Music Publishers' Association
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||New York City, New York|
|Publication types||Sheet music|
The Music Publishers Association of the United States (MPA) is a music publishing organization based in New York City. Founded in 1895, the MPA is the oldest music trade organization in the United States. This non-profit association addresses itself to issues pertaining to print publishing with an emphasis on copyright education and advocacy.
Tab and lyric sites
In December 2005, the MPA entered legal proceedings against tablature and lyrics websites. The position of the MPA is that these sites infringe upon copyright by offering this material for free, without any licensing from the artist or record label. MPA president Lauren Keiser has stated that he wants jail time in addition to fines and the removal of offending websites.
In March 2006, the MPA issued a statement in which they explained their position on websites that distribute unauthorized sheet music and tablature.
Several points are made in the statement.
- MPA members invest a significant amount into arranging, engraving, editing, marketing, and distributing sheet music products, and illegal tablature cuts into their sales.
- Sharing the tabs is bad enough, but even worse is when sites make money off the illegal tabs.
- Guitar tabs do not circumvent copyright laws just because they're claimed to be personal interpretations.
- Viewing illegal tabs is equivalent to stealing sheet music from a store.
- The MPA isn't targeting authorized websites, and will work with sites that want to build a legitimate business.
The tabbing community's response towards the MPA's position on tablature were overwhelmingly negative. They do not believe they are infringing copyright laws because they are only displaying their aural transcriptions of these songs, which are, more often than not, not entirely correct. They feel that the practice of tabbing and sharing songs has existed for decades without any issues. An article on the now-closed guitartabs.cc said:
"At what point does describing how one plays a song on guitar become an issue of copyright infringment [sic]? This website [and tablatures], among other things, helps users teach each other how they play guitar parts for many different songs. This is the way music teachers have behaved since the first music was ever created. The difference here is that the information is shared by way of a new technology: the Internet..."
Further to this, sites that are acting legally which are not even based in the US have been shut down by the MPA.
In April 2008, the Power Tab Archive, a popular guitar tablature site based around the Power Tab Editor program, was forced to shut down by the MPA. In April 2009, the Power Tab Archive has made a partnership with Music Sales Group and the site is continuing to reload the downloads and sells royalties by advertising.