Menu
Music industry seeks a refrain from unlicensed lyrics sites

Music industry seeks a refrain from unlicensed lyrics sites

The group targets 50 allegedly unlicensed lyrics websites over copyright concerns

A music industry group is warning some 50 websites that post song lyrics that they need to be licensed or face the music, possibly in the form of a lawsuit.

The National Music Publishers Association said Monday that it sent take-down notices to what it claims are 50 websites that post lyrics to songs and generate ad revenue but may not be licensed to do so.

Numerous legal battles between the industry and unlicensed music creators have already played out over song recordings and music videos online through YouTube and other sites. Monday's action represents a new industry tactic to fight for artist copyrights.

The allegedly infringing sites were identified based on a complicated algorithm developed by a researcher at the University of Georgia. The top three alleged violators named were rapgenius.com, lyricsmania.com and lyricstranslate.com.

The NMPA, which represents American music publishers and songwriters to protect their copyrights, is not going after every major lyric website, nor smaller fan sites or blogs. Azlyrics.com, one of the most popular lyric websites, was not named. Instead, the group is focusing on certain lyric sites that generate revenue through advertising but do not pay royalties to songwriters and publishers and are not licensed through sites such as lyricfind.com and musixmatch.com.

The goal is not to shut down the infringing sites but for the NMPA and the sites to work together to iron out an agreement, said NMPA spokeswoman Amy Lee. Still, if the sites don't become licensed or otherwise change their ways, lawsuits could come next, Lee said.

The trend of searching for lyrics online has given rise to the issue. Much attention has been given to sites infringing music and movies over the past decade, University of Georgia researcher David Lowery said in a report on the sites. However, "unlicensed lyric sites have been largely overlooked," he said.

The report noted that it could not say for sure that all the allegedly infringing sites were unlicensed.

But if the sites are unlicensed, the NMPA's action could drive many of them out of the industry, said Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

The sites may try to defend themselves on fair-use grounds, Goldman said, but it's unlikely a fair-use defense will apply to for-profit sites publishing the complete lyrics of many songs.

In general, publishing the complete version of a song's lyrics, without permission from the lyric's copyright owner, is copyright infringement, he said.

The No. 1 site on NMPA's list, Rap Genius, said it has not heard anything from the NMPA. The No. 2 and No. 3 sites, lyricsmania.com and lyricstranslate.com, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetInternet-based applications and servicesInternet service providersMusic and audioNational Music Publishers Association

Brand Post

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments