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Censorship Books Media Music

Project Gutenberg Volunteers Partial IMSLP Hosting 100

Posted by kdawson
from the stepping-forward dept.
bbc writes "Project Gutenberg has volunteered to host all it legally can of the IMSLP's catalog. The Canadian provider of free public domain music recently caved to legal threats from an Austrian sheet music seller. On the Book People mailing list, Project Gutenberg's founder Michael Hart wrote: 'Project Gutenberg has volunteered to keep as much of the IMSL Project online as is legally possible, including a few of the items that were demanded to be withdrawn, as well as, when legal, to provide a backup of the entire site, for when the legalities have finally been worked out.'"
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Project Gutenberg Volunteers Partial IMSLP Hosting

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  • Re:What in the? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:16AM (#21098005) Homepage
    Universal didn't request the shutdown of the whole site, only that it stop distributing works still under US copyright. I think the site was hosted in Canada, so the legality of this is arguable (IANAL); but anyway, closing the whole site was the site owner's choice, since he didn't have time to carefully remove all of the still-copyright works.
  • Re:What in the? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:18AM (#21098031) Homepage
    Universal Edition the music publisher (not "Universal", the global media company) didn't shut down the entire site. They demanded filtering based on IP address (= geographical location) be installed so that you could only see the scores out of copyright in your own country, and not those that are still under copyright where you live though available elsewhere. The owner, who was already stressed out after years of doing this, decided himself to shut it all down.
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:20AM (#21098053) Homepage
    Universal Edition, though clearly doing the wrong thing here, is not an *AA. The MPAA and the RIAA fight against the distribution of recordings. Universal Edition is a music publisher, like ASCAP/BMI, Boosey & Hawkers, or EWH.
  • by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:23AM (#21098081)

    Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org] - the first and largest single collection of free electronic books - has volunteered to host IMSLP's (International Music Score Library Project) collection of scores.

    Related story: Provider of Free Public Domain Music Shuts Down [slashdot.org]

    Props to Gutenberg. Donate [gutenberg.org] if you can spare a few bucks.

  • Re:Donations (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lonedar (897073) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:27AM (#21098115)
    There is a PayPal link on the main site: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page [gutenberg.org]

    And I think that Project Gutenberg is one of the best initiatives on the Internet.
    Where else could you get, for free, electronic versions of books in the public domain? And they provide multiple file formats as well.
  • Re:Donations (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:33AM (#21098173)
    For those who don't like paypal there are several other options available as well: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:Project_Gutenberg_Needs_Your_Donation [gutenberg.org]
  • Re:Good god, kdawson (Score:3, Informative)

    by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:10AM (#21098573)
    Go type IMSLP into Google and you'll have your answer as the first hit. Quit being such a god damn lazy grammar nazi.
  • This becomes even more interesting when you consider that some musicians have been able to, successfully, sue for copyright infringement based upon copying six notes from another song. They didn't even have the same tempo or rhythm, just the same six notes played in order. So how many combinations of six notes can you come up with that havn't already been done before?

    I thought that this was an absurd legal opinion, and if really pushed it may eventually be overturned... at least with some future court case that tries the same kind of stunt. Still, it does beg the question to ask when something ought to enter the public domain.

    Another interesting thing to think about: The King James Version [wikipedia.org] of the Christian Bible, who some suspect may have had parts written/translated by William Shakespeare, is still under copyright. I admit that this is an exception among books, but doesn't this seem to be something that should have its copyright expire and simply placed in the hands of the rest of mankind to work with, rather than trying to see if you might step on somebody's toes accidentally in a legal sense?
  • by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:10AM (#21100153)
    The King James version of the bible is only under copyright in the UK, due to its copyright being owned by the crown. In the U.S. it is under no restrictions. As for the claim the William Shakespere had anything to do with it, that is completely new to me. I'll admit it has been a while, but last time I looked into the issue I thought the translating committee largely used Tyndale's translation. I seem to recall an extremely large amount of verses being identical or extremely similar to Tyndale's work.
  • Letters Patent (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) * <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:36AM (#21100569) Homepage Journal
    The KJV really isn't under "copyright" in the U.K. It's protected by royal prerogative using an different legal instrument, called a "letters patent." This is copyright-like, but it's not recognized internationally; unlike true copyrights which get extended pretty much everywhere by way of the Berne Convention, letters patent only affect people in the U.K.

    In the 70s (or somewhere around then), when the original Gilbert and Sullivan copyrights were about to expire, there were some people who wanted to have them perpetually extended in the style of the KJV as a sort of 'national treasure.' Thankfully, smarter heads prevailed, and they were allowed to expire and enter the public domain, which is surely the best way to make sure they're remembered and enjoyed in the future. But the fact that such a thing was even considered, by anyone, and that the legal framework either existed or could have been created to do it, ought to be chilling.

    Wikipedia also claims [wikipedia.org] that J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan also falls under something similar, and while I'm sure it's well-intentioned (it gives the royalties, in perpetuity, to a children's hospital), it's a rather dangerous precedent. (There apparently is quite a debate over its ordinary copyright status in the U.S. [wikipedia.org] as well. Bonus irony: Disney arguing in favor of the public domain in an intellectual-property dispute, against a children's hospital. Nice, guys, nice.)
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:12PM (#21101929)
    Project Gutenberg's problem is that they're not in Canada themselves, and hence find themselves under USA law and all the stupid treaties they've signed along the way.
  • Re:Gutenberg site (Score:3, Informative)

    by gbnewby (74175) * on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:48PM (#21107771) Homepage
    We (Project Gutenberg) haven't received anything from IMSLP yet, and depending on how easy it is to identify materials that are public domain in thUS, we might not be able to immediately redistribute it. But I did correspond with the person who runs IMSLP (when the issue first came up, not just recently) and do anticipate we'll be able to help. It's great to see the /. coverage of Michael's note to the BookPeople mailing list (the main link in the slashdot story thread), but at this point there's not a lot to report...

    A few extra things:
    - Thanks to everyone who has said nice things about Project Gutenberg :)
    - Yes, we pledge to continue "fighting the good fight" for appropriateness of copyright enforcement
    - The Universal music claims are, as others have noted, legally unsupported here in the US. (I don't know whether anything relevant is different in Canada)
    - We maintain some of our past letters to these types of claims at http://cand.pglaf.org/ [pglaf.org] (cand == Cease And Desist :-). This includes telling the Mitchell estate the PG-US doesn't control PG-AU, where "Gone with the Wind" is posted, and there is no reason why PG-AU would need to block downloaders from elsewhere
    - We have also argued many times that *if* there is infringement (say in the UK, an EU country, etc.) then it is up to the infringed-upon party to take action, not Project Gutenberg. (We even offer to help, by writing a general letter explaining that people should check the laws of their country before downloading...as stated in every public domain eBook and on the gutenberg.org Web site)
    - Among other things, the rejection of IP address blocking (as proposed by Universal) can rest on the simple fact that even downloading a copyright item might not be a copyright violation:
    -- many countries have notions of "fair use" that allow such use of copyrighted content
    -- what if the downloader owns the item in question already (say, they own the sheet music in print form, and want it digitally)?
    -- what if the downloader is not where the IP address maps to?
    -- other examples you can think of...

        Greg Newby (of Project Gutenberg)

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