From Dan Miller at MacWorld:
Walter Ritter is the developer behind pearlyrics, a nifty little Dashboard widget. It did one simple but very useful thing: It searched the Internet for the lyrics to the song you were playing in iTunes, displayed those lyrics on the Dashboard, and copied them into the song’s iTunes Lyrics field. It certainly wasn’t the only lyrics widget out there, but it’s the one that several of us here at Macworld liked.
Unfortunately, pearlyrics is no more. Last week, Ritter received a letter from Warner Chappell Music—“one of the world’s largest music publishers,” its Web site proudly proclaims—telling him to cease and desist. Being a modest freeware developer with no legal budget, he did.
As I say, there are plenty of lyrics widgets out there. Ritter has heard of only one other developer who’s received a similar cease-and-desist letter. So big whoop, you say, a couple of minor-league widget-makers must turn their hands to something else. But I think it’s weird: Why is one of the world’s largest music publishers bothering to go after a couple of lowly widget makers?
..Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation… has a theory. This may just be “a dry run for a much broader campaign in New Year.” The target of that campaign? Web sites that publish music lyrics.
… von Lohmann isn’t just being paranoid. The Music Publishers’ Association has said it wants to crack down on lyrics sites.
Dashboard widgets are for Mac OS only, but this is an interesting case in that the search engine is being blamed for infringing. So, if this company can sue on this principle, they best sue Google, Yahoo, and MSN next. Right? Right? G*damn assclowns. (Hey, it’s Friday, I’m allowed a rant).