I had thought about doing a posting today on the European Union's craven caving in to France's desire to kill harmonization for royalties on appliances such as Mp3 players. The theme would have been how harmonization is only for ever more expansive rights and terms of protection, and that the oft-stated rationale of vesting power in Brussels to issue IP directives in order to reduce trade barriers within the EC is so much hoo-ha: the one time consumers might benefit from such a reduction in tariffs, the initiative is strangled in the dark of night. But, it was an easy and obvious shot (see story here), and I feared I would sound like Rummy kvetching about Old Europe.
Instead, I found another topic from Europe, specifically Austria and Mozart. I have been to Salzburg and found it frightening for its fairy tale facade, but then I get whigged out going to adjacent New Canaan, Connecticut too. What interested me about the Mozart angle (other than my complete love for his music), is an announcement from the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum and a series of stories about that announcement. The announcement states that the entire 600 work plus catalog of Mozart's works are now available on line here.
The announcement states: "The purpose of this web site operated by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum in cooperation with the Packard Humanities Institute is to make Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's musical compositions widely and conveniently accessible to the public, for personal study and for educational and classroom use."
The Packard Humanities Institute is reported to have ponied up a fair amount of money, including $400,000 for digital rights to a music publisher Bärenreiter. Here is the license agreement posted on the website:
"The purpose of this web site is to make Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's musical compositions widely and conveniently accessible to the public, for personal study and for educational and classroom use. Wholesale downloading or reuse of the contents of this website is prohibited under all circumstances, whether commercial or otherwise. The works of Mozart should be considered in the public domain. Restrictions may, however, apply to the scholarly edition as such, the graphic representation, and the reproduction of images of source materials. The works by Mozart are more than two hundred years old and are to be treated as historical documents. Since 1955, the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe has been published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, Cassel (www.baerenreiter.com); printed copies of any volume of the edition may be obtained from authorized dealers. For further information please contact the publisher. Inquiries for commercial purposes or on a scale beyond „fair use“ of this online publication should be directed in writing to: Digitale Mozart Edition (DME), Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum
There are a number of interesting angles here. First, recognition in Europe of the American fair use doctrine. (You'll note the search part of the web is in German). The reference to fair use though is tempered by the reference to wholesale downloading; if this means of an individual work, not much of a concession is being made. If as is more likely this means downloading 500 or so works, that's a different story.
I am baffled though by the apparent claim that pictures of a Mozart manuscript might be subject to some restriction; I don't see any originality there. Then there is the claim to the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe itself. It is one thing to claim copyright in annotations to public domain works, but quite another to claim copyright in corrections to a public domain work where the corrections assert that this what the original contained all along. Still, U.S. courts have long recognized that a copyrightable derivative work might exist if enough choices were made, and over the course of preparing an edition of all of Mozart, such a standard is easily met.
The project has been wildly successful in its opening days and is certainly invaluable to those of us who can read music and love Mozart.