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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keep as much of the IMSL Project online as is legally possible, including a few of the items that were demanded to be withdrawn, as well as, when legal, to provide a backup of the entire site, for when the legalities have finally been worked out.'"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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  • And don't you know it.
    • by pla (258480) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:14AM (#21097993) Journal
      Classical music is the new Rock'n'Roll

      ...Or something like that [youtube.com], anyway...

      (Just in case anyone needed more evidence that pretty much everything "new" still contains 99% things-that-came-before, making the idea of copyrights absolutely absurd...)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Teancum (67324)
        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 cas
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by c_forq (924234)
          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) *
          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
  • But how will those dead musicians make a living when their work is available for free on the internet.
    • The same way LIVE musicians make a living when all their work is available for free on the internet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fred_A (10934)
        Well *I*'m not sitting in the front row when they're touring.
        Don't want any body parts falling on me.
        • I think I need some psychological help. After you said that, the first thing I thought of was dead musicians touring with Gallagher.
  • So, is Universal claiming copyright that was never given, by shutting down the sharing of sheet music irrelevent to its case? I do not understand where Universals basis for claim is for shutting down an entire site. By that logic, if I find Universal happens to have copied a screenplay of mine, I can claim that they must pull all of their movies out of the theatres and off of DVD shelves immediately.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ed Avis (5917)
      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 @08:18AM (#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 gstoddart (321705)

        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.

        So, if someone started coming to an American company with a claim that they should be filtering all of the things which are illegal in, say, Iran ... would the American companies tell them to go fsck themselves, or would they happily comply? (Or, in this case, I gu

        • So, if someone started coming to an American company with a claim that they should be filtering all of the things which are illegal in, say, Iran ... would the American companies tell them to go fsck themselves, or would they happily comply? (Or, in this case, I guess an Australian company being asked to censor based off what's legal in Indonesia might be more apt.)

          If the US would respect an extradition request from Iran for whatever content is being distributed, I would imagine the American comapany would

          • Actually "Universal Edition" http://www.uemusic.at/noflash_de.htm [uemusic.at] is located in the EU (more precisely Austria) and would probably drag them to an EU-cortroom.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Kadin2048 (468275) *

            If the US would respect an extradition request from Iran for whatever content is being distributed, I would imagine the American comapany would comply (although not happily).

            I'm not sure why you think so. I don't think many U.S. judges would bother to enforce a judgment from an Iranian court against a U.S. company that was doing business in the United States, simply because someone in Iran could get on the internet and access their stuff online, and in doing so, violate Iranian laws.

            The enforcement of foreign judgments in the U.S. is governed by "Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act, 13 U.L.A. 149 (1986)", which I don't have time to read through at the moment, but W

            • I said "If X then Y." Claiming the likelihood of X is low does not change my point. Later, I do claim that if extradition would not be enforced, the company would laugh at them. (Source: Elementary logic texts)

              My other claim, intermingled in there, is that Canada would ship them off to the US. As evidence I would cite Australia doing the same thing.

        • It is Austria, which is located south of germany (and is a member of the EU), and not Australia.
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            It is Austria, which is located south of germany (and is a member of the EU), and not Australia.

            Oh, crap. How did I miss that? :-P

            Thanks for the correction.

            Cheers
        • Indeed: the proper standard response to these unenforcable "C&D" (cease and desist) letters should be "FOaD" (fuck off and die) letters, especially when the entity sending the C&D is in another country.

  • I was expecting someone or some organisation to step up and help out. Congratulations are in order to Project Gutenberg, I would say. We can't let the **AA's bully us into following their ideas about art/music/movies/...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CRCulver (715279)
      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 FredDC (1048502)
        They may not be an **AA in name, but they sure seem to be following their stategy perfectly IMHO...
        • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:33AM (#21098181) Homepage
          The RIAA and MPAA fill P2P networks with dummy info, prosecute you directly if you share your hard drive, and go after grannies who obviously don't have a clue about filesharing. Universal Edition, on the other hand, says "Hey, you can share those scores in most countries, but in this territory we still have copyright". That is nothing like the big music labels and film industry. I am not defending them, since I think copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects, but let's have some perspective here.
          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            (http://www.christopherculver.com/)
              I am not defending them, since I think copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects, but let's have some perspective here.

            >>> So it's extremely amusing that your website has a copyright notice on it. ;^)

            john
          • I think copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects

            163 of the world's 194 (or so; depends on who's counting) countries are parties to the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org]; several more are parties to other multilateral copyright treaties.

