Thursday, December 08, 2005

Copyright and Lyrics

To some extent, my Thursday Verses series is in a "fair use" limbo, copyright-wise. I make no money from this site and most of the lyrics I cite come from other publicly accessible websites (so if copyright is being violated, what I do is a small incremental violation); on the other hand, I mostly post full lyrics instead of excerpts and I have yet to get permission from a copyright holder (most of whom wouldn't bother to respond to a minor blogger like myself, anyway, or would most likely turn me down), and I've been kind of lax about citing copyright on the lyrics themselves (that should change, really, I admit it).

Still, it's kind of disturbing to read that a freeware lyrics browser has been shut down due to pressure from the major music distributors [via] in spite of the fact that it actually neither collects nor distributes lyrics itself but does precisely what I do: finds publicly accessible lyrics and makes them easy to find.

Intellectual property is a concept of limited utility. It's important, but taking it too literally or seriously leads to silliness, and, ultimately, social and cultural paralysis. We will wither and die under a corporate information regime.

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