Cease & Desist Order Leveled Against Public Domain Archive

TORONTO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Austrian music publisher Universal Edition AG recently sent two cease-and-desist letters to Canadian college student Xiao-Guang Guo operating the two-year-old International Music Score Library Project, a database of public domain scores.

A majority of the scores available at IMSLP were in the public domain worldwide. Other scores were not in the public domain in the United States or European territories (where copyright extends for 70 years after the composer's death), but were legal in Canada and many other countries. The copyright status of scores was noted and users were told to follow their respective country's copyright law.

By putting the scores on the web, Universal Edition AG argued that copyright law in both Canada and Europe was being violated. It did not demand that the archive be shut down, but wanted IP filtering to be implemented in order to keep European users from accessing works still under copyright there.

After an Oct. 13th cease-and-desist letter came Xiao-Guang Guo decided to pull the entire archive.

"I became painfully aware of the fact that I, a normal college student, have neither the energy nor the money necessary to deal with this issue in any other way t

han to agree with the cease-and-desist, and take down the entire site."

What isn’t clear is that whether posting works online could result in the longest single copyright term —wherever that may be — applying on a global basis.

Not likely but… – Larry LeBlan

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