350: MPA

Sometimes I still look at people acting like dicks and I go, "I don't undrstand . . . Why would you do something that makes people feel bad?  Isn't that mean??"  This comic is about something I learned very recently.  You know all those awesome sites where you can look up song lyrics, tabs, or chords for all your favorite songs?  Well, according to the fine people over at the MPA, those sites infringe upon copyrighted material, and are totally immoral and illegal.  The Music Publishers' Association is an American organization that prints and publishes sheet music and songbooks, and they own the music rights to A LOT of copyrighted songs.  When lyric and tablature sites started becoming popular, the MPA saw that people no longer needed to buy sheet music anymore, and so they began suing a bunch of these sites for distributing copyrighted material.  They attempted to shut those websites down (and they succeeded with a few), as well as asking for fines and JAILTIME for the website owners (which they haven't succeeded with yet).  That's right you guys: sharing the lyrics to a song so that other people can learn them is a CRIMINAL ACT THAT SHOULD LAND YOU IN JAIL according to the MPA.  If your immediate reaction to that sentence is "What the fucking fuck?!  That's the dumbest shit I've ever heard in my life," then congratulations, you're already more reasonable than the head of the MPA.

But it's not just about the sharing of lyrics and tabs, either.  According to a statement made by the MPA: "Viewing illegal tabs [and lyrics] is equivalent to stealing sheet music from a store." (<from their wikipedia article.)  That one time when you looked up the lyrics to your favorite song?  Yeah, you're actually a criminal for it who should be put it prison.  This seems incredibly dumb to me, because all of the tabs and lyrics on these sites are just personal transcriptions.  People are just writing down what they've heard in a song, and are posting it.  It's not like they're giving away some secret information or something, they're literally just repeating what you can already hear from the song itself.  The MPA has also said that "Sharing tabs is bad enough, but even worse is when sites make money off the illegal tabs."  Now, if we're talking about a website charging its users money to see tabs, I could understand that.  That would be like charging people for something that they can and should be able to get for free.  But if the MPA is talking about any site that just earns advertising revenue, then that's a whole different story.  Those sites aren't charging their users anything, and they aren't "making money off copyrighted material," they're making money off of advertising space.  That's a big difference, which I'll probably talk about in Monday's comic.  But the bottom line is: If sharing free tabs on the internet is somewhow illegal, than sharing free tabs with your friends in real life would also be.  In fact, let's play a little game.  If we were to follow the MPA's logic, then that would make all of the following actions illegal and punishable with jailtime:

   - Writing down the lyrics or notes you hear in a song and showing them to ANYBODY.
   - Showing someone how to play a song on an instrument without using sheet music.
   - Telling someone any of the lyrics to a song.  I'm quite serious; if your friend asks you "What was that last line?"  It is illegal for you to tell them.
   - Having a website with ads on it, and mentioning a single line from any song ever.  Because now that site is "earning money from copyrighted material."  That's right, 3-Chord Dorks is now officially a pirate webcomic, operating outside the law.

I'm pretty sure I don't need to keep explaining how idiotic this organization's stance is.  It's been pissing me off ever since I found out about it.  Luckily, there is really NO CHANCE of the MPA shutting down all of the different tab and lyric sites out there, and they haven't been very successful in their campaigns up till now, anyway.

Finally, as a personal statement to the MPA, I have an amazing song to share with you guys, which I have personally written down the chords to for you all to see.  This song is by a new light rock/alternative rock band from America called Spring Tigers.  The band's general style is impossible for me to describe, because every single song they've released so far has been wildly different from each other, but the most common seems to be light rock with new-wave elements.  While some of the band's material is not to my taste, they have released one song that has quickly become one of my favorite songs ever.  It is one of those songs that I just enjoy eveything about; it's immediately catchy, upbeat, and familiar, and yet dissimilar to anything I've ever heard before.  It's a song that I loved so much upon my first listen that I IMMEDIATELY had to learn how to play it.  And so, I now present to you: "Just Suggesting" by Spring Tigers.  And for anyone wanting to learn this song, here are all the chords as I can hear them.  The bass and keyboards made them pretty hard to figure out, because they're constantly playing notes outside of those chords, but I believe they are all correct.  I was unable to learn the lyrics though, so good luck with that.  I'd like to thank Camillo from Illinois for telling me about the band.  See you guys monday!

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