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No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack

Max 14 Oct 99 - 02:09 PM
KathWestra 14 Oct 99 - 02:18 PM
j0_77 14 Oct 99 - 02:28 PM
MMario 14 Oct 99 - 02:29 PM
kendall 14 Oct 99 - 02:34 PM
Uilleand 14 Oct 99 - 02:35 PM
Bruce O. 14 Oct 99 - 02:38 PM
T in Oklahoma 14 Oct 99 - 02:39 PM
Big Mick 14 Oct 99 - 02:47 PM
Max 14 Oct 99 - 02:47 PM
emily rain 14 Oct 99 - 02:56 PM
Uilleand 14 Oct 99 - 03:08 PM
katlaughing 14 Oct 99 - 03:16 PM
Cara 14 Oct 99 - 03:22 PM
Bert 14 Oct 99 - 03:29 PM
MMario 14 Oct 99 - 03:30 PM
Uilleand 14 Oct 99 - 03:32 PM
Lonesome EJ 14 Oct 99 - 03:33 PM
Max 14 Oct 99 - 03:38 PM
katlaughing 14 Oct 99 - 03:40 PM
Llanfair 14 Oct 99 - 03:46 PM
Uilleand 14 Oct 99 - 03:55 PM
Max 14 Oct 99 - 04:05 PM
lamarca 14 Oct 99 - 04:09 PM
Big Mick 14 Oct 99 - 04:57 PM
Susan-Marie 14 Oct 99 - 05:23 PM
JedMarum 14 Oct 99 - 05:29 PM
JedMarum 14 Oct 99 - 05:43 PM
JedMarum 14 Oct 99 - 05:58 PM
Uilleand 14 Oct 99 - 05:58 PM
bbc 14 Oct 99 - 06:03 PM
Matthew B. 14 Oct 99 - 06:30 PM
DonMeixner 14 Oct 99 - 06:37 PM
Gint 14 Oct 99 - 06:46 PM
Gint 14 Oct 99 - 06:50 PM
Max 14 Oct 99 - 07:03 PM
DougR 14 Oct 99 - 07:06 PM
alison 14 Oct 99 - 07:06 PM
JedMarum 14 Oct 99 - 07:18 PM
Bill D 14 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM
katlaughing 14 Oct 99 - 07:33 PM
catspaw49 14 Oct 99 - 07:40 PM
Little Neophyte 14 Oct 99 - 07:43 PM
j0_77 14 Oct 99 - 07:51 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 14 Oct 99 - 08:03 PM
Gorgeous Gary 14 Oct 99 - 08:05 PM
catspaw49 14 Oct 99 - 08:20 PM
T. in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 14 Oct 99 - 08:37 PM
Art Thieme 14 Oct 99 - 08:38 PM
Alice 14 Oct 99 - 08:49 PM
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Subject: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:09 PM

Here is a letter dick and I received last week verbatim.

October 4, 1999

Via Certified Mail
Max Spiegel
The Digital Tradition
28 Powell Street
Greenwich, CT 06831

Re: "The Mudcat Café"/www.mudcat.org

Dear Mr. Spiegel:

As you may be aware, the National Music Publishers Association, Inc. (NMPA) is a national association of over 700 American music publishers.

It has come to our attention that you have participated in, caused or authorized, via the above referenced website, the reproduction, distribution and transmission of lyrics of copyrighted musical compositions owned or controlled by our publisher members. As far as we are aware, no authority for such activities has been obtained from our members who own the copyrights in the musical compositions involved.

Accordingly, on behalf of our members, we demand that you immediately cease and desist from all such infringing activity. We further demand that within ten days of the date of this letter, you confirm that you have complied with the foregoing demand and provide us with your proposal for amicably resolving our members' claims against you.

If we have not received a timely response to the foregoing demands, we will advise our members, and legal action for willful copyright infringement may be brought against you.

