Apparently Righthaven is burnt toast; not only has their business and legal model failed spectacularly, but MediaNews Group isn’t reupping their contract. Spread some Schadenfreud marmelade on it, pour some tea, and wait for the funeral.
Today’s act of heavy-handed bureaucracy involves the semi-takedown of IMSLP, one of the chief sources of public-domain print music.
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
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
and retract their
domain name so that the website cannot be accessed.
An example of the infringing material on
is ‘The Bells’ by
Rachmaninov which can be reached via:
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:
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
Printed Music Publishing Administrator
Music Publishers Association
6th Floor, British Music House, 26 Berners Street, London W1T 3LR
Direct Tel: +44 (0)20 7637 4052
Fax: +44 (0)20 7637 3929 (please confirm fax by sending me an email)
the_MPA on twitter <http://twitter.com/the_MPA>
So, of course GoDaddy did.
Now, here’s the problem as I see it: The IMSLP scan of the full score of the Rachmaninov is of the Boosey reprint of ca. 1947, not the original Gutheil of 1920. So, while the piece is incontrovertably PD in the US and Canada, the edition is apparently not PD. If they copied the Gutheil, or scanned the Boosey into Finale, they could tell Kirner to piss up a rope. Or rather GoDaddy could, who is the weak sister in this situation. As for as the law, it strikes me that MPA really doesn’t have standing here. They’re acting in a similar position to Righthaven here is the US, which does not own any copyrights itself.
Adding to the comedy, after IMSLP published Kirner’s letter and gave permission for others to do the same, Kirner issued a takedown notice…which is why you see it here on this blog. However, one must wonder if Boosey sent a cease-and-desist to IMSLP, and whether IMSLP published that as well.
The countersuit idea has merit. Even better would be to find some Gutheil parts, or copy parts from the Gutheil score, and offer them for download….which would hurt the B&H revenue stream a lot more.
I hate bullies.
Behold 19 year old Jimmy Winkelman, who has a company named The South Butt which makes fleece jackets, and which is being legally persecuted by some other company called The North Face, which seems to think that their trademark is being infringed. Here is the reply to said persecution. Note Affrimative Defence III, which nicely sums up just how STUPID this action has been as a business move.
I thought you needed a smile after the preceding bummer.
50s-70s artists can take their copyrights back — or get more money for leaving them alone.
The  Copyright Act includes two sets of rules for how this works. If an artist or author sold a copyright before 1978 (Section 304), they or their heirs can take it back 56 years later. If the artist or author sold the copyright during or after 1978 (Section 203), they can terminate that grant after 35 years. Assuming all the proper paperwork gets done in time, record labels could lose sound recording copyrights they bought in 1978 starting in 2013, 1979 in 2014, and so on. For 1953-and-earlier music, grants can already be terminated.
The Eagles plan to file grant termination notices by the end of the year, according to Law.com. “It’s going to happen,” said Eveline. “Just think of what the Eagles are doing when they get back their whole catalog. They don’t need a record company now…. You’ll be able to go to Eaglesband.com (updated) and get all their songs. They’re going to do it; it’s coming up.”
It’s so delicious. Check out the comments on Wired: no sympathy at all. As the Eagles said, “Get over it!”
Paul Aitken, the group’s executive director objects to the text-to-speech feature on Amazon’s Kindle 2 digital-book reader. Aitken told The Wall Street Journal: “They don’t have the right to read a book out loud. That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”
“They” (whoever ‘they” are) aren’t reading a book. A machine (i.e., not a moral actor, but a tool) is reading a book. If it’s my tool, it’s reading it for me. It’s funny that, to the best of my knowledge, people haven’t thrown fits over readers for the blind. But doesn’t adaptive technology such as this do exactly what the Kindle does? Doesn’t it equally violate copyright? Do the handicapped get to violate laws that the rest of us do not? What if I’m a bad reader and move my lips while I’m reading? And this is the Writer’s Guild, not the the Screen Actor’s Guild or Equity or whoever represents voice talent in books-on-CD. Sandoval is right; if this is IP crime, then parents have been committing it for centuries.
Meanwhile, the Brits have decided that living musicians need to be protected from competition from dead ones, and are upping their protection of sound recordings to 95 years.