UE statement on the ongoing discussion

Archived threads.

Moderators: kcleung, Wiki Admins

Universal Edition Vienna
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:05 pm

UE statement on the ongoing discussion

Postby Universal Edition Vienna » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:30 pm

Dear fellow musicians,

we have followed the discussion here very closely following the regrettable decision taken by the IMSLP to close down its site. It’s very easy to present a case of “big corporation stamps on small good guys”, but that is unfortunately not the whole story.

Let’s make a few things clear, as a considerable amount of this discussion is based on misunderstandings and the fact that the IMSLP has deliberately decided to withhold part of the story from you – I wonder why …

1. UE did not close down the site. UE merely requested that a limited number of works be removed. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever to take the site down. As the former CEO of a website legally distributing over 15,000 sheet music titles from over 200 suppliers, I am most perplexed as to why this decision was taken.

2. UE most certainly made repeated polite and direct attempts to discuss in an amiable manner the copyright infringements taking place on the site. IMSLP has deliberately decided not to show you this correspondence, in the (successful) attempt to give the impression that UE was not prepared to enter into a dialogue and to resolve the issue in a friendly manner.

3. The arguments presented to us by IMSLP basically amount to a rejection of existing copyright laws in a number of countries. Discussion of international law is by all means welcome and can be very interesting, but you can’t just tell a traffic cop that you don’t like the speed restrictions on the highway because another country has different rules.

4. UE has no problem whatsoever with Canadian users in Canada downloading music which is public domain in Canada. We have repeatedly said this – but this information has been deliberately withheld from you.

So here’s our polite and sincere request to the providers of the innovative and interesting IMSLP project:

Please restart your servers! Please install a simple IP-geolocation software which will block European users from downloading copyright material. If you do not know how to do this, you should not be running an internationally accessible website containing material which by your own admission may be copyright protected. By punishing your own serious and honest users from accessing this impressive collection of public domain material, you are merely trying to divert attention from the very few copyright violations which deserve serious attention. This massive overreaction leads one to believe that there may in fact be other reasons for shutting down the server, and UE is being used as a scapegoat.

And finally, UE is not some impersonal corporation. We are real people who work hard to make good music available. If you have a complaint to make, please do so in writing to music@universaledition.com. We don’t hide behind nicknames, and will reply to every message that doesn’t question our parentage or sexuality.

Music is too important to be squabbled about!

Jonathan Irons

-----
EDIT: I have been given consent, by Mr. Irons to provide details of his position in UE. In his own words:
"My position here at UE in Vienna is promotion manager. I also have responsibilities in our publishing and sales groups"

I have not modified, the original post in any way. AW7

jhellingman
regular poster
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:00 am

Postby jhellingman » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:10 pm

Unfortunately, their was no legal basis in your claims, which, to add insult to injury, includes works of composers also in the Public Domain in Austria.

This site was operating meticulously to follow the laws of Canada, in which it was operating. It has no legal obligation under Canadian law to follow Austrian laws, as copyright laws are limited to the territory of a country. That people from Austria can access this site, and download works in copyright is no different than that they can order the same in printed form from a Dover or another publisher. In both cases, the person doing the downloading is responsible for importing the work in Austria. (Which may very well be permitted under private use exceptions, I have little knowledge of the details of Austrian copyright law)

The problem is that this is a volunteer run operation, where the proprietor does not have the financial and legal resources to counter your acts in the preferred way, which in my opinion is to resist these claims in court. You may want to start a case, offering to pick up all the cost, just to create some more much needed jurisprudence...

Similarly, the owner did not remove just the identified pieces. Conceding here would mean waiting for a day and receive another claim, for yet another list (Copyright in Mexico lasts for life+100 years). In Afghanistan under the Taliban, music was outlawed all together, would you want them to be able to enforce their laws world-wide. This is the only way he could response, given the power of legal bullying you let loose upon him.

Maybe, in the long run, we will be happy with your action, as it will drill down the ridiculous long terms of copyright currently in force, and get the political clout to get that changed to something reasonable, let's say 20 years from publication.