This letter is written without prejudice to all of our members' rights and remedies at law or in equity, which are hereby reserved on their behalf.

Sincerely

Charles J. Sanders


So, I am composing a response today. I will share that once off too. Our thoughts so far is that this letter is very general, it lists no specifics. Also, we do have a BMI license and permission from hundreds of musicians, which may help us some. I am now wanting an ASCAP license too, which I think we can get for $250. If you've been putting off a contribution to the Mudcat, please do it now, and the next $250 I get will get the ASCAP license.

Also, by reading the NMPA Web site, it sounds as if they are going into business (getting commercial). It seems they are leveraging their members songs and info to do essentially what we are, but commercially. That may be the motivation of the letter at this time. They may view us as competition and are using legalese to scare us or crush us. Whatever.

It was also interesting to me that there were about 5 typos and grammatical errors in their document. Very unprofessional. Anyhow, that's that. Just wanted to share it with you for your opinions as well as to let you know this is what dick and I deal with a couple times a year. Wish us luck.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: KathWestra
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:18 PM

Max --
Definitely count me in for a contribution -- and let us all know what else we can do to help (besides telepathic hugs and moral support).
Have you been able to find anything out about this group from an outside source? It might be useful to fish around to see how powerful, reputable, etc. they're perceived as by others in the music industry.
Kath


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: j0_77
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:28 PM

Re Mr Sanders Letter, hmmmmm wait an see - don't they have to prove someone got a song/lyric off the site for money or made money with it?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MMario
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:29 PM

Max - My first thought would be to request specifics. What claims have been made, what are the titles of the songs and who are the authors? Then remove them from public access, if necessary. If they cannot provide specifics; and you have asked for them, then they wouldn't have a leg to stand on


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: kendall
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:34 PM

this sounds like a scam of some kind like those creeps who steal passwords from chat participants. In any case, you can count on me for a contribution. It will be in the mail tomorrow, and thats no shit!!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Uilleand
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:35 PM

Max, how much would it cost to get tax-exempt status? Just curious. In any event count me in for a contribution.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:38 PM

I agree with MMario. Their accusation is too vague. Make them spell it out item by item. They might give it up rather than do the work involved, which would put to considerable expense in wages. The letter does not seem to be from their lawyers, and might just be a bluff to get you to cough up some money. There are surely Mudcatters that are lawyers, how about a bit of free advice here?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:39 PM

Max,

So far as I know, the ASCAP and BMI licenses would only cover performance of the music, not reprinting the lyrics. I think the lyrics require separate permission. So I hope you have the authors' permissions in writing. If you don't, maybe you should get back in touch with the authors that previously e-mailed or phoned their permission and ask them to send a backup FAX. I think documentation will help a lot.

Some of the occasional posting of ©-ed lyrics to this forum should (if the world were reasonable) come under the heading of fair use. But maybe you should check with a lawyer. You might have to rummage through the forum archives and delete some postings of copyrighted lyrics after a while.

Check the return address on the letter and make sure it corresponds to an actual address of the NMPA, or of a licensed law practice actually employed by the NMPA. If the two don't match, the letter may be a hoax or a scam.

Of course, this is all private opinion. It is not legal advice and doesn't establish a lawyer-client relationship, etc.

I hope you can get it all worked out.

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Big Mick
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:47 PM

Max,
I am in.
Mick


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:47 PM

T in Ok: I know the BMI and ASCAP don't cover the lyrics, but with the radio show and other new things planned, I don't want the heat.

Uilleand: Good question, its all just legal fees and filing fees. I tried to barter with a law firm to do their Web site in return, but that fell through. I'm still willing to do it though. Point is, even if it were only $500 that's more than we have. I have a lawyer checking on it, but I have to be careful with even asking questions, cause they want to charge you for everything.

