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[Savannah-register-public] [task #7793] Submission of Opéra Libre

From: Valentin Villenave
Subject: [Savannah-register-public] [task #7793] Submission of Opéra Libre
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 00:36:40 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20080208 Mandriva/ (2008.0) Firefox/

Follow-up Comment #4, task #7793 (project administration):

Hi Sylvain, nice to see that you're interested in my case :)

I know about al the* pages, for having read all of them
several times since I discovered Free Software about ten years ago.

I'm famous among my friends for being kind of a "Free Software Ayatollah",
and this is indeed something I strongly believe in. When I realized that I had
a chance, as a (very) young (and unexperienced) composer, to get my music
played by one of the major French opera houses, I took it as an opportunity to
endorse Free Culture and Free Software (I began learning LilyPond especially
to publish my score, and I ended up being part of the development team,
working both *with* LilyPond and *on* LilyPond :)

My first thought was to use a GPL license. Because I simply regard it as one
of the most legitimate licenses, for historical, legal, philosophical reasons.
Besides, it's by far the most well-known licence, and it offers excellent
compatibility with existing software, systems etc (hell, I could make .deb or
.rpm packages with my opera; I could even make a GPL Live-Cd including my code
and LilyPond!) Plus, as I already told you, I wanted to make sure that the
source code could be accessible and modifyable, therefore authorizing
transcriptions, adaptations etc.

(It's part of my personal world domination plan, as well as my own experience
as a musician and music teacher: everybody always wants to write and play
transcriptions from existing music, or improvise on existing tunes, or
whatever; I often end up writing some silly transcriptions of film musics to
make my pupils happy -- and to make them work ;) -- but I always have to
forbid them to play it in public, to show the scores to anyone, etc.
Copyrighted-life sucks.)

(Note that it's probably very presomptuous of me to hope that my music could
ever get as popular as a movie soundtrack, but still -- that's a good habit to
develop, plus it could lead to some kind of jurisprudence for other

OK, so that was my first thought. Then my second thought was: gosh, it's
gonna be impossible. The GPL can protect the source code and any modifications
to it, *but* not the higher levels -- remember my scheme:

Source code => Printed score => performance => recording

The GPL only covers the first (and presumably the second) level. As you
pointed out, technically you are free to use my code, e.g. to produce a
printable score, and then to play it, and then to record it, and then to sell
the recording. *But* what's the status of the recording? It is not really a
"derived work". One might argue that by printing and playing the score, you
are just *making use* of the code, and therefore you can do whatever you want
with the recording without any obligation, in the same way that one can make
and sell a CG movie using Blender without redistributing either his source
files nor Blender's sources (even if one has modified the source code).

However, if you're picky enough, you might also consider that anybody skilled
enough can deduce the score (at least part of it) from a recording, by this
natural reverse-engineering device we use to call... ears :) 

I've been looking at other licences (first I searched GPL-compatible
licences, such as CeCiLL-A or Art Libre) but none really handle *both* the
"artistic" moral rights and the source code phenomenon (the Art Libre licence
is quite interesting though, as it handles _physical_ pieces of art -- but
that's not my case...).

Hence my idea of a vintage GPL with a couple of exceptions, for performances,
recordings and possibly embedded text.

As for the fee stuff -- I'm absolutely okay with the idea that performers can
ask for a fee, provided that the score is kept freely available on the
Internet or somewhere (though your idea of singers passing through the public
with big baskets full of CDs or USB keys is most enjoyable ;)

I am, however, reluctant with the idea of allowing music industrials to sell
(hypothetic) recordings of my work under a proprietary licence, thus enforcing
the current repression against music sharing etc.

To be honest, the tarball I submitted was more a "concept" draft than
anything else. My main purpose was actually to ask for comments and help --
thanks to you I'm getting both :)


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