17 Dec

lyric finder potentially dangerous

One must be careful not to develop software that is too helpful.  As is made quite clear with this recent case…

Facing an upswell of protest, Warner Chappell Music on Friday formally apologized to Walter Ritter over a letter it sent to the software programmer earlier this month targeting a helper application for Apple’s iTunes called pearLyrics.

"The goal of Warner/Chappell’s prior letter to pearworks was to gain assurance that pearLyrics operated according to (copyright) principles. However, in both tone and substance, that letter was an inappropriate manner in which to convey that inquiry. Warner/Chappell apologizes to Walter Ritter and pearworks."

(…)Ritter says Warner Chappell is now talking with him about ways to create lyrics search tools with the blessing of music publishers, but the experience will cause him to think twice before committing his next big idea to code.

One of Ritter’s recent brainstorms — an application that queries lyrics data online to help music fans choose tracks based on themes, like "love" or "breakup" — may now remain only an idea, he says.

"I’m concerned with how I should go on with software development, because this will be a potential issue — every time I come up with something that people like, someone might say ‘you can’t do that, it’s illegal and it infringes copyright," Ritter told Wired News. "It’s getting really difficult to be innovative as a small developer."