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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
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Art Thieme 14 Oct 99 - 08:38 PM
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selby 15 Oct 99 - 01:42 PM
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sophocleese 15 Oct 99 - 03:15 PM
Big Mick 15 Oct 99 - 03:23 PM
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sophocleese 15 Oct 99 - 06:47 PM
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T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 16 Oct 99 - 12:45 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 16 Oct 99 - 01:17 AM
Sam Pirt 16 Oct 99 - 04:23 AM
harpgirl 16 Oct 99 - 01:21 PM
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T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 16 Oct 99 - 02:55 PM
folk1234 16 Oct 99 - 03:52 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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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:52 PM

I would like to donate a flower-pot to this moment in Mudcat time...Just send $50.00 to Max and I will mail you a pot I have made for both The White House and Monticello..It is taken{Inspired} by the portrate of "Rubens Peale With Geranium"1801 {Public Domane!!!!} I will take up to 10 hits this way or $500.00<<<>>> All takers just leave your adress { plus phone # for the UPS man} with MAx along with your check and he can pass the adresses on to me.. My best to Max and all my friends at Mudcat!!! Yours Guy


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 08:58 PM

I understand and support, totally, the process as we know it here, and in folk music, but I also understand the part of the artist, esp in classical music. I would not be happy about the copyrights on my brother's symphonies and piano concertos expiring any sooner than is already in place. There must be some sort of happy medium. Excellent points, well put, though T-bird.

kat


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Banjer
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 09:07 PM

I don't usually understand nor pretend to understand all the legallese connected to copyrights and all tha goes with it. My contribution went in about ten minutes ago via the secure server. Let's get enough money together to defeat these idiots and go on with life.....I get so damn aggitated at everybody always tryin' to make a profit off of somethin' I enjoy....


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 09:21 PM

I'm old enough to remember when ASCAP or BMI went after the Catholic Church for photocopying music, and collected big-time. I'm afraid non-profit really is unrelated, except for PR value. (Remember the Girl Scouts and Happy Birthday??)

I was in one workshop about a year ago, where the teacher handed out some exercises consisting of the first one-tenth of copyrighted songs; he said this was the legal limit. (Using the work in its entirety is not.) For photocopying copyrighted printed material in a library, it is one-quarter.

The city of Chicago used to send out these blanket letters to anyone who had any at all outstanding parking tickets within the stature of limitations, with the statement "You may be liable to legal action."

My lawyer's comment? "Yeah, and the sun may not rise tomorrow."

Which doesn't help the sleazy feeling this fear-mongering gives us.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 09:38 PM

I think M.Ted is right; it looks like a trawling exercise by greedy lawyers who are acting on their own behalf in the hope of cornering what they hope might become a lucrative market. If required to specify what material is at issue, they might just disappear; I doubt if they actually know. That said, the U.S legal system is a bit of a mystery to those of us who live in other countries not (yet) subject to it, so clearly this has to be taken seriously. It's true that there are songs on the database which are not credited to their writers, but there are probably a lot more that are credited to people who have simply claimed a copyright to which they have no moral entitlement. In the latter case, an alternative version could be substituted. Meanwhile, I shall send a contribution to the fighting fund just as soon as I can make the form work for me! Good luck,

Malcolm Douglas


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:07 PM

Max, did you get my private post? For what it's worth, I deal with lawyers alot. That letter requires NO answer. You don't have to answer anything but a lawsuit, in court and only subpoenas from judges...right Pat?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:10 PM

Utah Phillips' radio show was rebroadcast on pledge time for KBOO in Portland, so I was able to catch a piece of it, wherein he discussed his letter from the musical power elite about "Wabash Cannonbill." He said that many people are under the misconception that Roy Acuff wrote it, and he was delighted to fire back an angry letter saying just how long 'bos had been singing the song, and he had documentation from the Library of Congress to prove it.

Now, that might not have happened if Utah hadn't actually done time as a hobo, and was also a trained archivist who could do the research. Too bad that commercial music is full of stuff like this.

He also had a great story about taking The Wabash Cannonball (train) on its last run -- by accident; some of you must know that he refuses to transport by gas guzzler since the Gulf (Oil) War. According to U., every country western star was busy getting their picture took on that train. The train was actually named after the song, and not the other way around.

