Upcoming changes

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Gschladt
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Gschladt » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:14 pm

Boccaccio wrote:Is there any concrete plan of Edward to make IMSLP into a community-owned project or does he want to keep it his own private business?


I think his lack of response in this thread and his constant dodging of questions about financial disclosure and transition to a non-profit organization speak for themselves.

It has been said multiple times in this thread that Mr. Guo will assuredly not make money out of these modest contributions. By curiosity, I tried calculating how much money Mr. Guo expects to get from the membership plan.

I wondered how many users of IMSLP there are in the world. Based on the massive use of IMSLP I witness only in my city, which has thousands of users, and presuming the situation is similar in other places across the developped world, I think it's safe to say total IMSLP users number in the millions worldwide. But to be conservative, let's say just half a million, which is probably conservative even for the number of regular/recurring users.

Out of those, how many will give money? Hopefully, Mr. Guo expects that percentage to be at least in the double digits. It would be a very questionable move from a business point of view to implement such a controversial change while only expecting 1 or 2% of users actually subscribing. That would be a pretty weird business plan. Buy let's be conservative and presume that one in a hundred user will contribute, the other 99 preferring to wait the 15 seconds.

1% of half a million : 5000 contributing members.
x22$ = 110 000$ /year

That may look like it's not that much, but think about it. Even once you subtract the salary of an eventual full-time employee and the cost of hosting (about which, remember a good portion of files are hosted on independent servers that are not operated by IMSLP itself, and which have their own sources of funding), there's still a very substantial amount of unused money. Sure, it might well just be piled up and invested to ensure a secure source of income from interests, and to build an endowment. But at that rate, money will be piling in fast!
And that's with fairly conservative estimates.

Is it plausible that Mr.Guo intends to hire himself as a full-time employee? Or that he will receive benefits from his company. I think that is what we should expect, unless he gives us good reasons to believe otherwise.

discophage
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby discophage » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:25 pm

Rob Peters: "I really think you're underestimating the work done by IMSLP volunteers - and overestimating the work of (well-payed and often government-funded) library scanners."

I don't see where Gschladt has been underestimating the work done by IMSLP volunteers. On the contrary, he is incensed by the move of Mr Guo to now try and monetize the hard work done my IMSLP volunteers, work done with the understanding that IMSLP was a community project, that they were contributing their time and effort for free, because and only because the results of their hard work and effort would be put at the disposal of every one, free. This is a grave breach of trust, which is certainly reprehensable morally, and is probably challengeable legally.

By the same token, recorder485, who admits to NOT having read all the posts published on this thread, has obviously entirely misunderstood the nature of the controversy. Very few people here have disputed the legitimacy of paying the little something that Mr Guo is now asking for, for maintaining and accessing this cornucopia of scores. What Gschladt and myself and many others are challenging is:

- Mr Guos entirely unilateral decision to monetize the free contributions of so many volunteers

- the absolute lack of transparency of his financial costs and objectives, in part due to the fact that the onwning entity is not a charitiy but a private company, a very disputable choice to start with, given the very nature of the IMSL project.

- to this day, his constantly vague answers to questions asked, which is starting to uncomfortably look like a determined dodging of them.

As I mentioned in my first post on this thread, I've donated in the pasts to IMSLP, I've even put it on my will, taking it for granted that it was a foundation similar to Wikimedia, and I was about to pay for my 12 $ subscription and even more, when I started reading the posts on this thread and realized all these things.

Now, as willing and even wanting as I am to contribute to the long term sustainability of IMSLP, I will not do so until all those issues are satisfactorily solved. I can wait 15 seconds forever (although I am now strongly suspecting, given what is currently going, that this hurdle and incitation to payment is only a beginning)

discophage
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby discophage » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:33 pm

Rob Peters, I am sending this to a next post so as not to encumber the previous one.

When I read the first sentence of your response to my post of January 2 - "That made me chuckle" - I thought you were making fun of my contention that those institutions who spend efforts and money unearthing old manuscrits are likely to make a profit out of them, and therefore should be allowed to do so. And you know what? If that had been your intent, you would have been right. I should have phrased it otherwise, and said: "should be allowed to recoup part of their costs, however small it may be"....

But it wans't your meaning and in fact your very reasoning seems to me entirely illogical. What you're saying is: "whad'ya mean they wouldn't do it? Look at the IMSLP volunteers! They're working for free and they're happy to do it!"