The best way to repeal bad laws is to enforce them vigorously... Please enforce all your copyrights as aggressively as possible.
Last edited by jhellingman on Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

WJM
regular poster
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:46 pm

Re: UE statement on the ongoing discussion

Postby WJM » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:14 pm

Universal Edition Vienna wrote:2. UE most certainly made repeated polite and direct attempts to discuss in an amiable manner the copyright infringements taking place on the site.


Which works were being infringed under Canadian law?

Please be specific.

Music is too important to be squabbled about!


And, when it is public domain music, it is also too important to be locked up in copyright chill. So, UE, stop "squabbling" - it's your "squabble", after all.

Yagan Kiely
Site Admin
Posts: 1139
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:16 am
notabot: YES
notabot2: Bot
Location: Perth, Australia
Contact:

Postby Yagan Kiely » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:19 pm

Music is too important to be squabbled about!
Hackneyed phrase, much like "Hackneyed Phrase". :P

I shall comment later, I have a driving test tomorrow, and I need sleep.

Goodnight all.

Odin
active poster
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:00 am
notabot: YES
notabot2: Bot
Location: Sweden

My personal and private suggestion to you

Postby Odin » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:25 pm

Hello

Perhaps you and your message were presented here in such a manner that your way of action seemed to be more brutal than it was in the beginning.

But to settle this thing once for all:

You should drop all claims on IMSLP which have no support in Canadian law, and you should better promise for the future that you will accept that their only obligation is to follow the national law in their own country - in this case Canada.

Moreover - you should openly apologize to Mr. Feldmahler and to his friends and helpers, and to the whole community of users and contributors here, for the way how you proceeded in your last steps.

You expect that Mr. Feldmahler will obey the law ? You have no rigtht to expect him and his collegues to obey any other laws than the laws of his own country.

According to the few illegal downloads that might have taken place in countries where the law cited by you is applicable:

Promise all users here in this community not to track any downloads up to this day and remind then the European users to obey the European laws in the future (!) from the date when the IMSLP library will be re-opened.

"Roma locuta, causa finita"
Odin

coqui
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:09 pm

Re: UE statement on the ongoing discussion

Postby coqui » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:37 pm

Universal Edition Vienna wrote:Please restart your servers! Please install a simple IP-geolocation software which will block European users from downloading copyright material.

Doesn't sound much reasonable: "block the diffusion of culture, and you'll get a better human kind".

Let's be realistic: contemporary music is not the Big Money, you can't ever dream to earn like 50 Cent or Madonna. I guess you could reach a gentlemen's agreement with IMSLP: a modest annual fee (I'm ready to pay for it) to put your scores at disposal of students, musicians and schools, if not for free at least for a reasonable amount.

The essence of market is risk: expanding your potential audience would make a good advertisement for your company, for your authors and, if you have your works performed, also for your revenues.



You are not compelled to do it, of course, but it would work to everybody's advantage.

Think it over, please.

Thank you,
Roberto, Milano
Last edited by coqui on Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.

emeraldimp
active poster
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:18 pm
notabot: YES
notabot2: Bot
Contact:

Re: UE statement on the ongoing discussion

Postby emeraldimp » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:46 pm

Universal Edition Vienna wrote:1. UE did not close down the site. UE merely requested that a limited number of works be removed. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever to take the site down. As the former CEO of a website legally distributing over 15,000 sheet music titles from over 200 suppliers, I am most perplexed as to why this decision was taken.


No, UE didn't close down the site. UE made demands - not requests - that IMSLP remove scores that are in the public domain in Canada. Additionally, UE demanded that IP filtering be installed which is an absurd demand for (at least) a couple reasons: first, you could implement it the easy way or the hard way. The easy way would be to block access completely to the site for anyone from a country that doesn't have life+50 (or less). That would be incredibly unfortunate, because it would be denying them material - older material - that they should be able to access. The hard way is to implement restrictions by piece. With so many pieces and so many different countries, this becomes a Herculean task. I am a professional programmer, and I shudder at the thought of implementing the easy way.

The second reason is that the prevalence of proxies - and other, similar means - would make IP filtering moot anyway for anyone who really wanted to download a score.

Now, I have heard that there was one - one! - composer on the list that is not public domain in Canada. That should certainly have been removed - and definitely would have if you had come to our community and asked. We are not perfect, and we realize that some many occasionally upload pieces inappropriately. While we didn't watch every single upload, we had, perhaps, the most sophisticated system I've seen to handle takedown requests - again, through the community.