'Course, Utah has been known to stretch a point ...


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Mudjack
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:18 PM

Getting ready to leave the state for 6 days, will pick this back up in a week unless I can get on someone's PC in our travels. Will surely be supportive,
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Jeri
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:38 PM

One thing strikes me as being very weird. They offer free lyrics to "over 60,000 songs" on their own website. If they give them away for free, how can they possibly say you can't?

I agree they need to get more specific. If they don't tell you which songs by which "members," they can't say it's "willful copyright infringement." I would also make sure the return address is valid, and try to contact Charles Sanders personally. I think it sounds like a scare or a practical joke.

Would you like to tell us their mailing address? I don't have much mind left, but I'm very willing to share a piece of it with them.

I owe you a contribution anyway - on behalf of myself and on behalf of Graham Pirt who just sent me a gold mine of Keith Marsden/Cockersdale songs and asked only that I contribute.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: _gargoyle
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:39 PM

ahhhhh....what sort of a belly-crawlin-vile-scum-suckin-creep would have revealed the muck of the Mud to the "copyright police!"

Wellp' I guess it is goodbye MC....hello again...to the ol' DT.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:06 PM

I think the "60.000 free lyrics" is the reason for all of this--it could easily be construed that their intent is to get exclusive control of distribution of song lyrics on the web-- I can not help but notice the change that has taken place on the UBL, which once was a site that linked one to lyrics and fan pages, but now offers info on artists and has a shopping basket for your purchases--

If this is indeed the case(of course, I only postulate it, theoretically, as one of many possibilities) there may be reason to request anh h investigation from the justice department--

At a point in the near future, we should do a little web research and gather whatever information is available on other actions of this sort and their ultimate results--

At this point, I suggest forming a committee of some sort to oranganize efforts and create useful partnerships--

In addition, I recommend taking strategic and planning discussions to a listserve type arrangement, as it is possible for the HFA people to monitor all these discussions--

The reason for becoming a non-profit is simple--it makes it possible to solicit and collect money for any legal pursuits that may become necessary--


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: _gargoyle
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:10 PM

Non-Profit....?????

Hats...T-Shirts....."kick-backs"


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: JedMarum
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:15 PM

I know I keep saying this over and over, but I am sure this is true; THEY ARE POWERLESS. THEY CANNOT MAKE A LEGITIMATE CLAIM OF COPYRIGHT VIOLATION. They are not providing a service to protect the rights of songwriters, they are making profit over the vagueness in the laws, and people's willingness to be bullied. F*ck 'em!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:20 PM

glory be, but Max has more tolerance than I would..(met him this last weekend...lovely Rolls Royce he was driving with those t-shirt profits)


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MMario
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:20 PM

garg....NOWHERE is "non-profit" defined as "no income"

lighten up!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:22 PM

Weird, I just sent off yesterday to Dick a song I wrote that he'd asked for & then asked Max if he would put my name to one of my songs that's in the DT. I'll post a check tomorrow along with written permission for any of my songs you post. Barry


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Jeri
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:31 PM

Gargoyle, you need to buy yourself a dictionary (large book with lots of words in alphabetical order) and look up "profit."

It still seems weird that some agency could claim they have more of a right to give something away than another agency. I also didn't see anything on their web page prohibiting further distribution.

They claim to be representing their "members." These people are so far nameless. How can they possibly expect you to investigate whether you've obtained permission from these "members" when you don't know who they're talking about? (Personal opinion: at this stage, they're just trying to intimidate you.)


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: DougR
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 11:50 PM

Question: Who is responsible for regulating the Internet anyway? Seems to me you can do just about anything you want to on the Internet. Am I wrong? (I have been one time before). DougR


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 12:00 AM

Max, as usual this is not legal advice, does not establish a lawyer-client relationship, this is just my private opinion, etc.

I disagree with those who advise you to ignore the letter. IF the letter truly comes from the NMPA, I think you should respond (as I gather you are planning to do) saying that you DO have permisson to post copyrighted lyrics, so there! You might add that if any copyrighted words were posted without permission, notwithstanding the efforts of your clearance department, you are very sorry and would they please specify which ones they know of that have been posted without permission ?

