We’ve received the following email today from Warner Chappell:
TO: Jonathan Percy @ Green Plastic Radiohead
We are writing to you on behalf of Warner Bros. Publications and Warner/Chappell Music.? We are the worldwide copyright administrators for Radiohead.? Rather than sending you an overblown “legal” letter filled with threatening language, we would simply like to ask you to remove the LYRICS & TABS archive from your website; as their distribution constitutes an infringement of our rights under U.S. Copyright Law.? More than that, the availability of these files have a direct impact on our ability to market and sell our musical arrangements and songbooks, and that adversely affects the royalties that we are able to generate and pay to the band.
May we count on your cooperation?
The foregoing is without prejudice to any right, remedy, action, claim or defense otherwise available to us under the circumstances, all of which are expressly reserved.
??? & Warner Bros. Publications U.S. Inc.
This email came to me as a shock as I’m sure it is one to you. Apparently other Radiohead fansites got a similar email. While we figure out what to do and what future to take GP, let it be known that Radiohead fansites do more than just spread the news and provide information about our favorite band. It is understandable that Warner Chappell would be concerned that the hosting of lyrics and tabs would hurt their sales of Radiohead songbooks. My feeling is that we (the fansites) are helping Radiohead by marketing and promoting the band for free. It’s no doubt that without the help of the Internet, Kid A would not have hit #1 in the United States in 2000.
Nobody buys songbooks for lyrics. That’s what liner notes are for. But as you know, Radiohead doesn’t really put their lyrics in liner notes and if they do, they’re usually incomplete or cryptic. That’s where the beauty of the Internet comes in to play. By telling the sites that they cannot host lyrics, which accounts for more than half of the traffic to this site, it is pushing us to just shut the whole thing down, which I believe hurts everyone. I don’t pretend to be blind to the fact that my site is used as any other marketing tool to promote Radiohead. I do it while making no profit because I love Radiohead’s music and want to provide a free resource to fans out there. If someone needs lyrics at 3am, they’re going to turn to the internet and not try to find a store that sells Radiohead songbooks.
I’m not out here to start a legal war. If I have to shut the lyrics section down, I will… I just hope that we can work this out diplomatically and fairly for the band, Warner Chappell, and most importantly, the fans.
In the meantime, you can sign this petition.