Italian Manuscripts

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Italian Manuscripts

Postby Starrmark » Fri May 13, 2011 7:24 pm

An interesting legal issue has come up on the Italian forum. The Library of the Milan Conservatory has posted a large scanned collection of important musical manuscripts on its website -- mostly from the 19th Century and earlier. Many of these works have never been published. Some are manuscripts of famous works, published many times.

However, the website is configured to prevent downloading of any of these manuscripts. It includes a notice stating: l'uso delle riproduzioni è regolato dal D.Lgs. 9 aprile 2003 n. 68 e dagli art. 106 e 110 del Codice dei Beni Culturali (The use of reproductions is controlled by the Law of April 9, 2003, no. 68, and by Articles 106 and 110 of the Code of Cultural Goods.)

Does this Italian law apply only to use and publication of these manuscripts in Italy -- but no where else? Or, are these manuscripts covered by international copyright? What about arrangements and editions made from the online manuscripts?

Despite the nullification of the site's downloading functions, it appears possible that these manuscripts could be copied online with a screen capture program. Could any of these manuscripts be posted on IMSLP?

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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Choralia » Sat May 14, 2011 7:03 am

I'm not able to answer to all your questions. Due to different regulations existing in different countries, these international copyright matters are quite garbled, and probably simple answers do not even exist. I think that there are three different levels to address as far as intellectual property rights apply to the scanned collection of the Conservatory of Milan:

1) the intellectual property rights applicable to the works themselves, physically represented by the manuscripts;

2) the intellectual property rights applicable to the individual scanned images of manuscripts that the Conservatory of Milan produced;

3) the intellectual property rights applicable to the database that they created, as it is clear that the scanned images are not simply stored in a repository: a database was created, including data structures and indexes that facilitate search, retrieval of images in different formats, and so on.

Level 1) is not specific to this case, so the general regulations apply.

Level 3) is quite clearly regulated in Europe by the Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_Directive). This is quite tricky because it introduces a significant level of protection on databases in Europe, regardless the items contained in the database are subject to intellectual property rights or not. From this perspective, I think that the database of the Conservatory of Milan is legally protected in Europe.

Does the protection associated to level 3) somehow automatically propagate to the individual images retrieved from the database (level 2 above)? And what about protection in non-EU countries, where legal protection of databases has not been regulated? Honestly speaking, I don't know. Any further ideas and information on these complicated matters are welcome.

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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Starrmark » Sat May 14, 2011 8:09 am

I am not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV.) Nevertheless, from my lay perspective, the claim of legal protection for the 19th C. manuscripts on the website of the Milan Conservatory strikes me as similar, if not identical, to the claims of copyright protection now in litigation in the Coetzee lawsuit (British National Portrait Gallery v. Wikipedia.) In that case, counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing D. Coetzee, responded with a letter stating the grounds for no protection in the US :

https://www.eff.org/files/July%2019%20l ... rrerCo.pdf

To summarize, he made 4 main points:

Under U.S. laws,

1. the photographs of the NPG’s public domain paintings are not copyrightable.

2. your client possesses no independent “database rights,” as such rights are not
recognized under U.S. law

3. your client’s “browsewrap” contract claims are specious

4. your client’s circumvention claims are baseless, as the “Zoomify” technology
previously used on NPG’s website does not effectively control access to a work
protected under copyright law.

It seems to me that if the Milan conservatory decided to post on its public website photographic images of its manuscript collection, then anyone in the U. S. can legally copy, edit, post online, publish and sell those manuscripts for profit; moreover, they can perform, record and broadcast those works -- which are all PD in the US.

What do the legal eagles on IMSLP think?

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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Caprotti » Sat May 14, 2011 10:35 am

Apart from legal considerations, one very simple, spontaneous question arises : why did they open such a site ? Just for saying : "look how many beautiful and rare scores we have" ? Look at , but you can't download or even copy a readable page format ! Personally I consider that site as an example of how NOT to build an internet archive for cultural purposes. It's the unique case of musical score site where the images are not at all availbale for the public.
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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Generoso » Sat May 14, 2011 5:05 pm

It seems you can still get these (although it does take some time)
Here is the original http://navigator.codex2.cilea.it/nav?internalId=892925&resId=&submitType=internal

And here it is on IMSLP http://imslp.org/wiki/Grand_Duo_Brillant_on_motifs_of_Bellini,_Op.16_(Berson,_Michel)

You can take a screen capture (comand, shift, 4) (on the MAC) after you have zoomed in to a high level. Take about 4 or 6 or 8 screen captures per page. Scrolling between captures.

Yes it does take time. After this you must paste the pieces together (Photoshop) to make one big image. :o :shock:
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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Boccaccio » Sat May 14, 2011 5:55 pm

I'm pretty sure there is an easier way to get the pictures. I vaguely remember that there was a similar problem with a flash-based site some time ago. If I remember correctly, in the end, there existed a firefox plugin which easily allowed downloading the pictures in jpg format.
Another question: Is there any easy to use website that allows searching the contents Milano offers online currently?
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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Generoso » Sat May 14, 2011 8:23 pm

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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Starrmark » Sun May 15, 2011 6:28 pm

Very strange. I can no longer view any of the digital images of musical manuscripts on the website of the Milan Conservatory -- despite making many attempts with two different computers. Is the collection no longer on display, or have I been blocked in retaliation for the discussion on IMSLP?

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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Caprotti » Sun May 15, 2011 6:51 pm

It seems all ok, no possibilities for downloading as usual ...
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Re: Italian Manuscripts

Postby Generoso » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:23 pm

I have made a Tutorial on how to fetch score from flash-based websites.
With a few tweaks here and there you could manage to fetch these. :D

http://imslp.org/wiki/Music_from_Flash-Based_Websites

Lots of luck,
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