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This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >     
Song Lyrics, Copyright, and Adsense
So many lyrics sites use adsense as their mainstay. . .
creepychris

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 9:04 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have seen so many lyrics sites supporting themselves through Adsense. Are song lyrics fair game under fair use? Or would they be an infraction under copyright laws and hence an infraction under Adsense TOS. And if they are an infraction, why doesn't Google go after them?

 

MediaSpree

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 9:51 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Its almost like asking why the police can't stop every drug dealer. For every 1 they get, 5 more start.

Ever download an illegal MP3? ;)

Atticus



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 10:32 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

cc,

Yes, posting copyrighted lyrics on the web without the owner's permission is a violation of intellectual property laws.

Why does G sponsor such sites? Might as well ask why G sponsors all sorts of copyright infringing and content scraping sites. Some other advertisers review each and every website on which their adcode appears. Google does not.

Go figure.

PS If you really want to make a site about music, you could try reviewing bands/songs/albums while using small snippets of lyrics (fair use) and album covers from Amazon (assuming you have an affiliate account) for the graphic content. You might not make much cash because this subject area is pretty well saturated, but at least the approach is above board.

Thez

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 11:10 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Yes, posting copyrighted lyrics on the web without the owner's permission is a violation of intellectual property laws."

Not true.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 11:48 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why does G sponsor such sites? Might as well ask why G sponsors all sorts of copyright infringing and content scraping sites.

I don't think it's honest to say that Google "sponsors" such sites. Google may tolerate infringing sites (at least until the copyright holders file DMCA complaints), but that's different from actively sponsoring them.

Some other advertisers review each and every website on which their adcode appears. Google does not.

To maintain the kind of quality that you and I might like, they'd have to review every page, not every site. I doubt if any ad networks do that.

Lobo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 12:44 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

My god, if every site out there followed the moanings of a great deal of members here it would be the most boring place on the planet to go and would ultimately collapse...

Just because a sign says, keep off the grass, doesn't mean you should always do it, try living a little ;-)

Perhaps using quotes in these threads is a violation of the previous posters copyright?

If someone dictates lyrics to me over the phone and I wrote them down, will that become a copyright issue?

The artists and the massive record companies have no problem with it so why should you?

I also believe that lyrics being reproduced in that manner would fall under a different issue other than straight forward content stealing .. with the policing you are putting forward, could it be that no poetry could be passed along, to inspire and share with others... could any images taken of the statue of liberty fall under copyright?

Leave people alone and just get on with your own scam, so called legal or not..

Adsense itself is a scam, intruding and imposing links on people so that you can make money of their backs...

Get off the high horse and relax..

jomaxx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 12:48 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry, most of the people here are busy creating content and are more likely to have it stolen than steal it themselves. I don't think you'll find much support for that attitude.

Lobo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 1:03 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

exactly, and that attitude is not necessary the right one..

You'll be one of those people who moan about it then ...

Atticus



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 1:23 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thez,

Get the facts:

[copyright.gov...]

"Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories:

1. literary works;
2. musical works, including any accompanying words
3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music
4. pantomimes and choreographic works
5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
7. sound recordings
8. architectural works "

EFV,

By searching Google for "sponsor" and following the highlighted link to answers.com, I see this definition:

"One that finances a project or an event carried out by another person or group, especially a business enterprise that pays for radio or television programming in return for advertising time."

Despite the 20th century bias implicit in the omission of the Internet from the media types listed in the above quote, it would seem that Google's own preferred definition indicates that they do indeed "sponsor" sites deriving revenue from the Adsense program.

I find your argument that a review of every page is necessary to stop Adsense abuse/copyright infrigement to be a bit strained for many reasons.

You ignore the fact that one need not be overly concerned with a single case of IP theft here or there and that many publishers improperly publish sites composed of nothing but reams of stolen content that is easily recognizable as such.

Think of policing IP theft in the way that one would police traffic offenses. One can't catch every speeder or stop sign runner, but one can catch enough of them that the general public is better educated in the law and less likely to risk incurring the penalities suffered by the worst abusers.

It also seems rather bizarre that you would argue that Google (whose job is to sample and organize the content of billions of web pages) can't possibly determine the nature of the content published on the smaller subset of webpages which include the Adsense code. If Google doesn't know what's on the pages in its index, then why use them in the first place? I might as well put on a blindfold and throw proverbial darts about the room and call THAT a search engine.

Was that a bit snarky? Yeah, I suppose so. But I find the way you continually bend over backwards to exonerate Google from any responsibilty in any aspect of their business operations to be rather maddening.

If copyright infrigement is taking place and if the perpetrator is generating profits thereby, then there is a problem and somebody has got to take responsibilty for that problem.

Atticus



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 1:36 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lobo,

You are indeed a fortunate fellow! Your post makes it obvious that you will never possess the originality of wit which would make your work the target of intellectual property theft.

