Restarting the Old Rusty Engine
(For the 2nd Time too)

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Monday, November 27, 2006

To Tab or Not to Tab, that is the question... the JASRAC issue

Been getting requests for tablatures for the transposed songs that I played and posted in this blog and youtube.

I have this question circling my head for some time - Do I tab my transpositions or do I not? Now, I can play the songs from memory, but in time I may forget them. watercolour had encouraged me to write them down, but I don't know. While it's a good idea to write them down so I don't forget, I would need lots of motivation (which is another way of saying that I'm lazy ^_^)

Have asked around for suggestions of notations software that I can use for writing down them songs in scoresheets (Cos Doing it in pen and paper is just too painful for me).

I used to use Magix Notation, but the installation CD is lost. Have experimented with other softwares that tabs the song while I play, but that requires a REALLY quiet environment.

Transposing the chords is not a problem. It's tabbing the songs which requires time and effort. Since it's in classical version, so I'm dealing with scoresheets and the black bean sprouts (the musical notes). Don't intend to tab it in numbers and frets, that will be too much. (and I can't read those). That's when notations softwares come in handy, because some of them automatically tab it for you.


Now, when I think about it carefully, it's probably NOT a good idea to tab my works because that may bring me trouble - I'm worried that JASRAC would come breathing fire down the back of my neck. JASRAC (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers) was established in 1939 as a non-profit making organization, and is the largest musical copyright administration society in Japan. Lately they've been cracking down materials in Youtube and arresting people in Japan that uses copyrighted material without permission.

Santos pointed out a case before. Though I must say Santos exaggerated it just a little bit. Firstly, you need to pay the entertainment tax in order to perform in your own pub, because it involves public performance. If that doesn't cover the copyright issue, then an extra application is needed, (namely registering with JASRAC) and it's all for formality's sake. Probably that pub owner didn't do either. But my point is, I don't want to draw attention to myself more than I needed to.

Back on topic, there's this guy at Youtube given a warning by JASRAC, and Youtube admins subsequently removed his video from his account, just because he posted a video of himself playing a JPop song on his piano. Apparently public performance is not permitted and is considered as copyright infringement. On that note - Do my playing of Momusu songs here mean that I have trespassed the copyright law as well? If not, then I don't want to give JASRAC something extra for them to bite on me by tabbing my works.

Sure, I can write down my transpositions, and I should be OK as long as I do not distribute it publicly. Also, I can always justify myself with the reason of "fair use" as my lawful defense, saying that my videos are just for hobby, educational reference and tutorial purpose. Or I can say that my playings are by-ear interpretations and therefore not subjected to copyright law, because it is not taken directly from the scoresheets of the original compositions. But after looking at the fate of major guitar-tabbing websites like in the USA, still fighting a lawsuit with the copyrighters and facing a possible shutdown by their service provider, I grew more worried.

Now, I only wonder... will the activities of us bloggers showing vidcaps, blogging, reviews and sharing audio/videos of Hello! Project materials amongst ourselves, count as copyright infringement?

In conclusion, I don't want them JASRAC dudes cracking down my Youtube account nor asking Blogger to close down this blog. So.... after some long thinking, I'm afraid the answer to the question on topic is -->
Nope, sorry guys, I cannot tab my transposed songs.

...unless you got some ideas that can convince me otherwise...


Craig said...

Once I posted some special maps on a forum and linked to the authors blog... he must of trackedbacked or something because shortly afterwards he PM'd me with a warning!

Also when I was first getting into Hello! Project there was a Torrent site that was still online but had died (I imagine they were shutdown). I think it was actually that site that gave birth to (although I could b wrong (D.A.M.N. or Lucia it may have been called. It's really quite an interesting case study Jin, if you check out the first two posts here and now just imaagine... that will probably happen to Hello!Online 1 of these days!))

Mick a.k.a. jinryuichi said...

I don't know about H!O. But those guys there should be OK. Unless some clever bastard complains to JASRAC.

Though I don't know if JASRAC's area of jurisdiction can reach as far as their server (which is not hosted in Japan)

Craig said...

Sometimes I worry that the authorities will play the copyright card on me just because I'm a paedophile :(

Mick a.k.a. jinryuichi said...

hehe... you're perfectly safe, man. as long as you steer clear of their kid sisters! ^_^

Craig said...

I will :)

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