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No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack

KathWestra 16 Oct 99 - 04:47 PM
folk1234 16 Oct 99 - 03:52 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 16 Oct 99 - 02:55 PM
Sapper_RE 16 Oct 99 - 02:35 PM
Lesley N. 16 Oct 99 - 02:08 PM
Winnipeg 16 Oct 99 - 01:54 PM
harpgirl 16 Oct 99 - 01:21 PM
Sam Pirt 16 Oct 99 - 04:23 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 16 Oct 99 - 01:17 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 16 Oct 99 - 12:45 AM
katlaughing 16 Oct 99 - 12:32 AM
Cara 16 Oct 99 - 12:16 AM
bbelle 15 Oct 99 - 11:28 PM
katlaughing 15 Oct 99 - 11:23 PM
momnopp 15 Oct 99 - 11:06 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 15 Oct 99 - 11:00 PM
Hummingbird 15 Oct 99 - 09:38 PM
catspaw49 15 Oct 99 - 09:29 PM
Joe Offer 15 Oct 99 - 09:09 PM
kendall 15 Oct 99 - 08:41 PM
Roger in Baltimore 15 Oct 99 - 08:36 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 15 Oct 99 - 07:10 PM
sophocleese 15 Oct 99 - 06:47 PM
Max 15 Oct 99 - 06:45 PM
katlaughing 15 Oct 99 - 06:43 PM
Dani 15 Oct 99 - 06:35 PM
Margo 15 Oct 99 - 05:24 PM
Matthew B. 15 Oct 99 - 05:12 PM
Max 15 Oct 99 - 05:10 PM
Max 15 Oct 99 - 05:07 PM
clj 15 Oct 99 - 04:29 PM
Bert 15 Oct 99 - 04:11 PM
Joe Offer 15 Oct 99 - 03:54 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 15 Oct 99 - 03:24 PM
Big Mick 15 Oct 99 - 03:23 PM
sophocleese 15 Oct 99 - 03:15 PM
katlaughing 15 Oct 99 - 03:05 PM
Bert 15 Oct 99 - 02:56 PM
harpgirl 15 Oct 99 - 02:56 PM
Jack (who is called Jack) 15 Oct 99 - 02:32 PM
Dave Swan 15 Oct 99 - 01:49 PM
selby 15 Oct 99 - 01:42 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 15 Oct 99 - 01:39 PM
Matthew B. 15 Oct 99 - 01:22 PM
Max 15 Oct 99 - 01:03 PM
harpgirl 15 Oct 99 - 12:56 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 15 Oct 99 - 12:41 PM
Margo 15 Oct 99 - 12:05 PM
Matthew B. 15 Oct 99 - 10:38 AM
bill\sables 15 Oct 99 - 10:12 AM
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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: KathWestra
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 04:47 PM

Max -- I like the letter and its tone a lot. My contribution got sent on Thursday via snail mail. If you need help with anything else that can be accomplished from a distance, give a holler. Rooting for you, Kath


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: folk1234
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 03:52 PM

Been away for a few days, and the Winds of War once again doth blow. I'm totally shocked, but not suprised. We live in a world that is chock full of judicial and economic land mines.

Let's put a different face on this. Once the initial dust settles, let's pursue this "amicable resolution" to our advantage. What fees would NMPA be willing to pay in order to tap into our rich harvest of song, knowledge, opinion, and tradition? This may be a viable source of a steady cash flow to keep the 'cat running and growing. Don't get me wrong, we don't want to sell our soul. Us 'catters' would never do that. However, we can sell a little 'soul-dust', if the price is right. Right?

Max, I shall support you both by pen and by pence.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 02:55 PM

The UPD isn't precisely new. They've been around for at least a few years. My impression (which may be merely an artifact of where I've been focusing my own attention) is that they haven't been especially active, except to provide Jamie Love with an additional way to disseminate information, through their discussion forums. Be that as it may, I second the motion for opening a channel of communication with them.

