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Project Gutenberg Volunteers Partial IMSLP Hosting

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the stepping-forward dept.

Censorship 100

bbc writes "Project Gutenberg has volunteered to host all it legally can of the IMSLP's catalog. The Canadian provider of free public domain music recently caved to legal threats from an Austrian sheet music seller. On the Book People mailing list, Project Gutenberg's founder Michael Hart wrote: 'Project Gutenberg has volunteered to keep as much of the IMSL Project online as is legally possible, including a few of the items that were demanded to be withdrawn, as well as, when legal, to provide a backup of the entire site, for when the legalities have finally been worked out.'"

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Classical music is the new Rock'n'Roll (1, Troll)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21097913)

And don't you know it.

Re:Classical music is the new Rock'n'Roll (3, Funny)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21097993)

Classical music is the new Rock'n'Roll

...Or something like that [youtube.com] , anyway...

(Just in case anyone needed more evidence that pretty much everything "new" still contains 99% things-that-came-before, making the idea of copyrights absolutely absurd...)

Re:Classical music is the new Rock'n'Roll (2, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099651)

This becomes even more interesting when you consider that some musicians have been able to, successfully, sue for copyright infringement based upon copying six notes from another song. They didn't even have the same tempo or rhythm, just the same six notes played in order. So how many combinations of six notes can you come up with that havn't already been done before?

I thought that this was an absurd legal opinion, and if really pushed it may eventually be overturned... at least with some future court case that tries the same kind of stunt. Still, it does beg the question to ask when something ought to enter the public domain.

Another interesting thing to think about: The King James Version [wikipedia.org] of the Christian Bible, who some suspect may have had parts written/translated by William Shakespeare, is still under copyright. I admit that this is an exception among books, but doesn't this seem to be something that should have its copyright expire and simply placed in the hands of the rest of mankind to work with, rather than trying to see if you might step on somebody's toes accidentally in a legal sense?

Re:Classical music is the new Rock'n'Roll (2, Informative)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100153)

The King James version of the bible is only under copyright in the UK, due to its copyright being owned by the crown. In the U.S. it is under no restrictions. As for the claim the William Shakespere had anything to do with it, that is completely new to me. I'll admit it has been a while, but last time I looked into the issue I thought the translating committee largely used Tyndale's translation. I seem to recall an extremely large amount of verses being identical or extremely similar to Tyndale's work.

Letters Patent (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100569)

The KJV really isn't under "copyright" in the U.K. It's protected by royal prerogative using an different legal instrument, called a "letters patent." This is copyright-like, but it's not recognized internationally; unlike true copyrights which get extended pretty much everywhere by way of the Berne Convention, letters patent only affect people in the U.K.

In the 70s (or somewhere around then), when the original Gilbert and Sullivan copyrights were about to expire, there were some people who wanted to have them perpetually extended in the style of the KJV as a sort of 'national treasure.' Thankfully, smarter heads prevailed, and they were allowed to expire and enter the public domain, which is surely the best way to make sure they're remembered and enjoyed in the future. But the fact that such a thing was even considered, by anyone, and that the legal framework either existed or could have been created to do it, ought to be chilling.

Wikipedia also claims [wikipedia.org] that J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan also falls under something similar, and while I'm sure it's well-intentioned (it gives the royalties, in perpetuity, to a children's hospital), it's a rather dangerous precedent. (There apparently is quite a debate over its ordinary copyright status in the U.S. [wikipedia.org] as well. Bonus irony: Disney arguing in favor of the public domain in an intellectual-property dispute, against a children's hospital. Nice, guys, nice.)

Re:Classical music is the new Rock'n'Roll (-1, Troll)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098055)

Sh!t. First post and i fluffed my lines.

someone think of the musicians (4, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21097973)

But how will those dead musicians make a living when their work is available for free on the internet.

Re:someone think of the musicians (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099019)

The same way LIVE musicians make a living when all their work is available for free on the internet.

Re:someone think of the musicians (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100653)

Well *I*'m not sitting in the front row when they're touring.
Don't want any body parts falling on me.

Re:someone think of the musicians (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102223)

I think I need some psychological help. After you said that, the first thing I thought of was dead musicians touring with Gallagher.

Re:someone think of the musicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109725)

I've been to quite a few Rolling Stones concerts, and that's never happened. They must have some good epoxy or something.

What in the? (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21097995)

So, is Universal claiming copyright that was never given, by shutting down the sharing of sheet music irrelevent to its case? I do not understand where Universals basis for claim is for shutting down an entire site. By that logic, if I find Universal happens to have copied a screenplay of mine, I can claim that they must pull all of their movies out of the theatres and off of DVD shelves immediately.

Re:What in the? (2, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098005)

Universal didn't request the shutdown of the whole site, only that it stop distributing works still under US copyright. I think the site was hosted in Canada, so the legality of this is arguable (IANAL); but anyway, closing the whole site was the site owner's choice, since he didn't have time to carefully remove all of the still-copyright works.

Re:What in the? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21099579)

Will people ever learn? Host in Russia or some third world country and administer remotely. So hard?
Those companies will do everything for profit, even chasing people who did nothing (see MAFIAA).

Re:What in the? (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098031)

Universal Edition the music publisher (not "Universal", the global media company) didn't shut down the entire site. They demanded filtering based on IP address (= geographical location) be installed so that you could only see the scores out of copyright in your own country, and not those that are still under copyright where you live though available elsewhere. The owner, who was already stressed out after years of doing this, decided himself to shut it all down.

Re:What in the? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099257)

They demanded filtering based on IP address (= geographical location) be installed so that you could only see the scores out of copyright in your own country, and not those that are still under copyright where you live though available elsewhere.

So, if someone started coming to an American company with a claim that they should be filtering all of the things which are illegal in, say, Iran ... would the American companies tell them to go fsck themselves, or would they happily comply? (Or, in this case, I guess an Australian company being asked to censor based off what's legal in Indonesia might be more apt.)