My thoughts on the letter are to state just 3 things. One that we are non-profit etc, 2 that we have the BMI and personal permissions, and 3 request specifics.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: emily rain
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 02:56 PM

where's our buddy legal eagle?

my donation will be in the mail.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Uilleand
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:08 PM

Anyone here on the mudcat a lawyer, who can do pro bono work for the not-for-profit licensing? Seems to be just more paperwork rather than true legal advice. I'm willing to do some paper work regarding filing information and can certainly take a stab at trying to raise money for registration fees, which shouldn't be anywhere near the cost of legal fees.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:16 PM

Sounds like all good ideas and advice to me. I will check with a couple of people I know who have been in arts non-profit for years and see what they have to say. When we were going to go non-profit in CT, I had all of the papers and was going to do it myself, didn't seem that complicated at the time, which was a while ago.

Payday is Monday. Can I just call you and give you a debit card number to put a donation amt. through or is a check better?

Also, would actually going non-profit stop this kind of harassement? If not, what would?

Hang in there; we are all with you.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Cara
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:22 PM

Let me know if there's any legwork, paperwork etc that the poor among us can do.

Thanks for keeping us posted. We're behind you guys 110%.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Bert
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:29 PM

And guys, don't forget, even if you have no spare cash, take a look in your attics and closets and see if you have anything to include in the auction. It doesn't have to be music or folk related and you don't have to give 100% to Mudcat. You can choose your own percentage.

Thanks,

Bert.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MMario
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:30 PM

just being non-profit would NOT deal with the copyright issue. It WOULD probably HELP (public opinion wise) in any litigation, but ... ... ...{isn't it amazing the trivia you pick up in day to day life???)

However, again, if they don't produce specifics, How can Max (or anyone) be expected to cease and desist?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Uilleand
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:32 PM

Katlaughing, I don't think going nfp will help much with lawsuit happy people, but it will help raise money. People and corporations, etc. are more likely to give if they can get a tax write off. It will also help in buying supplies, etc. without paying sales tax, if there is a local tax-exempt registration.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:33 PM

Emily, I think Legal Eagle is a British Attorney and so this is out of his jurisdiction. T in OK, sounds like you are a lawyer? If so, can you help?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:38 PM

The non-profit thing is really an application for tax exempption, which is called 501(c)3. This makes us like a religion, charity or university. It will allow us to apply for academic grants and such, and any contribution you would make to the Mudcat would be a writeoff. A small percentage of all sales through the Mudcat would also be a writeoff.

Will it protect us from crap like this? Not really... well indirectly at best. Who would want to sue a charity? (don't answer that) It pretty much just validates our status as a good cause. Though, when I worked at Penn State, I could only photocopy so many pages for distribution to the students, so even academically it is an issue.

I am not an expert at these things, and could use any help I can get. I do know that in the long run tax exemption will save us a lot of money.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:40 PM

Max,

Here are a couple of links for you.

1) Free Legal Advice for PA residents>, looks like a good and reasonable site; you post a question, they answer it and if more lengthy phone conversation is needed, there is still no charge.

2) PA Law on line, again, looks like a good site, lots of statutes etc. on line, with forms etc. I didn't see anything specifically about non-profit, but I am sure wiht some exploring it would point you in the right direction, as it had many links, also.

I hope this helps. Let us know what else we can do, esp. if it's hunting up more info, etc.

kat


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Llanfair
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:46 PM

Max..... What is the best way to get money to you from the UK. I can write a cheque in pounds, can it be changed over there easily?
i really think that the letter is from someone trying it on, it is far to vague and non-specific to be on behalf of a copywrighted artiste.
I don't suppose our friend who channels water from church roofs knows anything about it? Hwyl, Bron.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Uilleand
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 03:55 PM

I've been checking on the NFP thing. From files of another NFP it looks like we would need to file an application for exemption with the U.S. Treasury Department - Internal Revenue Service. The mudcat would most likely have to incorporate. Regular filing would have to include financial statements. The application is self-explanatory in most areas and would not require legal advice. Operation of the organization must be at least 12 month to sufficiently document the process and purpose of the organization. If NFP status is granted, the mudcat would receive a letter of determination it can then use to solicit tax-exempt contributions. I don't know about your local state laws or internet commerce rules, but I think a local application is necessary as well to solicit tax exempt contributions. Will continue to research this!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 04:05 PM

Uilleand, we are incorporated as a non-profit in PA as "Mudcat Cafe Music Foundation". Our date of incorporation was June 25, 1997.

