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Serious BS: HFA/NMPA Round 2

GeorgeH 02 Dec 99 - 09:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 99 - 09:24 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 22 Nov 99 - 11:55 AM
Roger the skiffler 22 Nov 99 - 09:04 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 17 Nov 99 - 01:22 PM
12 Nov 99 - 09:32 AM
A Publisher 11 Nov 99 - 03:57 PM
Bert 11 Nov 99 - 03:54 PM
A Publisher 11 Nov 99 - 03:46 PM
Bert 11 Nov 99 - 03:42 PM
Jeri 11 Nov 99 - 03:22 PM
11 Nov 99 - 03:09 PM
Margo 11 Nov 99 - 03:03 PM
Margo 11 Nov 99 - 02:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Nov 99 - 02:31 PM
11 Nov 99 - 02:19 PM
MTM 11 Nov 99 - 01:43 PM
Jeri 11 Nov 99 - 12:25 PM
Pauline L. 11 Nov 99 - 03:36 AM
Malcolm Douglas 11 Nov 99 - 01:36 AM
Margo 10 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 09:39 PM
A Publisher 10 Nov 99 - 09:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Nov 99 - 09:17 PM
Áine 10 Nov 99 - 06:12 PM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 06:06 PM
10 Nov 99 - 05:47 PM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 05:44 PM
A Publisher 10 Nov 99 - 05:28 PM
lamarca 10 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM
Jeri 10 Nov 99 - 02:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Nov 99 - 02:23 PM
Sourdough 10 Nov 99 - 11:35 AM
123 10 Nov 99 - 11:32 AM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 11:24 AM
MTM 10 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 10:59 AM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 10:49 AM
Bert 10 Nov 99 - 10:40 AM
Max 10 Nov 99 - 10:10 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 10 Nov 99 - 09:38 AM
Jeri 10 Nov 99 - 09:31 AM
katlaughing 10 Nov 99 - 12:38 AM
SeanM 10 Nov 99 - 12:28 AM
Max 09 Nov 99 - 11:47 PM
Barry Finn 09 Nov 99 - 11:18 PM
annamill 09 Nov 99 - 10:14 PM
A Publisher 09 Nov 99 - 09:35 PM
Jeri 09 Nov 99 - 04:03 PM
Bert 09 Nov 99 - 02:51 PM
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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.


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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...


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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).


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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!


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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--


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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.


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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.


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

Please continue discussion Here


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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?


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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


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

abc< abc< abc


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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

And all those empty 'Black & Tan' cans.


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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?


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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)


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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...


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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


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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


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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!


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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


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

Interesting....


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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.


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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.


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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.


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