When I first got started in the business of making myself a web page, one of the things I wanted to do in the worst way.. was to get some of that, great polka music onto my web site ! I mean.. it was almost an obsession.. or something. Which leads us to the moment.......
Then I heard the rumour that you could get in big trouble even if you gave Copyright credit to the authors of the midi files.
1. FBI ARRESTS MIDI SITE OWNER ON CHARGES OF CONSPIRACY
2. FOX AGENCY CLOSES DOWN MIDI SITES
3. BMI & ASCAP THREATENS MIDI SITE OWNERS WITH LAWSUITS
4. FBI TO MONITOR EMAIL ON THE INTERNET
The midi site owner, I found.. was familiar to me and I had been to her site many times, ( Midi Haven. ) She is being sued for $6.6 million dollars in damages and the FBI is investigating Midi Haven's site owner.
This is real and is not an Urban Legend, and if you have midi music on your site.. You should consider taking them off, if you don't have written, ( signed, sealed and delivered ) permission from the author.
A quote from, Dean FH Macy, Lit.D©
" According to the site's owner, she became aware of unknowingly having commercially made midi files on her site. She polled every midi file on her site and removed the files with certain letter combinations or files making reference to copyright codes or to Trycho by name. Midi files are freely traded over the Internet and very rarely does a web site owner check copyrights contained in a midi file. In this case, it wouldn't have mattered because whomever transmitted these files removed copyright markings prior to downloading them into the Midi Haven's site. Unless the company who produced the copyrighted midi program recognizes one of its files by doing a search of a midi site, there is no way an innocent person can be certain a midi file is legal.
The serious problem facing us as citizens is that major companies like Trycho can file with the FBI for charges to be brought against us without first notifying us that we have their property. In the United States, under the Constitution, citizens have certain rights and one of them is to be notified in advance of pending legal action against them. Not even the US Government can arbitrarily enter your home and seize your furniture or break your kids legs or take your car or home without first filing a Notice of Intent with a provision for payment to prevent the action. Why should this be different for crimes over the Internet? Especially when the victim is unaware she has committed a crime? We do not live in a police state nor do we live under communism. We as US citizens have rights under the law and those right should NOT be violated by large corporation bullies. " End quote.
RichDs had a site with a jukebox and 43 tunes on it... I loved my music... But learning that it was a $10,000.00 fine per midi.. first offense.. and ignorance of the law has no legal base.. " Zoooooom.. " like greased lightning, RichDs went and got rid of it. And if you are thinking that they won't mess with you because you are a small site with only a few midis... WRONG !!
Consider, if you will.. Yet another quote from, Dean FH Macy, Lit.D.© ; " The writer jokingly stated that, "Are you telling me that when I whistle a tune as I walk along the street or sing a copyrighted song to my children, I am violating copyright laws." "Yes," he was told and as soon as they complete the legal actions against Internet music sites they will actively go after me and others who abuse the copyright that protects composers by whistling and singing songs in public places. "You've got to be kidding," this writer exclaimed. "What will you do? Have spies everywhere?" He received a strong "Yes!" End quote.
These greedy people want to charge you $0.07 per midi downloaded... not much you say ? This seven cents is charged every time you or one of your site visitors click the tune.. and will turn into some, " real money.. real quick. "
A midi file I have found, is not played on an instrument and recorded, as I thought.. but is in fact a code that tells the computer which tone to make and when... It's not sheet music. It is a code like html.. a code like java script.. a code that tells your computer what to do and how to do it. And this code is what is Copyright©..... What a mess and it is an example of pure greed.
If you would like to read it yourself... By all means..