The wording of their letter ("as far as we are aware, no authority for such activities has been obtained") suggests that they don't know anything about the Mudcat except that it posts lyrics. It's possible that they have received complaints from some members whose work was inadvertently posted without permission. If they have received specific complaints, of course, it would be a very simple matter for them to specify what lyrics are complained of. But my hunch is that they don't realize that you're already way ahead of them: you've already gotten permission (haven't you?) for most of the copyrighted lyrics on DT. Tell them that, and they may go away.

We should probably cull uncleared copyrighted lyrics from the forum thread archives, at least until we can get a lawyer's advice about them.

T.

and hey! gargoyle is back!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Dave Swan
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:41 AM

Max,

Here are my best wishes, my indignation, and a few frogskins. All of us are in support of you. Those who wish to have a few pints in order to p*ss on these cretins, form a line. I'm buying. Dave


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 01:42 AM

T-

Good advice--but please, remember that this is a public forum and anything you say here--well, you know the drill..


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 06:21 AM

I echo the advice given, though I don't know US law. Here in the UK the NPA (Newspapaer Publishers Association) demanded licence payments from Universities for imagined multiple copying. Although advice from those overseeing the copiers was that there was no evidence that this was going on & that in any case individuals were responsible for their own adherence to copyright laws, the institutions were scared of possible action and signed and paid up for licences to permit them to do what they might never do and what might have been legal under educational fair dealing any way.
Certainly challenge them to come up with concrete examples.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Patrish(inactive)
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 09:42 AM

How do I make a contribution? Please be specific as I am new to the mudcatters Thanks

kindest regards

Patrish


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Matthew B.
Date: 15 Oct 99 - 05:12 PM

I love it.


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 06:37 PM

Good luck with all this, and I hope the site doesn't have to go into exile to somewhere outside the American Empire.(Which includes England, where I'm writing this) I've just been checking the National Music Publisher's Association website. Even aside from the issues of principle, it really is bloody useless as a way of finding any interesting songs, and extremely irritatating to find your way round in it.

You're not alone in this, as of course you already know - I came across a lovely site with lyrics of French chansons, http://www.math.umn.edu/~foursov/chansons/index.html, and it's had to give up including some of the best chansonniers around (including Jacques Brel), for just these kind of reasons. But of course those were songs which were definitely written by identifiable people, and most of the songs on Mudcat/DT are either traditional, or written by people who would be proud to be seen as of the tradition, and thus included in the hall of honour.

(In the unlikely event that you ever feel like including any of the songs I've written, you hereby have my irrevocable permission to do so.)

Kevin McGrath kevin.mcgrath@bigfoot.com www.bigfoot.com/~kevin.mcgrath


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MaryLee
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 09:33 PM

Long and interesting thread. Well, most of it is interesting. Well written response, Max. OCTMA goes through the discussions of which non/not-for profit entity it should be almost every new Prez and Board term.

Trying to keep it all "legal" is a hassel. Glad I'm just the NL Ed. :)


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 09:46 PM

LesleyN, a site I forgot to mention in my last post is the site for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in which John Perry Barlow is so prominent.

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: JedMarum
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 10:00 PM

Great letter Max!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Lesley N.
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 10:04 PM

Thanks T - I'm familiar with the EFF (though I haven't been to their site in a while - so I will check it out again). On your recommendation (I'm pretty sure) in another thread I checked out Professor Karjala's site a while back. I can't recommend it highly enough. It makes the incomprehensible understandable. Wish I'd known about it when the fight was on!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: annamill
Date: 16 Oct 99 - 11:46 PM

Max, I've not written because right now I'm a little low, but come Thursday I'll be able to help with at least $50. I have the address. The letter sounds great, but I'm not a lawyer, thank goodness. We'll weather this.

That reminds me. Is everyone ok with the hurricane?

Love, annap


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Haggie
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 12:12 AM

Hi Folks, Thats quite an uproar. Good ol' dollar. Maybe we can use some of the other pressure that works well in this society: refusal to do business with about 700 members of the NMPA, and let them know about it. Would have to find out who they all are, and personally write, call (most of them will have 800 numbers) or email them with a firm statement that you and all your very musically active aquaintances will not have any business relations with any of them until they cease and desist from such harrassment. Now it's just like with Monsanto and the seeds they steal from natives all around the world, including our own Western culture heritage seeds, and want to monopolize them. Folksongs, or those that start out commercially and then become folksongs due to their popularity, are property of the people who sing them. How many popular songs can be traced back to that one or several anomymous author(s), one version or another? Just a hurried emotional thought. Good Luck.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 04:55 AM

Good reply Max. Also a Visa contribution is on the way.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Matthew B.
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 08:52 AM

So let us know when you send it, Max. We're all eager to hear the outcome.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: lloyd61
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 10:04 AM

Max.......The check will be on the way in the morning.

