, the damage is already done, and I don't really want anything to do with them or the people associated with them. The reputation they're developing is one of a large, ham-handed corporation out to sue the blazes out of the little guy, not one of defending people's rights. I don't like the way they do business.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: MTM
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 01:43 PM

I'm truly amazed by the dialog that has been generated in this thread, especially recently through the welcome opinions of "A Publisher." This kind of communication needs to happen to bring copyright law into the next millenium. But while much of what has been expressed in this thread has been impassioned opinion, if someone is going to purport to offer an education on copyright law, perhaps "A Lawyer" would be more qualified to do so than "A Publisher." I mean no disrespect. Understanding our legal system as a collection of static laws and not an evolving entity focussed on the process. It may indeed be the case that non p.d. material will have to leave the DT, and I enlist my services to the proprietor's of this site to help do so. But copyright law is by no means a simple and clear matter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From:
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 02:19 PM

The things people will do for money??? Seems as if HF and Co are realy hurting! Whatever else is happening here one thing is certain, distributing a page of anything AROUND THE WORLD is not the job it used be.

LOL

Remember when you'd have to write off to some magazine to get an old song or maybe go into town and buy a folksong book or boorow it. I think Harry and Co used to make easy money off that trade but now they will have to work for their pay.

Even if the DT is closed - unlikely - there are so many dowloaded copies which will spawn yet more, that the lost trade will never be recovered. I think you are wasting yet more of your time and money Harry, this internet, no matter how hard yall try. is putting you out of business.

Why not go try to start your own NEW business like an MP3 site may cost you a little money ....duh oh yeah I forgot bullies don't do anything except threaten and abuse to get money. Because they are STUPID/DUMB/BRAINLESS/JUGHEADS.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 02:31 PM

Sometimes I write any letters when I'm really pissed off with something. Then I bin them.

In the last resort there are three ways of getting someone do what you want.You convince them, you charm them, or you threaten them. Sounding off about how rotten they are doesn't fit in with any of those strategies. It might make you feel better, which is fine - as I said, write it and bin it.

Or maybe sing it, if it scans - except then, if it's a good song, you might start feeling a snaky sort of gratitude to the occasion of your wrath.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Margo
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 02:49 PM

Here here, Jeri. I agree that whoever sent the initial letter to Max did not employ civility. One wouldn't imagine that such a large association representing so many clients would allow the wording of important correspondence to be composed by idiots who haven't a clue about manners, so it leads to the conclusion that the animosity conveyed was purposeful.

As a songwriter myself, I am keenly interested in the law as it pertains to copyrights in music and lyrics. If this association of publishers and musicians are so interested in maintaining a legal status on their "property" then I think it would serve them well to be forthcoming with information rather than being so damned vague. Oh sure, legally they don't have to give us the names of the songs or composers they claim we're violating, but that doesn't mean they can't! You're right, it does make me want to avoid any business relationship with them.

I have a desire to see the Digital Tradition database in compliance with copyright law (as I gather everyone here is, starting with Max) but I am glad that Max has refused to knuckle under to the snooty posturing implicit in the original letter.

I would like to see information on the web that is in layman's terms, simple and clear as to what the law says about copyright as it pertains to music and lyrics.

Margo White


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Margo
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:03 PM

Please post to part II of this thread! Thanks, Margo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From:
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:09 PM

The Publisher loves MONEY - they LOVE your MONEY -

Keep your money - sing free folk songs - make em up ifn you have to, sing about your toes, nose any thing shoes your car the cat, the sun it is freeeeeeeeee.

FREE


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:22 PM

In my wildest dreams, I imagine someone from HFA/NMPA, who is as civil as A Publisher, calling Max and saying, "Sorry, we got off on the wrong foot, but most people we've dealt with so far have been uncooperative." Then they would get together to identify the songs HFA/NMPA object to being in the database. After this, they can sort out the specifics on individual songs. This would only happen in the real world if HFA/NMPA were more interested in resolving the issue as easily as possible rather than as dramatically.

My next wildest dream has Max saying something along the lines of "We wish to cooperate, and would have from the beginning, if you had indicated that cooperation rather than opposition was what you expected and desired. What do you really want?"

