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  1. #1

    Default Protection or control?

    I have just read this today, The International Music Score Library Project has been shut down.

    I am not a lawyer so I don't understand the grounds for this action, but it looks like another example of overkill by an organisation flexing it's legal muscles unnecessarily. I see that Project Guttenburg is stepping in to take over. Will they be threatened too?

    Is this about protecting the rights of publishers, or about organisations trying to control the internet, or even about organisations not fully understanding the nature of modern communications systems. I note that the Cease and Desist came from Europe to a website hosted in Canada.

    Here is a link to the story:

    It is also reported here:

  2. #2


    The topic of copyright law is a bit touchy, but I'll try to explain the best I can.

    What happened in this case is that the free "public domain" group was distributing scores considered to be public domain in the country of Canada, however were not public domain in the EU or under US copyright law. Although the site told users to follow their respective countries laws, the site readily distributed works without a license from the copyright holder (in this case the publisher, Universal Edition).

    Universal Edition sent a cease and desist letter, and would have probably taken the group to some sort of world court to force them to cease operating, and to avoid heaps of legal fees for an argument they would definitely lose, the group shut down.

    This is a VERY serious issue as it infringes upon the exclusive rights of a copyright holder - and is most certainly NOT a needless show of legal force, and in my experiences I haven't seen many cases of needless legal action - if anything there needs to be more legal action to end the flood of piracy that is literally bringing the record industry to its knees.

    Copyright law was established to allow arts and sciences to flourish and encourage cultural growth. Without protecting the works of others there would simply be no fiscal incentive for people to create in the first place and therefore there would be no more creation. This is called Communism.

    I encourage you to read more to gain an understanding - the music industry is fairly complex to understand.

    Check out the Donald Passman book "All you need to know about the Music Business"

    and I also recommend checking out

    Also I would suggest seeking out more of a non-biased (slashdot is horribly biased) news source for future information

  3. #3


    Thanks for the informative reply. I picked it up originally from the Melon Farmers site which referenced the slashdot article. I couldn't find a 'better' article anywhere.

    I know there is a huge amount of controversy around the issue of piracy these days. Have you seen the latest moves by Prince? There is a thread on it in SOW today.

    I am not sure about your statement: "Without protecting the works of others there would simply be no fiscal incentive for people to create in the first place and therefore there would be no more creation." Many of the greatest artists didn't produce their work for money, but rather from a sense of needing to create. Van Gogh for instance only ever sold one painting in his whole life. Bach was employed by the Church.

    Once again, thanks for explaining the issues. I have one further question though. How does this benefit, or who does this benefit when the composers are long dead, sometimes hundreds of years?

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Los Angeles County


    Mike: Thanks for the response. While not a lawyer, I spent the last 12 years of my working life supervising film/video piracy investigations for the MPAA. I agree with your assessment.

    I'm not sure that copyrights last the hundreds of years alluded to by Honker. There is a limit on the length of a copyright's validity. But as long as the copyright is in force, the estate of the artist benefits from such protections. DAVE

  5. #5

    Default Re: Protection or control?

    I am agree with you .you are right there should be protection and control.

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