In a move designed to make me hate everything tangentially related to music, GuitarTabs.com has received a cease & desist letter from a law firm representing the National Music Publishers Association and The Music Publishers Association of America. I've been following the online tablature battle for at least fourteen years. It's disheartening to think there hasn't been some kind of compromise.
Tablature was just about the most important thing in the development of my guitar skills. Especially as a jobless teenager without an allowance. How was I supposed to buy 25 dollar tab books? I still remember when olga.net first went down, years and years ago. I was devastated. And they're still going through that bullshit.
I've been trying very hard to stay on the side of the artists, to hate the corporations, and to support things like Creative Commons. But it can be a real chore.
Copyright issues are starting to make me hate the artists themselves. Recently an Italian student made an animated Calvin & Hobbes short for his final project. It was clearly a labor of love. It was also issued a DMCA takedown by Bill Watterson. I understand that it's the creator's prerogative, and that Watterson doesn't want Calvin in any other form, and that he fucking hates those stupid stickers of Calvin urinating on things . . . but I'm still within rights to think it was a dick move. Really. Fuck him for that. Boo-fucking-hoo, a student practiced his animation skills on your precious strip.
In some parallel universe someone has re-animated Shakespeare and he is suing the shit out of a lot of publishers and film studios. Suing them into bankruptcy.
"In fact, U.S. copyright law specifically provides that the right to make and distribute arrangements, adaptations, abridgements, or transcriptions of copyrighted musical works, including lyrics, belongs exclusively to the copyright owner of that work."
"In so enforcing the rights of the creators and publishers of music, it is our intent to ensure that composers and songwriters will continue to have incentive to create new music for generations to come."
This does not make me sympathetic to your cause. I understand that you have a revenue stream that is drying up. Since music is easily transcribed onto computer and printed out, your service is not as in-demand as it used to be. Please consider this an opportunity to alter your business model.
Think about this: the people who create tablature on their own and the people who then look for and use that tablature are the same people who buy tablature. Do you think you should maybe engage your community before alienating it?