It is totally unrealistic to expect a company in Canada, with their site hosted in Canada, to selectively filter their content to conform with the local laws of everyone who could possibly reach that site. If we did that, then every web site would end up having to prevent various subsets of their content from being reachable by various subsets of IP addresses.

Then we're on the race to the bottom, of anything which is outlawed anywhere is outlawed everywhere. I'm just having a hard time figuring out to what extent web sites need to be subject to the jurisdiction of unrelated countries.

I understand the site owner has just said "Oh, screw it, this is too much hassle", but I wish this had been a larger entity who could expend the effort to push back and tell them to sod off. This is just a really bad precedent.

Cheers

Re:What in the? (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099493)

So, if someone started coming to an American company with a claim that they should be filtering all of the things which are illegal in, say, Iran ... would the American companies tell them to go fsck themselves, or would they happily comply? (Or, in this case, I guess an Australian company being asked to censor based off what's legal in Indonesia might be more apt.)

If the US would respect an extradition request from Iran for whatever content is being distributed, I would imagine the American comapany would comply (although not happily). What Universal says is, "you are breaking US law, we will sue you in US courts." Because of treaties, Canada would ship him off. If Iran said, "You are breaking Iranian law by listening to Western music," they would laugh because Canada will back them up.

An interesting corallary is downloading encryption software. Iranians cannot download encryption software from US sites, although that is because of the US government.

Re:Universal != Universal Edition (1)

pwilli (1102893) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099619)

Actually "Universal Edition" http://www.uemusic.at/noflash_de.htm [uemusic.at] is located in the EU (more precisely Austria) and would probably drag them to an EU-cortroom.

Re:Universal != Universal Edition (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099959)

They would sure based on where the downloader is, not where the company is located.

IANAL

Re:What in the? (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102937)

If the US would respect an extradition request from Iran for whatever content is being distributed, I would imagine the American comapany would comply (although not happily).
I'm not sure why you think so. I don't think many U.S. judges would bother to enforce a judgment from an Iranian court against a U.S. company that was doing business in the United States, simply because someone in Iran could get on the internet and access their stuff online, and in doing so, violate Iranian laws.

The enforcement of foreign judgments in the U.S. is governed by "Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act, 13 U.L.A. 149 (1986)", which I don't have time to read through at the moment, but Wikipedia claims that non-recognition of judgments can be based on any of:

# Lack of conclusiveness: if the judgment was rendered under a system which does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law.
# The foreign court did not have personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
# The foreign court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter;
# The defendant in the proceedings in the foreign court did not receive notice of the proceedings in sufficient time to enable him to defend;
# The judgment was obtained by fraud;
# The cause of action on which the judgment is based is repugnant to the public policy of the state where enforcement is sought;

The lack of jurisdiction and repugnance to public policy would be the big ones (mostly the former), I think. Actual extradition of a person has much stricter requirements, and I doubt you could get a U.S. citizen extradited to Iran on any grounds.

Re:What in the? (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21105985)

I said "If X then Y." Claiming the likelihood of X is low does not change my point. Later, I do claim that if extradition would not be enforced, the company would laugh at them. (Source: Elementary logic texts)

My other claim, intermingled in there, is that Canada would ship them off to the US. As evidence I would cite Australia doing the same thing.

Re:Wrong continent (1)

pwilli (1102893) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099543)

It is Austria, which is located south of germany (and is a member of the EU), and not Australia.

Re:Wrong continent (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099685)

It is Austria, which is located south of germany (and is a member of the EU), and not Australia.

Oh, crap. How did I miss that? :-P

Thanks for the correction.

Cheers

Re:What in the? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21103145)

Indeed: the proper standard response to these unenforcable "C&D" (cease and desist) letters should be "FOaD" (fuck off and die) letters, especially when the entity sending the C&D is in another country.

I don't even understand that sentence. (-1, Redundant)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098009)

"Project Gutenberg has volunteered to host all it legally can of the IMSLP's catalog"

What?

Re:I don't even understand that sentence. (1)

saintm (142527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098067)

"Project Gutenberg has volunteered to host [all it legally can of] the IMSLP's catalog"

Re:I don't even understand that sentence. (5, Informative)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098081)

Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org] - the first and largest single collection of free electronic books - has volunteered to host IMSLP's (International Music Score Library Project) collection of scores.

Related story: Provider of Free Public Domain Music Shuts Down [slashdot.org]

Props to Gutenberg. Donate [gutenberg.org] if you can spare a few bucks.

Re:I don't even understand that sentence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21099137)

Thanks for the translation.
I can't believe there are so many articles submitted on here that are so cryptic. It's like these guys just assume everyone knows what these huge acronyms related to obscure fields are.

Re:I don't even understand that sentence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21099849)

Or that they can RTFA, dick.

Re:I don't even understand that sentence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21101633)

PG is now hosting movies(ok, a movie) as well. They just recently decided to host Night of the Living Dead. If you don't have a few bucks to donate to them, but want to help the project you can participate in Distributed Proofreaders [pgdp.net] , to help move public domain books into PG.

Re:I don't even understand that sentence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21100309)

You fail English.

I was waiting for this... (1)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098015)

I was expecting someone or some organisation to step up and help out. Congratulations are in order to Project Gutenberg, I would say. We can't let the **AA's bully us into following their ideas about art/music/movies/...

Re:I was waiting for this... (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098053)

Universal Edition, though clearly doing the wrong thing here, is not an *AA. The MPAA and the RIAA fight against the distribution of recordings. Universal Edition is a music publisher, like ASCAP/BMI, Boosey & Hawkers, or EWH.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098097)

They may not be an **AA in name, but they sure seem to be following their stategy perfectly IMHO...