Llanfair, the best way for folks overseas is to use their credit card online here. Otherwise the mailing and bank fees hardly make it worth it for any of us. I got a check from Australia once, and it cost me as much to deposit it as it was for. You can do it online with a Visa or Mastercard here. If you can't do that, maybe someone knows a better way?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: lamarca
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 04:09 PM

Sorry, folks, but NMPA is indeed a real organization, and constitutes a real threat to our Mudcat! Here is the Website for NMPA and a Press release about their recent licensing agreement with AOL. Sounds like they're trying to exert more control over Web publication of members' copyrighted songs. Also, a search on "NMPA" came up with this depressing precedent involving "educational use" of copyrighted material...

I think copyright search and permissions and stuff is a pretty arcane aspect of the law that needs to be done everytime a film or video or radio is released with a soundtrack, and we can't expect Max to foot the bill for the lawyers to help the DT with this. Let's all send our contributions for stuff like filing with ASCAP and for a 501C3 tax exemption, but also start asking around for friendly lawyers familiar with copyright law who might be willing to help out pro bono...


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Big Mick
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 04:57 PM

If you want to know why I love you all so, just take a look at the posts here. My contribution is in the mail. If we all pitch in a little, our Mudcat will be OK.

All the best,

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 05:23 PM

Max - It seems like the worst-case scenario would be that you'd have to remove from the site lyrics for which you don't have written permission to post. (Since I contributed Loreena McKennitt's "All Soul's Night" without thinking about whether that was OK or not, I'm feeling partially responsible for this.) But that would mean removing those lyrics from Dick and Susan's database and the forum - what a pain. Still, if distributing those lyrics without permission is a copyright infringement, I don't see what choice we have.

I can just imagine the furtive nature of future requests for lyrics: "Does anyone have the lyrics to "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK"? DON'T POST THEM, they may be copyrighted, just leave them in the hollow tree at the intersection of Route 66 and 151. Thanks."

Anyway, the request for more specifics seems like the best course right now. They may be just fishing. Hang in there.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: JedMarum
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 05:29 PM

once again the pulisher nazis strike. folk music is flok music. how songs in this database bemoan man's pretense to own land, mountains, sea shores, etc? how much more absurd is one man or woman's claim to ownership of performance art material.

as a songwriter and owner of copyrights, I understand the artist's wish to garner monetary recompense for his or her art work, and this opportunity is pretty well protected in our modern society ... but this demand from NMPA is truly exploitation.

you are right-on in pressing them for specifics. if they cannot provide you with specific complaints, they cannot expect a response. I would simply tell them to piss off, but then I am a confrontational type.

best of luck with these snakes ....


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: JedMarum
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 05:43 PM

liam needs to get his brain connected to his fingers ... it appears that his typographical shortcomings leave his posts barely understandable!!

sorry folks (not floks) - I hope the previous message makes some sense!!!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: JedMarum
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 05:58 PM

I have just been listening to the Oct 14th radio show where y'all discussed this letter. I think you are correct in your approach; you are not for profit, and they MUST tell you what specific complaint they have or you cannot respond. It is very likely that none of the publishers in their organization have any lyrics listed on your site; make them prove you have erred in this way! You probably DO NOT NEED TO COMPLY WITH THEIR DEMAND, even though they claim you do, because you are nonprofit. Because there can be no claim that any profit is being gleanned from these posts.