A good site to visit if you are interested in the public domain is Professor Karjala's Opposing Copyright Extension web site. This site started out as a focus for opposition to the Copyright Term Extension Act. That odious law passed about a year ago, but Prof. Karjala is maintaining the site as a way of publicizing the importance of the public domain in cultural life, and also as a conduit for news about the ongoing constitutional challenge to the CTEA.

A group involved in the court challenge as one of the plaintiffs is Copyright's Commons. Like Professor Karjala, they too are interested in promoting awareness of the public domain and of the public purposes of copyright. There are a number of interesting links from their web site to other web sites sharing some of the same concerns.

The web page devoted to the court challenge itself is here. Though the Mudcat's/DT's immediate copyright problems aren't directly related to the length of the copyright term, I think there is an indirect relationship. It's all part of the phenomenon of the powerful private interests accumulating copyright benefits to themselves at the public's expense.

Another web page of interest is the Public Domain Information Project. This page has been frequently mentioned in this forum, but it can't hurt to mention it again.

Hope this helps,

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Sapper_RE
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 02:35 PM

OK you yankee shower!!! Isn't Sterling good enough for you??? Tried to donate £10.00 on my Barclaycard Visa, but you foxtrot charlie system only accepts dollars!!! Hope $15.00 will do instead! Nil illegitimi carburundun!!!! Good luck with the campaign. Bob


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Lesley N.
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 02:08 PM

I don't really have much to add except for saying I believe the letter is excellent and the tone perfect.

However, I felt I would be remiss if I didn't add my support - both emotional and financial. I tried the server and got an error, I tried to call and got the answering machine. Good heavens - looks like I will have to use snail mail!

It seems there is a slowly growing grassroots movement against unreasonable copyright demands. The only way for this to be effective is by joing together. There is a new organization Union for the Public Domain (http://www.public-domain.org/old.html) which is of interest. There are probably others as well. Does anyone know of any?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Winnipeg
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 01:54 PM

I agree with those who are saying that particulars should be provided. If this should occur I would suggest a 3 step grass roots approach.

1. A standard package is prepared by Mudcat, explaining what it is and what it represents. Included in this would be a release form artists can sign to allow their work to be available in the Mud Cat database. This should be available for download by the people who frequent Mudcat.

2. The titles and artists whose work is in question are listed on the Mudcat site.

3. Supporters of Mudcat can then take it upon themselves to seek out the artists and approach them to sign the release.

This is a somewhat naive approach, but from my experience with folk artists through the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg they would be extremely supportive of an organization like this.

I have been visiting Mudcat for about 3 years now, and will try to send some financial support, but can make no promises at this time.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: harpgirl
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 01:21 PM

...well if you really feel you must answer this gentleman, I still think you are too vulnerable with your approach Max. I would say something like this: Thank you for you correspondence dated ---. Please send a list of the music publishers who belong to your association so we may ascertain whether we would wish to correspond with them in the future regarding the use of their music. The DT, a non-profit corporation, separate from the Mudcat another non-profit corporation, only lists public domain lyrics and lyrics previously cleared through the artists by their written permission, currently. (This approach denies the possibility that you have done something actionable)
. Ted's take on the association is mine as well. It is an organization develped by it's CEO which acts as a representative association which publishers may join for 50$ a year. They appear to be trying to develop it's power and commercial appeal by becoming a body with organized power to address issues such as legislation which protects copyrighted music on the web... and definitely send it certified...


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 04:23 AM

I'll be with you all the way Max!! Cheers, Sam


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 01:17 AM

Sorry to be coming in so late, but I like the letter, as well. I would leave the word "willful" in, because it is a word that has legal meaning, in terms of intent--but that's just my non-legal opinion--

As to copyrights--it is worth noting that HFA and co. only act as a sort of collection agency and brokerage for mechanical rights etc for music publishers--the are not even the exclusive reps, so what they try and do is to persuade the end user that it is better to deal with them rather than the deal with the publishers directly--in this case, they are using a threat of legal action as a lever, probably to offer an expensive blanket liscense, as was mentioned above--