Re:I was waiting for this... (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098181)

The RIAA and MPAA fill P2P networks with dummy info, prosecute you directly if you share your hard drive, and go after grannies who obviously don't have a clue about filesharing. Universal Edition, on the other hand, says "Hey, you can share those scores in most countries, but in this territory we still have copyright". That is nothing like the big music labels and film industry. I am not defending them, since I think copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects, but let's have some perspective here.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21099301)

(http://www.christopherculver.com/)
  I am not defending them, since I think copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects, but let's have some perspective here.

>>> So it's extremely amusing that your website has a copyright notice on it. ;^)

john

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099941)

I think copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects

163 of the world's 194 (or so; depends on who's counting) countries are parties to the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org] ; several more are parties to other multilateral copyright treaties.

I'm not sure how you figure that less than 15% of the world (by number of countries; by population or by economic power, the percentage is far, far lower) constitutes "most of the world".

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100155)

The national legislatures of countries have signed copyright agreements, but their populations could care less about copyright. From Spain to Vietnam, you can buy CDs and DVDs openly on the streets, people download the music they want with no qualms, and if you talk with them about copyright, most people will not agree that creators can restrict who can access their work once it is released.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

radish (98371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102765)

if you talk with them about copyright, most people will not agree that creators can restrict who can access their work once it is released.

And studies have shown that a large percentage of the population of the USA don't agree that man evolved from apes, but that doesn't make it the case. Just because a large number of people agree on something does not make it right. Take away the cash flow and there simply won't be popular/commercial music of the same form as there is today. Now you and I may not think that's a bad thing, but I bet the guys buying the bootleg CDs of Britney & Rhianna would feel differently.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102903)

Take away the cash flow and there simply won't be popular/commercial music of the same form as there is today. Now you and I may not think that's a bad thing, but I bet the guys buying the bootleg CDs of Britney & Rhianna would feel differently.

Africa has produced the pop stars Fela Kuti and Youssou N'Dour, who became loved by millions and quite wealthy, even though their songs were usually heard in pirated recordings. Similarly, Hong Kong has the whole Cantopop tradition even though very few people there buy authorized copies. There was a story not too long ago here on Slashdot about how the Hong Kong music scene is flourishing in spite of piracy.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21103105)

And studies have shown that a large percentage of the population of the USA don't agree that man evolved from apes, but that doesn't make it the case. Just because a large number of people agree on something does not make it right. Take away the cash flow and there simply won't be popular/commercial music of the same form as there is today. Now you and I may not think that's a bad thing, but I bet the guys buying the bootleg CDs of Britney & Rhianna would feel differently.
You're confusing questions of fact with questions of policy.

Questions of fact should not be resolved democratically. In fact, to do so is ridiculous. Either we evolved from apes or we didn't, either the earth is getting warmer or it's not, etc. Whether large numbers of people believe A or B doesn't make A or B more or less true in an objective sense.

However, where opinion does matter is on issues of policy. Whether we evolved from apes or not is a question of fact; what we want taught in schools (science or religion?) is an issue of policy. Whether the world is getting warmer, and whether we're causing it, is an issue of fact. Whether we should stop burning quite so many hydrocarbons is an issue of policy. This is where people's opinions, stupid or not, do start to count.

Copyright is an issue of policy, not fact. There's no objective truth behind it; you can't analyze copyright and find out that the "natural term" of copyright is a certain number of years, like pi or G. So what people believe is critically important, if you believe at all in the rightness of democracy as a system of governance.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21101379)

You reject copyright?

Without copyright there would be no reason for anybody to be in the software business.

This is the Information Age, if I can't sell information that I own then I have nothing to sell.

Re:I was waiting for this... (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102479)

This is the Information Age, if I can't sell information that I own then I have nothing to sell.
Then you deserve to starve.

Here's a hint: you can sell your labor, just like most of the people who are alive or who have ever lived, have done. That works just as well for computer programmers as it does for plumbers, doctors, and lawyers. Negotiate a fair price for your time, get paid up front, and let the buyer do whatever the hell they want to do with the stuff you produce for them.

Welcome to the service economy; it's the same as the old economy.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21116351)

I'm writing software for a company that is then selling that software to people, if they don't have a copyright they can't sell that software to anybody so they have no money to pay me.

Now it is true that at some point someone would pay someone to design and build software that they need, the problem is that then the solution would exist for that problem and I could not get paid to design a system that does the same thing. Now I realize that that sounds ludicrous, after all why should I write the same thing twice? Because a large pool of engineers are needed for the best to exist, within a small group it is far less likely that there will be competent people.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

mothas (792754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21105003)

"You reject copyright?

  Without copyright there would be no reason for anybody to be in the software business.

  This is the Information Age, if I can't sell information that I own then I have nothing to sell."

Oh please...

Without copyright, you'd still be paid to produce software for people who want to use it. Same as now.

Even under current copyright law, you cannot own information - all you're selling is the promise not to
prosecute; i.e. a license.

In the absence of copyrights, you are paid to write software, but get free automatic worldwide distribution.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21101685)

copyright is a silly idea and a peculiar recent Western European innovation that most of the world rightly rejects

There's lots of people even in the West who reject respecting copyrights themselves, because the result of "someone else will pay for it" gets them lots of free stuff, and free stuff is awesome. There are fewer people anywhere who reject the idea of requiring others to respect copyrights, because the result of "nobody will pay for it" might cause the supply of free new stuff to dry up.

On the other hand, I've got to say I'm on the anti-copyright side in this particular case; the supply of free century-old stuff is in much more danger from abandonment by copyright-holding publishers than from a shortage of remuneration for artists' great grandchildren.

Re:I was waiting for this...NICELY???? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21101897)

Universal Edition, on the other hand, says "Hey, you can share those scores in most countries, but in this territory we still have copyright".

They sure didn't say that very nicely? It was like: OBEY, OR DIE! Obey the EU directives, or our Canadian lawyer will get you good!

