An Open Letter from the DTT
This letter is in reference to the recent press release naming the Databank
Transcription Team (hereinafter referred to as the DTT), operators of
www.dttlyrics.com as defendants in a potential lawsuit by Prince/The Artist
(hereinafter referred to as Prince) and NPG Records and their
Since 1994, we have spent countless hours transcribing the music and lyrics
of a man whom we all, collectively, respect and admire for his artistic
approach to music and the professionalism exhibited in his craft. We
believe that we have earned a reputation on the internet for being a site
totally dedicated to the exploration of his music where the average listener
did not or could not fully make sense of a song or songs that they were
interested in. We have received countless e-mails thanking us for our
efforts in clarifying certain lyrics and helping them to appreciate the
However, we are now saddened and dismayed at his latest actions. At no time
have we, either as a group or individuals, profited from any work we did on
the site. As those who have visited the site can attest to, we offer no
advertising, no subscriptions, or anything of the sort. Members of the DTT
maintain all costs related to the maintenance of www.dttlyrics.com.
We transcribed the lyrics to the songs by listening to each song, then
posting our interpretation of the songs. Often, the lyrics we transcribe
differ (either slightly or drastically, depending on your point of view)
from official lyric sheets. On every song transcribed, we give proper
copyright credit to whatever publishing company owns the rights to the song
(Ecnirp, Controversy, Paisley Park, NPG, etc.). At no time did we assume
ownership or take credit for something that we did not do.
At no time were we attempting to harm Prince. Quite the opposite. Like any
fan web site that is dedicated to a musician, we simply endeavored to
enhance the appreciation of the music of what we believe to be one of the
most prolific artists of our time. There are many web sites devoted to
artists and other entertainment related figures. In some cases, such as
Gene Roddenberry's Earth Final Conflict television show, where specific
information is given as to what is and what is not acceptable. We believe
actions like the one mentioned above would be more productive than the
We should state for the record that the DTT did not receive the infamous
"cease and desist" letter from Londell McMillian on behalf of Prince/Paisley
Park Enterprises. In fact, members of the DTT were asked to "join the
collective", but opted to value our own individualism. We do find it a bit
strange that a couple of months ago we were asked to be a part of the Love 4
One Another site (I.e., "the collective"), but as a result of our refusal,
we are now being sued.
Basically, we are just an average group of fans who love the music. While
we believe that we have done no harm to Prince, nor do we feel that we have
infringed upon his rights, we are willing to work with Prince, NPG Records
and its representatives to resolve this matter in the most amicable manner
possible. We believe the lawsuit is unnecessary and will state for the
record that had a representative of Prince or NPG contacted us before, this
action would not be needed. Filing the suit against us for monetary damages
seems very harsh to say the least but as we have not made any money at his
expense we don't see what "damages" have been incurred.
Following is an excerpt taken from "http://www.fairuse.com" in regards to
the areas of copyright issues. We suggest that all interested read the
excerpt and visit the website listed for more information on this subject.
Thank you for your support.
The Databank Transcription Team
FAIR USE CONTENTS
Fair Use Provision of the Copyright Act
Factor 1 - Purpose and Character of Use
Factor 2 - Nature of Copyrighted Work
Factor 3 - Relative Amount
Factor 4 - Effect upon Potential Market
Fair Use Test
Although the Fair Use provision is in the Copyright Act, prior to the 1990s,
it was seldom invoked outside of academic circles. Until the 2 Live Crew
case. Fair Use seemed only to concern itself with making copies for the
classroom and using portions of works in academics treatises. The Fair Use
provision and the four factors to be considered in a fair use analysis were
dramatically fleshed out in the 2 Live Crew case. Here, we look at the fair
use provision and the four factors to be used in making a determination of
Fair Use Provision of the Copyright Act - The Statutory Decree ¤107.
Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a
copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or photo
records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such
as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies
for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of
copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular
case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -
1.the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a
commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2.the nature of the copyrighted work;
3.the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the
copyrighted work as a whole; and
4.the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair
use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
Factor 1 -
Purpose and Character of Use
This first factor looks at the new work takes into account the following
1.Commercial nature or non-profit educational purposes.
3.Degree of Transformation
The first sub-factor (1) simply looks at the new work and determines whether
it was created primarily as a for profit venture or was created for a
non-profit educational purpose. While not at all determinative, this test
indicates that preference will be granted to works that were created for
non-profit educational purposes (like this Web page!).
The second sub-factor (2) looks to see if the new work is for one of the
purposes that are mentioned in the preamble of the fair use provision. It
should be noted that this list is not restrictive. However, the burden of
showing fair use is somewhat easier if the work is for one of these
The third sub-factor (3) looks at the degree of transformation accomplished
by the new work. In other words, this sub-factor seeks to determine whether
the new work merely supplants the original, or whether it adds something
new, with a further purpose or different character, thereby altering the
first with new expression, meaning or message.
Factor 2 -
Nature of Copyrighted Work
This second factor acknowledges that fact that some works are simply more
deserving of copyright protection than others. Consequently, this portion of
the test looks at the original work and attempts to determine where that
work is in the spectrum of worthiness of copyright protection.
Factor 3 -
The third factor looks at the amount and substantiality of the copying in
relation to the work as a whole. However, the critical determination is
whether the quality and value of the materials used are reasonable in
relation to the purpose of copying. This is not a pure ratio test in that
using a whole work may be fair use in some circumstances, whereas using a
tiny fraction of a work not qualify for fair use in other circumstances.
Therefore, the quantity, as well as the quality and importance, of the
copied material must be considered. Some Justices have looked to see that
"no more was taken than was necessary" to achieve the purpose for which the
materials were copied.
Factor 4 -
Effect upon Potential Market
The fourth factor considers the extent of harm to the market or potential
market of the original work caused by the infringement. This test takes into
account harm to the original, as well as harm to derivative works.
SOURCE: 17 U.S.C. ¤ 107 (1988 ed. and Supp. IV).