Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Where have all the guitar tabs gone?

I have been playing the guitar for around 10 years now on and off and one of the greatest resources I have ever found to help me learn has been the internet - almost every piece of music I have ever wanted to learn has been available on the net.

However, recently I have noticed lots of my favorite guitar sites are being shut down. Or at least having all their tablatures removed from the site. Most have posted a statement saying that they have been threatened directly - or indirectly via their ISP with legal action and have been forced to close their archives. This is due apparently to copyright infringement. So now, I am forced to look that little bit harder for my tabs - or ask my guitar tutor to teach them to me.

This got me thinking at what point does showing someone else how to play a piece of music become copyright infringement? Surely my guitar teacher acts in very much the same way an Internet server works when it shows you how to play a song. Is it the act of showing someone? I'd like to think not or else every guitar teacher ever has broken the law. Is it when you commit it to paper? Again, doesn't this seem a little over the top - surely you can make notes for educational purposes? - is this not what they call in the trade "fair use" and is this not what tab sites are doing? They are not copying from tablature books - most of these tabs have been worked out by ear - or looking at what the artist does on the music video!
Its a shame that these sites many of which are run by enthusiasts, not for profit are being shut down, these people do not have the legal know how or financial might to put up a stand against the industry giants, who's sole concern is the maximising of profits.

It seems to me a new business model is needed for these companies- and some clearer copyright laws - more appropriate for the 21st century. As long as people enjoy the guitar they are going to share their knowledge - and as long as there is the internet people will find a way to do it online. Fighting it will be a loosing battle.
If you want to find a way - there are still some sites out there that haven't given in or are hosted in a country where there is little that can be done about it. A simple google search can still bring these up - alternatively - start looking for torrents and maybe download bearshare lite to look for tabs.

1 comment:

Dave Webb said...

www.chordie.com is still good.

As is pianonotes.com for some great torrents.