---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Klaus Graf <klausgraf(a)googlemail.com>
Date: Oct 21, 2007 2:06 PM
Subject: [Foundation-l] Implications of IMSLP case
Franz Liszt writes in his Myspace weblog:
"A great blow has been dealt against the world of music and of our
common cultural heritage.
The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) was a wonderful
site for sharing public domain music scores. They had an encyclopaedic
collection of scores which anyone could download as a .pdf file. The
site was entirely free and run by people dedicated to the art of
Unfortunately the music publishers Universal Edition has threatened
the site's creator with legal action if he does not "cease and desist"
the site's activities. This has now happened. UE's threats appear to
be based on rather spurious copyright grounds. The intention is not to
protect artists' rights, but to stop people from accessing public
Most artists have struggled terribly in life and die broke and young.
Having ignored the artists during their lifetimes, publishers are then
able to exploit their genius posthumously. Take poor old Franz
Schubert, for instance.
UE's legal threat is a direct attack on our common musical heritage as
well as on culture in general. I believe that these public domain
works should be freely available to the public. For the most part,
IMSLP made available sores by all the greats (including my humble
self), most of whom have been long dead and are out of copyright.
There is a current trend for all our common cultural heritage to be
"privatized" and exploited by private corporations for the sole
purpose of making money. The idea that the works of Shakespeare,
Beethoven and Leonardo da Vinci (et al) should "belong" to anyone
except the people of this planet (and beyond) is outrageous.
Sadly, this trend is not restricted only to great works of art.
Ancient buildings, national parks, libraries, museums, images of works
art, and many aspects of our cultural heritage are all being devoured
by private corporations in order to fuel the interests of a small
minority of greedy individuals.
Be that as it may, I do urge you to go to the IMSLP forum, register.
learn the facts and offer support (if only by adding your voice). This
is important because this is about freedom, our common cutural
heritage - and about music! [...]
The address is http://imslpforums.org
The cease and desist letter mentions EU-protected composers but also
composers like Gustav Mahler who is dead since 1911.
There are two questions:
First: Can WMF help to re-activate IMSLP by hosting e.g. Wikiscore (or so)?
It is already possible to uload PD scores on Wikimedia Commons. See
Second: Are there implications for WMF copyright policies?
The CaD-letter mentions the fact that "that under Canadian law a
judgement rendered in Europe is enforceable in Canada". If a Canadian
user uploads works on Commons from an US server like Internet Archive
(pre-1923-rule) which are PD in Canada (50 y pma) then this is allowed
by the (inappropriate) rule of Commons.
I have to quote the rule:
"If material that has been saved from a third-party website is
uploaded to Commons, the copyright laws of the US, the country of
residence of the uploader, and the country of location of the
webservers of the website apply."
It clearly lacks the COUNTRY OF ORIGIN in this (inappropriate) rule.
If this country is a EU country the 70 year pma rule is in effect.
Take a Bela Bartok score published before 1923 (or 1909). Bartok died
in 1945, his works are protected in all EU countries until December
31, 2015. The score is PD in the US and Canada but the Canadian
uploader can be sued by a Canadian lawyer because the work is not free
WMF cannot be sued for an US court in this case because the work is PD
in the US.
But should'nt we protect the uploader when he is uploading according our
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