2. UE most certainly made repeated polite and direct attempts to discuss in an amiable manner the copyright infringements taking place on the site. IMSLP has deliberately decided not to show you this correspondence, in the (successful) attempt to give the impression that UE was not prepared to enter into a dialogue and to resolve the issue in a friendly manner.


Perhaps; perhaps we shall never know. Regardless, as I said above, if you had come to us first - as you have come to us now - I believe this would have been resolved much more amiably.

3. The arguments presented to us by IMSLP basically amount to a rejection of existing copyright laws in a number of countries. Discussion of international law is by all means welcome and can be very interesting, but you can’t just tell a traffic cop that you don’t like the speed restrictions on the highway because another country has different rules.


Respectfully: if you are in the other country, then I think you can.

4. UE has no problem whatsoever with Canadian users in Canada downloading music which is public domain in Canada. We have repeatedly said this – but this information has been deliberately withheld from you.

So here’s our polite and sincere request to the providers of the innovative and interesting IMSLP project:

Please restart your servers! Please install a simple IP-geolocation software which will block European users from downloading copyright material. If you do not know how to do this, you should not be running an internationally accessible website containing material which by your own admission may be copyright protected. By punishing your own serious and honest users from accessing this impressive collection of public domain material, you are merely trying to divert attention from the very few copyright violations which deserve serious attention. This massive overreaction leads one to believe that there may in fact be other reasons for shutting down the server, and UE is being used as a scapegoat.


There are other reasons for shutting down the server, as Feldmahler has explicitly stated in his open letter - which I would remind my fellow users to read. However, your most recent C&D is the catalyst.

And finally, UE is not some impersonal corporation. We are real people who work hard to make good music available. If you have a complaint to make, please do so in writing to music@universaledition.com. We don’t hide behind nicknames, and will reply to every message that doesn’t question our parentage or sexuality.


I could quibble here, but I think you will understand when I say that we are real people who work hard to make good music available as well. Very importantly, Feldmahler, whether he was right or wrong in his actions, made IMSLP what is was, largely through his own money and time. I must say that I, personally, found the C&D demoralizing (not to mention vague and inaccurate), so I can only imagine what he has been going through. Please, in the future, spend a little more time getting to know the project, and, in cases like this, the community. Posting in the forums (politely), before any other action, would at least have helped.

Music is too important to be squabbled about!

Jonathan Irons


I disagree here. Music is important enough to fight for. Culture is important enough to fight for. If it seems like squabbling - maybe you should consider who is in the position of power.

Geoffrey Lehr

Yagan Kiely
Site Admin
Posts: 1139
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:16 am
notabot: YES
notabot2: Bot
Location: Perth, Australia
Contact:

Postby Yagan Kiely » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:00 pm

I also disagree with the squabble bit, for I believe that a healthy discussion about music of any form is possibly the most beneficial contribution to music.

From a strictly musical, non-copyright mind.

Odin
active poster
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:00 am
notabot: YES
notabot2: Bot
Location: Sweden

After all

Postby Odin » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:03 pm

Hello UE

Let be that you were pleasant towards IMSLP some time in the beginning. At the end you were not !

Now as things have developed in this case, and with respect to the damage which you already have afflicted on both Mr. Feldmahler, his friends and the whole community here, you should understand that the fight is over for your part.

You should better yield and call back all your chaindogs.

Maybe there is some substance in some smaller parts of your previous requests which in some little part might give you partially right, but on a moral plane you lost this judicial combat which you started willingly and without being forced by anybody to do so.

Please show a little greatness now and do the only thing which does feel right at the moment:

Apologize, drop all requests and demands which are contrary to Canadian law, and promise your full support and co-operation for the future.

Sincerely
Odin

coqui
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:09 pm

Re: After all

Postby coqui » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:48 pm

Odin wrote:Apologize, drop all requests and demands which are contrary to Canadian law, and promise your full support and co-operation for the future.

I am one-track minded for sure, but to me the wisest decision for a modern music publisher should be giving away the full scores in reduced .pdf study format (not the single instrumental parts, that can be rented as always).