Yes, and ? First all, Gschladt rightly pointed out that there's a difference between what most IMSLP contributors do, which is "only" to scan and upload scores, and those institutions, who do first-hand research. Two, that thousands of IMSLP contributors do it doesn't mean any institution doing research will want to and should be forced to want to do it for free. And that many sngers are happy to upload their latest clip on YouTube, does it imply that all the music in the world should be accessible free on You Tube? That's what You Tube would like to happen, that's for sure, but it's not necessarily what all the singers in the world would like to happen.

And three: as I said in my previous post, that's PRECISELY where Mr Guo's unilateral decisions are a big problem. They are a breach of trust from all these IMSLP contributors, who were happy to work for free, until they realized that Mr Guo was going to try and make money out of their hard and free work.

Joëlle Morton
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Joëlle Morton » Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:48 pm

discophage wrote:Yes, and ? First all, Gschladt rightly pointed out that there's a difference between what most IMSLP contributors do, which is "only" to scan and upload scores...


Not to dismiss the work of those whose contributions to imslp are scans of previously published editions (which can in fact be a substantial amount of work), but I feel the need to point out that imslp additionally houses a very large number of works that have been newly typeset by living editors/contributors who have chosen to 'publish' on imslp, rather than with a commercial publishing house. A great portion of the 'early music' that appears on the site is of this nature. And while I wouldn't hazard to guess the percentage of imslp's contents that take this form, it is surely very sizable, and increasingly so for many of us in the early music field. In this scenario, we are speaking of individual contributors who took on the time, trouble and personal expense to search out original sources and prepare new modern editions. Which are then 'given' to imslp, with the understanding that they will be disseminated to the public without recompense to Mr. Guo.
Last edited by Joëlle Morton on Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gschladt
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Gschladt » Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:23 pm

I was under the impression that those scores were published on IMSLP under a CC license and not as Public Domain (even though they are technically also PD), and were thus exempt from the wait period.

But yes, indeed, there are many editions of works previously available only in facsimile, sometimes illegible, and most of the time in a notation not accessible to modern players (although many of us can (and often prefer to) read from them). That is effectively an invaluable ressource, and another reason we need a free, community-based sharing site, which was the role filled by IMSLP until now. Those editors of early music (and I include myself here) are working in a spirit of collaboration and sharing that is incompatible with the new developments. Many of these editions stray from our work as performers, it is work we are doing for ourselves, for free. We will often readily share it with others and allow them to avoid doing the same work themselves, but only if there is an adequate platform, and not if it is contributing to a for-profit organization enriching a single person.

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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Notenschreiber » Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:55 pm

I´m sure, that this is nonsense: IMSPL is "a for-profit organization enriching a single person". Edward Guo should do more to eliminate this
black-hearted idea. It is greenly to think, that we live in a world of well-meaning people.

Gschladt
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Gschladt » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:58 am

I'd be the first to be happy to be proven wrong...

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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby throwaway192 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:35 pm

dlewis1080 wrote:I was told earlier about the website Wikitravel, a travel guide project created by volunteers. The owner, like the owner here, decided to monetise the website. Following this, the majority of editors, including the founders, left and joined Wikivoyage, now a Wikipedia sister project, that copies the original website but maintains free, open access. Something similar might happen here. I have already received an e-mail from a Hong Kong-based user who has an almost-complete mirror of IMSLP. He is considering hosting it as IMSLP's replacement, funded through a combination of voluntary donations and non-obtrusive advertising.


Is there any way to contact this Hong Kong-based user?
I would like to contribute to his server costs, if the project is launched.

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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby imslp » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:20 pm

Just a quick note that I've been tied up with implementing new features for the 10th anniversary next week (which features, by the way, benefit both members and non-members), but I will post more responses in this thread once that is done and live.

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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby coulonnus » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:32 am

The case of reprints, e.g. http://imslp.org/wiki/Pi%C3%A8ces_de_viole,_Op.2_%28Doll%C3%A9,_Charles%29

The reprinted works are undoubtedly PD and I'm not raising a copyright issue. But in US and Canada, aren't there any cases of unfair business practices, unfair competition or parasitism if something commercial exploits the job of other parties? I believe this category of scans should be accessible without the 15-s delay.

tim.willis1685
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby tim.willis1685 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:53 pm

I believe this category of scans should be accessible without the 15-s delay.


