It’s a sad day for rap fans who don’t know the lyrics. The popular lyric site Rap Genius was recently sent a letter by the National Music Publishers Association demanding them to get proper licenses to print copyrighted lyrics to songs on their site or remove the lyrics altogether.
While Rap Genius is the biggest name on the list, there are 49 other sites that were hit with the same letter by the NMPA. According to the Chief Executive of NMPA David Israelite, the organization isn’t trying to ban copyrighted lyrics from all sites, just the ones that “engage in blatant illegal behavior.” The NMPA is not targeting sites that legally publish lyrics, personal blogs, or fan sites.
The take down notices are the first implementation of the NMPA’s movement. If the named sites don’t adhere to the NMPA’s demands, they will begin filing copyright infringement lawsuits on the resistant websites. THe NMPA has a history of winning those lawsuits too. They recently won a $6.6 million settlement against Live Universe and won an undisclosed amount in a separate lawsuit against LyricWiki.
Rap Genius co-founder Ilan Zechory responded to the notice by saying, “We can’t wait to have a conversation with [the National Music Publishers Association] about how all writers can participate in and benefit from the Rap Genius knowledge project.”
The fifty sites that were sent the take down notices were determined by a study led by University of Georgia researcher David Lowery. Lowery named Rap Genius the worst offender and gave them a score of 12.77.The higher your score, the worse you are. The scoring system was developed by a specific method and ideology created by Lowery.
So what do you think about this latest development in the music business. Is this just another grab at money for a slowly dying business or are is the NMPA right to make these types of demands?