I can't see any contraindication in this.

Carolus
Site Admin
Posts: 2192
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:18 pm
notabot: 42
notabot2: Human
Contact:

Postby Carolus » Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:57 pm

Just of ease of reference, here is the original C & D letter and contract:

LETTER
Vienna, 13. August 2007


International Music Score Library Project „IMSLP"
8130 78 Ave. NW
T6C 0N4, Edmonton CA
Canada



Wien, 01.01.2000

Copyright protected works controlled by Universal Edition AG


Dear Sirs;

On the website http://imslp.org IMSLP offers musical compositions for download drawing attention to the fact that IMSLP strives to comply with Canadian copyright laws.

Universal Edition AG is the publisher of some of the composers mentioned on your website. The works in question are created by B. Bartók, A. Berg, I. Friedman, L. Janacek, G. Mahler, J. Marx, O. Respighi, A. Schönberg, R. Strauss, K. Szymanowski and A. von Zemlinski.

In Canada these composers are in public domain, but there are several countries providing copyright protection – this might be the general protection of 70 years after the composer´s death, but also special rules: e.g. the registration system in the USA, the war time extension in France or a longer duration - 80 years in Spain.
This is the reason why the making available to the public and the download of these works could infringe copyright.

Therefore I would kindly ask you to stop offering the works mentioned below and to sign the herewith enclosed cease and desist statement and to return it to me on 31 August, 2007 at the latest.


Yours sincerely



Dr. Isabella Hangel
Copyright department

-------------------------

CEASE and DESIST STATEMENT

International Music Score Library Project („IMSLP")
8130 78 Ave. NW,
Edmonton T6C0N4, CA
hereby declares in favour of
Universal Edition AG,
FN 73843v,
Bösendorfer Straße 12,
A-1010 Wien

1. to immediately cease and desist to offer copyright-protected material belonging to Universal Edition AG (see attachment)

2. upon each violation of my undertaking under item 1. above, I explicitly agree to be obliged to pay – in waiving the defence of continued offense ("Fortsetzungszusammenhang") – to Universal Edition AG a contractual penalty, non-reducible by Court, in the amount of EUR 3,000 for each violation of the aforementioned undertaking. Further claims of Universal Edition AG for damages exceeding such contractual penalty remain unaffected.

3. This Cease and Desist Statement is subject to Austrian law.

4. Place of jurisdiction is Vienna.




___________________________
International Music Score Library Project („IMSLP")


ATTACHMENT
(with original publication dates, publisher, and IMSLP holdings info added by Carolus)

Bartók Béla (1881-1945)
Allegro Barbaro (pub.1918, UE) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Bagatelles, Op. 6 (pub.1909, Rozsnyai) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Burlesques, Op. 8c (pub.1912, Rozsavolgyi) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20 (pub.1921, UE) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Little Pieces for Piano (pub.1927, UE) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Petite Suite for Piano (pub.1936, UE) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Piano Concerto No. 1 (pub.1927, UE)
Piano Concerto No. 2 (pub.1932, UE) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Piano Concerto No. 3 (pub.1947, Boosey & Hawkes) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
[Four] Piano Pieces (pub.1904, Bard Farenc) - IMSLP also has Muzika ed.
Piano Sonata (pub.1927, UE)
Rhapsody, Op. 1 (pub.1908, Rozsavolgyi) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Romanian Christmas Carols (pub.1918, UE)
Romanian Folk Dances for small orchestra (pub.1922, UE)
Romanian Folk Dances (pub.1918, UE)
[3] Rondos on Slovak Folk Tunes (pub.1930, UE) - IMSLP has a Muzika ed.
Sonatina (pub.1919, Rozsavolgyi) - IMSLP also has 1950 rev. ed.
String Quartet No. 1, Op.7 (pub.1911, Rozsavolgyi)
String Quartet No. 2, Op.17 (pub.1920, UE)
String Quartet No. 3 (pub.1929, UE)
String Quartet No. 4 (pub.1929, UE)
String Quartet No. 5 (pub.1936, UE)
Suite for Piano, Op. 14 (pub.1918, UE) - IMSLP also has Muzika ed.