I suspect that this organization, like the others, is just trying to scare organizations like yours into buying yearly renewed memberships ... they are playing a numbers game. They have no real power, and may serve no real purpose!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Uilleand
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 05:58 PM

Max, the IRS website (an excellent resource)provides detailed steps on how to get tax-exempt status. Since I don't much about the mudcat setup, it would be more helpful if you could read through it. It seems very straight forward. If there is paperwork to be done, I can try and do some but need the information from you. I downloaded the 1023 Package of forms to file for tax-exempt status which is available on the website. Since mudcat is already incorporated I don't think an attorney will be necessary to apply. The website is www.irs.gov/bus_info/eo/index.html


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: bbc
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 06:03 PM

I'm frustrated. I was just about to post what is probably my second copyrighted set of song lyrics (guilt!). Guess I won't. Just sent in VISA, Max.

love you,

bbc


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Matthew B.
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 06:30 PM

Let's start a "Lawyer Neeeded!!" thread with a link to this one. We need to get people onto this ASAP, and it might call attention to the problem more quickly.

However, it is my unqualified opinion that we don't need to slit our wrists just yet all at once. It might make more sense to get as prepared as we need to be but take a "wait and see" stance on things, only complying with their "wishes" when absolutely necessary.

It also might make sense to find out how all those Beatles, Doo-wap, R&B, C&W and other lyrics websites (and there are many) handle this type of situation. Have they ever encountered a problem of this kind? How did they handle it? What was the outcome? And lastly, have they ever banded together for strentgh, with jointly appointed legal representation (which Mudcat could take advantage of)? Max, a simple form letter to their webmasters could get the ball rolling on getting the answers to these questions and more. United we stand!


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Subject: RE: Trouble
From: DonMeixner
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 06:37 PM

Max,

A check is in the mail tomorrow to the address above in the attorney's letter. I can't believe that there is no lawyer among us who will do a pro bono gig to help moderate the situation for you.

For the auction: A Sterling Silver bracelet of a style known as The Jeweler's Choice made to fit the size of the person who wins the bid. The bracelet will be mailed to the winner at my expense and if it is the wrong soze we will swap bracelets through the mail till we have one that fits. This bracelet is the last style my father designed for production before he passed away and it is piece that is quite striking in appearance. Wear it as a casual piece (With jeans, Spaw,) or for dress up,( thats how you don't dress, Spaw.)

Let me know how else I can help.

Donald R. Meixner, Silversmith


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Gint
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 06:46 PM

In answer to Llanfair most U.K banks and definately National Westminster and Barclays can organize cash transfers in U.S. dollars if you have the recipeints bank details.

I have 2 visits on sites for shows next year but can let you know full details next thursday when I have sent my donation


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Gint
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 06:50 PM

How do you stand in U.S. law as a lending or refernce library


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:03 PM

I added "Contact Us" into Quicklinks because I notice a lot of folks ask about how to send stuff. Thank you to everyone for your support. I checked out the IRS site, and printed all the 501c3 stuff to put me to sleep tonight. I will be composing a letter this weekend to be sent monday to the NMPA. I am not panicking and neither should anyone else. Please post lyrics as usual, don't be affraid. If we alter our righteous-to-begin-with behaviour, they are winning in at least one way.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: DougR
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:06 PM

Max: My contribution via my Visa card is on the way.

If you are already incorporated as a 501c3 organization in PA, I see no need to further incorporate. You have your exemption from taxes letter from the IRS for the Foundation, right? Simply work everything through the Foundation. Wouldn't that make sense?

I am with those that don't believe your status as a non-profit will shield you from this kind of thing though. If they have a legitimate complaint, you may have no choice other than to comply with what they want or face litigation. Some good Attorney who also enjoys the fruits of the Mudcat could surely advise you how successful you might be, even if you could afford to defend yourself.

Bummer.

