Tag Archives: MPA

IMSLP & the MPA – Thank You

During the recent take-down of IMSLP by the UK Music Publishers Association something heartening happened.

People went to download a score from IMSLP and found the site unavailable. News of the take-down spread on Twitter and elsewhere.

A substantial cross-section of the international classical music community pianists, conductors, viol consorts, composers, music students, music librarians, makers of ornate wooden music stands, music journalists, opera singers, music academics – went on the internet and expressed their unhappiness at the MPA’s behaviour.

The MPA, rather unwisely, then tried to persuade IMSLP Journal to censor the take-down notice. We declined and publicised the demand – the attempted take-down of the take-down notice (I know, I’ve read Kafka too). Cue: a further trumpet voluntary of incredulity rang out across cyberspace.

A few hours later the MPA used Twitter – interestingly – to raise the white flag.

Why heartening?

  • the speed with which the MPA was persuaded to see reason. When Universal Edition attacked IMSLP, the take-down went on for months. Okay, circumstances differ in this case, but the fact remains that IMSLP was back online within 24 hours;
  • the solidarity shown by musicians from across the globe in support of IMSLP. It was a genuine international coalition. Classical musicians can be fractious and egotistical but, in the end, they’re trained to play together. It’s their job. Give them a good score and they make a terrific noise;
  • the skill and confidence with which the new media – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums etc – was used to place pressure on the MPA. Classical musicians should be proud.

IMSLP – non-profit, staffed by volunteers – is an organisation which musicians have shown themselves willing to defend. It’s an essential part of the world music scene; an iconic cultural treasure trove for everyone concerned with music heritage.

IMSLP is also a jewel in Canada’s artistic crown, as a recent CBC News report illustrates. To attack IMSLP is to attack Canadian high culture. Music publishers beware. Do you really want the Mounties after you?!

This article is to thank musicians and music-lovers everywhere for defending IMSLP. It’s fair to say that without your support last month IMSLP would still be offline.

Download Jeremiah Clarke’s Prince of Denmark’s March from IMSLP

IMSLP, Copyright & the MPA (UK)

All IMSLP score pages on the wiki now carry the following statement:

imslp-mpa

Example

This post on the IMSLP forums by Carolus, an IMSLP administrator, explains the background:

***

Now that things are calming down some, I wish to thank the Music Publishers Association of the UK for retracting their DMCA complaint to GoDaddy. GoDaddy’s standard response to a DMCA copyright complaint of this nature is to freeze the domain for 10 days, instead of referring the complaint to the site owner. Thus we all owe the MPA-UK sincere thanks for their retraction. I also want to take the opportunity to point out that IMSLP in no way advocates the violation of copyright laws, either now or in the past. As our disclaimer – which must be acknowledged before any visitor is allowed to download a file – explicitly states:

Please obey the copyright laws of your country and consult the copyright statute itself or a qualified IP attorney to verify whether a certain file is in the public domain in your country or if downloading a copy constitutes fair use.

In many cases where a given work is most likely still protected in one or more of our three territorial divisions – 50 pma countries, the USA, 70 pma countries – we have provided direct links to copies of the item available for sale at Sheet Music Plus or at Amazon. Full Disclosure: IMSLP does receive commissions from both concerns if someone actually purchases a copy, which go to fund our operating expenses – which have never stopped increasing as we’ve grown.

Thus, if Rachmaninoff’s The Bells, Op. 35 is still under copyright in your country, you should be purchasing the score from its lawful copyright owner unless the fair-use provisions of your country’s copyright statutes permit the download of the score and you are operating within those exemptions. It might not be legal for you to download the score from this site, so please be certain it is before you do. This, of course, was the one of the main issues of the cease and desist letter Feldmahler received back in the fall of 2007 from Universal Edition. They were demanding that IMSLP set up some sort of automated blocking system based upon the users IP address. There are a number of reasons that such a scheme is simply not feasible, but I’ll just address a single major one here: the lack of uniformity about what constitutes a fair-use exemption to copyright among the laws of various countries.

