Creative Commons for Catholics
  • Nice read.

    Wondering if you've seen the documentary "RIP: A Remix Manifesto."

    It's inspired by the emergence of mash-ups in popular music, Napster, etc; but the main themes of the film are intellectual property and copyrights, fair use, etc.
    But it's very good, and very well done. It's streaming on Hulu.

    There's some coarse language, fyi.
  • I've seen "RIP," and I recommend it as well, with the same caveat on language.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Jeffery Tucker,

    With all due respect, acknowledging your contribution to the betterment of the liturgy through music and with gratitude for the same, still:

    (One of the fruits of that good ol' Catholicism you advocate for, and I am happy about that, was that it produced clear thinking, with a rejection of rose glassed or agenda laden views of history. Funny, huh?)

    Once again, you surprise me, totally surprise me, with you penchant for specious arguing - at least in the sense that you don't draw distinctions between the (for some - like me) questionable practice of licensing out Scripture, ala "copyrightable" translations, and protecting artists' rights - and do you really think that the worst thing to happen to an artist is a publishing contract?. What are you smoking?? And please, please, for the love of Pete, do get off the "in Mozartean times" "ideal" - puleeze. Mozart died -- at least according to most accounts - so poor he had to be buried in a pauper's grave. Aren't things better for the heirs of Henry Mancini than ol' Wolfie? C'mon.

    If someone wants to self publish and perhaps give their work away or to the church or whatever, what's stopping them? Certainly not copyright law, at least in principal, and barring some weird anomaly, actual practice. You make your case about the "ominous" spector of copyright law, and then, astonishingly, admit a simple declaration of what amounts to an open licence always is an option. So what are you saying, in effect? You build up a straw man and then say the straw man does not even exist to maybe knock him down. Where are you going with this tripe? Hate to use such language but please, the assault on creative works is in full tilt mode right now and needs not one more ambiguous, ambivalent "what if everything were free'" puff piece from a "should know better" "advocate" (??) for musicians with the apparent attempt to - ??- I dunno, undermine the well established, beneficial to artist and the public alike principal of intellectual property rights? Is that your intent? Please clarify. Copyright law, though flawed, is a proven boon to the arts. This is a universally agreed to principal throughout the civilized world, its value only questioned by those who think it a good idea to legalize marijuana or those who think there really is a free lunch. Puleeze get off this low horse you are on, or at least explain yourself better - draw some distinctions.Your bold pronouncements along these lines smack of the arguing I see against the TLM by those who never attended the same. If you are going to write authoritatively,(and you got paid for this, commissioning, by whom, prey tell?) get a better handle on your subject, for goodness sake. We are the folks, after all, who advocate for truth in advertising and higher standards vis-a-vis the church's liturgical practice.

    I am sorry to call you on the carpet, so to speak, and so publicly, but you keep trotting this thing out, across the web even, for the (thinking?) public to chew on, and it is not chewable. I believe it not just a cause of possible indigestion, but it is toxic.

    I thank you for a good "time waster," i.e., my visit to that other sight, for what I had expected would be something edifying and uplifting. Not so, sorry to say. As a serious site, they seem to be lacking an editor, all to often, unfortunately, the bane of the internet right now.

  • When I say it was commissioned, I really meant requested. Though if someone does want to pay me for it, I hereby donate all proceeds to the CMAA. :)

    Z, this is a difficult subject, It is difficult intellectually. It poses a serious challenge to the conventions we've all been socialized to believe for the last 100 years. It took me about six years to come to terms with this subject, from the initial challenge to where I am today on this subject, and I owe a great debt to many people who are have written on this topic in the scholarly literature, among whom Boldrin and Levine (Against Intellectual Monopoly). I don't expect anyone to read one thing and conclude that CC is the way to go. It is difficult topic.

