Friday, 13 October 2006

Avoiding copyright violations

Listening to:

Handel, Saul.

Oh Fatal Consequence of Rage

I just used Google to look up the phrase “Fatal consequence of rage”, which is one of the numbers in Saul. I quickly appreciated that Handel’s appears to be the only use of the words. Lots of the hits returned by Google were to sites selling recordings or sheet music, but this one looked a little bit different (i.e., it was a link to prose rather than a catalogue).

I followed the link and read an interesting essay, but one that I decided was slightly odd in tone. The essay is not signed, but is part of a Music Encyclopaedia. After a little digging, I decided that the entire site is a scan of something written in the very early 20th century. The entry for Mahler is the best give-away. There he is still alive, and he has only written 6 of his “thoroughly German” symphonies.

It looks as if the site is trying to make money through Google advertisements. More power to ’em, and if the site survives, we should thank online advertising for the digitisation of public domain texts. (Or maybe they took someone else’s work, and are just paying the hosting costs. But either way, there-in lies the beauty of copyright expiry.) And while it seems slightly sharp practice not to own up to the age of the material, they did give me a cute little puzzle to muse over.