Even if the 15 second delay was removed, these scans attract many potential donors to the site don't they? I think one could argue that they are still being used for monetary gain.

Rob Peters
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Rob Peters » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:18 pm

@discophage, I think I clarified things in my reply to Gschladt. Also what Joëlle Morton wrote: the work of typesetters at IMSLP is shamefully underappreciated. A lot of skills and research goes into producing a Urtext edition. The work of a well-payed librarian whose job it is to shove old manuscripts under a scanner isn't necessarily of more value than the efforts of a IMSLP typesetter, who spends numerous unpayed hours to decipher said manuscripts and translate them into perfectly edited legible modern scores.
And let's not forget the work of contributors who "only" scan and upload scores - in your words - which is far more complicated and labor intensive than most people think. Some of these contributors spend huge amounts of time and money into hunting for rare editions and producing great looking scans, again, with no other reward than the gratitude of the musical world.

imslp wrote:Just a quick note that I've been tied up with implementing new features for the 10th anniversary next week (which features, by the way, benefit both members and non-members), but I will post more responses in this thread once that is done and live.


I had written an article about IMSLP which was about to get published in a Dutch music magazine, but I've put it on hiatus in the light of the recent developments. I'm not gonna publish an glorified advertorial for a site which can't decide whether it wants to be a community project or a commercial venture.
So I eagerly await your responses and I hope they'll restore my faith in IMSLP and its management.

tim.willis1685 wrote:Even if the 15 second delay was removed, these scans attract many potential donors to the site don't they? I think one could argue that they are still being used for monetary gain.


Good point. I expressed my concern about this earlier in this thread (I used CC-NC scores as an example, but I guess it applies to recently reprinted PD scores as well):

Rob Peters wrote:My main concern is that the regular users of IMSLP can't be expected to know the difference between the various juridical tags attached to the files, PD, CC-SA, CC-NC etc. Your regular user will enter the site, try a couple of files, not bothering with the tags at all, get the 15-seconds delay and the subscription banner, and is enticed to buy a subscription, even if it isn't clear what kind of files he/she wants to download.
I can think of a situation where someone who already has payed for a subscription proceeds to download mostly CC-NC scores - and thinks he has payed for the right to download those without delay too. In such a case, one could argue a user is indirectly paying for Non-Commercial content, which should be a big, fat no-no.

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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby discophage » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:40 am

"Rob Peters Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:18 pm

@discophage, I think I clarified things in my reply to Gschladt. Also what Joëlle Morton wrote: the work of typesetters at IMSLP is shamefully underappreciated. A lot of skills and research goes into producing a Urtext edition. The work of a well-payed librarian whose job it is to shove old manuscripts under a scanner isn't necessarily of more value than the efforts of a IMSLP typesetter, who spends numerous unpayed hours to decipher said manuscripts and translate them into perfectly edited legible modern scores.
And let's not forget the work of contributors who "only" scan and upload scores - in your words - which is far more complicated and labor intensive than most people think. Some of these contributors spend huge amounts of time and money into hunting for rare editions and producing great looking scans, again, with no other reward than the gratitude of the musical world."

Sure Rob, but I don't see how any of this contradicts my own point: because SO much work is implied by all aspects of contributing to IMSLP, and all of it has been offered to the website gratis, with the understanding that this was a community project and all this work would be offered gratis to the end-users, it is all the more exceptionable ("shameful" is the word that first came to mind) that Mr Guo should be trying to monetize his website, without first asking for approval from all those contributors, and giving those who wouldn't agree the option to delete their uploaded files. It is not clear to me where you stand on this issue.

You raised the issue of all the hard work done for free by the contributors to justify, it seemed to me, the legitimacy of "stealing" the work of those institutions that would NOT want the result of their work to be made accessible free to all. Like, if the contributors of ISMLP are ready to do it for free, then the same attitude should be forced on everyone, even those unwilling. You even "chuckled" about it, remember? Is that what you were saying? I think your position still needs some clarification, at least to me.

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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Carolus » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:04 pm

Announcement from the Board of Managers of iMSLP / Project Petrucci

From the beginning, the entire reason for the existence of Project Petrucci is to make Public Domain music freely available to the widest possible number of people while complying with Canadian copyright law. This mission has not changed. Each and every decision about the project is made with that primary purpose in mind.