If someone copied your content, the worst they could be charged with is banality theft. No penalty would be necessary; exposure to your moribund philosophy during commission of the offense would be punishment enough.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 2:27 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Atticus wrote:

You ignore the fact that one need not be overly concerned with a single case of IP theft here or there and that many publishers improperly publish sites composed of nothing but reams of stolen content that is easily recognizable as such.

I'm not ignoring that at all. I just don't share the simple-minded belief that vetting sites (as opposed to vetting pages) is going to stop the problem. If Google (or any other ad network) were to require that each of a publisher's domains be approved before ad code could be placed on them, how would that keep unethical (or even merely stupid) publishers from publishing infringed material within their approved domains?

Think of policing IP theft in the way that one would police traffic offenses. One can't catch every speeder or stop sign runner, but one can catch enough of them that the general public is better educated in the law and less likely to risk incurring the penalities suffered by the worst abusers.

That argument seems pretty naive when one considers how many millions of people share recorded music when they know they're violating the law.

It also seems rather bizarre that you would argue that Google (whose job is to sample and organize the content of billions of web pages) can't possibly determine the nature of the content published on the smaller subset of webpages which include the Adsense code. If Google doesn't know what's on the pages in its index, then why use them in the first place? I might as well put on a blindfold and throw proverbial darts about the room and call THAT a search engine.

Using search data to monitor the AdSense network is an appealing idea, but I don't know how practical it is from a legal point of view. It's one thing for Google to purge duplicate content from its search index; it's quite another to dump a publisher (and withhold publisher revenues) for duplicate content that hasn't been the subject of a DMCA complaint.

Was that a bit snarky? Yeah, I suppose so. But I find the way you continually bend over backwards to exonerate Google from any responsibilty in any aspect of their business operations to be rather maddening.

I'm not "exonerating" Google; I'm merely suggesting that the technical and legal challenges of identifying copyright infringement without a complaint by the copyright owner may not be as simple as you think.

Atticus



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 2:51 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

EFV,

How can you compare the offense of downloading MP3s to the publishing of stolen content on the Internet? Downloading MP3s is something you do in private -- only you and your ISP know for sure. Stolen content that is published on the web is visible on the web for all to see. Makes it a little easier to catch, don't you think?

All complaints by copyright holders should be immediately investigated and acted upon. But cleaning up the mass of fraudulently published pages sponsored by Adsense would be a good thing for copyright holders, advertisers, honest publishers and searchers. There is no downside except for those who choose to behave in an unethical and possibly illegal manner.

You must not think very highly of the PhDs at the 'plex if you think they can't simply search for some lyrics from popular bands whose material remains copyrighted, make a note of the results which have Adsense ads running, and suspend those accounts.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Kind of like pulling over the guy who is obviously driving 110 MPH in a 55 MPH zone and writing him up a big fat ticket. Piece of cake.

Catching mass perpetrators of IP theft is not rocket science. It can be done with little effort and minimal resources. Saying that it can't be done does not make it so.

hyperkik

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 3:11 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Those who think that the publishing of lyrics site is "fair use" might want to research the history of The International Lyrics Server. Those who think that lyrics websites are presently a major industry concern might wish to consider that the case mentioned dates back to 1999. It appears that the music industry has concluded that lyrics sites help sales of music and merchandise and are a convenience to music fans, and thus aren't going after them despite the obvious copyright violation.

If the music industry were to flex its muscles in the same way it went after illegal file sharing, I have little doubt that Google would quickly process its DMCA complaints. But I have never seen any evidence that Google wishes to be a voluntary policeman of copyright issues, or that it is inclined to act in the absence of a complaint.

Atticus



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 3:21 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Gee, guess I shoulda slapped my momma when she taught me about personal responsibility and the rule of law.

Woulda been much better off with training in how to make offhand excuses for bad behavior and how to blame the victim for the crime.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 3:21 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the music industry were to flex its muscles in the same way it went after illegal file sharing, I have little doubt that Google would quickly process its DMCA complaints. But I have never seen any evidence that Google wishes to be a voluntary policeman of copyright issues, or that it is inclined to act in the absence of a complaint.

Why? Probably because that would be a tricky area legally--especially if Google were to be as "transparent" in its dealings with publishers as some members here have demanded. :-)

jhood

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 3:48 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is an odd argument, given that no songwriters have been heard from. Lyrics sites are most certainly in violation of copyright laws and any copyright holder is quite free to seek redress under the law.

If Leonard Cohen doesn't want the lyrics to "Bird On A Wire" on the Web, he or his publisher can sue anyone who does so. What does it matter to the rest of us?

garyr_h

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 4:02 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lyrics are an interesting issue... You can look at it on one hand that it is stolen content, or you can look at it on the other hand as advertising for the song.

People may be making money from ads placed on the site, but the real winners are the musicians who sing the songs.

Do you think people are really going to a lyrics site and reading it and thinking 'oh, the owner of the site must have created this song. I must wait for their album to come out.'

Or do they just look a little below or above the lyrics and see the artist then get the song themselves?

Atticus



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 4:09 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, let's start a list of really lame excuses that let us steal anything we want!

