p2pnet view Music | P2P:- Famed Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has taken issue with a New York Times report on IMSLP, the International Music Score Library Project, an open-source wiki-based library of public domain sheet music launched by then part-time Canadian music student Edward W. Guo (right).
IMSLP caught the eye of predatory Austrian company Universal Edition which issued a Cease & Desist notice.
Geist and respected Ottawa copyright lawyer Howard Knopf both wrote about the farce, which was also picked up around the world, and eventually, by May, 2008, the International Music Score Library Project was once again online.
Says Daniel J. Wakin in his New York Times story >>>
Universal Edition, a music publisher based in Europe, where copyright laws tend to be stricter, threatened a cease-and-desist order against the site for copyright violations in October 2007. Mr. Guo said he did not have the time or money to remove all the offending scores, so he took the site down completely and posted an emotional farewell. That, he said, galvanized followers to appeal to Universal.
Then he took action. Mr. Guo said volunteers checked every score — 15,000 at the time — for copyright violations. He set up a company, Project Petrucci, to take ownership of the site to remove personal liability. (Ottaviano Petrucci was an Italian Renaissance printer who produced some of the first impressions of music with movable type.) A disclaimer was made to appear before any score opens, saying that the project provides no guarantee that the work is in the public domain and demanding that users obey copyright law. The site operates from servers in Canada, where copyright law is generally looser.
But, on his blog, “Note that contrary to the NY Times characterization of Canadian copyright as ‘generally looser’, the key legal issue for IMSLP is the term of copyright protection”, says Geist, continuing:
“Canadian law provides life of the author plus 50 years, consistent with the requirements in the Berne Convention.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times quotes Gregory Beaver, who blogs on music and technology and who’s also the cellist of the Chiara String Quartet, as stating in an e-mail the International Music Score Library Project”‘has the potential to democratize printed classical music much as open source has democratized the programming world”, although it could stand “a great deal of technical improvement in both its organization of the data and the look and feel.”
[Note: The pic of Guo was clipped from Bryce Vickmark's original which appears in the NYT story.]
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
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