One question: What happens if the Lyric data base is in another country?

lloyd61


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 02:24 PM

lloyd61: my (possibly incomplete or flawed) understanding is that if the lyric database is outside the USA, it is beyond the direct reach of US laws. (But remember, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, does not establish a lawyer-client relationship, etc.) Depending on the state of copyright relations between the US and the country where the database resides, parties who fancied themselves infringed might be able to bring actions in the other country's courts. Also if the other country is a member of the World Trade Organization, the US might be able to use the WTO mechanism to make thing unpleasant for the other country.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 02:36 PM

The NMPA Web site has a press release about them suing the International Lyrics Server in Sweden. Didn't slow-em down a bit.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 02:51 PM

Hi Max, it says in the Bible judge em by their actions ...it is very good advice :0)


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 03:04 PM

Acually T they can and do ban servers connected to the internet which provide access to illegal material so the USA authorities can disconnect servers! I do not know the exact mechanics of it but I understand it is quite complicated.

The ILS is probably still on line through the good will of the government of the host country. It is the case that in some countries Fair Use laws are much much more liberal and it would not be Legal for the USA to act in these places. Hence they do not because they cannot.

A good case is material online in Holland and Findland both in the EU - and bound by their stict rules. Here I mean really naughty stuff warez etc!!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 06:39 PM

jO_77, I heard the ILS is still on line because it made a deal with the rightsholders and paid up.

On the other point, I know that a copyright plaintiff can get (and sometimes has gotten) a preliminary injunction allowing it to seize the alleged infringer's computer. I wouldn't be surprised if some statutes, such as the No Electronic Theft Act, allow the Justice Department to do the same thing. I can't cite any such provision (if it exists) by Title & Chapter. But, as I said, it wouldn't surprise me.

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 07:21 PM

T, for "not a lawyer," you sure do a good job of covering your arse (and you offer excellent advice).

And Sapper, we haven't heard from you in a hell of a long time. Drop in the pub and I'll buy you "a proper of the vile black stuff," if that's to your taste. If you prefer something drinkable, it's still on me. --seed

And Max, I'm buying in the auction and as soon as I take some pictures and get them processed, I'll offer a couple of my little-used instruments, as well. Also, I tried to get onto the secure server and spent about five minutes watching the aol triangle go round and round, so I'll get a check in the mail, too.

--seed


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: bet
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 07:33 PM

Wow! I havenb't been in the mudcat for awhile and get on and this is on the top of the list. Max, what a deal. sounds fishy to me but i really don't know. will send a check on Wednesday, payday. Actually I'll send it tomorrow yu won't get it before Wed. which if you haven't guessed is pay day. bet


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 08:34 PM

Anybody seen Guy Wolff? He skipped town ever since I donated to Mudcat & requested one of his lovely pots.
Little Neo


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Sail
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 08:57 PM

Max, I'm sending a check out tomorrow morning. Penny M.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: j0_77
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 09:34 PM

ILS - I doubt that they paid anybody - they did make a deal with some half butt outfit hawking cds by untracable artists -Hairy Fox again- LOL.

Where do NPMA & al get those horrid recordings? Who buys that junk?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 10:59 PM

Good thing is, the Mudcat does not own a single computer. We rent. Trust me folks, if this goes to hard ball, I'm ready!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 11:19 PM

Well, what happened to the International Lyrics Server is sad. Click here to see what's left of it. You can't copy the lyrics, and they're displayed so fast it's hard to just read them. These money people are cutting their own throats by trying to dump something like that on the public.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Pauline L.
Date: 17 Oct 99 - 11:57 PM

Max,

What's the current plan of action? Have you gotten sound legal advice? The latter is crucial.

Re my check: To whom do I make it out? Where do I mail it?

Do you have any idea of how much money we will need?