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

Maskull (636191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21104191)

True, music publishers generally aren't as scummy as the *AA, but they're scummy in their own special way. They make money selling sheet music; if you can legally copy public domain music, then they don't make money. Thus, they have no incentive to promote a healthy public domain, and every incentive to keep works out of it. So you'll see things like old PD editions reissued as "edited" with no changes except for a new copyright notice. Actual, old editions that are in the PD, when available, are often insanely expensive. As a last resort, publishers will gladly let a work go out of print, rather than publish a work that is in the PD.

(I should point out for fairness' sake that not all music publishers are like this. For example, International seems to have no problem publishing public domain editions as such, and for a reasonable price; at least, my copy of Rachmaninoff's First Piano Sonata from them has no copyright.)

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

JasonTik (872158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21105341)

I am thoroughly impressed with them. They are doing a damn good job. They are asking for what they have a reasonable right to, no more. And they are doing it in a reasonable way. "Please don't share stuff in copyright here with here" is WAY better than the "OMG YOU HAVE A SONG! TERRORIST!" that the RIAA is such a fan of.

I agree that copyright needs fixing, but that is a separate issue. Here and now, I must say to them, bravo!

Sort of ... (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098343)

This is more like Books being scanned and then made available on the net. Some books may not be available in certain countries or still in copyright in certain others.

I mean are we talking guitar tab and stuff like that or proper orcheatra scores? The former is a few quid but the latter cost hundreds/thousands to rent for a performance dpending on the size/length.

Re:Sort of ... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102763)

Yes, but what Universal was saying is that it's the archive's responsibility to limit access to only those scores that people are legally allowed to view.

This is a bizarre stance and I don't believe there's any possible way they could get it upheld (although maybe in the E.U. and in Canada, who knows), but it was enough to scare the site owner into taking the whole thing down.

I can think of a bunch of similarly contentious issues that never were forced to go that route: up until fairly recently, you couldn't export strong crypto out of the U.S. Thus, every site that allowed you to download strong crypto required you to click on a little form certifying that you were a U.S. Citizen or located in the U.S. As long as they did that, they could pass the buck on to the user if they got accused of distributing.

And anyone who wants can go to Project Gutenberg Australia's site and get books that are still under copyright in the U.S. and the E.U. [gutenberg.net.au] , because Australia has managed to stand up to the IP lobbies and retained a death-plus-50 copyright instead of death-plus-70 like the Disney Empire's client states.

Basically, Universal wants to somehow shift liability from the user to the distributor, even though what the distributor is doing is legal, just because it's easier for them to go after distributors. It's stupid, and it's unfortunate that Canada has such a cozy relationship with the E.U. that the site operator felt threatened by their tactics. (A U.S. court, I suspect, would have laughed at a E.U. court's judgment against a U.S. firm for doing something that was legal in the U.S., simply because it was accessible through the internet by people in the E.U.; I don't understand why the Canadian courts would have done it any differently. That a Canadian citizen would feel threatened by that is pretty disgusting.)

Re:Sort of ... (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102931)

Surely if I live in the UK and buy something from Amazon.Fr then its up to Amazon to make sure that I pay any import/export duty and any relevant taxes that may be due. I can't just say that "I am on the internet" and therefore your laws don't apply to me. The owner of the site in question wanted to keep within the bounds of the law and probably just didn't have the resources to rewrite the site to accomodate this.

Re:Sort of ... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21107871)

Well, that is mainly a jurisdictional question. If Amazon.fr is not actually located in the UK, which is what normally puts someone in British jxn, then there has to be some other connection that does it. Merely claiming worldwide jxn isn't really good enough, since you'd have to convince the French courts to go along with it, and they'll likely have a higher standard than unilateral declarations. Otherwise you'd be stuck pursuing whatever assets Amazon.fr might have in the UK, which could be a lot, or could be very little.

In the US, part of the analysis is whether there has been enough contact by the defendant with the jurisdiction in which the suit is brought. Merely putting up a web site is generally not sufficient. Doing business with people in that jurisdiction (and thus voluntarily availing yourself of their laws so that you can form contracts, pursue deadbeats, etc.) generally is.

If this guy had been in the US, and had been acting lawfully under US law, and didn't have any assets in Austria which could have caused him to cave, he would pretty certainly not have a problem keeping the site online.

Remember to think through the consequences of enforcing laws which are foreign to the person being made subject to them: it's undemocratic, a race to the bottom, and often quite easy to abuse. People have to abide by the laws of the places where they are, but not usually places where they are not.

You misunderstand how import duties work. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109651)

Surely if I live in the UK and buy something from Amazon.Fr then its up to Amazon to make sure that I pay any import/export duty and any relevant taxes that may be due.
I have no idea why you would think this. Why should that be their responsibility? It's purely a UK domestic issue, between you and your taxman, basically. They're just selling something and handing it over to a common carrier for shipment. After that, they wash their hands of it. You can even read Amazon's official stance [amazon.com] : "Your packages may be subject to the customs fees and import duties of the country to which you have your order shipped. These charges are always the recipient's responsibility." (Emph. mine)

What would happen, if they didn't let you prepay the import duty as a convenience feature, would be that they would take your money, they would load the goods into a box, hand that box to the common carrier, and then that carrier would hold the box at their local office on your end, until you paid up the required import duties. If you didn't pay, it wouldn't be released to you.

Now, perhaps there is some sort of bilateral agreement between E.U. states such as the U.K. and France, agreeing not to ship things to each other's countries without first ensuring the correct tax has been paid at the point of origin, but if so, that's just something they've gotten together and done for convenience and to make intra-E.U. business easier.

Other countries, like the U.S. (which does not, as a general rule, care what other countries' laws are), do not require such things. However, as a convenience, companies that do a lot of international business will precompute import duties on many goods, roll it into the total cost, and allow/force you to prepay it, just so that you don't have to worry about it getting held up on the receiving end. (Amazon US does this with international customers.) And many shippers may require that the duties are prepaid before they will accept a package for shipment, because they don't want to deal with problems going through Customs. But there's nothing forcing them to do it, besides a desire to make international commerce as painless as possible -- it's merely a service to the recipient, who ultimately has responsibility for whatever they're importing.