Berg Alban (1885-1935)
5 Orchesterlieder, Op. 4 - no longer at IMSLP
Piano Sonata, Op. 1 (pub. 1910, rev.1920 Lienau)
Violin Concerto "To the Memory of an Angel" (pub.1936, UE)

Friedman Ignaz (1882-1948)
6 Mazurkas, Op. 85 (pub.1925, UE)
Piano Transcriptions (Grazioli) (pub.1913, UE)
Piano Transcriptions (Rameau) (pub.1913, 1914 UE)
3 Pieces, Op. 33 (pub.1911, UE)
Polnische Lyrik, Op. 53 (pub.1913, UE)
Polnische Lyrik, Op. 60 (pub.1915, UE)
Polnische Lyrik, Op. 72 (pub.1917, UE)
4 Preludes, Op. 48 (pub.1912, UE)
4 Preludes, Op. 61 (pub.1915, UE)
Stimmungen, Op. 79 (pub.1918, UE)
Studies on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 47b (pub.1914, UE)
5 Waltzes, Op. 51 (pub.1912, UE)
With the Marionettes, Op. 22 (pub.1920, UE)

Janacek, Leos (1854-1928)
Violin Sonata [No. 3] (pub.1922, Hudebni Matice)

Mahler Gustav (1860-1911)
Piano Quartet in A Minor - no longer at IMSLP
Symphony No. 1 (pub.1898, Weiinberger, rev.1906, UE)
Symphony No. 2 (pub.1897, Hofmeister, rev.1906, UE)
Symphony No. 8 (pub.1910, UE)

Marx Joseph (1882-1964)
Albumblatt (pub.1916, UE)
Ballade (pub.1916, UE)
Prelude and Fugue (pub.1916, UE)
Romantic Piano Concerto (pub.1920, UE)
Trio Phantasie (pub.1914, UE)

Respighi, Ottorino (1879-1936)
3 Preludes (pub.1920, UE)

Schönberg, Arnold (1874-1951)
2 Balladen, Op. 12 (pub.1920, UE)
15 Gedichte aus Das Buch der hängenden Gärten, Op. 15 (pub.1914, UE)
2 Gesänge für baritone, Op. 1 (pub.1903, Birnbach)
Klavierstücke, Op. 33a (pub.1929, UE)
4 Lieder, Op. 2 (pub.1903, Birnbach)
6 Lieder, Op. 3 (pub.1904, Birnbach)
8 Lieder, Op. 6 (pub.1907, Birnbach)
2 Lieder, Op. 14 (pub.1920, UE)
2 Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19 (pub.1913, UE)
3 Pieces, Op. 11 (pub.1916, UE)
Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 (pub.1914, UE)
Suite. Op. 25 (pub.1925, UE)
Verklärte Nacht. Op. 4 (pub.1904, Birnbach)

Strauss, Richard (1864-1949)
Piano Sonata, Op. 5 (pub.1883, Jos. Aibl)

Szymanowski, Karol (1882-1937) - public domain in EU on 1/1/08, unless work first publ. after 1937.
4 Etudes, Op. 4 (pub.1906, UE)
Metopes, Op. 29 (pub.1922, UE)
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 21 (pub.1912, UE)
9 Preludes, Op. 1 (pub.1906, UE)
Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, Op. 10 (pub.1906, UE)

Zemlinsky, Alexander von (1871-1942)
6 Songs after Poems by Maeterlink, Op. 13 (pub.1914, UE)



(My remark from the previous post)
Right off the bat, all but one (Joseph Marx) of the composers listed is very clearly public domain in Canada. The only way a work of one of these composers could be still under copyright in Canada is if it were first published less than 50 years ago (before 1957). I also note they list four composers (Berg, Janacek, Mahler, Respighi) who have been dead for more than 70 years who are PD in the EU. Moreover, Szymanowski will go public domain in the life-plus-70 countries (like Austria and Poland) on Jan. 1, 2008. Joseph Marx (d.1964) is still under copyright in Canada. Any work that was first published before 1923 is public domain in the US (the vast majority of titles listed above).


