1 vote

IMSLP is no more!

For those of you who aren't classical musicians, you are probably not aware of the IMSLP site to download music. IMSLP stands for "International music score library protect". It's where all of us got access to sheet music of classical pieces. Nothing that was there was copyrighted! Most of everything was Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Debussy Ravel etc... All these guys have been dead for at least 80 years. (Their music is even older). It's by law public domain (or at least should be). Musicians from all over the world depended on this site for free easy access to pieces that you might have to order from a different country altogether! Especially in poorer nations this site was used by all. They, however, got a cease and desist letter from "Universal Editions" that seems to have ended the website for good.

The problem is, that in the classical world there are these dinosaur publishing companies that have been around for sometimes well over 100 years. The problem is that contemporary classical music does not sell... So they aren't making a lot of money off of that. However, the "greats" are still performed all the time, and to play Beethoven's 9th every year you also need to rent the sheet music! They charge obscene amounts of money for the scores and that's how they make their money. As soon as IMSLP started up offering free music parts (albeit lower quality parts with the occasional mistake) it really hurt their business. Thus the law suit.

All that being said, I am still confused over the legality issues. I thought that a piece became public domain 50 years after the death of the composer. How are the people at "IMSLP" breaking the law???

Attached is an open letter from the creator of IMSLP that came out today announcing the sad end to a site that had helped to spread western classical music all over the world. RIP