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Red Herrings Spawn in Rough Blogoon Waters,


'I prefer the sign NO ENTRANCE to the sign which says NO EXIT.'
  -- Stanislaw J Lec, (born Baron Stanislaw Jerzy de Tusch-Letz) (1909-1966) Polish poet and aphorist.

As is so often the case, there is more to a yarn (fishing or other) than first strikes the snorkel. In recent weeks the choppy waters of the blogosphere have been further flurried by much chastisement of the Austrian music publisher, Universal Edition. Blame has been squarely anchored upon this noble institution for the sinking of the International Music Score Library Project. The major flaw in this inventive argument is that UE is neither the Bluebeard in The Castle nor the iceberg in the Titanic. Angry waves washing over this much-respected publishing house have ballooned a creative sea mist behind which a cacophonic orchestration of any number of bona fide reasons for The Great Unplug can lurk deafeningly silent, mysteriously underreported.

This is most unfortunate for all concerned, especially the uninformed musician. The IMSLP web site made freely available a substantial amount of material in the public domain: a theorem and formula much appreciated. UE complained about some of their copyright music being included. Instead of addressing this specific matter, the website chose to shut down altogether. In so doing, it penalised its legitimate users by withdrawing their access to perfectly legally-provided scores. Fishy? Something wafts of Red Herring Number 5.

For those interested in trawling the grounds of the changing of copyright law, the human right to public domain, and abolishing capitalism, the IMSLP forum is a fishing ground to fathom. However, Universal Edition's more temperate comments upon the matter (written by Jonathan Irons) provide an elucidatory and historically informed performance (HIP) report of events upon their own web site.

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Copyright © 8 December 2007 Jennifer I Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland


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