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					Lyrics for Songs Finally get a Financial Value

When there is a song on the radio that interests you, pretty often you do
want to know exactly what the singer says - to sing along with the song
don't you? Lots of people do apparently, and hence the popularity of
lyrics sites. For any given song that you look up, you're guaranteed to
find it on at least a half dozen sites with names like azlyrics, elyrics,
stlyrics, metrolyrics and so on. Did you ever wonder how these people
could publish all these lyrics to hit songs (and get all the annoying
advertising on the side as a reward to pay them for their trouble) and
not have the songwriters or the record labels sue them for some kind of
copyright infringement? Here are these people publishing someone else’s
copyrighted creative work and profiting from it. Doesn’t that just cry
out for some kind of action from these companies that will sue college
students for $100,000 if they catch them sharing peer-to-peer? Actually,
that last lyrics website, Metrolyrics, just found out about this the hard
way.

Metrolyrics reportedly got its start 10 years ago when a high school
student, a boy called Milun, found that he could never find the words
for the songs he loved when he looked on the Internet. So he just
happened to start his own website as a kind of gag; and he put up the
words to lots of songs. Pretty soon, there were so many visitors at his
site for his free lyrics that he was beginning to make advertising money.
The Website is pretty successful now, with millions of dollars in
advertising revenues and more than 10 million visitors each month. All
these free lyrics though were written by hard-working musicians
elsewhere. Songwriters who often don’t feel that they are compensated
enough for their hard work and creativity, are often gratified to see
their lyrics in such demand; they just wish they could be up for some
kind of a share. All they’ve ever had all these years have been pennies
earned off printed lyrics for songs and sheet music.

And so songwriters and the record labels that represent them, have been
getting a little pushy with the lyrics sites - to get them in on the
action. Not that the lyrics websites are unwilling; it’s just that there
is no system in place for lyrics royalty collection the way there is for
music royalty collection. There are just so many songwriters and
publishers out there; there’s no system that could easily get all of them
together in one place to help distribute the pennies around. Help is at
hand now though with businesses called license aggregators – examples
would be companies like Gracenote; these are prominent in this area.
Companies like these go around gathering licenses and permission from the
thousands of songwriters and record labels out there, to try to mediate
between them and the sites that publish lyrics for songs.

When websites do not play nice with the lyrics licensors, some of them
are forced to shut down. There are about a hundred sites that publish
lyrics for songs on the Internet; and ever since third-party license
aggregators like Gracenote came into the picture, a handful of them have
begun to do it legally. The others are beginning to feel a bit of
pressure with a few lawsuits mounted against them. Lots of these websites
operate outside the US, and of course there’s no way to get on their case
there.

				
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