Second U-E cease and desist letter (new topic)

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Yagan Kiely
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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:32 pm

It's only a small step from what UE do in adding small edits to pretty much renew copyright, to renewing copyright but merely scanning it.

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Postby pierre.chepelov » Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:29 pm

Carolus wrote:Beethoven Haus has no right or claim to any sort of copyright in Beethoven's manuscripts. Such claims are perhaps the most egregious examples of copyfraud around. Beethoven is clearly public domain and the only thing they have a legitimate claim to are the actual manuscripts themselves - as physical property.


In certain countries, the owner of a manuscript, or an unicum (i.e. an old print that is the only remaining exemplar of the edition) does have copyright on every copy (scan, reprint) of it (but not on a handmade copy, nor a reengraving).
This seems to be the case in France :( , but I'm not sure for Germany, the rest of the EU, or for USA and Canada.
The reason is: the philosophy of French law does not know the "copyright" concept, and distinguishes more layers in protection (than the Anglo-Saxon conception): in that particular manuscript case, there is a "copyright", that means a protection of the particular layout of the (unique!) manuscript, assigned to its present physical owner - and this doesn't know any delay. (And again, this is only possible if the document is physically unique.) The other "copyright", is the "author's rights" on the work: this one is about intellectual property - and in that Beethoven case it can't be nothing but PD!
Note, by the way, that French author's right conception officially does not care for publisher's rights - in contrary to the original Anglo-Saxon copyright.

Please forgive me to write again about tricky French laws (of course not valid elsewhere!), but I think that understanding their (original) philosophy is important:
The current international copyright system (Berne, etc.) is a (complicated!) mix of the Anglo-saxon copyright conception (that came from the old privileges with 14 year after publication, that used to be only 10, 5, or 3 years after pub. in the 16th/17th century...) and of the French "author's right" conception (initiated by Beaumarchais and the French Revolution ; that system was intended to let the authors be feed by their works all their life long, instead of dying poor while publishers made money with their works!)

Laws are a balance of these philosophies, as well as a balance of business lobbying and public interest...

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Postby Carolus » Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:16 pm

Interesting how the whole concept is so different under French law. I'm curious, though. Who owns the layout of a manuscipt (as opposed the manuscript itself) once the author or creator of the layout, which may or may not be the composer, has been dead for more than 70 years? Does the layout transfer with the ownership of the object forever? What about rare printed copies of which there are only a few left? At one time in the past, the layout was reproduced and distributed. Is this layout or design right unlimited as to term of protection?

At any rate, Mr. Chepelov's post does help to explain why there are no large reprint houses in France. It also helps explain the mindset of a French vandal who tried to destroy IMSLP last year - not that there was any excuse for his attempted vandalism.

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Postby Vivaldi » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:53 am

Apologies if this is off topic, but after Carolus's mention of attempted vandalisms on IMSLP, will the new IMSLP be equipped with mechanisms to safeguard itself against these kinds of vandalisms in the future?

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Postby samthegreat » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:00 am

Yeah, is there a way to isolate all edits made by a particular i.p. (or multiple i.p.s) and then cancel them out? Can you return to a previous state? How long do files/text that have been edited out remain on the server? I would imagine a recovery system is (was) probably in effect in order to easily reverse widespread vandalism. Am I correct?

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Postby Leonard Vertighel » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:22 am

IMSLP ran on the same software as Wikipedia. Wikipedia is being vandalized thousands of times each day, so the software has by necessity strong anti-vandalism features. Reverting the vandalism of a single user, even if it involves lots of pages, is easily accomplished within a few minutes.

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Postby pierre.chepelov » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:10 pm

Carolus wrote:Interesting how the whole concept is so different under French law. I'm curious, though. Who owns the layout of a manuscript (as opposed the manuscript itself) once the author or creator of the layout, which may or may not be the composer, has been dead for more than 70 years? Does the layout transfer with the ownership of the object forever? What about rare printed copies of which there are only a few left? At one time in the past, the layout was reproduced and distributed. Is this layout or design right unlimited as to term of protection?

