THE UNITED STATES National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) has gone after 50 websites that have the audacity to post the lyrics to songs.
These profiteering websites, with their basic texts, are tearing money away from impoverished rappers and other artists, according to the NMPA, and must be stopped.
"These lyric sites have ignored the law and profited off the songwriters' creative works, and NMPA will not allow this to continue," said NMPA president and CEO David Israelite.
"This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites, or the many websites that provide lyrics legally. NMPA is targeting  sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior, which significantly impacts songwriters' ability to make a living."
Those 50 websites (PDF) include Rapgenius, which is apparently the worst offender, Lyricsmania and Lyricstranslate.com. The NMPA said that often consumers do not associate reading the lyrics of songs with copyright infringement, and called the websites in question "undesirable". Rapgenius can be referred to as Hip Hop's Wikipedia and aims to put the context to songs like "Ass Like That".
The NMPA added that there is some evidence that money might be generated through the websites. "There is anecdotal evidence that these lyric websites generate huge web traffic and may involve more money than one might think," it said, echoing a supporter in academia.
The NMPA is working with University of Georgia researcher and song writer David Lowery on a study of this sort of thing. Lowery estimated that we might be approaching a boom time for lyrics.
"Unlicensed lyric sites are largely ignored as copyright infringers, but in fact these sites generate huge web traffic and involve more money than one might think," he said. "The lyric business is clearly more valuable in the internet age."
We think the whole thing is Ludacris. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