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#1691691 - 06/07/11 12:01 AM Horowitz Scores problems
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
Hey, I host(ed) the Horowitz Scores website (vkgfx.com and horowitz-scores.com), and, having gotten a rather unpleasant takedown notice from the manager of Horowitz's estate, I thought I would ask for some opinions here seeing as this has been my favorite music forum over the years.

I'm not entirely sure as to the legality of hosting the sheet music. They are just notations of Horowitz performances done by hobbyists (many of whom I keep in touch with and are disappointed by this).

Seeing as not only do I not make money from the site, but I am basically paying money to host it and share music with people, I didn't hesitate to pull it when Allan Steckler threatened to sick the lawyers on me.

Does anyone here have any experience with this kind of thing?

I hope that at the very least he manages to get some of the sites that host scans of scores other people did and sell them for $5-20 per pdf.

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#1691708 - 06/07/11 12:29 AM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
well, that sucks. but thanks for doing this hosting this kind of stuff before it got taken down.

nope, i don't have experience with this. but i imagine there're still these 50-year copyright laws that cover these cases.

maybe the estate gets a cut from the sites that sell the transcriptions, i don't know. have you found out?

#1691709 - 06/07/11 12:31 AM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
Almost certainly not. Those sites are always fly-by-night, hosted out of US, and sell very clearly copyrighted works (Ligeti, Hamelin, Sorabji, etc).

Alistair Hinton does some work protecting the rights of some of those composers. However, he is doing it because they are selling their music, while there is no authorized version of these since they are hobbyist transcriptions. Hence, there's nothing to be gained from this takedown aside from squashing the efforts of enthusiasts.

Maybe I'll send Alistair an email and see what his take is on the situation.

Edited by valarking (06/07/11 12:32 AM)

#1691717 - 06/07/11 12:42 AM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5792
Loc: Europe
I'm no lawyer and I'm not in the US, but perhaps my take on things might be useful.

I've never been in the websites you host (mention), so I'm not quite certain of what you do. I'm assuming that you host PDF files of various composers with the notes that Horowitz did... If this is the case, here's the legal breakdown as I see it:

1. The score that you use may have copyright free music (Beethoven, for example), but the score it self might not be copyright free, due to new work done by an editor (as is the case with some scores and editions).

2. In the same sense, the notes that Horowitz had on his scores are copyright by him and thus by the Horowitz's estate.

3. If you are using notes kept from other people who have noted what Horowitz was doing in performances, then the issue is more complicated, but again it's a bit of a stretch to call it completely fine in legal terms.

4. Finally, you are using a name (Horowitz) to note your websites and advertise what you do (despite the fact that you are actually offering instead of taking). This may have pissed off the estate.

From my point of view, that of the composer I would hope that things would be very clear prior to offering to publish (through the net) anything. There was a time that I was much more open with my scores and offered a few (5 I think) of my scores in IMSLP. I thought it a good idea. Problem was that IMSLP puts down a CC 3 (Creative Commons License) and this is NOT revocable. At some point another website took MY scores (along with many others) and put them in their database, without me asking. They didn't sell the scores, but they had a membership fee. I was highly annoyed and finally got them to remove my scores from the website (and notified other composers whose works were in there).

So you are in effect offering something that was not created by you. It's tricky and needs quite a bit of tactical strategy to keep offering what you do.

Just to be clear I'm not against what you do, especially in this case where the legal boundaries seem to be rather unclear. It's just that I try to work in the most clear legal licenses, in order to avoid any potential issues.

Hope this helps a little.

#1691723 - 06/07/11 12:58 AM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
Thanks for the insight.

To clarify, these scores were not touched in any way by Horowitz. They are not his performance notes, they are his unwritten versions of pieces. These are cases in which other people listened to his performances and wrote down what they thought he played. All the scores are typeset by the transcribers, and most of them are already in communication with me and providing new scores as they make them.
I think there are some scores (Carmen Variations) that are probably the most risky, as they are almost purely his creations based on out-of-copyright source material. I am curious as to what all the pianists who have performed versions of it have done.

I'm sorry about what happened with IMSLP. While I'm not sure about CC3 specifics, I'm not a huge fan of copyleft licenses. Like I said in my original post, I can see the upset from these kind of cases contributing to the kind of scorched earth policy that Steckler is taking.

Edited by valarking (06/07/11 01:01 AM)

#1691742 - 06/07/11 01:33 AM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
One wonders if the Horowitz estate asked you to take it down because they plan to release their own "official" versions of the transcriptions. The site (which was great, by the way!) has never been much of a mystery. Surely they knew about it, so why wait until now?

"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#1691840 - 06/07/11 08:08 AM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
Orange Soda King Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6204
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Waaaaait a second... These were all realizations made by other people, outside of affiliation with the Horowitz estate, correct? Does the Horowitz estate technically have control over that? Or the distribution of those over the internet?

#1691863 - 06/07/11 09:31 AM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5792
Loc: Europe
valar: After your post, I can only assume that they may be irritated because you use the name Horowitz (good luck to them in stopping you!).

But it appears that Kreisler is right... Why now? Especially if you're working with other people, who have given you permission to use THEIR material.

and just to be clear, it wasn't the IMSLPs' fault, but the other sites... IMSLP had to tag my works with a CC license (which is bad as it is... :-/ )

Hope everything clears out for you.

#1712598 - 07/13/11 12:35 PM Re: Horowitz Scores problems [Re: valarking]
iron_bull Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 10
The site was fantastic and it's a great shame to see it go.
I know that Hamelin has had problems publishing his own transcriptions, of Weissenberg's transcriptions of some of Trenet's songs (Which are copywritten in France but not in Canada). Seeing as the Horowitz scores are transcriptions made by other people of music which isn't copywritten, it seems like scaremongering in my opinion. As you mention you are in contact with the transcribers, has anyone mentioned to you the existence of a transcription by Volodos, of Tchaikovsky's Lullaby in a Storm (from the CD Volodos in Vienna)? It is wonderful and these people seem to be the only ones who do transcriptions of Volodos etc.

Hope to see the sight up and running again soon
"you realise what you have just had for so little! for no fee in fact!"


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