(Comment)
This is a total of 60 works - 180,000 Euros. The Joesph Marx works at IMSLP were all published before 1923 and were hosted on IMSLP's US server, where those titles are public domain. It is hardly accurate to characterize this as "repeated polite and direct attempts to discuss in an amiable manner" - unless one's concept of 'polite and amiable' are similar to those of John Gatti (an American Mafioso, for those unfamiliar). One of the threats from the Canadian law firm hired by UE was that UE would seek a summary judgement in a EU court, whose ruling would require IMSLP to pay (at least 180,000 Euros) - and that said EU court judgement would then be enforced by a Canadian court.

UE apparently thinks it is IMSLP's responsibility to enforce EU copyright laws in Canada, instead of UE enforcing EU copyright laws on those users who may be violating EU copyright laws by downloading - despite explict warnings - works that are under copyright in the EU. This is not even attempting to address the issue of what constitutes 'fair use' in various countries of the EU.

Moreover, the practical feasability of installing the so-called blocking software that would allow users from the EU to access items that are clearly public domain in the EU while preventing downloads of copyrighted items is not so clear, simple or inexpensive as UE claims it to be. That issue could easily occupy a thread of its own, I expect.

Richard Black
regular poster
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:48 pm

Postby Richard Black » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:07 pm

UE apparently thinks it is IMSLP's responsibility to enforce EU copyright laws in Canada, instead of UE enforcing EU copyright laws on those users who may be violating EU copyright laws by downloading


That sounds nice, but IMSLP would almost certainly be deemed in a court of law to be conspiring with those downloading the scores to break copyright law.

And incidentally, if UE did nothing about this, while knowing that copyright scores were hosted on the site, UE could itself be deemed to be conspiring in said acts and thus be open to law suits from its represented composers, their heirs and assignees, and shareholders in the company.

Carolus
Site Admin
Posts: 2192
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:18 pm
notabot: 42
notabot2: Human
Contact:

Postby Carolus » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:19 pm

IMSLP is not "conspiring." There were numerous and explicit warnings on IMSLP that users should comply with copyright laws. It is unreasonable to force IMSLP to enforce the copyright laws of EU in Canada.

gchirag
regular poster
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:01 pm
notabot: YES
notabot2: Bot
Contact:

Postby gchirag » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:32 pm

How about the IMSLP servers are brought back on the Internet Again I mean Vienna Universal has said bring IMSLP back on the Internet and just warn the Europeans not to download the Forbidden Material of such composers.

Atleast people will be able to download the music scores and so many people i have seen volunterring in financial difficulties.

Richard Black
regular poster
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:48 pm

Postby Richard Black » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:36 pm

IMSLP is not "conspiring."


You would probably find in court that it was. But part of the point here is that clearly no one wants this to come to court. It would cost arms and legs, rumble on for ever, cause endless bad feelings which would not at all be resolved when judgement was finally handed down, and as usual only the lawyers would win.

UE made perfectly reasonable requests in a perfectly reasonable way and in doing so showed evidence of a willingness to discuss stuff in a cordial way. I have said before that I do have some sympathy for the proprietor of IMSLP who has clearly felt himself suddenly badly out of his depth, which is presumably why he felt that pulling the plug on the site was his quickest and safest way to avoid the risk of litigation which he was not in a position to contest. Since Mr Irons has said absolutely clearly that he supports the basic idea of IMSLP, with only the rider that works in copyright in certain territories are not offered quite so readily to users in those territories, it seems simply childish to accuse him or his company of attempting to stifle the whole project.

The law in every country relies to a large extent on the concept of 'reasonable'. The police may use 'reasonable force' in arresting a suspect, for instance. Sites like IMSLP should take reasonable steps to ensure that scores are not being downloaded in countries where they are in copyright. They can't completely prevent it, and in the end I could simply get on a plane to Canada, download every single score that's out of copyright there but in it in the UK, print them out, and get a plane home. I probably wouldn't be stopped at Customs. The law would not regard it as reasonable for IMSLP to have to prevent me doing that.

It will be a happy day when IMSLP comes back up and if it does so completely shorn of scores that are copyright in any of the main territories where it is likely to be accessed (and neither UE nor anyone else seems to be seriously suggesting that the 100 years copyright rule obtaining in one or two countries should be used as a yardstick) it will still be a marvellously useful site. Why is no bread suddenly better than half (more like 90%) of a loaf?


Return to “Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest