Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lyric Sites Now A Target For Music Publishers

song lyrics image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Several years ago music publishers, looking for new revenue streams, began to pursue lyric websites for violation of copyright for hosting the lyrics to popular songs without permission. One of the biggest wins in the publishers favor recently came at the expense of and its owner Brad Greenspan, who were recently hit with a $6.6 million default judgement for not paying a license fee.

The judge arrived at the amount by charging $12,500 for each of the 528 songs whose lyrics LiveUniverse was accused of infringing from Peermusic, Warner Chappell Music and Bug Music. Some of the songs included "China Girl" by David Bowie, "Old Time Rock n' Roll" by Bob Seger, "Moondance" by Van Morrison and "Georgia On My Mind" performed by Ray Charles.

The irony is that Greenspan could have made a license deal with the publishers for much less than the judgement, but basically chose to try to stick it in everyone's face by not showing for depositions and hearing, not following the court's instructions, and going through a long line of attorneys that slowed the entire process down to a crawl. It wasn't like he didn't have the resources either, having been an original investor in MySpace and cashing out when it was purchased for $580 million by News Corp in 2005.

The fact is that there are a lot of lyric sites out there that offer lyrics legally. Lyric aggregator LyricFind has licensed,,,,,,,,,,, and many more.

The fact of the matter is that these sites make big bucks on advertising and they should share a part of the wealth with the originators of the music that made it all possible. If you make money on someone else's creation, you have to share; simple as that.

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