            I'm not sure how you figure that less than 15% of the world (by number of countries; by population or by economic power, the percentage is far, far lower) constitutes "most of the world".
            • by CRCulver (715279)
              The national legislatures of countries have signed copyright agreements, but their populations could care less about copyright. From Spain to Vietnam, you can buy CDs and DVDs openly on the streets, people download the music they want with no qualms, and if you talk with them about copyright, most people will not agree that creators can restrict who can access their work once it is released.
              • by radish (98371)
                if you talk with them about copyright, most people will not agree that creators can restrict who can access their work once it is released.

                And studies have shown that a large percentage of the population of the USA don't agree that man evolved from apes, but that doesn't make it the case. Just because a large number of people agree on something does not make it right. Take away the cash flow and there simply won't be popular/commercial music of the same form as there is today. Now you and I may not think th
                • by CRCulver (715279)

                  Take away the cash flow and there simply won't be popular/commercial music of the same form as there is today. Now you and I may not think that's a bad thing, but I bet the guys buying the bootleg CDs of Britney & Rhianna would feel differently.

                  Africa has produced the pop stars Fela Kuti and Youssou N'Dour, who became loved by millions and quite wealthy, even though their songs were usually heard in pirated recordings. Similarly, Hong Kong has the whole Cantopop tradition even though very few people

                • by Kadin2048 (468275) *

                  And studies have shown that a large percentage of the population of the USA don't agree that man evolved from apes, but that doesn't make it the case. Just because a large number of people agree on something does not make it right. Take away the cash flow and there simply won't be popular/commercial music of the same form as there is today. Now you and I may not think that's a bad thing, but I bet the guys buying the bootleg CDs of Britney & Rhianna would feel differently.

                  You're confusing questions of fact with questions of policy.

                  Questions of fact should not be resolved democratically. In fact, to do so is ridiculous. Either we evolved from apes or we didn't, either the earth is getting warmer or it's not, etc. Whether large numbers of people believe A or B doesn't make A or B more or less true in an objective sense.

                  However, where opinion does matter is on issues of policy. Whether we evolved from apes or not is a question of fact; what we want taught in schools (science o

          • You reject copyright?

            Without copyright there would be no reason for anybody to be in the software business.

            This is the Information Age, if I can't sell information that I own then I have nothing to sell.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Kadin2048 (468275) *

              This is the Information Age, if I can't sell information that I own then I have nothing to sell.

              Then you deserve to starve.

              Here's a hint: you can sell your labor, just like most of the people who are alive or who have ever lived, have done. That works just as well for computer programmers as it does for plumbers, doctors, and lawyers. Negotiate a fair price for your time, get paid up front, and let the buyer do whatever the hell they want to do with the stuff you produce for them.

              Welcome to the service economy; it's the same as the old economy.

              • I'm writing software for a company that is then selling that software to people, if they don't have a copyright they can't sell that software to anybody so they have no money to pay me.

                Now it is true that at some point someone would pay someone to design and build software that they need, the problem is that then the solution would exist for that problem and I could not get paid to design a system that does the same thing. Now I realize that that sounds ludicrous, after all why should I write the same th
            • by mothas (792754) *
              "You reject copyright?

              Without copyright there would be no reason for anybody to be in the software business.

              This is the Information Age, if I can't sell information that I own then I have nothing to sell."

              Oh please...

              Without copyright, you'd still be paid to produce software for people who want to use it. Same as now.

              Even under current copyright law, you cannot own information - all you're selling is the promise not to
              prosecute; i.e. a license.

              In the absence of copyrights, you are paid to w
          • by roystgnr (4015) *
            copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects

            There's lots of people even in the West who reject respecting copyrights themselves, because the result of "someone else will pay for it" gets them lots of free stuff, and free stuff is awesome. There are fewer people anywhere who reject the idea of requiring others to respect copyrights, because the result of "nobody will pay for it" might cause the supply of free new stuff to dry up.

            On the ot
          • Universal Edition, on the other hand, says "Hey, you can share those scores in most countries, but in this territory we still have copyright".

            They sure didn't say that very nicely? It was like: OBEY, OR DIE! Obey the EU directives, or our Canadian lawyer will get you good!

