Publishers Copyrighting Publicly Made Tabs

Discussion on tabs being taken down by publishers, copyright law, and the fairness of it from both the sides of the tab creators, UG, as well as the artists themselves.

Ultimate Guitar

For those who dare not crash into an impenetrable wall of text, I'll put it at the start. Should artists be able to "own" any written down version of their song? Anyone who dares read on, I thank you.

Playing devil's advocate, I understand that if the artists themselves wrote out on some magic scroll (dramatic effect) the blueprint (tab book) of their song, they should own that, and anyone who copies it should be liable for legal, copyright action. But what about someone else's interpretation of this blueprint, isn't that different?

It seems silly to me that an average Joe like myself can listen to a song by ear, tab out how to play it, then have someone an artist/someone from corporate come in and say that they OWN the work that Joe just did.

What gives? Are they all planning on releasing official, artist licensed tablature books themselves, and are afraid that these "free" tabs made by the public with their own EARS AND VARIATIONS will reduce their sales figures? That's the only logical reason I can come up with.

Would it hurt their profits that badly? My lord, it's like they're trying to squeeze pennies from our urethras.

What's next? Will they invent technology that can probe the brains of people who have learned songs by memory, haul em all in and lobotomize them, hoping to erase the memory of the songs they learned? Cause lord knows that bar bands playing cover tunes are hurting ticket sales of the actual artist.

I wonder if copyright law even really says much on this topic, or if they are all just using scare tactics. I know it would be impractical to expect UG to fight back, and this is in no way, shape or form fault of them. Just imagine the legal fees? It's just a thought... one that UG understandably has to tread lightly on, but I'm hoping they will be understanding on such a topic. How would this play out in the court of law? What if someone fought back?

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    The main problem is that the artists that publish perfect tabs, with all the instruments are really really rare. Yes, songbooks exist, but I never found one the doesn't have mistakes, that is easily readable or that contains all the instruments. So there is no unfair competition. So, until this day comes (I doubt it), I bless UG & all the tabbers for existing and doing that hard work for free. The current copyright law is too vague and protect too much creators against their fans... Because who tabs and plays those tabs ? The people that like those artists. The sad thing is that often the artists don't even fully own the rights on their own creations and it's the record companies that decide what can be done with their work. So even if they wanted to publish freely some of their work, it's not sure they could do that.