At any rate, I think Max is handling it well--I am considering taking some broader action, since I am in Washington where a few phone calls and visits can make a difference, after this is settled, and would welcome private input--

As an aside, not only are you all very nice, and all, you are very knowledgable and have good judgement--a truly unique community on the internet!!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 12:45 AM

Hummingbird, some of what you're wondering about is touched on in Harvey Reid's essay, at http://www.woodpecker.com/articles/royalty-politics.html. Performance is ordinarily covered by a performance license paid for by the club or restaurant owner. The performer doesn't pay directly. Of course performers pay indirectly in at least two ways that I can think of. As members of the public they pay higher prices than otherwise for meals and drinks at the club or restaurant. As performers they pay because clubs and restaurants that can't afford licenses don't hire performers. All other things being equal, the more the licenses cost, the fewer places will buy them, and the fewer will be the opportunities for performers to perform, and for audiences to hear.

Certain performances (such as performance of religious music during worship if performed from bought-and-paid-for copies) are exempt from performance licenses. (Remember, I am not a lawyer, this is just private opinion, it isn't legal advice, it doesn't establish a lawyer-client relationship, etc. etc.) But so far as I know there are no exemptions for reprints of copyrighted works except the general "fair use" exemption, which by all accounts is a very tricky concept, some special provisions for libraires, and maybe a few special-case exemptions (I think Braille books are exempt). Even churches need to get permission (and sometimes pay a fee) to reprint music or hymn lyrics in the church leaflet, if the music or lyrics are copyrighted. Fortunately I think much of the DT is in the public domain, and the Mudcat has permissions for much or all of the rest.

So I think the Mudcat will get through this OK. Still I share your frustration. It sometimes seems as though the copyright system is like a net being closed ever tighter around us poor birdies.

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 12:32 AM

Max, the only other suggestion I might make is to send it via certified mail, so that someone has to sign for it. That way you have an ironclad paper trail. Faxes can sometimes get *lost* or go to the wrong person.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Cara
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 12:16 AM

I agree with Dani's suggestions. The letter looks awesome. They obviously didn't know who they were dealing with when they "trolled" you (and by exension us). Way to go.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: bbelle
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 11:28 PM

Max ... it's a well-written, articulate letter ... good job. I've just sent "mine" via visa. (Jeri ... you beat me to "it") ... moonchild


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 11:23 PM

LOL, JackwicJ!

Max, I just copied this:

"Please note: The materials on this site are for informational, educational, entertainment, and review purposes only. No commercial gain is realized from this site, it is strictly non-profit. Copyright infringement is not intended in regards to the artist or any of the artist's entities. If you hold the copyright on materials here and you wish them removed, please contact rocklady@rockinwoman.com. Legal proof of your ownership must be submitted, and if verified, the materials will be removed immediately."

from a site Gene linked to in the Monster Mash thread.

I know you have something similiar, but it seems something more like this, in a fairly obvious spot would exonerate you from any of the crap these guys are claiming.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: momnopp
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 11:06 PM

Max- terrific letter. Have at 'em!!!

8+)

JudyO


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 11:00 PM

Is this the spot where we tell the joke

What's the difference between a Copyright Attorney and a Mudcat. One's a scum sucking bottom dweller and the other is a fish.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Hummingbird
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 09:38 PM

Ok, I'm not as well informed as most of you are. I"m from a very small town in very rural Vermont. Does all this mean, basically, that if you perform a song, for profit, and don't the author's/composer's etc. permission to do so, you are breaking the law. It seems rather ridiculous to me that a "big" firm like the Fox agency is worried about a few of us singing songs in our living rooms or around campfires or at a local open mic are infringing on some one else's copyright. (hope I worded that correctly). Do they really think we are going to make substantial amounts of money with these supposed copyrighted songs. Come on...as Heraldo would say, "gimme a break". This country is so sue happy it's ridiculous. And when a lawsuit is really necessary it's not pursued. Why don't they go after someone who is really breaking the law!!!!