    I was on the phone with a German publisher the other day, trying to negotiate some English-language rights to a book. I'm insisting that CC be part of the contract. They can't even begin to conceive of the meaning of this. I tried to explain to them that there is simply no way that this book can be sold in the United States unless we can give it away free on the web. The shock and awe on the other end was palpable. And yet, this is the reality we are beginning to deal with in publishing. Generosity first. But it sounds nuts at first. How is this possible? Well, there are many aspects of life that are counterintuitive and this is one of them.

    There are really two issues, as you point out. 1) the IP status of liturgical texts, a subject on which I believe there is universal agreement: the status quo must go, and 2) the related area of the impact of IP on publishing in general and the arts. you say that "Copyright law, though flawed, is a proven boon to the arts. This is a universally agreed to principal throughout the civilized world." This is just not true. In fact, econometric studies have shown that IP has generally resulted in few composers and compositions, less circulation of artistic expression, and a stagnation in the world of art. One can see the outlines of this if you compare England after the Statute of Anne and Germany or Italy in the same period.

    Again, on the subject I do not speak for the CMAA. However, it is a subject that vexed Msgr Schuler who wrote plenty on it. He glimpsed the serious moral and practical issues associated with caging liturgical texts behind the walls of legislation and tried to do something about it. I think he was on to something. Yes, I'm pushing further on the topic, but the digital age offers more opportunities to reflect on this subject. By the way, if you are interested in reading more, I devote an entire chapter of Sing Like a Catholic to the issue of open sourcing in music.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Mr. Tucker,

    Thanks for a measured response. I am glad you came clean about the "commissioning." I am not going to allow ANY specious claims to go unchallenged. You do a lot of good for a lot of people by way of your work and advocacy, and (somewhat ironically) as a result are much too influential a figure to propose these kinds of ideas here and abroad without a thorough vetting of the cases you site and the motivation behind any argument being made against the overall benefit to the arts community of IP protection. (That's Intellectual Property for casual observers or those late to the discussion). Of course this presupposes no mal intent on your part, but certainly I will suggest some lack of a broad appreciation for the subject at hand, and given your stature, and the sweeping changes you are proposing in not only the way the church and publishers and artists and consumers do business, but also in that you would ask that long established and quite successful principals -- if you ask the Cahn's, or the Gershwin's or the Ellington's or even the Haugen's (not his fault Catholics swoon this Lutheran's ____???) or the Batastini's or the Proulx's, or less well know composers -- be abandoned and replaced with something that is not graspable by your own admission, (and why is that???? ) well, this demands clarity and raison d'etre. Back to "not graspable," or easily graspable. Why so? These concepts are not, or should not be, convoluted unless by intent. (like exploitative recording contracts of old). You cannot shoot from the hip and hope that no one get hurt, again, exactly because people look to you for guidance, not blindly, of course, but your words carry weight.

    I think we can agree, very much, that the status quo of the "caging"of liturgical text (good term) should be questioned and alternative mechanisms employed, and from my standpoint, it is because the very idea of claim of new ownership of a pre-existing idea (Scriptural texts) in and of itself is dubious, though a case can be made for the "unique" quality of this or that translation, as translation is a lot of work and employs a sort of artistry on some levels. This argument presents its own problem, however, in that, if true, and accepted in principal, it then, at some level, necessitates the "author" (translator) being clever and unique and fussy and politically correct and non universal to justify the artistic and/or unique claim, all things you don't want for an accurate and "unifying" type document for employment by the universal church. So, this creates a situation where you have a conflict of interest which should not be tolerated. These translations should be "works for hire" with the understanding (pre condition) that the end "product" be owned by the "church" and by that I don't mean an Archdiocese or the Vatican, but by you and me, the "church" of all believers, but commissioned by a private concern or the institutional church, which in either case would issue the requisite imprimatur. Anyway, that is a non expert take on a possible solution to what is clearly not working, but we should not lay blame at the feet of intellectual property law, as there are clearly pathways to better solutions available, the church just has not exercised those options and to its own detriment.

