Illegal Lyrics

By JoCo December 16, 2005

From Billboard via BoingBoing, a little good news from the front. A guy named Walter Ritter created a free application called Pearlyrics, which displays the lyrics of the song that’s currently playing in iTunes. If there are lyrics in the mp3, it displays those, otherwise it searches a few lyrics websites and saves what it finds. It’s a pretty good idea, and it certainly doesn’t sound like it should be illegal. Nonetheless, Warner/Chappell sent a cease and desist letter, and Ritter pulled it from the site to avoid any legal entanglements.

The EFF posted an open letter to Warner/Chappell, pointing out that since the software is only doing what any user could legally do with their hands and an internet browser, it’s not in fact an infringement of US copyright law. They also suggest that making legal threats against the makers of such software might expose Warner/Chappell to federal liability. Yesterday Warner/Chappell apologized to Walter Ritter, who has a nice post on the Pearlyrics site about it.

I’m so happy I could buy a CD. I think the high-profile Sony disaster has made content owners a little more careful about throwing their weight around – nobody wants to come across as dumb and anti-consumer as Sony did. It’s also nice to know that some actual grown-up lawyers like the ones at EFF are looking out for our interests.


JH says

I still don't know why you are so upset about the Sony thing. All they wanted was to give consumers some free software to enhance their multimedia experience. I guess you don't want "content owners" providing anything free anymore. Ask yourself: do you think they'll so willingly keep publishing such amazing, amazing music if they know all they'll get in return is complaints from bloggers such as yourself?

Ask yourself that.

Also: what are we going to perform tonight?

JoCo says

Let's do the thing with the howler monkeys and the banana cannon.

jaja says

imho lyrics should not be illegal. mp3 distribution is the bad thing. lyrics promotes the artist and the songs

Roger says

JH: The SONY "multimedia experience" installed software known as a "root kit" That is an undetectable, virtually unremoveable piece of software with god like permission on your computer.

A root kit is a hackers dream come true.
Having sony install it for you is a hackers wet dream come true.