I remember back in ’94 spending many hours in my college library (this was before ubiquitous campus Internet) going through many of the guitar tabs located on the Online Guitar Archive’s website, OLGA.net. Unfortunately, the OLGA was forced offline last year due to legal issues from the music publishers.
Well, there’s good news and bad news on the legal online guitar tab front. According to technical news site Ars Technica, Musicnotes has announced a licensing agreement with the Harry Fox Agency that will allow Musicnotes to publish user-created guitar tabs beginning this summer at MXTabs.net, so long as the ad revenue generated is shared with the music publishers. However, copyright owners must also agree to allow Musicnotes to publish the tabs before they can legally be put online, thus making it likely that guitar tabs will be slow to make it online.
It seems somewhat ironic that both Musicnotes and the music publishers will be generating revenue based on user-generated guitar tabs. There are plenty of ad-supported sites already publishing guitar tab created by users, so the idea certainly isn’t new. It’s just a shame that the OLGA isn’t part of the deal, considering that they had/have a huge back catalog of guitar tabs.