Tag Archives: IMSLP

IMSLP for the Public Domain: Golan Brief Submitted

I’m happy to report that the amicus brief announced a few weeks ago, where IMSLP asks the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the restoration of certain copyrights including that of Shostakovich, has been submitted to the Supreme Court.  The entire brief is available for public viewing along with the other amicus briefs submitted, all of which can be found in the Supreme Court case file.

Currently only briefs supporting Golan have been submitted. The Government’s brief in opposition, and amicus briefs supporting the Government or neither party, will be available later in August.  The Supreme Court has set the date for oral argument to be Wednesday, October 5th, 2011.

This excellent amicus brief is the result of the hard work of a very bright group of Harvard Law School students supervised by Professor Charles Nesson.  I want to thank them on behalf of all IMSLP contributors and users for their dedication and energy, especially in the face of a very tight deadline.  Here is a list of students who participated in writing the brief:

Phillip Hill (HLS ’13) (Project Leader)
Matt Becker (HLS ’13)
Ruchi Desai (HLS ’13)
Tim Grayson (HLS ’13)
Jeff Habenicht (HLS ’13)
Laura Hill (HLS ’13)
Shira Hoffman (HLS ’13)
Wes Lewis (HLS ’13)
Nathan Lovejoy (HLS ’13)
Joey Seiler (HLS ’12)
Ellen Shapiro (HLS ’13)
David Simon (HLS LL.M. ’11)
George Tsivin (HLS ’13)
Huaou Yan (HLS ’13)

Golan v. Holder: Should Shostakovich be Public Domain?

I am happy to announce that IMSLP will be submitting an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Golan v. Holder, a case challenging the constitutionality of copyright restoration under Section 514 of the URAA.  A group of Harvard Law School students led by Phillip Hill (HLS ’13) and supervised by Professor Charles Nesson will be representing IMSLP.

IMSLP will be supporting the petitioners, which includes a group of orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film archivists, and motion picture distributors.  If we prevail and URAA § 514 is struck down as unconstitutional, all of Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Stravinsky (among others) will be public domain in the U.S., and potentially available on IMSLP.

In fact, the music of these three composers was public domain before URAA § 514 restored copyright in 1995.  This restoration is very dangerous precedent: Congress believes it has the power to usurp the public domain for the benefit of a few copyright holders, despite the Constitution limiting copyright to “limited Times”.  This limitation would seem meaningless if Congress could restore copyright whenever it wants.  If we allow URAA § 514 to stand, we would be one big step closer to perpetual copyright.

Furthermore, URAA § 514 also tramples on the right to freedom of speech of all artists who relied on these works before the copyright was restored, by forcing them to retract and make unavailable derivative works that were created legally.

IMSLP greatly welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to take up such an important case, and hope to see an affirmation of the strength and vitality of the public domain.

Introducing an IMSLP Intern

It is my pleasure to introduce Cory Myers, who will be interning for IMSLP this summer.  Cory is currently a student at Deep Springs College, and his internship will focus on several major site redesign projects.  Specifically, the projects include a new tabbing system to alleviate overcrowding on work pages, an embedded audio/video streaming system, and possibly other smaller improvements around the site.

Please welcome Cory to the IMSLP community!  If you have any comments or suggestions, please post them below.

A New Genre Search

I would like to notify IMSLP users about the otherwise unannounced new genre search function, which can be found at the top of the genre page.  With this new feature you can search all of the genre/instrumentation categories for certain keywords.

For example, searching “voice clarinet” would find all the different available instrumentations that include at least one voice and one clarinet.  This also works for genres: searching “symphonies” would find all work types that contain the word “symphonies”.  Note that all work types are plural; searching “symphony” will not work.

The “Depth” column simply shows the level (depth) at which the category is found in the genre tree; normal users can safely ignore it.

While this feature might not be ground breaking, it may prove a useful tool.  All comments and suggestions welcome.

Introducing IMSLP Music Search

IMSLP is happy to announce the launch of IMSLP Music Search, the perfect way to find where that melody stuck in your head came from (among other more mundane things like actually doing music research).  You can access IMSLP Music Search via this page.

IMSLP Music Search was programmed by mathematician-musician Vladimir Viro, and is based on his Music NGram algorithm.  Vladimir will also be writing a more detailed blog post about the Music Search in the upcoming days, so stay tuned!

IMSLP’s 5 Year Anniversary

Five years ago today, there was a tiny blip in the cosmos of the Internet as an awkwardly-named website made its first appearance.  It had no logo, and a main page befitting its humble birth.

This website is now five years old, and hosts one of the largest collections of music scores in the world.  It has more than 85,000 scores written by 4,800 composers, and a fledgling recording collection consisting of more than 1,700 recordings.  All this was made possible by the countless hours of contributions by musicians and music enthusiasts.

As a musician myself, I would like to thank these contributors.


I will not dwell at length here.  Most of the recent updates on the status of the project can be found in my New Years post.  I would, however, like to mention a few recent developments:

  • I first want to congratulate the MuseScore team on the successful recent release of MuseScore 1.0, possibly the best open source music typesetting software ever written.  IMSLP may add support for MuseScore files in the near future.