What the hell is wrong with you people?

garyr_h

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 7:49 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Atticus, it wasn't an excuse to 'steal' anything. It just seems that most artists don't seem to have a problem with it, at least it hasn't been in the news so far.

What would their complaint be? 'Oh no, someone is liking our song and pasting it on the web!' It just doesn't make sense.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 8:15 am on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK people - this is another Silly Discussion 101

If you don't own it, you can't publish it unless the copyright has expired and the work is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN or you have explicit permission. That goes for anything from writing, pictures, drawing, music, movies, software, etc. and it doesn't matter if 'some artists dont have a problem with it' cause it only takes one to sue you until you bleed.

Statutory damages for copyright infringement can be 6 digits.

So, if you want your family to live in a cardboard box just do whatever the hell you want and sit back and wait for the hammer to drop.

Gernwax

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 12:50 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I dont think it is a straight forward copyright issue.

All lyrics sites do is transcibe the lyrics used by an artist. They dont pass them off as their work, they credit the artist.

The only copyright issue i see is sites that steal lyrics from other sites who have painstakingly transcribed them, but i cant see how they can protect their content as they didnt write the song.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 2:29 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

All lyrics sites do is transcibe the lyrics used by an artist. They dont pass them off as their work, they credit the artist.

Attribution has nothing to do with it, and wholesale lifting of song lyrics isn't "fair use."

You might want to read up on the basics of copyright law at The Copyright Website:

[benedict.com...]

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 3:26 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I dont think it is a straight forward copyright issue.

You'll find out when you get a straightforward lawsuit on your hands.

All lyrics sites do is transcibe the lyrics used by an artist.

Transcibe? Interesting word to justify theft.

Many artists publish the lyrics in the CD sleeve - I'm sure they'd call it "transcribing".

Plus lyrics are put on sheet music for the songs being sold as well.

but i cant see how they can protect their content as they didnt write the song.

If I remember correctly a specific collection of material, even if it's public domain, can be copyrighted as a unique collection. You can copy individual parts of it but you can't just reproduce the exact collection as-is.

People tend to deliberately make mistakes in those collections like a wrong word or misspelling here or there to trap copycats, this is known as a poison pill, so you need to be on your toes.

Gernwax

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 5:50 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

So there shouldn't be fan sites with lyrics for a particular artists, for fans to have a look at?

hyperkik

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 5:58 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

The desire of fans for lyrics sites does not trump copyright law.

creepychris

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 6:05 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

So there shouldn't be fan sites with lyrics for a particular artists, for fans to have a look at?

Fan sites are fine if they write and get explicit permission to use the lyrics or they review the lyrics as opposed to just displaying them.

The music industry doesn't go after these sites because it's like playing that whack the mole game. However, I wonder how much culpability Google merits. It seems that they cover their behinds by banning these kinds of sites in their TOS. Yet, since they don't enforce that document, they are in fact partnering up with these sites. The danger for Google, I think, is that they are a big enough target to go after.

hyperkik

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 6:45 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Fan sites are fine if they write and get explicit permission to use the lyrics or they review the lyrics as opposed to just displaying them.

How would the addition of reviews exempt a lyrics site from copyright law?

The music industry doesn't go after these sites because it's like playing that whack the mole game.

They played "whack-a-mole" with illegal music downloads, and went after file sharing services with a vengeance. Much more likely, they are presently choosing not to go after lyrics sites because they help the sales of music and merchandise, and there's not much of a market for their separate sale.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 6:59 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

How would the addition of reviews exempt a lyrics site from copyright law?

OK, don't take our word for it.

How about this article [nolo.com] from Nolo Press?

Lawsuits are even more likely if you stand to make any money off the use, such as posting copyrighted song lyrics on your site to increase traffic and attract advertisers. Uses like this are likely to bring record companies knocking.

There are some fair use possibilities, but considering we're in an AdSense forum and it's going to be for profit, then I'd suggest not doing it without explicit permission or verficiation the material is public domain.

Atticus



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 7:03 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Snippets are generally considered to fall under fair use. I think there's even some documentation of that at copyright.gov, too busy to look it up right now. One should be able to safely use snippets in reviews.

I would bet that the industry doesn't seem to be persuing litigation against lyrics sites at the present time because there is not much threat to them financially (as opposed to illegal downloads), not because it increases their bottom line. I really can't imagine someone knowing a song well enough to want to find out what the specific lyrics are and only then deciding to buy a CD or a t-shirt. Seems more likely that those who look up lyrics already have a copy of the song and they want to sing along but they just can't figure out what old Neil is trying to say ("Gooseberry" is NOT a workin' man).

In any case, who among us would advise publishers to infringe lyrics on the basis that the legal owner probably doesn't mind?

Not me.

creepychris

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10886 posted 7:38 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

How would the addition of reviews exempt a lyrics site from copyright law?

OK. I should have said snippets or portions of the lyrics may be ok under fair use for the purpose of a review.

But Incredibill's link brings up a good point: Fair use is open to interpretation so you may be running risks against lawsuits with guys who have deeper pockets than you.

This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >
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