I can quite easily put something in the mail (from the U.S.) to you in the U.K., mark it with some absurdly high value, and let you decide whether you want to pay the import duty in order to pick it up and find out what's inside. (Ever read the Saga of the P-P-Powerbook? [amcgltd.com] ) Your duties, your country, your problem.

Anyway, this is all offtopic to the main thrust, which is that an internet site operating in one country, should not have to worry about breaking the laws of a lot of other countries simply because it's possible for someone in that other country to access the site. There are countries where pornography is illegal, but you don't hear about people who run porn sites in civilized, porn-loving countries being extradited to Saudi Arabia for trial, or having obscenity judgments from foreign courts enforced against them. So I think the entire concept was a ridiculous threat.

Unfortunately, it was a ridiculous threat being made by a megacorporation with more than enough resources to crush and ruin a single person's life a thousand times over, so it's no surprise that the poor guy just didn't want to get involved. Sadly, that is how injustice usually happens.

Re:I was waiting for this... (1)

gslj (214011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099835)

I agree. Congratulations to PG. Now what we need is a CANADIAN organization to host the content that PG can't. There's probably a lot of it because Canadian copyright law is still based on a life+50 term.

-Gareth

fmm. (3, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098027)

by which I can assume there is still a lot of money to be made from music that is clearly beyond copyright?

after all I would hazard a guess this is all about money, not copyright.

well done Project Gutenberg.

Re:fmm. (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098347)

after all I would hazard a guess this is all about money, not copyright.

Considering copyright itself is about money, I would say you are correct.

Re:fmm. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098487)

It is about money, but indirectly.

If OmniCorp Music can whip up some outrage by pointing at people breaching their 90 year copyrights (regardless of medium or profit), then when Omnicorp Film want to buy a hundred or hundred and fifty year duration law, they'll be able to hire less expensive lobbyists and give smaller 'campaign donations' to fewer Senators.

Re:fmm. (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100225)

I highly doubt that any substantial copyright extension in terms of term duration is going to happen, at least in America, without a huge political fight happening at the same time. Certainly it is getting to the point of absurdity, and it is possible that if a bill comes up before congress to change the length of the copyright term, that it might even result in a reduction of the length of the copyright instead of an increase... if only because the issue will be put before congressmen with people who are being harmed by lengthy copyright terms.

I for one favor the 17+17 copyright term (aka 17 years + 17 years if the copyright is "renewed" formally). A "compromise" solution for those requesting a copyright extension may only end up keeping current legislation in place and not permitting an extension at all.

Re:fmm. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100419)

I have some vacation time coming up; is the weather on your planet nice this time of year?

Re:fmm. (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102575)

Wow, the media companies still need lobbyists for Congress? I thought they just yanked the chain connected to the Congressmen's dog collars. Maybe there's hope for this country yet.

Re:fmm. (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102561)

by which I can assume there is still a lot of money to be made from music that is clearly beyond copyright?
The music is beyond copyright. The graphical representation of that music on paper is still under copyright. The folks publishing all this out-of-copyright music just come up with a new arrangement and typesetting every couple decades and get a brand-new copyright on it. The older publications fall into the public domain, and some are available [duke.edu] in various places [redhost24-001.com] if you know where to look [indiana.edu] . Unfortunately most people living 70+ years ago didn't think to save us a copy in a bank vault or in a trunk in the attic. So the out-of-copyright stuff is actually pretty hard to come by. Moreso when you run into problems like IMSLP did, with folks in other countries trying to impose their copyright laws onto you.

What's really needed is a Gutenberg-like project just for music. Right now the way most old music is stored is a raw scan, just like when Project Gutenberg makes raw scans of the text in books. We need some sort of OCR software and human eyeballs (and fingers) to look over those scans and encode them in a way that's open and freely available for anyone or anything to use. Something like an enhanced MIDI format which allows you to add various notations you normally see in printed music. Unfortunately the population that's capable of doing this with music is markedly smaller than the population who can do this with books (which is basically anyone who can read text).

Re:fmm. (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21103353)

midi wouldn't be right, we need a graphical representation. midi is a hopelessly lost cause when it comes to storing a graphical representation of the music (it can't even differentiation between an e-flat and a d-sharp, for example).

the most commonly used format is lilypond, which is basically AFAIK a collection of macros for tex, and very good it is too. MusicXML is now on the way in too, but i've never used it myself, so i won't say anything more about it.

Re:fmm. (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21105157)

the most commonly used format is lilypond, ...

Actually, the most commonly-used format, by a large margin, is ABC [abcnotation.org.uk] . It's a rather basic, plain-text notation, without without much in the way of fancy formatting. OTOH, it's fairly easy to read it directly. There's lots of mostly free software for it, and there are somewhat over 300,000 pieces of music online at about 350 ABC sites now. This is a couple orders of magnitude more than for lilypond, which is probably the closest competitor.

Those of us who have been using ABC for the past decade or so are mostly cheering on the purveyors of the other open music formats, like lilypond, rosegarden, Music[X]ML, etc. They are coming online slowly, and are all well worth investigating. All of them are good prospects for solving the interchange problems posed by the various proprietary music formatting packages.

Transcribing out-of-copyright editions of old music into any of these and putting them online would be a worthwhile project for anyone who wants to make a real contribution to our access to music.

Notation Formats (1)

zonx lebaam (688779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21105231)

Actually having facsimile images of the Public Domain editions online is incredibly useful, and is, I believe, the most platform neutral (despite the presence of lilypond). There is quite a handful of competing file formats for sheet music notation at this point in time. Gutenberg itself accepts a number of them, including at least two proprietary ones (in semi-contrast to their .txt policy for literary works). Not only is the "population that's capable [of creating computer notated music] markedly smaller than the population who can do this with books", but there are additional problems both theoretical and practical that make this more difficult for even that population, as opposed to the philological problems for text that are generally easy to sidestep in the context of project Gutenberg.