I have faith in Mudcatters. We'll do whatever it takes.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 12:05 AM

Well Joe, at least we see what their strategy is. Again, you can send contributions to The Mudcat Cafe, 5 W. Gay St. Suite A, West Chester, PA 19380. No idea how much this is gonna take.

Legal advice? Only what we got here so far. Grass roots is the way this is gonna go. I'm gonna go as far as I can without it. Seems to me that 2 wrongs don't make a right, no need to get another lawyer involved. Even if it goes to court, I'll probably at very least be co-counsel. What I am doing is right, that is what I will stand on till they kill me. No worries folks, nothing is going to stop us, we will make them understand.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 02:02 AM

We have ILS. Francophone, OLGA, Mudcat--what other sites have been approached? Which one have altered and deleted contents, and which have been shut down?

I am particularly interested in the products and services that HFS and NMPA offer for sales--

I am something of an activist. organizer, and general troublemaker--I know that if you want to change anything, you have to make people believe that they must take you seriously, and to do that, all you have to do is show them that you can have a negative impact on their cash flow--

If the publishers are persuaded that their financial intersts are being adversely affected by HFS, their game, which has been going on for a couple of years, and has destroyed many, if not most of the non-commercial music resources on the web, will end very quickly--


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Tom on Comfort
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 02:18 AM

Max, good luck & blessings & right on! And a check in the mail

Tom


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 09:08 AM

I haven't worked out how to send money across the Atlantic, so here's my contribution. It's a new set of words to a song I've been singing a long time now (which I'm sure you've got in the Digital tradition. I just wrote to fit the situation.

The Mudcat was so busy out there on the net Hanging out those songs for anyone to get But then a letter came from someone in the name of Harry Fox And he said "We're going to catch you, going to put you in a box" - But the Cat came back the very next day, The Cat came back, they thought he was a gonner, But the Cat came back, he just couldn't stay away.

"Now I've heard you cats a-singing, you keep singing like you're free, But those songs that you keep singing are my private property, But if you keep caterwauling then I'll catch you by the tail, And I'll take you to the cleaners, and I'll put you into jail" – But the Cat came back the very next day", The Cat came back, they thought he was a gonna, But the Cat came back, he just couldn't stay away.

But from every nook and cranny all the cats began to creep. And the cats they started singing, woke the dead from out their sleep, And the dead joined in the chorus, sang the songs that they left behind, And if you say that you own them, then you've surely lost your mind - And the Cat came back the very next day, The Cat came back, they thought he was a gonna, But the Cat came back, he just couldn't stay away.

Hit the road, Fox, and don't you come back, no more, no more, no more, no more, Hit the road Fox, and don't you come back no more.

MIIAAOWW

October 18th 1999 copyright Kevin McGrath, and with full permission to Mudcat and Digital Tradition to do what they like with it.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 09:41 AM

Harlow, I like it!

T.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 10:58 AM

I have a wee song I'll be sending off to Max.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Felipa
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 02:30 PM

I think the copyright police are not acting in the best interests of the artistes; the net result of the Mudcat Forum is probably an increased purchase of books and recordings. Participants often recommend particular publications and recordings and sometimes we actually hear from people who have made purchases as a result of these recommendations. Indeed Mudcat exploits this tendency with those irksome green shop labels in the threads. Although I can't make the same argument for the database, the DT and the forum are complementary to each other and at the end of day I reckon Mudcat is beneficial to the music business.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From:
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 04:29 AM

Check this out. Hope the blue clicky thing is right!

OLGA


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Max
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 04:45 PM

OK, the letter is off Certified. Meant to mail it Monday, but I was in a minor traffic accident that left me stuck out of town for a couple days. Luckily, only my vehicle was injured. Will let you know more when I get a response. Thank you all for your support and contributions.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: KathWestra
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 05:56 PM

Max -- How're we doing on the contributions side? Keep us posted, o.k.? And do let us know when/if you hear from them varmints. Sorry about the car, but GLAD its contents were undamaged! Kath


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Sapper_RE
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 02:33 PM

To Seed (and anyone else!!) If you are likely to be visiting the Derbyshire Dales, you are welcome to drop me a note and we'll arrange a meeting either at a local pub, or in the Real Ale emporium of the Brunswick in Derby. There are usually several varieties of "black nasty stuff" there, not just the one everyone knows about!!! Bob


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: JedMarum
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 03:24 PM

Max - will you let us know what response you get from your letter?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 07:21 PM

Okay, Fielding, ya owe me!**BG** For the next chapter, click here. This one was getting WAY too long. Thanks, Rick.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Easy Rider
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 04:12 PM

The Harry Fox Agency strikes again!