February 2006: Edward Guo, a Canadian college student, started IMSLP with approximately 500 scores and his own money. He and his family paid all the costs every month.

October 2007: Universal Edition's lawyers notified Edward Guo that they intended to sue if IMSLP did not remove 68 public domain works from the site.

The site was shut down for 9 months while research was done to determine how to best proceed while maintaining the site’s mission and integrity.

To meet the threat of the lawsuit, after much research and expensive consultation with attorneys and consultants, Project Petrucci LLC was formed by a group of individuals who pooled their money and talents to ensure several key protections:

1. The continuation of the mission and goal of IMSLP to make public domain music freely available to the public.

2. Management of daily operations, including research, copyright status verification, office administration, legal compliance, technical hardware and software support, attempts to secure donations, and forging relationships with libraries and institutions throughout the world.

3. To protect the partners from personal liability, such as bankruptcy or losing their homes, should a lawsuit be successfully prosecuted by adversaries to the site.

4. To protect the site from hostile takeover by outside forces which might wish to shut it down or charge users for access. Small corporations without publicly-traded stock are immune from these threats. A non-profit corporation is not.

The structure and ownership model was decided upon with professional legal and business counsel. Although it may be changed to a non-profit in the future, we must reach the point of sustainability first. To date, that has not been possible without the support of the owners, who have finite resources.

Since websites reach across the nation and the globe, setting up a non-profit must be done in all 50 states of the USA. For it to be non-profit internationally, even further stringent and expensive requirements must be met. The initial creation is only part of the expense, costly annual paperwork and fees must be paid to each jurisdiction which grants tax exempt status.

No one person owns a controlling interest, not even our founder and President, Edward Guo.

All decisions are made by Project Petrucci's full board of managers, who have extensive experience in business, classical music, and computer science. Several have also served on the boards of non-profit arts organizations. All are actively involved in day to day operations, in addition to their other primary full-time jobs.

Different methods of fund raising have been tried. It has been interesting to note that many people have not even noticed previous efforts, which indicates that many people have simply tuned them out. Hence the decision to try the voluntary subscription model. What we have tried in the past has allowed us to limp along, but not to grow into something self-sustaining.

Financial information will be released at the time Project Petrucci is able to change to a non-profit entity.

The mission is unchanged: making public domain music available for free. Participation is welcome and voluntary.


Carl Simpson
VP/Treasurer, Project Petrucci

Gschladt
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Re: Upcoming changes

Postby Gschladt » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:15 pm

This only partly reassures me. The fact it took so long for anyone to give this kind of response is puzzling. This last message should have been posted weeks ago.

There are still things I don't understand. If IMSLP is a Canadian project, aiming at respecting Canadian copyright laws, founded by a Canadian, why is it incorporated in the US? It seems to me like the paperwork and regulations on non-profits are a lot simpler in Canada. A non-profit is by default tax-exempt here, and it doesn't even have to file in income tax declarations if the income is under 50 000$/year.

Carolus wrote:Since websites reach across the nation and the globe, setting up a non-profit must be done in all 50 states of the USA. For it to be non-profit internationally, even further stringent and expensive requirements must be met. The initial creation is only part of the expense, costly annual paperwork and fees must be paid to each jurisdiction which grants tax exempt status.


I don't understand this. You already don't have tax-exempt status in ANY jurisdiction. How would it be a bad thing to be a non-profit without tax-exempt from SOME jurisdiction? Also, how much are you paying in taxes worldwide right now, as a company that is not tax exempted? If it's a lot, then the expense is worth it, if it's not much, then why are we even talking about it? In any case, I don't see how this is an argument against being a non-profit. Those are related but non-mutually exclusive issues.

Carolus wrote:Financial information will be released at the time Project Petrucci is able to change to a non-profit entity.


Except you also refuse to give a timetable of when the process to change to a non-profit will start, other than it will start when it is sustainable. We have a little catch 22 problem then, don't we? You promise to start the transition to non-profit when finances allow it, but nobody would know if finances allow it because you won't make financial information public. How convenient for you!

I'm sorry but this is just not enough. You are basically asking that people blindly trust your word about what IMSLP's mission is and that it will indeed become a non-profit, but you have given us absolutely no reason to trust you in the past 6 weeks.


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