    The other issues, as you say, are separate and there should not be a tying of these two together, though this is exactly what you do, and though you may not state it, as such, so specifically, you seem to be drawing from any "case gone bad" scenario that has anything to do, no matter how obliquely, tangentially or tenuously, with copyright law - and whether or not the law is the actual culprit, and in not one case have you identified it to be the real cause. The historical cases you cite are easily debunked, and you have just not lined up apples and apples.

    One of the main flaws in you takes on the subject (and you don't really state clearly, at least for me, what it is you would like to see as an ideal, so you just sort of set our to defame IP rights in general - and that is because it is probably embarassing to state outright what you actually want to see as an outcome, CC remains a somewhat ambiguous non real world fix of the "not broken") is that because a particular modus operandi worked then, and splendidly (but again, your claims are really not clearly proven, splendidly according to???) that it should be fine now. Well, a lot of what needs protection now did not need it then.

    Case in point: if I say that songs were in danger of mass stealing ten years ago, but not movies, I am not presenting any theoretical case about why movie lovers don't steal, vs. kleptomaniac music consumers, and/or why copyright protection is not needed for movies, and how movies are actually thriving in the new digital age, and this enlightened thinking will catch up to song consumers eventually, and everyone will actually make MORE money. I am simply alluding to the storage and throughput capacities of the consumer equipment required for easily stealing songs,(for you, not really stealing- borrowing, perhaps??) versus easily stealing movies, just a lot tougher to pull off because of the file size difference - again, this according to the state of the art THEN,.......

    ... but NOW, it is a different ballgame because of DSL, fiber optic and cable modems, and Satellite, as well as cheaper digital storage, etc. and now makes it very practical and advantageous to consider stealing rather than buying MOVIES and almost any other digital media. So if I made a case for movies not needing protection, and used the nineties as my example, this argument really becomes specious because of the night and day difference in technology. Not because of any "theory" at play, no, the stealing of movies was just not as easily accomplished by ordinary consumer means, and thus less of an issue. Yet, you continually site these kinds of historic non sequiturs and irrelevancies (just different eras) as case builders to buttress your usually silly claims, again, the "free lunch" principal. Yes, every once in a while someone else springs for lunch, or another student does not like tuna, and you become the one time beneficiary of a sandwich, but there still really is no "free lunch" and how are you not arguing for just that, Jeffery Tucker.

    The company in Germany thought you nuts because you are nuts. Intellectual property protection is not less an issue now because stealing of the same has less of a "back alley" feel to it. People are just setting out to devalue IP because they don't want to pay for it, and there have always been people that want everything for free and the taking of something that you don't own is only thought of as stealing if one is caught or if it gets messy or has a stigma attached. But now, there are some, like you, who don't like the word stealing associated with what you are advocating, so what you do is create these credulity stretching scenarios to basically say that we are better off without all of these laws, and that is just really so much hooey, and really, what is your motivation here? If people WANT to give it away, they are free to do so, how are they not? And how exactly does the obliteration of IP protection as we know it, help the creator of artistic works, exactly how? JT, site real world scenarios and give the actual numbers, and if the money comes not from this source, which source does it now flow from.

    Your claim about works of art, in sheer numbers not being produced, well, ????? That is a head scratcher. That is one of the weirdest claims I have ever heard..there have never been more works of art being created and Paid for, and there has never been more money available to artists. Did you not know this?? On which planet are you living? This is well publicized and beyond refute. Certainly a case can be made about the quality of those "works of art" which in many cases are questionable as to their real "art" status (but that is a subjective area, principally) but what has any of this to do with IP law? Is it because more artist are protected that less " worthy," or "good" art is being produced? We should then what, go back to artists seeking rich benefactors (maybe the local church???) I mean, Jeffery, what, exactly what, are you proposing. This is not an area to venture into without really clear understandings about the principals employed and the practical results of undermining those principals. I just don't think you have done your homework here and need to at the very least not be so self assured that you have got some real solutions. What exactly is broken? Be specific. State cases. Not "such and such publisher was a real meany." So what! If you don't like what they are selling and at which price, make it yourself, buy it elsewhere, but don't say what they have is not a "real thing" and how dare they vaunt their "rights." These are the entities that have made it possible for artists to have a decent payday if they actually produce something people want. If the publisher/church relationship is not working correctly at this time, is it the publisher's fault solely? What is the church's role in all of this. IP principals are really last on a long list of potential malefactors, if they be considered at all.

