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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
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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?


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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.


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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!


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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


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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?)


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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!


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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


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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


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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


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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. :-)


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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


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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!


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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!)


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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?


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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.


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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


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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!!!)


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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...


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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;-)


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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.


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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


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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.


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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


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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


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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?


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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


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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


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