This "layout right" comes from French civil law: article 544 of Code Civil says that "Ownership is the right to enjoy and dispose of things in the most absolute manner, provided they are not used in a way prohibited by statutes or regulations." Note that it is not about intellectual property but about property in the common, physical sense.
Then if you own a good, you have rights on images made from it, at any time; this applies to various fields, among them to manuscripts and unique old prints. It is not linked to the author of the work, nor to the creator of the layout.
I don't know exactly what to think about the case where the layout had been reproduced and distributed. Maybe the argumentation would be, that this reproduction had to be authorized by the owner of the unique source, so has to be a new reproduction (even if the owner changed, or changed his mind...)
Rare copies are more than one, so in that case nobody can prove who is the owner of the source, and this "layout protection" can't apply.
I hope one day we'll have some court decisions to clarify, or change, the interpretation of the law!
Yet an example: on IMSLP there is some wonderful scans of manuscripts of Lully operas and ballets, who had been retrieved from their owners' sites. Some (very high-quality scans) have been made by an American university (from Texas, if I remember well), who put it online as 'public domain material'. The others (of less good quality) came from the Gallica project of the National Library of France (gallica.bnf.fr): while they authorize any private use of their material, they claim "author's rights" on any content of their site, and stricly prohibit any republication or professional use.
It seems that under French law, this claim of "author's rights" is unjustified, but that they have property rights on the scans of those of their works that are unique documents.
(See also {fr} http://musicreprints.free.fr/Droit_auteur_musique.pdf)


Carolus wrote:At any rate, Mr. Chepelov's post does help to explain why there are no large reprint houses in France.

This is because of the lobbying of French historical publishers (half of them now belonging to BMG-Universal.. not UE!) and of the Sacem (French collecting rights society, who is what we call 'a State within the State'...) who since 20 years convinced everybody in the musical world that "photocopying music is illegal" (in general, without any balanced explanation!).

But there are cases of reprints in France:
I know a volume of 'mélodies' by Bizet (d.1875) that was published by Choudens arround 1876 or so... it has been reprinted by Choudens itself in the 1980's – indeed it was nothing more than bounded bad photocopies, with no other 'new work' than re-typesetting the title, and adding a stamp saying: "Any reproduction is illegal and prosecuted by law"!

A very different case is the (recent) Editions Fuzeau, who do high-quality reproductions of Baroque music scores, from the original 17th and 18th c. editions. They put a very strong copyright notice, claiming protection, not only on their (very serious) scientific prefaces, but on the score layout - because they do a very hard work of cleaning the old scores, that, otherwise, would often be unreadable. They say: "This is not a reprint, but a fac-simile."

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Property and Copyright

Postby Klausgraf » Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:19 pm

I think there is no legal substance in the opinions on the French law.

Copyright is an universal concept governed in the European Union by directives. A directive limits the protection to 70 years post mortem auctoris.

French copyright is also limited in this way (with war time exceptions) .

There is an old confusion between property rights and copyright (and contracts).

There are people claiming to be "experts" for their national law but all they can offer are warm words.

May I quote
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commo ... lic_spaces

"The summary of the conclusions of a May 7, 2004 ruling by the Court of Cassation was:

The owner of a thing does not have an exclusive right over the image of this thing; he or she can however oppose the usage of this image by a third party if this usage results in an abnormal disturbance to him or her."

In this decision, the court excluded that the owner of a hotel, who had made extensive repairs and enhancements to the buildings at high costs, could claim exclusive rights to the image of that hotel: merely demonstrating that the costs supported did not demonstrate that the publishing of images was an abnormal disturbance.

The Court already ruled on June 5, 2003, that the right of property comprised absolutely no right to the image of this property."

Hope that helps.

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Re: Property and Copyright

Postby pierre.chepelov » Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:58 pm

Klausgraf wrote:I think there is no legal substance in the opinions on the French law.
[...]
There are people claiming to be "experts" for their national law but all they can offer are warm words.

I don't claim to be an "expert". I am only a musician trying to understand the law in my country, and to share what I understood.