    So, if you have a "topsy-turvy" "stand common conceptions on their head," "new age," "new world order" set of principals that will present an improvement over
    the status quo (and DO LEAVE OUT THE USE OF LITURGICAL TRANSLATIONS - ON THIS THERE IS NO ARGUMENT AS WE DO NOT DIFFER) please, let us all know how this works out, in detail, in the real world. We are all dying to find out.

  • Should the issue of leaving out of "THE USE OF LITURGICAL TRANSLATIONS - ON THIS THERE IS NO ARGUMENT..." continue to be the fulcrum of this daunting debate, Mr. Zamberlin, why not (with all respect towards both you and Mr. Tucker) further this discussion privately, and not in this forum. I realize that Jeffrey "threw down" initially, but for regular schmoes like me, I don't see much value other than intellectual satisfaction of the debate, unless maybe you're Morton Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre or Arvo Part.
    However, there seems to be these little niggardly anomalies of hymntext and tune arrangers who proffer some fairly innocuous "new texts" or text alterations, set them to extant tunes inwhich they tinker with traditional harmonic settings or add descants and such, and who also enjoy what amounts to a "house composer" contractual relationship with one or more major hymnal/worship aide/sacred music publisher(s), who have virtual monopolies on what music congregations can licitly use for worship every day. I suppose their efforts do, technically, amount to exercizes of IP for which they receive appropriate income.
    But as witness the struggle that one of our colleauges is experiencing by compiling a creative commons, absolutely cost-free hymnal available to the public on-line, such efforts are significantly mitigated by the arcane labyrinths of copyright law.
    I'm obviously not in either of your leagues. But I don't see your concerns with maintaining the integrity of IP legislation as necessarily at odds with the opportunities possible through the use of CC.
    Just for the record, I have copyrighted material published through likely the largest RC publisher, done on behalf of one of those "court composers" for which I've never received a cent of recompense. The artist has sold substantial copies of said collection. Two things about this I know: 1. I, for whatever reasons, did not negotiate for such compensation with the artist based upon my arrangements of his material; 2. said material would be considerably impoverished had not I contributed my skills with those arrangements. I also know that isn't germaine, it just illustrates the relative importance of IP "protection" for those who are not full-time, "professed" and contracted and celebrated composers.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Thanks for your comment Charles, and thoughtful and thought provoking they are.

    I am sure there have been abuses of the copyright protections in principal and in fact in today's world of all things church. Just like there is the abuse of our legal system, and we get sometimes an OJ outcome, but the system is still, by most accounts, the best (or the least bad) of every other in the world and not to be abandoned, but to be fixed where there are obvious broken pieces. I am pretty sure most would agree with that - perhaps even Jeffery.

    I have no beef with the idea of a Commons, as long as it's non exploitative and it accomplishes some good end, which for me does not entail dismantling a very good system. Again, I would fault the church herself for some of the woes we are suffering vis-a-vis publishers, starting with the poor implementation of VII principals, poor translations, abandonment, non watering of church patrimony - which created a sort of music "vacuum" into which poured so much of which we are lamenting. IOW, had we kept our musical patrimony more or less intact and front and center, there would have been not this need for so many new works which also needed to be "accessible" and quickly produced, which is a formula for not the best outcome, as we all know all too well, (though some lacking taste and depth might argue -albeit weakly). Mix that with politically/socially driven agendas and poorly trained clergy (liturgically speaking) and you have the mess we're in, which publishers do play a part, for sure, but not without the sanction of the church herself.