One reason our copyright tagging system works as well as it does is that we have divided copyright laws around the world into two major groupings according to term length: life-plus-50 years (Canada, Japan, China, and a majority of countries in the world outside of Europe) and life-plus-70 years (Europe and a few other countries – like those in the former USSR), plus a major exception to the general rule. The monster exception is of course the USA, whose copyright law is probably the most complicated morass of rules and exceptions found anywhere on the planet. The fact that our parent company is headquartered there – despite the main server’s Canadian locale – means we absolutely must pay very close attention to US law. Thus we have three major copyright classes under our tagging system: 50-pma / USA / 70-pma. That’s why you see a three-part indication for every file. A tag reading V/V/V should be free almost anywhere in the world.

There are approximately 180 different laws in force worldwide at present. It is simply not possible for anyone – not even a major commercial concern like Amazon – to keep daily track of 180 or more different copyright laws, each with different exemptions for fair use and other purposes, etc. – many of which are also frequently subject to changes, from either legislative amendments or judicial interpretations.

IMSLP & the Music Publishers Association

IMSLP ~ Music Publishers Association

The following was posted on the IMSLP forums earlier today. Additional background material here.

***

IMSLP is currently under an extraordinarily underhanded legal attack by the Music Publishers Association of UK (http://mpaonline.org.uk).

The MPA, without notifying us, sent to our domain registrar GoDaddy a bogus DMCA takedown notice.  GoDaddy took the entire IMSLP.ORG domain down.  IMSLP has filed a DMCA counter notice with GoDaddy, however, the DMCA seems to require the registrar to wait no less than 10 days before restoring service.  This means that IMSLP is inaccessible from IMSLP.ORG during this period of time.  We will be working to restore service as soon as possible.

What is the MPA complaining about?  Rachmaninoff’s Bells, which is public domain both in Canada and the USA: [link]. MPA’s claim is entirely bogus.

Workaround:  You can still reach the site by using either petruccilibrary.org or petruccimusiclibrary.org  Note, however, that some links on the site that refer to IMSLP.ORG may be broken; you will have to manually replace IMSLP.ORG with one of the two above domain names manually in the URL bar.

Anyone who is interested in suing or helping to sue the MPA under DMCA section 512(f) (misrepresentations) please contact me at imslproject <at> yahoo.ca.  Note that the feldmahler <at> imslp.org address is likewise offline.

The following is the e-mail that GoDaddy received from the MPA.  IMSLP / Project Petrucci LLC grants everyone permission to reproduce it in part or in its entirety.  I also grant everyone permission to reproduce the above post in part or in its entirety.  Please feel free to make this incident as widely known as possible.

Dear sirs

We, the Music Publishers Association, take action to remove unlicensed copyright material from infringing websites.

We understand that Godaddy are the sponsoring registrar for the website http://www.IMSLP.ORG which makes available unlicensed copyright protected sheet music notation which is an infringement of copyright. By assisting this website, Godaddy are liable to pay damages for secondary copyright infringement once notice of the infringement has been given.

We therefore request that you withdraw from all associations you have with http://www.IMSLP.ORG and retract their domain name so that the website cannot be accessed.

An example of the infringing material on http://www.IMSLP.ORG is ‘The Bells’ by Rachmaninov which can be reached via: [link]

This material is copyright protected in most counties including all European countries and the USA.

Here are the registrant’s details to the best of our knowledge:

Registrant Name:Edward W. GuoRegistrant Organization:Project Petrucci LLCRegistrant Street1:205 S. Charles St.Registrant Street2:Registrant Street3:Registrant City:EdwardsvilleRegistrant State/Province:IllinoisRegistrant Postal Code:62025Registrant Country:USRegistrant Phone:+1.6186565143Registrant Phone Ext.:Registrant FAX:Registrant FAX Ext.:Registrant Email: imslproject@yahoo.ca

We have good faith belief that use of the material in this manner is not authorized by the copyright owner or the law.

The information in this notification is accurate and we confirm, under penalty of perjury, that we are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner of an exclusive right of that is infringed.

I would be grateful for your response detailing your undertakings by 3 May 2011.

Yours faithfully,

Jake Kirner Printed Music Publishing Administrator Music Publishers Association 6th Floor, British Music House, 26 Berners Street, London W1T 3LRDirect Tel: +44 (0)20 7637 4052Fax: +44 (0)20 7637 3929 (please confirm fax by sending me an email)jkirner@mpaonline.org.uk <mailto:jkirner@mpaonline.org.uk>http://www.mpaonline.org.uk <http://www.mpaonline.org.uk/>the_MPA on twitter <http://twitter.com/the_MPA>