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Sheet music site forced offline

Cease and desist for scores

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A Canadian website which offered versions of sheet music - mostly from long dead composers - has been forced to close after receiving a cease and desist letter from lawyers representing a German music publisher.

The International Music Score Library Project was taken offline by its founder Feldmahler. In a posting on the site he explained that he was unable to fulfill the demands of the letter and so had to take the whole site down.

The letter from Universal Edition AG's lawyers Aird and Berlis said the site should "filter IP addresses" in order to ensure that copyright was protected for 70 years after a composer's death for those in Europe and for 50 years after a composer's death in Canada. The letter demanded the removal of any score by any of UE's artists.

Feldmahler thanked all contributors to the project. He explained that the site was set up because he found it very difficult to access such material any other way, and wanted to make public domain musical scores more freely available. He said he paid all server bills himself and never made a penny from the site. He is offering the domain names and database to any organisation which could keep the site going.

The website's forums remain online for now, here, where a copy of the cease and desist letter is also available.

The founder's letter explaining why he has taken the site down is here. ®

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