    I applaud the efforts of those, like Jeffery, here who would generously seek to put in the musician's hand as much "solution" music as possible, whether from the public domain or from the artist himself/herself. There is no conflict as I see it. There is on the horizon now, some indication that the monopolization of the Scripture will be lessoned or abandoned, and perhaps in no small thanks to some here, again, like Jeffery. This is, however, not a reason to bash the concepts that have borne much good fruit, and to do so using questionable reasoning, "interesting" historical references, and other issue fuzzying tactics. Not called for.

    You made some nice comments, Charles, recently concerning the "Lead Me Guide Me" hymnal, which am I proud to have been an initial contributor. When it came out, there were, (from my then Novus Ordo perspective) sore few resources for the inner city parish. I was putting together booklets comprised of xeroxed copies of PD hymns, all the time wishing and hoping for some "real"resource other than these poor handout books. And that search for a solution became the genesis for the book, as others across the country were indeed suffering the same "lack." G'IA was there, as part of the solution. So I cannot see publishers as the big bad wolf, though they need direction and correcting and input and challenge, just like the rest of the church.

    Thanks for suffering through my comments
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Charles in CenCA asks:

    [W]hy not...further this discussion privately, and not in this forum...

    I would respectfully disagree. We've read thousands of words over the past few months on one side of this issue with no authoritative counter argument. This is a forum which should be in place to allow those of us less educated on the topics to read and learn, or to skip to another topic if it is of no interest to us. If we ban those who disagree and request silence from those who would challenge us, we really have nothing to gain from the discussion.
  • But now I must read a treatise! Here we go...
  • Ok, I've read the treatise and I appreciate the challenge. Again, it is a difficult topic, and it takes a while for people to get the hang of the difference between a sandwich and a song. You and I cannot eat the same sandwich. It is physical and scarce and therefore must be rationed; this is true in the nature of things. However, you sing a song, and I can sing it and so can 1 million and 1 billion others, and the integrity of the song is not diminished in the slightest bit by its infinite multiplication. To make it scarce requires the use of force of legislation. That's the critical distinction.

    Now back to the sandwich: consider the recipe that made it. Is that scarce or not? Like the song, it can be duplicated and copied and imitated saecula saeculorum. Did you know that recipes are not subject to IP? Does the market for recipes still work? Yes. Certainly. Another thing that can't be patented or copyrighted: fashion. Is the fashion industry still viable? Well, look around. It was true in software until about 1994. Music used to be the same way, and the industry was vibrant and wonderful. most importantly, people could learn from each other, imitate each other, remix music, and throw around compliments by writing tributes to the great music, and so on it went it until the 20th century put a final stop to the tendency of musicians to imitate and learn and copy. Suddenly, all things published had to be new and original, and what happened? Well, something very different from what came before.

    You say that the digital age is a threat to ownership. I would say it is an opportunity to evangelize and spread and improve civilization precisely because it provides amazing opportunities for learning and sharing.

    You ask for viable market models of how a non-IP world would work. I can only tell you that the PBC is free online as are all the books CMAA sells. In fact, I doubt we could have sold much of anything had it not been online. Copyright works great for established people whose work is already known but not so much for those whose work is unknown. There are more examples than I could possibly name: among which that the best selling CD last year was also available for free download.

    Anyway, I've written gazillion words on this topic and read extensively on it for years. I don't want to repost all of this. I think it's best just to let this sink in a bit. Again, it took me many years to wrap my brain around this issue. It is not easy. It shocks people because it goes against everything we think we know about the way things have worked in the last 100 or so years. That's why I say that the main challenge is intellectual.

