It has come to my attention that there may be some possible allegations of copyright infringement on some of the finger style tabs that I’ve uploaded for sale on the site. Specifically the allegation was that I am “selling Craig Dobbins arrangements with your name on them”. I believe that statement deserves a response, and essentially it is false.

Upon researching this claim, the only three arrangements where this may be the case are for the hymns, “My Jesus I love Thee”, “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus” and “At the Cross”. They are similar to the arrangements put out by Craig Dobbins who is a great guitarist and composer in his own right. I was inspired to put these arrangements together based on several YouTube videos. After looking at the actual arrangements by Dobbins I can reasonably conclude that these videos where performances of his work.

However, despite these things I have decided to leave the tabs and videos up for a few reasons.

1. These are not mere copies of his arrangements.

It took hours of practice to learn each hymn relying heavily on my own ear, and yet hours more to transcribe my rendition note for note into my music software and produce the video. The 1900 UK case Walter v. Lane ruled that the copyright of an account of a speech transcribed by a reporter belonged to the newspaper he worked for because of the effort it took to reproduce his spoken words. This is called the “Sweat of the Brow” doctrine, and I encourage you to look it up on Wikipedia.

Also If you compare the arrangements note for note, they are not the same.  More specifically, in “At the Cross” the rhythm in the middle section is not even close, and the ending was written by me without any influences. In “Tis So Sweet…” there are many additional notes added to the arrangement including some moving bass lines between the C and F chord shapes. Please investigate them for yourself.

2. These arrangements are reproductions of public domain works without changing the melody significantly.

The original melody, arrangements, and chords have long since passed into the public domain and do not deviate significantly in these examples. Of course this is my opinion, but these hymns have been arranged for guitar and other instruments many times by many people without significant deviation from the melody and supporting chords.

3. These arrangements could more accurately be described as “derivative works” and not copies by the United States Copyright Act.

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

In fact, these derivative works can in some instances have copy protection of their own.

If you have gotten to the end of this article and you don’t agree with me, that is fine. I offer some possible resolutions:

1. Don’t buy the tab. There are many other tabs available that have had no other inspiration than the hymn book sitting in front of me.

2. If you have purchased one of these three tabs and you aren’t comfortable with my arguments, you may email me for a full refund.

Please note that these similarities occurred in good faith. I do not wish to tarnish my testimony or the integrity of this site. And of course, I will be exceedingly careful to avoid a similar situation in the future.


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