The National Music Publishers Association has sent take-down notices to 50 lyrics sites, including Rap Genius.
The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) sent 50 sites take-down notices today (November 11) requesting lyrics sites to either obtain licenses to publish lyrics or remove copyright lyrics from their sites, according to billboard.com.
RapGenius.com, which added Nas as an advisor in 2012, was among the sites targeted by the NMPA, according to the story, even though Rap Genius Co-Founder Ilan Zechory said his company had not heard from the NMPA, as per billboard.com.
“We can't wait to have a conversation with them about how all writers can participate in and benefit from the Rap Genius knowledge project," Zechory says, according to billboard.com. “Rap Genius is so much more than a lyrics site. The lyrics sites the NMPA refers to simply display song lyrics, while Rap Genius has crowdsourced annotations that give context to all the lyrics line by line, and tens of thousands of verified annotations directly from writers and performers. These layers of context and meaning transform a static, flat lyric page into an interactive, vibrant art experience created by a community of volunteer scholars. Furthermore, music is only a small part of what we do. Rap Genius is an interactive encyclopedia for annotation of all texts - anyone can upload and annotate texts relating to music, news, literature, religion, science, their personal lives, or anything else they want."
“Rap Genius is your guide to the meaning of rap, R&B, and soul lyrics,” Rap Genius says In the “About Rap Genius” section of its site. “You can listen to songs, read their lyrics, and click lines that interest you for pop-up annotations – we have thousands of canonical rap songs annotated. From the legendary 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z, to new stars like Vic Mensa and Lil B, we’ve got you covered. Our aim is to critique rap as poetry..”
David Israelite, Chief Executive of the NMPA, said to billboard.com that his organization is targeting commercial websites.
"This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites, or the many websites that provide lyrics legally," Israelite said. The NMPA "is targeting 50 sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior," he said.
Israelite said that the take-down notices are a precursor to filing copyright infringement lawsuits against the sites, something that would likely be done if they were to continue to publish song lyrics that they don't have the licenses to, billboard.com says.
NMPA has had success in similar legal cases. Last year, the NMPA, on behalf of Warner Chappell Music, Peermusic and Bug Music, won a $6.6 million judgement against LiveUniverse, a company that operated unlicensed lyrics sites, as per billboard.com. In 2010, the NMPA also sued and won a suit against Motive Force, a company that operated LyricWiki. NMPA received an undisclosed amount of "funds associated with the exploitation of the unauthorized content," billboard.com's story says.
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