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Old 05-07-2008, 01:20 AM   #1
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Default Is this legal?

I found this site where you can trade sheet music with people. It looks like they've got lots of different sheet music there, but unfortunately I don't have any to trade. That is, I don't have any sheet music that I transcribed myself. I have plenty that I've bought, but it's copyrighted so I can't just give it away to anyone at all, right?

I find this on the site:


I don't have any sheet to trade. What do I do?
If you don't have any file to trade, buy some sheet music first. The largest online sheet music stores are musicnotes.com and sheetmusicdirect.com. Once you got some new sheets, add them to your sheet collection and wait for others members to contact you to trade one of your sheets.


It looks like they're telling me I can trade copies of my legally purchased sheet music with others. I know you can trade books legally, but you don't actually retain a copy for yourself when you do it. This looks like illegal copying to me. Anyone have any insight on this? I'd really like some of their music but this doesn't seem right to me.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:24 AM   #2
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You can give it away or trade it. but you cant sell it or make a profit from it. Not sure on your laws in the great northern abyss but I would figure that they are similar. And I am also assuming that you cant keep a copy for yourself.

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Old 05-07-2008, 01:25 AM   #3
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They're trading pdf files so by nature you still have the original.

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Old 05-07-2008, 01:28 AM   #4
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well if its a locked file then they cant edit. save. copy. etc. unless the person with the original gives a license right?

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Old 05-07-2008, 01:31 AM   #5
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Oh. I don't know. Maybe that's how it's done. I went through the FAQs but there was no mention of legalities. If it's as you say, then I would have to buy similar type of files to trade then. I'm alright with that. Maybe I'll investigate more. Thanks for your help.

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Old 05-07-2008, 03:55 PM   #6
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I believe you would have to give away your original, and keep no copies to be technically legal. Buying some music and scanning it in and then distrubuting the files I'm pretty sure is technically illegal. I don't know about the popular music realm, but in classical situations this is really frowned upon, not that it doesn't happen. There isn't loads of money to be made in "classical" (other than sound tracks) so the community frowns on copies in the hopes that people will be encouraged to write more music. There aren't a whole lot of folks writing music for the tuba, so we don't need to discourage them by cutting into their profits.

Slightly off topic, I just saw where a number of performance venues (mostly bars) are being sued by ASCAP for not having the proper license, even after being warned. Any business that has live music is supposed to obtain a license with most of the license fees going to the composers of the music being performed. The community band I'm in pays a fee every year and that money goes to the composers of the music we play. It like actors getting paid for reruns of their TV shows. In most cases the responsibility is that of the venue, not the performers, to make sure the fees are paid.

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Old 05-07-2008, 04:06 PM   #7
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Trading copies (and holding the originals) is definitely a copyright violation. If that site is getting much traffic, I suspect they'll hear from the Music Publishers Association (MPA) soon.

I used to visit OLGA (Online Guitar Archive) which was a massive collection of user-created tab files for guitar. The MPA shut them down several times; still down, as of this writing. OLGA wasn't even posting copyrighted sheet music, just user-created tablature (basically, somebody figures out how to play a song on the guitar, and then writes it out in a schematic format that shows where to put your fingers). If they'll send in the lawyers for that (not even something you could buy if you wanted), I'd think they'll definitely jump on this.

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Old 05-07-2008, 04:33 PM   #8
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It sure seems to me that the only reason for not including commentary about how to conduct legal trades on that website is because the operators know damn all well that what they are doing is facilitating infringement.

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Old 05-07-2008, 06:26 PM   #9
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Yep, copying sheet music is infringement in the U.S., unless that sheet music is in the public domain (and I don't just mean that the song is), it is a "fair use," or you have a license. Trust me on this one.


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Old 05-07-2008, 06:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjj2ba View Post
Slightly off topic, I just saw where a number of performance venues (mostly bars) are being sued by ASCAP for not having the proper license, even after being warned. Any business that has live music is supposed to obtain a license with most of the license fees going to the composers of the music being performed. The community band I'm in pays a fee every year and that money goes to the composers of the music we play. It like actors getting paid for reruns of their TV shows. In most cases the responsibility is that of the venue, not the performers, to make sure the fees are paid.
This happens often in bars around here where bands will play cover music. When a band plays a cover, the bar has to pay a royalty to ASCAP. That's why a lot of bars around here won't allow bands to play cover songs.
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