Donations (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098049)

How does one donate to Project Gutenberg?

Re:Donations (5, Informative)

Lonedar (897073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098115)

There is a PayPal link on the main site: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page [gutenberg.org]

And I think that Project Gutenberg is one of the best initiatives on the Internet.
Where else could you get, for free, electronic versions of books in the public domain? And they provide multiple file formats as well.

Alternative way of donating (1)

fritsd (924429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21104811)

Another way to donate is to give your personal time, if you're a careful reader with a good eye for mistakes: www.pgdp.net [pgdp.net] and for the books in less ASCIIfyable scripts the european version, dp.rastko.net [rastko.net] (warning, currently down, please don't slashdot it).

abbreviations, off topic, of course. (0, Troll)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098101)

The term [google.com] (which is, by the way, "International Mathematical and Statistical Library"), has only one definition in German on the Web, and IMSLP does not have any [google.com] .

It is easy to Google things nowadays, but would not it be nice to have a common courtesy to explain what are you talking about in the summary?

Disclaimer. I know what GSL and NR are, so I am not a complete noob on this. (Well, may be I am, let us see what mods will say).

Re:abbreviations, off topic, of course. (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098135)

Man, don't I have my entire leg in my mouth now, after going to the first link...

IMSLP stands for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21098213)

IMSLP stands for International Music Score Library Project [imslp.org] . It used to be a great wiki where a lot of public-domain musical scores could be accessed, including many orchestral scores, before Universal Edition issued a couple cease-and-desist letters.

Congratulations to the Project Gutenberg! My community orchestra will be donating to them soon.

Transcriptions (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098129)

Now all we need is someone to stand up to the music industry shutting down tabliture sites that contain peoples interpretations of music.

Re:Transcriptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21098267)

they would be derived from works of copyright.

Re:Transcriptions (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098495)

it's ok so long as it's your interpretation and you don't actually copy any of the original work. (which in this case would be sheet music or tabliture)

The BBC had a news article not so long ago where a picture wasn't allowed to be shown on TV because the owners refused to release copyright, so all the BBC done was to get someone to paint a picture of that picture and show the painting on TV.

Re:Transcriptions (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099053)

I don't know how this applies to UK law, but in America that would still be illegal. It would be called a "derivative work", and you would still have to get the copyright permission from the original photographer in order to publicly display such an image. In the case of a painting of a photograph, you would need the copyright permission of both the photographer as well as the artist who made the painting.

There aren't easy "loopholes" for copyright law, and attempts to do so like you are mentioning are going to get you into legal trouble.... perhaps even more so because you are demonstrating that you know something about copyright law but are demonstrating ignorance at the whole of the law. Or deliberately flaunting that law.

Re:Transcriptions (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099237)

hmm... UK law may be different than US law, but I was speaking to a guy who said all those imitation fonts are possible because of the copying process I described. I've never herd anything saying that they are illegal in the states.

How would anyone ever be able to produce anything that anyone else has ever done, if I put a keypad on my phone just like another company has a keypad on their phone am I suddenly breaking copyright law because our products have the sameish/copied features?

Re:Transcriptions (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21107975)

hmm... UK law may be different than US law, but I was speaking to a guy who said all those imitation fonts are possible because of the copying process I described. I've never herd anything saying that they are illegal in the states.

In the US, typefaces are not copyrightable at all. You can copy them all you like. Well, new typefaces could be subject to a design patent, but given that 500-year old typefaces are in common use today, and design patents only last for 14 years and many designers don't bother to get them, it's not the biggest stumbling block ever.

However, it has sometimes been argued that computer fonts are actually copyrightable software which outputs uncopyrightable letterforms. It is a fairly dubious position, but not one which gets decided a lot. So you're better off not merely copying some font files, but analyzing the letterforms, etc. and reconstructing it. Also the names of the typeface could be trademarked, so watch out for that.

if I put a keypad on my phone just like another company has a keypad on their phone am I suddenly breaking copyright law because our products have the sameish/copied features?

Poor example. That would run into the utility doctrine, if not 102(b), much like the typefaces do. OTOH, if it was novel and nonobvious, you could try to get a patent.

Re:Transcriptions (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111223)

That would run into the utility doctrine.

It is novel and nonobvious, all phones before used dials, this is my artistic design for which I hold the copyright too, any other phones with keypads instead of dials must be derived works.

Why do I need a patent if I'm already covered by copyright law which lasts for much longer.

Re:Transcriptions (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111379)

It is novel and nonobvious, all phones before used dials, this is my artistic design for which I hold the copyright too, any other phones with keypads instead of dials must be derived works.

Well, that you are the first person to put a keypad on a phone was not in the previous post. Certainly whoever did that first could seek a utility patent on it (and probably did).

But not a copyright. First, ideas and methods are not copyrightable, so you cannot stop other people from putting a keypad on a phone or having the keypad function for dialing. All you could argue involves using your particular appearance of keypad (e.g. buttons so close together, particular arrangement, color, etc.). Second, for pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, the utility doctrine applies. Basically nothing useful about the work is copyrightable, and if the useful and non-useful parts of the work are inseperable, then none of it is copyrightable. Courts basically have a million different standards for seperability; I suspect that they make a gut decision and then work out a test to achieve the result. In any event, the keypad performs a useful function and is, if anything, a sculptural work. There doesn't seem to be a way to seperate the purely decorative parts of the keypad from the useful ones, though YMMV. That would mean the utility doctrine makes it uncopyrightable.

Why do I need a patent if I'm already covered by copyright law which lasts for much longer.