DougR


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: alison
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:06 PM

Hi Max,

good luck,

I just tried to send you money using the secure server... didn't work.. will leave you the message in the help forum.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: JedMarum
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:18 PM

MAX -

Don't forget; these b*stards really may have NO right to make demands of you. They probably CANNOT touch you. And they ceratinly have no right to expect you to respond to such vague accustaions. What if the police stopped you and said, "We didn't see you drive the last few miles, but we know you broke some laws, so we want you to write down all of the laws you broke, and we'll write you a ticket!"

Bullsh*it! They can't make you do that! If these guys have a legitimate beef, they can be specific. I think you'll find they haven't any songs 'they own' in your database. i think you'll finf they formed their company, and they wrote thousands of generic (mis-spelled) letters to every organization they could think of, in order to get annual dues. They don't really protect artists like us.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM

There are situations where blanket accusations are made, simply in order to 'formally' serve notice when THEY have no idea what is at issue....you have ALWAYS stated willingness to remove copyrighted stuff from the database if requested...as to things that appear in threads, does " participated in, caused or authorized," cover something I might have typed in?

In any case, as of tonight my copy of Sing Out-Vol.I,no.2, is up for auction...will note it in a separate thread.and looking at other stuff


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:33 PM

Don, can you provide Max with a photo of a similar bracelet? I'd really like to see it, or you could just email it to me, but I suspect others will want to see it, too.

You can go to the Mudcat Auction and enter it as an item, with a picture attachment or not. That way you get to describe it, decide what percentage you want the Mudcat to get; and name a minimum bid.

I have put four necklaces on there, today. Photos will be up as soon as Max has a chance. These are not custom designs, although they are one-of-a-kind originals; nothing fancy, a couple of fun ones and a couple of very simple, kind of elegant ones.

Also, there is an old collector's cardboard phonograph record of Rudy Vallee, with his picture on one side, which I listed. An early radio days promotional item.

What was that saying, do it and apologise (or plead ignorance) later...something like that; Max is right, we should not be scared off by this.

kat


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:40 PM

Max,

Geezis....I'm out of pocket as it were for a few days, just a couple of check-ins, and tonight I find this.

Look at the posts here and you know we're in this too. My money via MC debit was put through to you on the Secure Server and I'll touch base with you tomorrow PM.

This is some fockin' bullshit, but at least it got me off my fatass contributionwise.

Let's keep all those other plans of yours in the works.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:43 PM

I'm smashing my piggy bank right now Max. The suggestions to seek advice from a copyright lawyer will hopefully help ease the concerns here and put this situation in perspective. Little Neo


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: j0_77
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:51 PM

Most of the posts here I notice are discussions about things and a lot are not about music.

Majority of songs are Folk songs which as far as I know are not copyright.

I believe the whole thing is a smoke screen to nail the radio/audio resources. Hang in there folks. MP3 is still there and allows free exchange of original/evolved material.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:03 PM

I knew it was only a matter of time before these *expletive deleted* hit on Mudcat! These people are associated with the Harry Fox Agency, who basically collect mechanical royalties--performance royalties for recordings and films, and yes, though they are real, this is basically a shake the tree and see what falls out expedition--more designed to show that they rule the internet than to really excercise legal anything--

The On-line Guitar Archive and many others have had the same letter--and they went through all of this other stuff that you are proposing--

They have a team of volunteer lawyers in place, who are acting on this, and it would be wise to get together with them--

The legal grounds for their request are thin, and the fact of the matter is that Harry Fox Agency does not actually represent the publishers for the lisensing of publication, when pressed as to their justification in sending these letters out, they say that they are sending this notice as a courtesy to their members--

Oddly enough, since no legal action has been commenced, no action is necessary--but the best response is probably the one suggested above--

In the response, you should ask that they supply you with a specific list of all the songs that they feel violate a copyright, what the legal grounds are for claiming that violation, and the names of the publishers and the copy right holders, and documentation that substantiates their claim that they are authorized by the publishers and copy right holders to act on their behalves--

then assure them that, at the time they provide you with this documentation, you will take appropriate measures--

at OLGA-- they decided to pull the site until they got all the legal issues resolved--but there still was legal consensus that the postings were well within proscriptions of the law.