    In any case, we are entering into a future in which all of this is going to be tested: open source or IP. The trendline is pretty clear on which model is going to win this one.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I wish I could comprehend the megabytes that have been expended between Mr. Z and Jeffrey, but I too appreciate the dialog. I will say this much, since it was mentioned:

    Purchase-able items available in full online. It does increase sales, with some products. Hymnals especially. I have NO idea why GIA, OCP, WLP, and others won't do what was done with the PBC. Really, is there some sleazebag out there who's going to print them all off 300 times, staple all of them, put them in the pews, and claim he wrote it?? Letting the customer see it allows the customer to know what they're getting. In the PBC, if you don't like the inclusion of the "O Fili" refrain as a Gospel Acclamation, then you can just not buy it! With GIA, even if they give a full listing of contents, you don't know what you're getting. It can list "A Mighty Fortress" and you get a hymn about nuclear disarmament! The PBC model is something all publishers of hymnals (at least!) need to pick up on.
  • priorstf,
    Please understand that I was not advocating a censorship of the discussion in toto; I was just concerned that the philosophical debate between Mr. Z and JT was at a density level that far out-weighed the practical concerns of mine, if no one else's. You're absolutely right that the forum should remain open to all discourse. And I think that the subsequent postings have underscored your point quite well.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Gavin - To me it gets even more fundamental. My printer gives just about exactly 1000 copies per toner cartridge which runs right at $90. Given the round trip to Fry's for a replacement - usually at a horrendously inconvenient time - I figure ten cents per page. At 182 pages even the PBC is $18.20. And now I need a 3-ring binder and take time to punch holes etc. NUTS! Cheaper to buy them. Which I did - 20 of them for our schola. No need for us to scream and shout and excoriate the other publishers. In time their marketing groups will either figure it out or not.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I would like to add to this conversation that MUCH of the music which passes as "original" is not original AT ALL. It borrows, steals, and/or rips off 95% of what it claims as "original."
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159

    Intellectual property rights as a concept has been well established and well accepted for many years and is part of the very guts and fabric of our society and with good reason: it is fair and it promotes creative output, which is what our society is built upon. Of course, it is not "perfectly fair" just as we do not have perfect justice in our courts. These are both impossible, so fair is of course, a relative concept. (why do I feel the need to explain these ideas?? Maybe it is a generational thing??)

    Would Broadway producers risk muti millions on shows without IP protections, for that insures that if you DO have a hit (a big if, this is a high stakes game, with far more losers than winners) you receive the reward, but not without IP. HOw about new drugs. Do you think they get made without IP protection. Books get written, movies, Research and Development divisions of companies, software developers, all depend on IP protection. Is this NEWS?? Do people really not GET this? Record companies typically produce one big winner which pays for nineteen or so losers. Want to deny them IP protection? If so, why?

    Amongst the creative community, I never would have thought the idea of intellectual property rights and their protection would be an idea that would need a "sales job."

    1st. Jeff O., it is difficult, no, impossible, to be 100% original, but that is not what establishes a legit claim to ownership of an idea. ( I am guessing that you know this all too well, but you proposed this idea) To go to the extreme to illustrate, I don't have to invent my own alphabet, or indeed, language, or poetry form or style, to claim ownership of my new poem, so there is a "reasonableness" that is at play in all of these determinations. Of course I am building on past achievements. So do inventions. There is a bar set for "unique" claims for patenting an invention. One determinant is called "non obvious" advancement of the state of the art of whatever invention is being improved. So the assumption is there that inventions build on other established patented ideas. Nothing new here. The patent office makes determinations as to if the patent applied for meets criterion. Copyright is the same, if it is too close to someone elses claim, it can be challenged by the other "owner."

    But really, this is all copyright 101, and again, surprise that this is not all just accepted as well established principal. Established by whom? you might ask. By you and I, i.e, our democratic society, through the passing of laws over many years. What has already been argued over and deteriminations made about is basically an issue of what is truly fair to the artist AND society, and believe me, far better minds than you and I have weighed in on this in multiple forums and legislative bodies and courts.

