OLGA and Guitar Tab Infringement

Full Article: The On-line Guitar Archive goes offline – The Digital Music Weblog

The National Association of Music Publisher’s and the Music Publisher’s Association have brought legal action against the Online Guitar Archive.

Does that really infringe copyrighted work? It doesn’t reduce the value of the recorded music, it doesn’t reduce the likelihood of someone buying the recorded music. If anything, it increases the value of the recorded music.

What it DOES reduce is the value of any sheet music on store shelves.

Ok, maybe that’s fair then. But OLGA does not reproduce the sheet music on store shelves verbatim. The tabs are sometimes inaccurate. They are not high quality reproductions of the sheet music to your favorite songs.

Let’s pretend I work for a newspaper. I’m a photographer and I’m assigned to cover the unveiling of a new painting at a local art exhibit. What happens if I take a photograph of the piece and use it in the paper? Am I infringing upon the copyright? Ultimately this is for a commercial purpose. The newspaper, like most newspapers, has advertisements in it.

Now, I’m on vacation. I go to the same museum. I have my camera. I snap a shot. I get home and upload my vacation photos for the WHOLE WORLD to see on my website or another site like Flickr. Among these is the photo of the painting.

How about this one. I just finished watching Snakes on a Plane. It was horrible. I need to let people know how horrible it is. I write an entry on my blog. I give you a gist of what happens during the beginning, the middle, and the end. I leave some parts out, because for the purpose of the post you don’t really need to know those parts. Because I’ve reproduced a summary of the movie, does that make me guilty of infringement? Does spoiling the film make me liable to pay damages to Fox?

What do you think?

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