Because copyrights and patents have entirely different subject matter. Patents protect inventions; copyrights protect works. These do not overlap, though a single object might embody both inventions and works (e.g. a floppy disk, which is a combination of several inventions -- the disk medium, the plastic of the case, the shutter design, possibly the data format it carries, the use of a protective shell around the medium -- as well as perhaps bearing some works -- a few short stories that are saved on the disk). Trademarks are another kind of protection, but which does not overlap with copyrights or patents.

If you want to protect something, or certain aspects of something, then you need to use the appropriate sort of protection. If you took telephone cases and painted them decoratively, then you could copyright those designs. If you invented the phone keypad, you'd need to get a patent. If you introduced both features at the same time, you'd better have gotten a copyright and a patent or else not care.

Generally, I'd suggest looking at 17 USC 102. 102(a) lists the kinds of things that can be copyrighted (the utility doctrine is in 101). 102(b) lists the kinds of things that are not copyrightable, but do tend to fall into patent territory. It's handy to keep in mind.

Good god, kdawson (-1, Troll)

tietokone-olmi (26595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098245)

Would you at least make sure that the story abstract defines all abbreviations and initialisms to which it refers? IMSLP? What on earth is that, and where is it, and what does it have to do with the story?

Also note that the correct way is to say "Internet Protocol (IP)", rather than "IP (Internet Protocol)". The first is civilized, and the second is look mom I know initialisms oh lawd I'm so l33tz0r.

Re:Good god, kdawson (2, Informative)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098573)

Go type IMSLP into Google and you'll have your answer as the first hit. Quit being such a god damn lazy grammar nazi.

Re:Good god, kdawson (2, Funny)

tietokone-olmi (26595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098823)

Pardon me, but I believe the correct expression here is "member of the national socialist worker's party of Germany, style of expression subdepartment". Please report to the incinerator at your earliest convenience. Heil Hitler!

Re:Good god, kdawson (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100583)

Go type IMSLP into Google and you'll have your answer as the first hit. Quit being such a god damn lazy grammar nazi.

You mean this [teachersnetwork.org] , the first result for IMSL Project [google.com] . Or this [vni.com] , the first result for IMSL [google.com] ?

If we need to take a little initiative and lookup these initalisms ourselves, perhaps the editors can take a little initiative and at least be consistent with the initialisms they use.

Re:Good god, kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21098595)

The first is civilized, and the second is look mom I know initialisms oh lawd I'm so l33tz0r.

And whining about it is "hurr hurr look mom I gots the intarwebs!" Now that you have them, learn to use them. You can start by going to World Wide Web (www).google.Commercial Site (com)

Hope That Helps (HTH), Have A Nice Day (HAND) now Get The Fuck Out (GTFO).

By The Way (BTW), the related stories links. Use them.

Re:Good god, kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21098907)

Your nitpickery and your inappropriate use of reductio ad absurdum is unbecoming of the title of Anonymous. I spit at thee. (newfag.)

Michael Hart seems like a good guy (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098311)

Noting much to add - I just thought such goodness ought to be acknowledged. I've given up on the imslp surviving this crysis. Surprisingly, humanity (part of it) proved me wrong! I think "w00t!" is appropriate.

Thanks Michael!

Acronyms please, Mr. Dawson (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21098321)

WTF does IMSLP stand for? Guesses:
  • Idiots More Stupid Laughing Pleasantly
  • I'm Moving, So Long, Partner
  • Is My Stuff Less Precious?
  • It's MY Stuff, Lousy Person!
  • Irish Masterbators Selflessly Longing for Pussy
IANAL, DDoS, WTF, MPAA, RIAA, MAFIAA we know but come on, IMSLP isn't exactyly a nerd standard, is it?

RTFA? WTF??? This is /.!

-mcgrew (sm62704)

Project Gutenberg? (2, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098703)

The US military recently tried to shut down Project Gutenberg's hosting server. Project Gutenberg listened to the server's cries of "No disassemble!" and with the help of Project Sheedy, helped the server to safety.

Whack-a-mole (1)

c (8461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21098967)

Funny thing about playing whack-a-mole on the Internet... the moles get bigger, bring lawyers, and carry their own mallets.

They acted like dicks (hint: if first contact involves lawyers, you're a dick) towards someone who, had they approached nicely, might have been willing to cooperate. Now they've moved their problem to an organized group who already knows how to deal with these sorts of things and isn't likely to back down against empty threats.

WOW this is nuts (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099421)

After RTFA and looking up the letter [imslpforums.org] I am in shock!


They are saying that because the copyright is 50 years past the death of the author in Canada, 70 years past the death of the author in Europe, and the number varies in other countries, that the IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project) should be filtering IP's of people in those countries and enforcing the copyright lengths. Just because the work is Public domain in Canada does not mean that it is public domain in the USA and Europe. Thus they should not allow it to be distributed to the US and Europe.

I am sorry, this is 100% NUTS! That kind of filtering would put an undue burden and undue cost of implementation on the owner of the site and should be outside the scope of enforcement.

It sucks that all this cost them was a letter, the IMSLP should get in touch with the EFF and anyone else that will help. This should be STOPPED!

Re:WOW this is nuts (1)

LeandroTLZ (1163617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099637)

...should be filtering IP's of people in those countries and enforcing the copyright lengths...
So that people in those countries have to waste 30 seconds looking for a proxy server to access the content anyway?

Re:WOW this is nuts (4, Interesting)

Richard_J_N (631241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21100169)

De facto, permissions on the net are the logical OR of the permissions in the various jurisdictions. I.e, if activity X is permitted anywhere, it is permitted everywhere. (This is just another way to say that the internet treats censorship as damage, and routes around it).

This is quite clearly a good thing, and the Right thing. However, some legal jurisdictions haven't caught up with the modern world yet.

Where is Google? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21101853)

And where is Google in all this? I would have expected them to be the first to be hosting Google Sheet Music.

Project Gutenberg's Problem (2, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21101929)

Project Gutenberg's problem is that they're not in Canada themselves, and hence find themselves under USA law and all the stupid treaties they've signed along the way.