Just my two cents worth. Best of luck to you Max, I"ll contribute as soon as I can, gotta pay my property taxes first though.

Hummingbird.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 09:29 PM

I would put a comma after "efficiently" in the last sentence and add, "Ya fockin' scumbags."

Outside of that, its a terrific response Max....seriously.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 09:09 PM

Hi, Kendall - the address you mailed to was Dick Greenhaus, Godfather of the Digital Tradition lyrics database. He's a relatively trustworthy individual, so not to worry. He'll take his 78 percent processing fee, and send a box of Milk Bones to Max (just kidding).

I like your response letter, Max. It does the job without antagonizing, and without wasting words. I'd agree with Dani's suggested changes.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: kendall
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 08:41 PM

damn I sent the check to the wrong address.. Greenwich Ct. is that ok Max?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 08:36 PM

Max,

I've been away from the 'puter for a while. When I first saw this thread I thought it was way too early for April Fools. But, alas, it appears it is not a joke. I have sent in my two-cents worth. Somewhere in the process it said it could not process my request, so if you get two posts from me on the secure server, please delete one of them.

Probably to 'Spaw's amazement, I have no idea what might be the best way to handle this. I know whatever you do will be with our's and the Mudcat's best interests at heart.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 07:10 PM

Max, that looks pretty good. Maybe "Mudcat Cafe makes every effort to comply with the law of copyright, and has obtained various licences and permissions" or something like that would be a good alternative, but it's fine as it is.

harpgirl, thanks for checking up on the NMPA. The "recent legislation" they mention on their web site probably includes the No Electronic Theft Act, which was passed by the same Congress that passed the odious copyright extension. The NETA makes copyright infringement on the web a crime in some circumstances. Even without that law, the civil penalties for copyright infringement can be draconian. So Mudcat should definitely take this matter seriously.

If this is NMPA's attempt to bully the Mudcat into buying a blanket license, ("probably overpriced" the cynical piece of my mind is saying) well, my own instinct is not to do so except as a last resort. As I've said already, Mudcat should first evaluate whether the compliance mechanisms that it has already developed will continue to serve adequately. I think they probably will. But it's easy to talk tough and be confident from here. Max is the one who's on the line, so in the end it's his call.

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: sophocleese
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 06:47 PM

I think it works Max. Short, sweet, and to the point. I disagree though with Dani (please, no offence intended) over using the phrase "to everyone's satisfaction". Their satisfaction seems based on monetary considerations and I think we should stop that idea as fast as possible.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 06:45 PM

Thanks Dani, and thanks to everyone else. Don't worry about me, I'm not sweating it. They should know better... folkies are always willing to fight for their music. I know what I, dick, and all of you are doing here is righteous, and I live to defend any righteous activity from anyone with another motive. The Righteous VS. The Capitalists... lemme at 'em.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 06:43 PM

Excellent, Max. I agree with Dani about those two words.

I am of two minds about responding,(part of me agrees about NOt giving them the time of day), but I respect your decision and you know you have my support.

kat


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Dani
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 06:35 PM

Max, perhaps instead of "willfully" you could use "knowingly". And at the end, instead of "efficiently", I would suggest "to everyone's satisfaction".

These are just suggestions. I like your response. Don't let sweating this tip you off your Getaway cloud. We're with you in spirit, if not at the desk while you bite your nails.

Dani


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Margo
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 05:24 PM

Beautiful, Max.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Matthew B.
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 05:12 PM

I love it.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 05:10 PM

OK, I've decide that I will respond to the letter. I don't really care what they read here, so here is my draft so far, short and sweet. I am going to fax it over to them Monday morning, so put your 2 cents in this weekend and I'll consider it before I send it off. Here it is:

Friday, October 15, 1999

Charles J. Sanders
NMPA, Inc.
711 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Sanders:

This is in response to your letter on October 4, 1999.

Mudcat Café Music Foundation is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania in June of 1997. We publish our Web site, www.mudcat.org, in an effort to preserve and appreciate traditional music.

