The US National Music Publishers Association is taking aim at unlicensed lyrics sites, sending takedown notices to 50 sites recently identified in a study by musician David Lowery as not paying for their use of lyrics. The most high-profile of the sites is Rap Genius, which raised $15m from Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz in 2012 (Bulletin, 4-Oct-12) and has since expanded into rock music too (Bulletin, 26-Jun-13). Now it’s squarely in the sights of music publishers alongside the likes of Lyrics Mania, Lyrics Translate and ST Lyrics. “These lyric sites have ignored the law and profited off the songwriters’ creative works, and NMPA will not allow this to continue,” said NMPA boss David Israelite. “This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites, or the many websites that provide lyrics legally. NMPA is targeting fifty sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior, which significantly impacts songwriters’ ability to make a living.” The body is claiming that more than 50% of all lyric pageviews are on unlicensed sites, and warns that previous legal battles with LiveUniverse and LyricWiki prove its determination to take action.

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