IMSLP is back online

They promised it would all be back up and running by 1st July, and it is. This is fantastic news, both for music and for the public domain. The open letter announcing the reopening is well worth a read.

It is with great joy that I bring you news of the resurrection of IMSLP. We continue to believe that the access to our culture and the Arts is a fundamental right of every human being. And holding this belief, we continue in our journey towards the goals of providing public access to the musical public domain, and the facilitation of the study of music, the understanding of music, and the enjoyment of music.

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IMSLP is very much willing to collaborate with music publishers in the promotion of new music, under a Creative Commons or similar license. I know full well how little of the overall profits come from selling actual scores (and I have no evidence that IMSLP affects those profits to any great extent, if at all), and how much comes from royalties from performances. Would it not make much more sense to use IMSLP to promote new composers, instead of attempting to sue IMSLP for composers who will be entering the public domain all over the world very soon, if not already? Considering the fact that IMSLP contributors and users are made up mainly of musicians and music lovers, isn’t IMSLP precisely the audience that music publishers should be working with?

I am heartened by the fact that, indeed, many music publishers have seen IMSLP as a friend, and have indeed used IMSLP in the promotion of their contemporary composers. Perhaps ironically, IMSLP’s resurrection is due in no small part to the help of several of these publishers.

However, permit me to make one point clear here in no uncertain terms. IMSLP will continue to oppose organizations who attempt to limit and restrict the already much-shrunken public domain. A primary goal of IMSLP is to facilitate public access to the musical public domain, and thus IMSLP will resist strongly any attempts to shrink the public domain, and will raise the alarm among the general public should there be such an assault upon the world’s cultural heritage.

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