Jake Kirner beclowns himself and the MPA

Today’s act of heavy-handed bureaucracy involves the semi-takedown of IMSLP, one of the chief sources of public-domain print music.

Dear sirs

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
http://www.IMSLP.ORG 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
with http://www.IMSLP.ORG and retract their
domain name so that the website cannot be accessed.

An example of the infringing material on http://www.IMSLP.ORG is ‘The Bells’ by
Rachmaninov which can be reached via:

http://imslp.org/wiki/The_Bells,_Op.35_ … ff,_Sergei)
http://216.129.110.22/files/imglnks/usi … score_.pdf

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:

<snip>

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
May 2011.

Yours faithfully,

Jake Kirner
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)
jkirner@mpaonline.org.uk <mailto:jkirner@mpaonline.org.uk>
http://www.mpaonline.org.uk <http://www.mpaonline.org.uk/&gt;
the_MPA on twitter <http://twitter.com/the_MPA&gt;

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.

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