We have every interest in providing a "proposal for amicably resolving your members' claims" against us, however, you did not state what these claims are. We are not aware of any such violations, and have never willfully infringed on any copyright. If provided with a specific list of claims, publishers and/or copyright holders making them, documentation that substantiates your authority to act on their behalf, and specific instances of such violations on our Web site, we can accurately assess the situation and provide such a proposal. The Mudcat Café has various music licenses and permissions. If we obtain the details requested, I am sure we can resolve this matter efficiently.

Sincerely,


Max D. Spiegel
Publisher, The Mudcat Cafe


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 05:07 PM

Contributions can be made in a couple of ways. First, you can contibute using a credit card here. You could also send a check to The Mudcat Cafe, 5 W. Gay St. Suite A, West Chester, PA 19380. You could also put an item up for auction with all or part going to the Mudcat. You can read our support page to find other ways to contribute.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: clj
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 04:29 PM

Most of us love this music because it is in the Public Domain and came from the hearts of the people. This all sounds suspicious to me-such a litigation conscious society. . .I would be very careful and admit nothing which I am certain occurred to you already. By the way, how do you contribute?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Bert
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 04:11 PM

Good points Joe.
We do provide them a very good service.
Whenever we recognize a song title we link our users to a legal recorded version of that song.
We also point out that if anyone is using a song, then they must get permission from the copyright holder.
And we continually make the point that singers and authors are entitled to be paid for their efforts.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 03:54 PM

Well, it's a difficult issue, but I'd hate to see us back down and delete any song that might have a copyright. Heck, I suppose somebody has tried to copyright most of the Child Ballads. I'd like to see the entire issue resolved in a positive way, a way that would resolve all these attempts at repression that have gone on over the last few years, ever since people started posting songs on the Internet.
I'd like to think that most of the people at NMPA and the Harry Fox Agency and similar organizations are decent, honorable people, trying to do a decent, honorable thing. I know there are a lot of people who would disagree with me on that, but hear me out - most of the people we take the time to get to know are decent people, aren't they? Why should these people be any different? I think we need to talk with them on their terms, and convince them that what we do is a service to them and the songwriters they represent. What we do helps to keep good songs alive.
This problem is not going to go away until it is resolved in a way that is satisfactory to everyone. It will take some open-mindedness and generosity on all sides, but I think it can be done. I know this may sound overly idealistic, but I think a peaceable solution may well be a much better remedy than continued antagonism. I think we have to take the high road, and I think that Max and Dick and Susan have been doing exactly that.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 03:24 PM

Max, Probably wise. In retrospect I should have sent that to you via e-mail.

Take care of yourself.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Big Mick
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 03:23 PM

Max, I will be short and sweet. Aside from doing all the things that people make movies about us urban folk hero organizers do, I spend hours, days and months working with contract law, attorneys and devising legal strategies. You get a pretty fair sense of it after 25 years or so. In my opinion, harpgirl is offering sound advice as to the track you should go. That letter is clearly a fishing expedition to see if they can take you down a road for any one of several reasons, but probably the scenario she last described. Take measured steps, my friend. But do not haste to answer every charge........that is playing into what appears to be their strategy. We are here for you, as best we can be.

Mick


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: sophocleese
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 03:15 PM

I can't offer much except good wishes and strength to you through this. Anything else I could say has already been said. When I get to the bank I'll also send something.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 03:05 PM

Very good action, Bert. It would be so easy for them to read all of this and plan accordingly.

Also, remember phoaks, while we may talk about all of this in the abstract, what we should do or the Mudcat should do, it is really Max, as mentioned above. He has a limited amount of time available, away from his very real website design company and has to support not only himself, but several employees with that business.

Anything any of us can do or have done which can save him time, I am sure would be helpful. Just say the word, Max; when you're ready you've an righteous phalanx armed and ready!

kat


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Bert
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 02:56 PM

OK guys, See item 3 above. That's my fault, I advised Max that he might want to remove information that could be of use to the enemy.

Please be careful when you post, that you don't give these guys any ideas. They can be agressive enough without us pointing out places where they could attack.