They have attacked the TablEdit Web site, www.tabledit.com intimidating them into removing ALL of their tablature files.

The TablEdit guys could probably use som advice from Max on how to fight back. Max, would you contact them?

Thanx


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MK
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 04:56 PM

Not to worry.

Here is a mirror site containing a lot of the best tablatures, that the Tabledit people were forced to remove from their site.

Gotta love it.

(By the way, fuck you Harry!)


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: MK
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 04:57 PM

Here is the link.
(Sorry for the above screw up.)


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: GUEST,Chris Flint
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 05:00 PM

Hi having recently discovered Mudcat I would be seriously pissed off if the faceless money grabbers win and caused any limitation in Mudcat. good luck


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 06:36 PM

Good letter Max but a bloody shame that you can't get them to name the artists involved -I'd be prepared to swear an oath never to sing any of their songs again or buy another CD by that artist, never attend another concert or buy another song book ...cc donation on it's way


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: paddyc
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 05:53 PM

Those cold bastards!


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: SeanM
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 07:09 PM

For everyone who missed this when it happened close to a year ago, things aren't as bad as they seem on this thread.

There are probably 4-5 threads that followed this one (due to length), updating the story from the letter exchange to the current state.

If I remember correctly, I believe that Mudcat and the DT are currently "off" the hitlist, but HFA ARE aware of both of them - probably even more so than other servers, as Max didn't just roll over and give up.

Contributions will probably always be welcome, though. Just 'cause they went away once doesn't mean they won't be back again.

M


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: GUEST,Harry O'Prey
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 08:27 PM

Thank you. MichaelK. What have I done to reduce you to obscenities ? Harry


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Pixie
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 10:40 AM

Suggestion for those who want to contribute to the cause but don't want to send VISA, etc. Go to bank, get "World Money Order" for US funds (it would be in US funds?)for the amount you want....send off to Mudcat, and Bob's your Uncle....same as cash.....no fees at Mudcat end.


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Sailor Dan
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 03:28 PM

Max

When I sent in my Contribution, I also sent you a private message regarding making Mudcat a private club. I just read in "Is napster a good thing" something by Mark Clark on 6-11 at 2:16 that might help in keeping these guys off mudcats back.. It appears its alright if its in a private club to exchange music which includes lyrics of new songs and older songs, probably most of the copyrighted. I might be wrong in my reasoning, but is it worth a chance that it is right??

Sailor dan


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 04:41 PM

Seems to me that would involve, in significant part, closing Mudcat access to guests. Possibly requiring some sort of initiation fee?

Also, I'm not sure of the legal judgmnent made that a private club would be free from liability. Even if that's a good legal principle, HFA et al. could still make a durn (read expensive) nuisance (at least) by legally attacking whether Mudcat is legally a private club. Lots of worms in that can.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 04:52 PM

For all of you who DON'T LISTEN to MUDCAT RADIO (and you should)........The latest update on the HFA saga is in the beginning of the June 7 episode. max will also give you a little more info on how YOU can reach old Harry's boys yourself. Most of the stuff on this thread is dated and as said above, there have been several other threads on the subject. Check out the radio archive.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Easy Rider
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 02:23 PM

Meanwhile, is anybody gonna help the nice guys at Tabledit?


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Subject: RE: No Joke: Mudcat Under Attack
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 03:56 PM

Max, could you EMail me an update? I'm a UK copyright lawyer. Legal Eagle was my alter ego (for when I wanted to be someone else)! For future reference, I assume the 'cat is a corporation. If not it should be. You need personally to be able to distance yourself from it should the fewmets hit the windmill. I don't have a huge amount of time to do pro bono stuff and of course (although I did once read Nimmer from end to end) US law is not my native scene.

If there is a problem I wonder if InoBU and I could be of at least some use?

I do agree that NOTHING which might be of use to the enemy should be posted. This includes the identities of contributors. If the enemy do sue and win, they might try to get at contributors. I'm not posting how on the site.


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