          • by Maskull (636191)

            True, music publishers generally aren't as scummy as the *AA, but they're scummy in their own special way. They make money selling sheet music; if you can legally copy public domain music, then they don't make money. Thus, they have no incentive to promote a healthy public domain, and every incentive to keep works out of it. So you'll see things like old PD editions reissued as "edited" with no changes except for a new copyright notice. Actual, old editions that are in the PD, when available, are often insa

          • by JasonTik (872158)
            I am thoroughly impressed with them. They are doing a damn good job. They are asking for what they have a reasonable right to, no more. And they are doing it in a reasonable way. "Please don't share stuff in copyright here with here" is WAY better than the "OMG YOU HAVE A SONG! TERRORIST!" that the RIAA is such a fan of.

            I agree that copyright needs fixing, but that is a separate issue. Here and now, I must say to them, bravo!
    • This is more like Books being scanned and then made available on the net. Some books may not be available in certain countries or still in copyright in certain others.

      I mean are we talking guitar tab and stuff like that or proper orcheatra scores? The former is a few quid but the latter cost hundreds/thousands to rent for a performance dpending on the size/length.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) *
        Yes, but what Universal was saying is that it's the archive's responsibility to limit access to only those scores that people are legally allowed to view.

        This is a bizarre stance and I don't believe there's any possible way they could get it upheld (although maybe in the E.U. and in Canada, who knows), but it was enough to scare the site owner into taking the whole thing down.

        I can think of a bunch of similarly contentious issues that never were forced to go that route: up until fairly recently, you couldn'
        • Surely if I live in the UK and buy something from Amazon.Fr then its up to Amazon to make sure that I pay any import/export duty and any relevant taxes that may be due. I can't just say that "I am on the internet" and therefore your laws don't apply to me. The owner of the site in question wanted to keep within the bounds of the law and probably just didn't have the resources to rewrite the site to accomodate this.
          • Well, that is mainly a jurisdictional question. If Amazon.fr is not actually located in the UK, which is what normally puts someone in British jxn, then there has to be some other connection that does it. Merely claiming worldwide jxn isn't really good enough, since you'd have to convince the French courts to go along with it, and they'll likely have a higher standard than unilateral declarations. Otherwise you'd be stuck pursuing whatever assets Amazon.fr might have in the UK, which could be a lot, or coul
          • Surely if I live in the UK and buy something from Amazon.Fr then its up to Amazon to make sure that I pay any import/export duty and any relevant taxes that may be due.

            I have no idea why you would think this. Why should that be their responsibility? It's purely a UK domestic issue, between you and your taxman, basically. They're just selling something and handing it over to a common carrier for shipment. After that, they wash their hands of it. You can even read Amazon's official stance [amazon.com]: "Your packages may be subject to the customs fees and import duties of the country to which you have your order shipped. These charges are always the recipient's responsibility." (Emph.

    • by gslj (214011)
      I agree. Congratulations to PG. Now what we need is a CANADIAN organization to host the content that PG can't. There's probably a lot of it because Canadian copyright law is still based on a life+50 term.

      -Gareth
  • fmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:18AM (#21098027)
    by which I can assume there is still a lot of money to be made from music that is clearly beyond copyright?

    after all I would hazard a guess this is all about money, not copyright.

    well done Project Gutenberg.
    • Re:fmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:50AM (#21098347)
      after all I would hazard a guess this is all about money, not copyright.

      Considering copyright itself is about money, I would say you are correct.
    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      It is about money, but indirectly.

      If OmniCorp Music can whip up some outrage by pointing at people breaching their 90 year copyrights (regardless of medium or profit), then when Omnicorp Film want to buy a hundred or hundred and fifty year duration law, they'll be able to hire less expensive lobbyists and give smaller 'campaign donations' to fewer Senators.

      • by Teancum (67324)
        I highly doubt that any substantial copyright extension in terms of term duration is going to happen, at least in America, without a huge political fight happening at the same time. Certainly it is getting to the point of absurdity, and it is possible that if a bill comes up before congress to change the length of the copyright term, that it might even result in a reduction of the length of the copyright instead of an increase... if only because the issue will be put before congressmen with people who are
        • by Rogerborg (306625)
          I have some vacation time coming up; is the weather on your planet nice this time of year?
      • Wow, the media companies still need lobbyists for Congress? I thought they just yanked the chain connected to the Congressmen's dog collars. Maybe there's hope for this country yet.

    • by Solandri (704621)

      by which I can assume there is still a lot of money to be made from music that is clearly beyond copyright?