Webs have ears!

Bert.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: harpgirl
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 02:56 PM

...after reading through a considerable amount of material in lamarca's links on the NMPA and the HFA, my take on this is that it is their attempt to bring the DT into a financial arrangement which allows them to profit from the DT as another lyrics server.
Charles Sanders, ESQ is listed as a counsel to NMPA and Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs of HFA. The sites do discuss recent legislation pertaining to activity like this on the web. Evidently, they initiated a suit against ILS which doesn't appear to be finished and they have a link to ILS on their website. Doesn't this suggest that they are merely trying to develop a contractual agreement which would allow them to profit from the lyrics of any of their music publishing clients which might appear in the DT? Max, if you haven't read all of the stuff on their sites, do it! harp


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Jack (who is called Jack)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 02:32 PM

There are several things to consider here.

1. Most of the time lawsuits are a threat not because of cost of losing the suit but the cost of achieving the victory. Someone that can spend $10,000 at the drop of a hat, can force you to spend similarly. It doesn't matter whether they win or lose, they still hurt you.

2. Sometimes a small target is destroyed to set an example to larger targets so they can be threatened more effectively.

3. (removed by Max for review)

4. Finally, the way it sometimes works is that your opponent gets a cease and desist order against you from the court. Then if you ignore it, you don't get sued for money, you get be arrested for contempt of court.

Sorry if this seems grim, but its just a bit of a warning. Its easy to believe that the threat is minimal, and it might be. Still, I'd make sure it was.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Dave Swan
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:49 PM

Max, Glad you slapped the secure server upside the head. I had no luck with it last night. I'll try again today. Cheers, D


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: selby
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:42 PM

It is very easy for all of us to be full of fight but lets not forget one thing, that MAX ultimately carries the can. And HE must take what action HE thinks is neccasary to alieviate this bloodsucking parasite from a truly wonderful organisation. My thoughts are with you at this testing time. Keith


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:39 PM

harpgirl, I agree that if the letter doesn't genuinely come from a bona fide representative of the NMPA, we should just ignore it. But if it is an authentic C&D letter, not just a prank or a scam, we shouldn't ignore it unless a lawyer with experience in music licensing and/or anthology clearance issues advises us to ignore it. As I said above, I don't think these people have a clue about what the Mudcat is. My guess is, they simply set one of their snoop-programs loose on the web to look for keywords like "song lyrics" or something. They don't realize that the DT tightened up its clearance procedures several years ago, after its first brush with the copyright law. (That's the story I heard, anyhow.) I think the DT is probably entitled to have a pretty good conscience where copyright compliance in concerned, and if so, it shouldn't be afraid to say so.

Regardless of what Mudcat does about the letter, though, it should probably conduct a sort of internal review, making sure that it has a nice paper trail for all the copyrighted stuff (if any) on the DT. So in the case of a lyric the DT got verbal permission for it should probably contact the author again and get written permission. Keeping touch with the author is a good idea in any case, since people's addresses change. It should also check for situations where DT got permission from an author who had forgotten that he (I consider "author" a gramatically masculine noun) didn't control the copyright. In that situation DT'd need to call the author back and get him to ask his publisher to send permission. In some cases the publisher might refuse, but in others I think the publisher might will go along with the author's wishes. I doubt this'll have happened much. I conjecture that in most cases the author knows whether he controls the copyright or not, and the DT will have gotten a valid permission the first time.

Of course, this is not legal advice, does not establish a lawyer client relationship, etc., etc.

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Matthew B.
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:22 PM

Ted, it is truly a pleasure to encounter such intelligence and common sense as I do in reading what you wrote. I thoroughly agree with every point you make, yet I still so nothing in it to contradict what I've said, namely, that the best thing we can do right now is begin forging alliances with our "sister" websites everywhere, who are fighting the exact same battle (or at least stand to do so).

Yes, burden of proof is upon them in a court of law, but they must know that they don't have to go that far to harass us into submission. You yourself pointed out that they are the ones with the deep pockets, not us. They're counting on the fact that Mudcat would back down because we can't afford even to deal with this issue legally.

