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IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library

Free public domain music scores and/or sheet music library. [06june09]

The Petrucci Music Library plans to create a virtual library containing all public domain music scores and/or sheet music, as well as scores from composers who are willing to share their music with the world without charge.

Online since February 16, 2006, the database now includes 15,574 works and 29,641 scores, the website is now translated in 13 different languages and provides "discussion" pages and forums for interactive discussion with the community. Users can easily browse the score database by composer name, time period, genre or instrument. Based on a simple Wiki structure, the project is also asking for people contributions:

"You can contribute by simply participating in the growth of this wiki by sharing your knowledge in music with others. If you have public domain sheet music on your shelves or hard disk, consider sharing it with the rest of the world by uploading it to the Petrucci Music Library! You can also help by importing public domain scores from other websites."

Also, the IMSLP Community Project plans to acquire collections of works from inactive archives, scan or upload works from private donations, or other tasks. One of the current projects is the Orchestra Parts Project. Completed projects include the acquisition of the bh2000 archive, the Gutenberg score archive, and the Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe.

More details:

Digital Archives That Disappear

How best to guarantee that they will be around for good? [15may09]

Here are some excerpts from an article recently published by the Inside Higher Ed website:

As digital archives have become more important and more popular, there are varying schools of thought among scholars about how best to guarantee that they will be around for good. Some think that the best possibility is for the creators of the archives -- people generally with some passion for the topic -- to keep control. Others favor acquisition, thinking that larger entities provide more security and resources for the long run.

The fate of "Paper of Record," a digital archive of early newspapers with a particularly strong collection of Mexican newspapers, may be cited in the years ahead as an example of the dangers of purchase by a large entity. Paper of Record was purchased (secretly) by Google in 2006, and shortly after Google took over management of the site, late last year, the archive disappeared from view. After weeks in which historians have complained to Google and others about the loss of their ability to work, the previous owner of the archive has received permission to bring the archive back for some period of time, and resumption of service could start as early next week.

The current loss of access is "tragic," said Ted Beatty, director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. Beatty said Paper of Record not only has a great archive, but its search tools "revolutionized" the ease with which scholars could search the newspapers in the collection. Beatty said that he has been using the database for years, and encouraging his undergraduate and graduate students to do so as well -- until access disappeared.

Read full article.

The Economist: copyright and wrongs

"This house believes that existing copyright laws do more harm than good." [06may09]

The renowned UK weekly The Economist just launched a new online debate on copyright and wrongs. The moderator, Kenneth Cukier, the magazine's Tokyo correspondent, started with this opening remark:

"Copyright strangles creativity. Copyright rewards originality. It is a nuisance to the public that unduly enriches a few people. It is the backbone of our knowledge economy that fuels progress. Hate it, love it, break it, protect it; few people lack strong opinions about copyright and its place in society."

In support of the initial motion ("existing copyright laws do more harm than good") we have Professor William Fisher (Harvard Law School), while Professor Justin Hughes (Cardozo Law School, New York) argues against it. Users can publish comment all along and even vote on that motion: after the first 24 hours, there are more than 55 comments, with 71% yes and 29% no votes.

During the following days the two debaters will post more statements and rebuttals, with other words from the moderator and surely lots of new comments from the public, and so on. A very interesting format to host a serious and open debate on such an important topic.

Follow and participate in this lively conversation: copyright and wrongs.

Antitrust inquiry for Google Books deal

Maybe that was an extremely far-reaching agreement? [29apr09]

According to the New York Times, "The Justice Department has begun an inquiry into the antitrust implications of Google’s settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Book Search service, two people briefed on the matter said Tuesday."

The article further explains that recently the Department has been in conversations with "various groups opposed to the settlement, including the Internet Archive and Consumer Watchdog. More recently, Justice Department lawyers notified the parties to the settlement, including Google, and representatives for the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild, that they were looking into various antitrust issues related to the far-reaching agreement. ....

The settlement agreement stems from a class action filed in 2005 by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers against Google. The suit claimed that Google’s practice of scanning copyrighted books from libraries for use in its Book Search service was a violation of copyrights.

The settlement, announced in October, gives Google the right to display the books online and to profit from them by selling access to individual texts and selling subscriptions to its entire collection to libraries and other institutions. Revenue would be shared among Google, authors and publishers.

But critics say that Google alone would have a license that covers millions of so-called orphan books, whose authors cannot be found or whose rights holders are unknown. Some librarians fear that with no competition, Google will be free to raise prices for access to the collection."

Read full article.

FT: "Do not enclose the cultural commons"

And copyright terms are currently too long... [23apr09]

A recent article by the Financial Times addresses the proposal by the European Commission to extend copyright for performers and producers of recorded music to 95 years from the current 50. "...this disgraceful proposal only grants the music industry even more power over the already distorted market. The parliament must vote it down," wrote the UK leading business newspaper. Unfortunately, the EP just approved the proposal first reading.

The story is quite compelling anyway - especially in its conclusion:

"Copyright extension is, in the main, just the well-known strategy of powerful companies: profit-grabbing through lobbying for state protection. That is bad enough. Worse is the chilling effect it can have on creativity: the industry is already on a legal crusade against the sampling of copyrighted material into new original work. This is like the Grimm brothers’ descendants suing Disney for using their fairy tales.

The cultural industries are over-protected. If cultural works were less greedily hoarded, consumers would enjoy more variety – and artists would create more freely."

Read full article.

Multilingual resources on IP & Public Domain

Selected educational resources available in Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish.[20apr09]

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University launched a new website offering translations of educational resources about intellectual property and the public domain in Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

As a starting point, the Multilingual Educational Resources about Intellectual Property and the Public Domain pages provide translations of basic articles about IP and Public Domain, including an essay by James Boyle (Enclosing the intellectual commons and the theory and history of the public domain) later expanded in his recent book "The Public Domain". Also available is the full text of Lawrence Lessig's book "Free Culture" (2004) in the four languages.

Users are free to copy, distribute, display, remix, and further translate these works, with attribution, under the Creative Commons Attribution (by) license.

More information: Multilingual Educational Resources about Intellectual Property and the Public Domain

First Annual ISHTIP Workshop

Practices of Appropriation & Genealogy of Intellectual Property: CFP deadline is April 10th. [30mar09]

The First Annual Workshop of the International Society for History and Theory of Intellectual Property is scheduled at Bocconi University, Milan, Italy on 26-27 June 2009.

Under the title of "The Construction of Immateriality - Practices of Appropriation and the Genealogy of Intellectual Property", the workshop will explore the making of “intellectual property”, understood broadly as the myriad legal and non-legal processes by which individuals and groups are credited with, and rewarded for, the authorship of intangible creations, while others are condemned or penalised for using or claiming such creations as their own.

The CFP is currently underway:

- Abstract Submission Deadline: 10 April 2009

- Notification of Acceptance: 24 April 2009

Please check the Workshop website for more details.

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