Re:Project Gutenberg's Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21117611)

There are plans to open Project Gutenberg Canada. And there already is Project Gutenberg Europe [rastko.net] , located in a life+50 country, which hosts works which are under copyright in the USA.

Gutenberg site (1)

zonx lebaam (688779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21102505)

Can anyone find anything confirming this on the gutenberg site? I don't see anything on the main page, the news page, or even the sheet music section. Even if it just happened (or didn't quite happen yet) I would have expected to see some kind of announcement or link or something, or maybe I just don't know where to look.

Re:Gutenberg site (2, Informative)

gbnewby (74175) | more than 6 years ago | (#21107771)

We (Project Gutenberg) haven't received anything from IMSLP yet, and depending on how easy it is to identify materials that are public domain in thUS, we might not be able to immediately redistribute it. But I did correspond with the person who runs IMSLP (when the issue first came up, not just recently) and do anticipate we'll be able to help. It's great to see the /. coverage of Michael's note to the BookPeople mailing list (the main link in the slashdot story thread), but at this point there's not a lot to report...

A few extra things:
- Thanks to everyone who has said nice things about Project Gutenberg :)
- Yes, we pledge to continue "fighting the good fight" for appropriateness of copyright enforcement
- The Universal music claims are, as others have noted, legally unsupported here in the US. (I don't know whether anything relevant is different in Canada)
- We maintain some of our past letters to these types of claims at http://cand.pglaf.org/ [pglaf.org] (cand == Cease And Desist :-). This includes telling the Mitchell estate the PG-US doesn't control PG-AU, where "Gone with the Wind" is posted, and there is no reason why PG-AU would need to block downloaders from elsewhere
- We have also argued many times that *if* there is infringement (say in the UK, an EU country, etc.) then it is up to the infringed-upon party to take action, not Project Gutenberg. (We even offer to help, by writing a general letter explaining that people should check the laws of their country before downloading...as stated in every public domain eBook and on the gutenberg.org Web site)
- Among other things, the rejection of IP address blocking (as proposed by Universal) can rest on the simple fact that even downloading a copyright item might not be a copyright violation:
-- many countries have notions of "fair use" that allow such use of copyrighted content
-- what if the downloader owns the item in question already (say, they own the sheet music in print form, and want it digitally)?
-- what if the downloader is not where the IP address maps to?
-- other examples you can think of...

    Greg Newby (of Project Gutenberg)

Lessons in content reuse and forking (1)

UninvitedCompany (709936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21105965)

What is unfortunate is that IMSLP appears likely [imslp.org] to remain down for a period of months while its founder considers the offers from Gutenberg and others and decides what to do, leaving a valuable resource created by a large group of volunteers unavailable in the interim.

Too bad they didn't offer database dumps or other convenient means for mirrors to obtain the content.

kudos to Gutenberg - but something is really wrong (1)

bukuman (1129741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109829)

kudos to Gutenberg for hosting the material. It's good that we can shelter the content under their legal umbrella, but having content migrate to a few mega-sites like Gutenberg or the Internet Archive is not really good enough somehow.

We want a world where anyone who has some content can cheaply and easily share it - where it is legal to do so. 'Where it is legal to do so' is where all the trouble starts. Any little guy who wants to share his collection of PD banjo scores or what ever has to deal with ALL the legal issues. That has a real 'chilling effect'. It is a gross waste of every one's time to go though the same discovery and technical steps to address the issues.

It's probably getting worse not better, the copyrighteous are getting bolder, more aggressive, and more tech savvy. It's all very well to say 'the Internet routes around damage', but it doesn't route around law. When you are faced with re-mortgaging your house to pay to convince a judge that the banjo scores are in fact PD likely you will just fold.

I see the following kinds of problems:
  1. Gutenberg and InternetArchive are US based so can only defensibly host US PD material - this leaves a lot of material out of the umbrella.
  2. The Gutenberg position that 'we can serve any USA PD material to anywhere in the world' may not in fact be legally defensible. IANAL but if you read some cases around libel and such I get the feeling the copyrighteous will get around to Gutenberg at some point.
  3. If it turns out that one has to geo filter then:
    • worst case one needs to know for each work: all the authors/editors/translators/contributors, and the death dates, and the publishing date, and which edition of the printed work the text came from. Gutenberg and others are often 'pretty light' on this sort of meta data - it's not significant under the USA 1923 rule.
    • then for each jurisdiction one needs to model the copyright laws and the treatment of anon etc work. True enough they fall into 'families' like 'life+50' but you have to know that there are no quirks to be safe - right? and they are likely written in languages you don't understand, and they change so you have to keep monitoring them.
    • one has to get a good geo IP scheme running. Ignoring the 'proxy hole' as far as I know GEOIP DBs are either crippled or 'too expensive' for a hobbyist and for some reason RIPE and such don't seem to have a nice API to query country from an IP.
    • put together work,country,law to decide if a file can be served to that IP address.
    Whew, It's all do-able, but really to we want to make everyone with something to share have to go through all that? Is Gutenberg going to go through all that so they can serve the world?

We need an architecture for open pervasive legitimate sharing.

  • At least some:
  • open easily accessible legal guidance in this area - use case, faqs, what ifs, safe harbour procedures, etc.
  • open free geoIP DBs.
  • open free codification of copyright laws in a form easy to write programs against.
  • open free work/creators/contributors data to justify PD per jurisdiction per work.
  • people who are happy to host those parts of the sharable corpus that they legally able to do.
  • Lawyers, lots of lawyers. IANAL but maybe one can structure things so that any legal hurt can only be directed at a few bodies that are equipped to deal with it rather than the (hopefully) myriad small niche sharing sites.

The copyright holding cabal sure don't want people to get the idea that there is anything of value that comes from anyone but them. They are succeeding, many people have no idea Dickens is PD You can see the copyrighteous will be pursuing every effort to balkanize, ghettoise, and marginalize, and eventually extinguish even legitimate sharing.

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