For every amateur musician who blesses the Gods of the Internet every time s/he downloads the tablature to a song s/he just HAS to figure out THAT VERY SECOND, the news that music publishers are going to crack down on illegal tab sites is mighty disturbing indeed. OK, I'll amend that sober third-person lead - what I meant to say was, shit, this is bad news for me! I love these tab sites, and so do countless guitar players who have filled their fakebooks with thousands of crib sheets taken off sites like Chordie and GuitarTabs.
Back in the day, us guitar hacks would spend ridiculous cash to buy songbooks that were never quite inclusive enough. 30 bucks tends to be the suggested retail price for most of these books, the economics of which I have never understood. Do we really need to spend more on the fakebook than on the record itself? You can see where I'm going with this - tab sites freed us and gave us grazing ability - we could download, say, one Merle Haggard song, one from Neil Young, etc, and build own own DIY fakebooks. The possibilities are endless - I have always found what I'm looking for, no matter how obscurantist.
Like so many web-ocrites, I tend to a take a "free stuff for me, but not for thee" approach: If I can rip stuff off the web that benefits my lifestyle, I'll overlook the fact that someone else has just been ripped off a few pennies. I don't download music for free off the web, but if music publishers think that cracking down on tab sites is going to solve their problems, they're just strumming past the graveyard. What they need to do is make their books cheaper and more accessible, expand the genre options, and get creative. Otherwise, tabs will forever slouch towards my Martin dreadnought.