I urge every 'catter who knows about other lyrics websites to contact the webmasters and start the ball rolling.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:03 PM

Jeese, what a thread. I'll need a little time to digest this all. But, for those of you that tried to make a contribution online here, IT DID WORK. Well, enough of it worked to get it into my database. I fixed what was wrong, so if you want to try it again, go ahead, I will just delete duplicates. I will also confirm each contribution personally with those that tried before I process them. Now let me read this thread again...


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: harpgirl
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 12:56 PM

...several good points have been made. However, I do not think this letter should be answered. Is Charles Sanders a lawyer representing anyone specifically? What claims? There is no pending lawsuit, only the implication. In the world of legal shenanigans, this type of letter is like a baited hook. Ignore it, until some specific legal action is filed. Entering into a dialogue creates vulnerability and supports the implication that you MUST respond to this letter...my two cents...harp


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 12:41 PM

Matthew.

It isn't simply a matter of cut and paste--they can send anything that they want--the point is, for them to prevail, they have to prove all the points that I outlined--and then they have to prove willful misconduct--if you have ever tried to sue someone for a what seems to you like a grave injustice, you will know that there is an amazing distance between making a claim and making it stick--

Their lawyers cost four hundred dollars an hour, as well, and any lawyers that we get are likely to work pro bono--so it will cost them a lot more to proceed than it will for us to defend ourselves--

As I said, even if their claims are true (which they must prove) they must also prove that that that is a violation of the law(not necessarily easy for them)

They must also prove damages, which means that they have to show that Mudcat's offering of lyrics to songs causes a financial loss that their own distribution of lyrics or other distribution of lyrics does not--

There is another even more interesting vulnerability that they create--when they claim that Mudcat (or anyone) has violated their copyrights, it makes their ownership of the rights and issue--If they make false and erroneous claims concerning the rights to music and lyrics countersuits are possible, and whereas Muccat doen't have much money, they have very deep pockets--

It is only a matter of time until someone puts together a good legal challenge to them, a class action of some sort--whoever does stands a chance of prevailing for a very substantial amount of money--the reason that they have succeed in having copyrights restored to material that is in the public domain is simple--no one has made a serious challenge to their claims--

The laws do not enforce themselves--people need to demand that they be enforced--even murders, the most egregious of crimes, can go uninvestigated and unprosecuted until friends and families rise up in anger and demand justice--

Until someone stands up, the Harry Foz Agency and connected interests will get their way, whether it is legal or not--


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Margo
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 12:05 PM

I sure do agree with T in Oklahoma. I haven't said anything up 'till now because others have said my first thought: get specifics to which you can respond. Frankly, it puzzles me as to why someone would write such a vague letter to begin with. But when you go to make a case, you need your paper trail. Be civil, be specific.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Matthew B.
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 10:38 AM

If this does explode into a lawsuit, then an auction of even the most beautiful stuff wouldn't even pay for a lawyer to have even the first meeting with the litigants to discuss the matter, much less the litigation itself. Believe me, I know. Good lawyers in this industry can charge over $400 an hour just to listen to you tell them your sad story over the phone!

I completely agree with Ted, but I know how easy it would be for these people to answer our request for the list of songs they think are in violation: all they have to do is copy and paste our entire song list and send it back, which puts the ball back in our court to answer for each song.

Max, the Mudcat's greatest strength is that it is not alone in cyber space. Mudcat has website "cousins" in every other type of music, drama (all those Shakespeare sites, etc), poetry and prose, and every one of them faces this same issue. I think the most cost-effective (and time-saving) approach is to connect with as many of them as possible. If even a single one of them has learned how to shoo away these pests, I'll bet that they'd be delighted to tell us how, in lavish detail.

Sorry for the loud typing, but it's probably the smartest thing we can do, and the sooner, the better.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: bill\sables
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 10:12 AM

Max. keep in there we are all behind you I have just offered a Strap in the auction I hope it helps. Cheers Bill


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