If worse comes to worse, the real resolution is to get permission to reproduce lyrics--this can be resolved with direct correspondence to the publishers and authors--The people who publish "Rise Up and Sing" had to do this--so it might be worth a phone call or something to see how it was done--

There are more than 30,000 music publishers, and it will be a lot of work for the NMPA to connect songs with publishers to determine what any of their members have a claim on--you can bet that, if they do that, it will take a long time--

Some of the stuff in the DAT is public domain, and a some of the rest of it is copyright expired--when you think about it, much of the rest of it is probably owned by people that are friends and associates--as Max has said, some permission has been granted--

MTed

Note: I am not an attorney, nor do I claim to be an attorney--as a member of this list, I am only expressing my opinion--


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:05 PM

ISTR reading in an IRS pub on non-profits (No. 557, I **think**) that you can automatically claim 501(c)3 if your org's annual income is under $5000 a year, without having to file. Filing is required only if your income is over $5000 or if you have an actual need for the letter of determination to show someone.

I can actually see both sides in this debate. I understand NMPA's position; they're afraid we won't buy their artists' songbooks if we can get the lyrics here for free. OTOH, even if I can get someone's lyrics off the web, I **still** would usually need the songbook for the chords (and the tune!).

This is also why I'm going to be real careful about getting permission before I post that song the Getaway folks want me to post. The people who have the rights to that particular one are also **very** protective of their rights.

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:20 PM

Excellent post Ted...and from reading other posts of yours I have reason to believe you know of what you speak. And your points make much sense.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T. in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:37 PM

For good or for ill, I'm not a lawyer. I'm just someone who's miffed at the way the copyright interests keep squeezing and squeezing, trying to turn the law to their favor every way they can.

I'm pretty sure that not-for-profit status has no effect on whether you can publish lyrics. It may matter to whether and how the Mudcat comes under other areas of copyright (e.g. the radio program). The Lyrics in the DT, though, must all be in the public domain or copyright-cleared. This probably is the vast majority, isn't it? So even if we have to cull the DT of uncleared copyrights, we'll still have a pretty big database ?

As I mentioned earlier, the occasional posting of copyrighted lyrics to this forum (as opposed to the DT) OUGHT to be a fair use. There's nothing systematic about it (as was the case with intabulations posted to the OLGA). It's just once in a while, it isn't the main purpose of the forum, no one can find them through a web search (at least I don't think so), and most threads vanish after a few weeks into the forum archive, their existence known only to a few regulars. But to be safe, we may have to cull those posts from the forum archive. We can substitute a message like "Lyric withdrawn due to threats from _____ (substitute some appropriate epithet or designation). See the following book" followed by a citation to a book where the lyrics can be found, or by a hyperlink to a well-heeled lyric server that can afford clearance.

This demand from the NMPA wouldn't be so annoying if the duration of copyright were more reasonable. (I hope y'all don't mind. I can't resist going on about one of my pet peeves.) I hope our Australian, Canadian, Japanese, Swiss, and other friends encourage their lawmakers to hold the line at life plus 50 years (which is still too long), at least while the recent U.S. extension is being challenged in court. Maybe the recent orgy of copyright extensions can be reversed, or maybe, at least, we can be well enough organized to have a fighting chance of preventing the next extension when the entertainment industry asks for one in about 15 years.

T.

Disclaimer: as usual on the web, this post is private opinion, nothing in this post is legal advice, and nothing in this post establishes a lawyer-client relationship. (I'm not even a lawyer!)


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:38 PM

Max---You know we're with you!

Art


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Alice
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:49 PM

wow. I leave for a day and come back to this news. M.Ted has it right. Request that they respond with the information he outlined. Haven't we asked this question several times - "Is there a lawyer in the house?"


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