In any case, there's no way in hell anyone (most of all Max) has time to go through the thousands of songs and separate the PD from non-PD ones to compile a list of titles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:42 PM

Jeri, you say.....
My next wildest dream has Max saying something along the lines of "We wish to cooperate, and would have from the beginning, if you had indicated that cooperation rather than opposition was what you expected and desired. What do you really want?"

Max already tried that approach with them, right from the start.
What they want us to do is to remove all the offending material, without them telling us what that material is. OR THEY'LL SUE US.

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: A Publisher
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:46 PM

You DO have a very daunting list of titles here. It IS too much work for any one person. Please remember that, if I've correctly understood what Max has said about his correspondence with HFA/NMPA, they did not ask for a culled list of only copyrighted titles - they are willing to take on the responsibility of culling titles from the complete list.

At any rate, I truly appreciate the open-minded dialog with some of you here. If what I hear here is true about the first contact with HFA/NMPA being so rude, I will be truly alarmed. I don't believe that should be the first line of contact, and if it has been, I will make clear my wishes that it not be in the future.

To Margarita: I have been a proponent for a long time of publishers creating (perhaps through NMPA) a clear and concise educational site about copyright and intellectual property, particularly with regard to the internet. I would NOT want to see a copyright site that is anything like the RIAA site, which I took to be condescending and rude. While that site has not come to fruition as I (and other colleagues) have envisioned, there are a large number of copyright primers on the 'net. I will peruse them today if time permits and post a list of the best later.

Again - THANK YOU to those of you willing to carry on an open-minded dialog. It's important that I know how our company is being perceived, and it's equally important that internet users learn more about the subtleties of copyright law.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Bert
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:54 PM

Please continue discussion Here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: A Publisher
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 03:57 PM

Once further comment: I wholeheartedly support the individual creator's right to do as he/she sees fit with their works. That includes giving the work away for free if that is what that individual chooses to do. That freedom does not equate to a freedom to take someone else's work when they have chosen to seek protection of their work and to earn money from it. It is always the choice of the composer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From:
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 09:32 AM

A Publisher

Any law clerk (I presume the lawyers representing thousands of publishers have clerks) with half a brain and computer literacy can get that list fairly easily themselves.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 01:22 PM

Haven't time to respond to everything, but remember that there is no need for legal action unless there is a legal complaint filed--no reason to co-operate, no reason to discuss or respond--don't help them on a fishing expedition--they have no authority to demand any accounting from you of anything--remember that the action comes from the publisher or an authorized representative--

I am not litigious, but I believe don't hesitate to excercise my legal rights to the fullest extent when I feel that I have to--

I personally advise everyone to excercise protect the rights that they have been granted by our constitution, even when others do not want you to--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 09:04 AM

More BS:I was reading a Jeffrey Deaver thriller over the weekend. I noticed from his bio on the sleeve that he had been a (US) folk singer and a lawyer inearlier careers, seems a useful man to get onside!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 11:55 AM

M. Ted,

I would change your comment to read,

...ESPECIALLY when others don't want you to (excersise your basic rights).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Nov 99 - 09:24 PM

Just to show that, while HFA and Co can maybe make life unpleasant for the good people who put the Digital Tradition together, there's nothing anybody can really do to remove it from the 'net - here's a site I came across in a folk club' links.

:http://www.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/

(I wonder who he is?...)

http://www.numachi.com/~rickheit/

(hmm - very helpful...

http://www.numachi.com/

(very interesting...)

I can't be fashed to try to put in blue clicky things - just copy the URLs to your address bar, or whatever, and follow the trail. I love the modesty of the man...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2
From: GeorgeH
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 09:43 AM

Sorry if I've missed this in the thread and perhaps you're already doing it but . .

a) preferably refuse to speak to them on the phone and insist their complaints are issued in writing; much easier to demonstrate the reasonableness of their response

b) if you must do it by phone make sure you have the name of the woman you're talking to and her line manager (I presume she's told you the company she works for) and if you feel she's being unreasonable (unlikely, I agree) insist on speaking to the LM.

I think the line is "I don't think I am doing anything illegal or unlawful and nothing you have said has changed that opinion. I believe I have taken all reasonable steps to operate within the law. You need to be more specific."

Good luck.

G.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
 


This Thread Is Closed.


Mudcat time: 9 December 5:01 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.