  • I also want to announce the availability of IMSLP anniversary merchandise from the Puffin Point store.  Currently there is only the mug, but the store can certainly add products if there is interest.

  • And last but not least, a shout-out to IMSLP contributor Philidor and his friend for creating the beautiful anniversary banner you see at the top of this page.

Happy birthday, IMSLP!

Yours,
Edward W. Guo
Project Leader, IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library

A Greeting and Request for Comments

Hi everyone!  I’m Edward Guo, otherwise known as Feldmahler on the library wiki.  Since I’m the project leader and lead programmer for IMSLP, I will be blogging here about new IMSLP features and other project-related news.  I love comments of all sorts, so please feel free to praise and/or complain about IMSLP in the comments section of my posts!

But before I start blogging about IMSLP features, I’d like to extend an invitation to all of you to tell us any ideas you have about improving IMSLP.  I am perennially open to suggestions of all sorts, so fire away any time!  You can either post in the comments section of this blog post, or open a new thread in the “Feature Requests” section of the forums.  Particularly, IMSLP is looking for the following:

  • New features or feature improvements on any aspect of the wiki
  • Design ideas/mockups to account for new features and improve the overall feel of the site, especially for the more prominent pages (e.g. the main page), or the templates used on the work pages (e.g. for the file entries themselves).  The focus here I think is twofold: simplicity and intuitiveness.  Mediawiki-style is markup preferred but not necessary.
  • A new (and simpler) logo!

But even if your idea does not fall into one of these categories please do feel free to post it!  These categories are just intended as starting points for thinking about improving IMSLP.

And as some contributors already know, I adopt a “try it out” stance to pretty much any idea that a contributor comes up with, unless there is a clear reason otherwise (in which case one of the IMSLP administrators will tell you).  You are encouraged to tell us about your ideas, and also greatly encouraged to try the idea out yourself.  There are only two exceptions to this rule: (1) if you are very new to IMSLP, and (2) if the change is a hard to reverse or very big change, in which case you should discuss the change with us on the forums before going ahead with it.

Remember: IMSLP is not a website; it is a community of music lovers.  IMSLP needs you to make it a wonderful and lasting resource!

Interview with Perlnerd666

 

One of a series of interviews with IMSLP contributors…


How did you first discover IMSLP?

I first discovered IMSLP while I was looking for the second movement of the Kreutzer Sonata. I did find it eventually, and it thus led me to this wonderful site.

What were your immediate goals?

I was very interested in the (16,000 at that time) vast number of scores. I wanted to contribute as many scores as I could, from places such as Mutopia.

What instruments do you play?

I am a professional Keyboardist (especially organ). I also play cello.

What are your other musical interests?

Much of what I look at might be described as 'musicological'. I am also a composer, and an intermediate conductor. My other main musical interests are analyzing song cycles (esp. Schwanengesang, and Les Nuits d'été). I enjoy song cycles and variations, too. I also study musicological aspects of music—especially the history of music printing (and as an ancillary, non-musical typography, including ligatures etc.) As a keyboard player mostly, especially organ, I've been looking at people like Cabezón (one of my favorites), Buxtehude (should be one of everybody's), and Fitzwilliam.

Who are some of your favorite composers?

Corelli, Schumann, Bach, Carter, Dufay, Varèse, Josquin, Haydn, Schubert, and Brahms in that order. It may seem eclectic, but I sincerely believe that all genres and time periods are equal. In terms of non-"classical" composers: Bob Dylan would displace Schubert (i.e. move him back), and Thelonious Monk would displace Josquin.

What are some other interests other than music?

Literature, Chemistry, Phonology, Etymology, and Programming (especially perl).

Prinet: Kreutzer Sonata

What is IMSLP?

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When a composer writes a piece of music, he owns that music unless he gives ownership away. That means if someone wants the musical score, they must abide by his requirements. Equally, if they wish to perform the work they must give him royalties.

But copyright falls away after a number of years. The composer, his heirs and descendants, don't own it forever. The precise point when copyright vanishes depends on national law. When a work falls out of copyright, it is in the public domain.

Classical music copyright law is fiddly and complex, but the basic rule is that copyright persists for the composer or other author (if any) for 50 years after his death (Canada) or life plus 70 years (EU).

It's in that space where a work enters the public domain that IMSLP operates. Thousands of classical music scores and recordings emerge from copyright every year. IMSLP, run by volunteers using Wiki collaborative software, upload these scores and recordings to a server so they are available for anyone to download.

Like many good ideas, IMSLP is simple and elegant. In 2009, IMSLP won the MERLOT Classics award for Music and was named one of the Top 100 Web Sites by PC Magazine. It gets millions of hits per day.

At the time of writing, IMSLP holds over 71,000 scores by over 4,000 composers. These works would otherwise be sitting in libraries gathering dust, but now can see the light of day. It's a fabulous project. Anyone can get involved.

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