Carolus wrote:About those downloads per day - which recently topped 100,000 for the first time - I wonder how many are being generated by bots? SMA and some other sites appear to have set up some sort of bot whereby anything added to IMSLP is downloaded to their sites in the space of 24 hours or so. While this is obviously not of any concern with respect to public domain works, I do have some concerns about new compositions, editions, arrangements, etc. which the authors have kindly uploaded to this site. The main problem with some of the copycats appears to failure to properly attribute things to their creators, which is actually a violation of the CC license.
deny from 22.214.171.124
allow from all
[Where 126.96.36.199 is the IP address. You can also allow or deny by domain name, and there are other tricks for site rippers. The .htaccess file is a powerful tool.]
imslp wrote:This is a problem I've thought about several years ago. My conclusion was that all of this essentially boils down to an arms race, which ultimately burdens the users and does not too much more besides that. This is why I've taken essentially no steps to prevent this kind of appropriation, so that we don't start the arms race in the first place.
The reason is that there is absolutely no way to distinguish between a legitmate user and someone who downloads the file to put it on another site. Most of the copycats are not mass-downloaders, but rather download files as they are submitted, which means that no bot-banning software will be able to catch them. The only possible thing to do is to put a captcha for every download, but that is a huge burden on the users (especially in the case of parts and other stuff split into a dozen files), whereas it is only a minimal burden on the copycats because they would only need to do it once for each file.
Here we can learn from Wikipedia: the value of Wikipedia is not really the content, because that can be duplicated. Rather, the value of WIkipedia is the community. Similarly, no matter how much other sites tries to duplicate IMSLP, IMSLP will always be better by default because IMSLP can grow, whereas the copycat is a dead thing. Their duplication of IMSLP may temporarily ward off the day of judgment, but the day will come sooner or later, as users realize that they could just get everything for free at IMSLP (and with a better format and more information to boot).
I believe in the inherently superior nature of a well-organized collaborative project, especially with regards to scalability. IMSLP is improving day by day, both in the number of scores and the quality of the site, and there is nothing other sites can do about this.
I would strongly suggest that the question of whether other sites copy IMSLP or not should be ignored. As long as we keep IMSLP the best-run music library project on the internet, we do not need to worry about anything else. This is why I have not checked other sites for IMSLP scans in several years, and probably will never do so again. The important thing here is to focus on what we can do, knowing that if we do it well, we have no worries.
Regarding Carolus' concern about copyright infringement on the other sites: I would leave pursuing the legal remedy for infringement to the composers themselves. This sort of infringement is not something we can stop for good, and there is really not a whole lot we can do about it anyhow.
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