Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

For MUSIC REQUESTS and QUESTIONS about availability, including Copyright issues
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cjshawcj
Posts: 72
Joined: 04 Jan 2011 00:21
Location: Bath, England

Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

Post by cjshawcj »

because proper tea is theft.

A propos of intellectual property theft, it may seem odd to raise the subject here. Anyone who has edited Handel, or more prosaically James Kent, will be aware that plagiarism has always been rife; and where would CPDL be without its unacknowledged "tribute editions" taken without attribution from editors of yore at Novello, Stainer & Bell, O.U.P., D.D.T. usw?

Personally I am fed up to the back teeth with the unacknowledged borrowings of [available when required] https://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Category:[available when required]editions. Despite his vaunted wide-ranging knowledge of all sorts of obscurities in the renaissance repertoire, he has, with xxx editions currently to his name, only managed to contribute 11% "new to market" items, compared with " new editions" on work pages with hitherto sole contributions by Sabine Cassola (13%) and me, Christopher Shaw (10%) to name the two most sinned against.
His editions have no coherent editorial policy; they halve (or not) the time values in exactly the same way as the original poster, without any consistency of treatment. Treatment of ligatures is exactly that of the originating poster. Features which he presumably doesn't understand (e.g. proportio tripla) are ignored; he has some independent thoughts concerning musica ficta, but these are not consistent; sometime he translates editorial musica ficta as composer prescribed, and other times he ignores them completely. It is almost as if they were terra incognita. Voicing decisions from copied editions (e.g. inversion of Cantus I and II, allocation of V or VI between A/T, etc. are slavishly followed, without remark, no matter how eccentric they may appear.
In a sense none of this matters very much, except that in every case that I've analysed, his editions are exactly the same as, or of marked inferiority to, the originals. Why would one post an edition they didn't believe sincerely was an improvement on what had gone before?
The answer is, of course, to pass of someone else's work as one's own achievement. Sabine Cassola gives her work freely under the CPDL copyright. I reserve personal copyright on my editions. That is in a pretty-well nugatory attempt to retain a modicum of quality control for editions that circulate under my name (I once had a bad experience with an edition of Purcell H's "Sound the trumpet" arranged illicitly for 3 vibraphones). But it is also an attempt to stop incompetent opportunists, such as the one under discussion, from claiming the kudos for items, some of which represent considerable time and effort, merely by scanning the sweat of another's brow. Neither Sabine nor I do this for profit, the appreciation of our work is sufficient (I am second guessing Sabine's reaction; I haven't spoken to her). The most objectionable aspect of this poster's antics is that he takes her CPDL copyright, wilfully ignores my personal copyright, and on the workpages detailing his editions discloses the copyright as CPDL, whilst in the supporting pdfs claiming his own personal copyright.

I hope that the CPDL administrators will arrange either to strike out this poster's spurious editions, or to ensure that he acknowledges the mainspring of his "editions" properly, and at the very least retracts the personal copyright that he has attached to others' efforts.
If you haven't worked out his name, I can supply it, with comprehensive reasonings, by personal e-mail.
cjshawcj
Posts: 72
Joined: 04 Jan 2011 00:21
Location: Bath, England

Re: Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

Post by cjshawcj »

Will an administrator kindly address and respond to my concerns.
Another edition has been posted since I last wrote. Comparison with the original shews the following differences: Two initial clef changes, two editorial musica ficta written in (unsignalled) and absolutely no other differences. Except of course that Sabine's copyright has been altered to his.
He seems to have an extraordinarily low-bar for what qualifies as an edition.
Cdalitz
Posts: 155
Joined: 24 Apr 2007 14:42

Re: Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

Post by Cdalitz »

In order to draw attention to your issue, it might help to use a less cryptic thread title. As a non-native English speaker, I have no idea what the title is about and how it is related to the content of your post, but I am sure that there is a hidden meaning (maybe an allusion to a fariy tale possibly known to native speakers?).
cjshawcj
Posts: 72
Joined: 04 Jan 2011 00:21
Location: Bath, England

Re: Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

Post by cjshawcj »

"proper tea is theft" is an illusion to Proudhon's proposition "La propriété, c'est le vol!" (property is theft); so not a fairy tale exactly, but certainly an item requiring the suspension of disbelief.
"proper tea" is a reference to Camellia sinensis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camellia_sinensis , much loved throughout the anglophone world (except Boston, MA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party ; which is named after, but should not be confused with, Boston Lincs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston,_Lincolnshire ). In the British isles, any infusion of other leaves is considered rather jejune, although exceptions are occasionally made https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooibos .

I am glad that the intriguing title drew you in to look at the prosaic argument. It is a matter of regret that the detail obscured your view of the argument.

Another two faithful "editions" have been posted this week
I have now been made aware of the moderating procedure available at CPDL to address the subject of plagiarism, through other channels.
Cdalitz
Posts: 155
Joined: 24 Apr 2007 14:42

Re: Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

Post by Cdalitz »

Back on topic: your post raises more than one point.

Firstly, there is the legal question of possible copyright infringement. As far as I know, faithfully transcribing an edition from mensural notaton or tablature does not create a copyright on the resulting edition, at least in Germany. There are additional requirements (see https://www.vg-musikedition.de/weitere- ... rechtslage):
  • the edition must be based on several (preferably: all) former editions
  • the edition must include a critical report what the changes are with respect to previous editions
  • the edition must be significantly different from previous editions
  • the difference from previous editions must be audible when the music is performed
So the CPDL poster you refer to (I could not check this because you did not provide an example) presumably commits "copyfraud" when she/he adds a copyright notice on an edition that is merely a copy of an exisiting edition. BUT: copyfraud on public domain works is not illegal, except perhaps as "unfair competition" in applicable situations (which might be applicable in your case).

Secondly, there is the question of nettiquette. Merely copying another edition without giving credit is bad style, and a new edition should add value, e.g. more convenient page turns, larger fonts etc. I agree that some editions literally based on others but inferiour to them in all aspects (even legibility) are a nuisance as they distort the signal/noise ratio. OTOH, there are many pointless identical forks on github, too, and this is what anyone posting code on github must live with.

Thirdly, there is the question whether a site with "public domain" in its name should allow editions with "personal copyright" at all. I remember that we had some discussions on this in the early days of CPDL (years before the server crash), and I was suggesting to drop this option. The CPDL team decided otherwise in order to host more editions and encourage more contributors. Whilst this decision has to be accepted, it has the side effect that some users and contributors do not consider CPDL as a platform of a gift economy. The name Choral *Public Domain* Library might thus be misleading.
Claude_T
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Re: Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

Post by Claude_T »

Oh, Christoph, so many thanks to you: you expressed so precisely and completely what I think, but not beeing able to express it so well.
cjshawcj
Posts: 72
Joined: 04 Jan 2011 00:21
Location: Bath, England

Re: Make mine a blackcurrant leaf and licorice tisane

Post by cjshawcj »

I cannot give specific instances, without identifying the perpetrator.
Correspondence is proceeding elsewhere to correct his "barrack-room lawyer" interpretation of copyright, which adds little beyond proving the adage that an autodidact has a fool for a teacher.
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