      The music is beyond copyright. The graphical representation of that music on paper is still under copyright. The folks publishing all this out-of-copyright music just come up with a new arrangement and typesetting every couple decades and get a brand-new copyright on it. The older publications fall into the public domain, and some are available [duke.edu] in various places [redhost24-001.com] if you know where to look [indiana.edu]. Unfortun

      • midi wouldn't be right, we need a graphical representation. midi is a hopelessly lost cause when it comes to storing a graphical representation of the music (it can't even differentiation between an e-flat and a d-sharp, for example).

        the most commonly used format is lilypond, which is basically AFAIK a collection of macros for tex, and very good it is too. MusicXML is now on the way in too, but i've never used it myself, so i won't say anything more about it.
        • by jc42 (318812)
          the most commonly used format is lilypond, ...

          Actually, the most commonly-used format, by a large margin, is ABC [abcnotation.org.uk]. It's a rather basic, plain-text notation, without without much in the way of fancy formatting. OTOH, it's fairly easy to read it directly. There's lots of mostly free software for it, and there are somewhat over 300,000 pieces of music online at about 350 ABC sites now. This is a couple orders of magnitude more than for lilypond, which is probably the closest competitor.

          Those of us who have b
      • Actually having facsimile images of the Public Domain editions online is incredibly useful, and is, I believe, the most platform neutral (despite the presence of lilypond). There is quite a handful of competing file formats for sheet music notation at this point in time. Gutenberg itself accepts a number of them, including at least two proprietary ones (in semi-contrast to their .txt policy for literary works). Not only is the "population that's capable [of creating computer notated music] markedly small
  • How does one donate to Project Gutenberg?
  • Now all we need is someone to stand up to the music industry shutting down tabliture sites that contain peoples interpretations of music.
  • Noting much to add - I just thought such goodness ought to be acknowledged. I've given up on the imslp surviving this crysis. Surprisingly, humanity (part of it) proved me wrong! I think "w00t!" is appropriate.

    Thanks Michael!
  • by hal2814 (725639) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:21AM (#21098703)
    The US military recently tried to shut down Project Gutenberg's hosting server. Project Gutenberg listened to the server's cries of "No disassemble!" and with the help of Project Sheedy, helped the server to safety.
  • by c (8461)
    Funny thing about playing whack-a-mole on the Internet... the moles get bigger, bring lawyers, and carry their own mallets.

    They acted like dicks (hint: if first contact involves lawyers, you're a dick) towards someone who, had they approached nicely, might have been willing to cooperate. Now they've moved their problem to an organized group who already knows how to deal with these sorts of things and isn't likely to back down against empty threats.
  • After RTFA and looking up the letter [imslpforums.org] I am in shock!


    They are saying that because the copyright is 50 years past the death of the author in Canada, 70 years past the death of the author in Europe, and the number varies in other countries, that the IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project) should be filtering IP's of people in those countries and enforcing the copyright lengths. Just because the work is Public domain in Canada does not mean that it is public domain in the USA and Europe. Thus they
    • ...should be filtering IP's of people in those countries and enforcing the copyright lengths...
      So that people in those countries have to waste 30 seconds looking for a proxy server to access the content anyway?
    • Re:WOW this is nuts (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Richard_J_N (631241) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @11:11AM (#21100169)
      De facto, permissions on the net are the logical OR of the permissions in the various jurisdictions. I.e, if activity X is permitted anywhere, it is permitted everywhere. (This is just another way to say that the internet treats censorship as damage, and routes around it).

      This is quite clearly a good thing, and the Right thing. However, some legal jurisdictions haven't caught up with the modern world yet.
  • And where is Google in all this? I would have expected them to be the first to be hosting Google Sheet Music.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:12PM (#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.
  • Can anyone find anything confirming this on the gutenberg site? I don't see anything on the main page, the news page, or even the sheet music section. Even if it just happened (or didn't quite happen yet) I would have expected to see some kind of announcement or link or something, or maybe I just don't know where to look.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gbnewby (74175) *
      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 lo
  • What is unfortunate is that IMSLP appears likely [imslp.org] to remain down for a period of months while its founder considers the offers from Gutenberg and others and decides what to do, leaving a valuable resource created by a large group of volunteers unavailable in the interim.

    Too bad they didn't offer database dumps or other convenient means for mirrors to obtain the content.

  • kudos to Gutenberg for hosting the material. It's good that we can shelter the content under their legal umbrella, but having content migrate to a few mega-sites like Gutenberg or the Internet Archive is not really good enough somehow.

    We want a world where anyone who has some content can cheaply and easily share it - where it is legal to do so. 'Where it is legal to do so' is where all the trouble starts. Any little guy who wants to share his collection of PD banjo scores or what ever has to deal with ALL

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