Klausgraf wrote:Copyright is an universal concept

Not exactly. It has different names, meanings, histories. And there is no universal jurisdiction by now.

Klausgraf wrote: governed in the European Union by directives. A directive limits the protection to 70 years post mortem auctoris.
French copyright is also limited in this way (with war time exceptions).

I was just explaining this.

Klausgraf wrote:There is an old confusion between property rights and copyright (and contracts).

You are definitely right. But in some ways (and in some countries) the first may have (or may have had) influence on the second.

Klausgraf wrote:May I quote
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commo ... lic_spaces

"The summary of the conclusions of a May 7, 2004 ruling by the Court of Cassation was:
[...]
The Court already ruled on June 5, 2003, that the right of property comprised absolutely no right to the image of this property."

I have read about that. But I don't know if it applies to the musical manuscript issue. I know what French institutions say – maybe they're wrong, but for us French users I think it is better to wait until there's a Court of Cassation ruling about this problem.

By the way, it's interesting to read about the February 27, 2007 Court of Cassation rulings limiting wartime extensions for non-musical works.
See also {fr} http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prorogations_de_guerre.

Klausgraf wrote:Hope that helps.

Hope so also!

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Postby xiaoli75 » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:08 am

What a terrible injustice made upon a truly sincere altruistic being. Reading the 'cease-and-desist' letter was truly saddening, indignifying. It was accusational. It's amazing the selfishness of people, and even more amazing to think that so long ago, the 'infringements' today on what we call 'copyright' were once considered complimentary--the simple. And, personally, as a former heavy user of IMSLP, I truly felt the site quite sincere about copyright warnings.

I'm still sad I lost one of my main sources in music literature, and my heart reaches out to the site owner, a wounded genius and hero to all in the musical world.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:59 am

Do return! IMSLP is coming back soon (ish)!

It is a - be it lengthy - hiatus only.

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Postby Peter » Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:31 pm

It came to me today that IMSLP is serving the profit of publishers. Think about your own music school. Almost EVERY student is illegaly copying copyrighted scores year after year, with the contributions paid to copyright organisations being much less than the cost of the scores.
IMSLP was preventing this illegal copying by providing the possibility to use legal copies - and so saving money to buy new scores. Maybe IMSLP was just not yet that known in the modal music school / conservatory, and the catalogue and the quality of the scans was not yet sufficient to replace the illegal print copies.

So eat this, Universal Edition: at this very moment, people are copying your scores again, at a much bigger magnitude than the few contested composers on IMSLP. And you have caused it, without any doubt.

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Postby xiaoli75 » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:42 pm

I wish the IMSLP the best of luck always in returning safely and will be continuing to visit the site loyally!

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Postby Carolus » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:55 pm

Peter raises a most interesting point. Photocopying is a huge problem, which has only been exacerbated by publishers' active practice of copyfraud and barratry. I wonder if IMSLP's real crime in UE's mind had less to do with a few Bartok and Schoenberg scores than it did with exposing the facts of copyright laws to the light of open, publicly available knowledge. UE would very much like to create the impression that Bartok and Schoenberg are protected worldwide - even if it's not the truth. When copyright laws are obscure, semi-secret tomes written in dense legalese whose meaning is understandable only to a select priesthood, a climate of ignorance-based fear and intimidation is more easliy maintained.

Such enforcement schemes ultimately backfire, though. Music students and others, sent the message that all music is copyright (and thus illegal to photocopy), rebelled and photocopied all the more - even to the point where a special tax is now imposed upon the sale and operation of photocopiers in many places around the world. Thus, the type of behavior exhibited by UE actually increases the photocopying of works that are legitimately under copyright. So the vicious cycle continues: UE and its allies demand longer terms, more taxes and mandated fees, etc. - which in turn leads to more rebellion against the very idea of intellectual property.

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Postby emeraldimp » Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:12 pm

+5 Insightful, Peter and Carolus. ;-)

Now, how do we get them to recognize, understand and come to terms with this? (And maybe even help to change the system, you never know)


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