by Lauren Keiser, Kieser-Southern Music Co.
UPDATE: The MPA/USA, in coordination with the NMPA, has eliminated 27,643 illegal URL postings and shut down 186 pirate sites since the ICMP (International Confederation of Music Publishers) started their Anti-Theft program three years ago. The MPA/UK is handling Europe and MPAJ (Japan) is handling the Pacific Rim in this global effort.
We have recently started a new program with the MPA/UK and the City of London Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). They have a three step process of take down notices. The first letter is a demand to shut down or get a legal license for the music. Second letter is a demand to close down within 14 days. The third letter is a notice that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. Very nice. It certainly beats paying lawyers thousands of dollar to sue a company that will declare bankruptcy in the end.
PARADIGM CHANGE: The Anti-Theft Committee of ICMP was planning to start PIPCU action against jellynote.com, a Paris based illegal sheet music site that contains user generated content. That means their users do their own arrangements of popular songs and post them in all their inaccuracies and mistakes. Two major “pop” company committees started negotiations with jellynote.com to license their repertoire. The best course for a publisher is to license their works, however a few of us were surprised. The deals are complete from what I understand. The territory is the world excluding North America. The major issue is that this site also contains thousands of copyrights of other publishers which are not licensed and are available in America.
The paradigm shift is that it appears that some “majors” are willing to license illegal sites in addition to the common tradition of licensing Hal Leonard, Music Sales, Alfred and MusicNotes among others who provide large advances for their rights. The real problem with jellynote.com is that they have an app they are selling that allows any device to copy the music (even photographed in a music store) and then the user uploads it to the site where two million other users can download it for free. Once the majors experience the reality of selling a few titles and then realizing it is on the site for “free,” it may be too late. This will have a tremendous effect on the “pop” sheet music business.
Please remember to send the MPA any site, institution or school that is illegally copying and “broadcasting” unlicensed and pirated material. You can email our Administrative Director, Brittain Ashford at: firstname.lastname@example.org