    Creative people, i.e, artists, don't make houses, or shoes, or bow ties, for sale. What they do make is, sorry to be so basic, Intellectual property, and it has value, (and society HAS weighed in on this) but the only way to be paid for ones' book or song or play or movie or invention or design is to establish a -- yes Jeffery T., -- a legislative formula, (big Doh! moment here) for how else would one be paid for these types of work? Does an architect's hours of sweat over a building plan not deserve protection? Aren't you glad Henry Mancini's kids and wife didn't have to bury him in a pauper's grave, like Mozart, back in the "good old days. I mean, where is the logic here? And really, Jeff T. (Or Jeff O, for that matter), please address that question exactly as posed. This is really what it comes down to, not pie in the sky theories of an alternate universe. Is "super idealism" at play here? Or??

    It is great, Jeff O. that you would share your work so freely, but not everyone can afford the luxury of doing so.. So, what you do is legal and acceptable, and charging for the same work would also be legal and acceptable, and you would not have to be 100% original. But it has to be GOOD, or people won't plunk down cash, not revelation here either. But gosh, I am just quite astounded that I would have to convince an artist of the value of one's own creative works.

    By the way, Jeff T. you really show an astounding lack of insight into the plight of some of the artists of earlier times. They were basically, many of them, servants of royalty and aristocrats producing works for hire, and not paid very well, and not really very free, though somehow, fine works were produced along the way, but a lot of tripe was as well, the bad gets filtered out through the years, of course.

    It was nice to see some here argue for "intellectual vigor." That caught me by surprise. Great sign of hope, for this has been on leave for sometime within our church, something we used to excel in. (Thomas Aquinas, anyone?) I can still remember my very bright commie hippie teacher at the public high school I transfered to, coming from the Catholic high, and his comments about debating Catholic high school debate teams. He was the debate coach, and feared the Catholic schools, and for him it was the intrinsic way that the exposure to the religion was mapped to a logical system of thinking. Just hard to beat these Catholics at the logic game. Of course, that was back in the day, when we ran most of the hospitals, had full seminaries, had no rainbow flags on our churches, nuns were nuns and students feared them, the rod was not spared, etc, and the most famous Catholic composer was not a Lutheran. Thanks for restoring some of my faith.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    And ,

    Just to be clear, I am not against non traditional distribution channels or methods. Offering something for free to get someone to pay is good strategy, just ask the Gillette company. These don't violate the principals I advocate for. The copyright owner can use whatever means and discretionary practices he sees fit. Again, there is no conflict here, though caution is in order. A loose woman is not the friend of prostitutes, just the opposite. Look up what Bob Dylan has to say about the modern record being released today as compared with twenty to forty years ago.

    I think a twelve dollar hymnal, or twenty, does not worry about competition from a copy machine, as someone wisely noted about the trouble and expense of making that many copies. But choral arrangements as well as other works do suffer from easy copying, so it is the principal and the ethics involved, at least this should be the case, esp. for "Christians" more than the logistics, but the logistics do, obviously, encourage or discourage illegal distribution depending on the circumstance.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    It is not hard for me to illustrate this, really:

    1st. Jeff O., it is difficult, no, impossible, to be 100% original, but that is not what establishes a legit claim to ownership of an idea. ( I am guessing that you know this all too well, but you proposed this idea) To go to the extreme to illustrate, I don't have to invent my own alphabet, or indeed, language, or poetry form or style, to claim ownership of my new poem, so there is a "reasonableness" that is at play in all of these determinations. Of course I am building on past achievements. So do inventions. There is a bar set for "unique" claims for patenting an invention. One determinant is called "non obvious" advancement of the state of the art of whatever invention is being improved. So the assumption is there that inventions build on other established patented ideas. Nothing new here. The patent office makes determinations as to if the patent applied for meets criterion. Copyright is the same, if it is too close to someone elses claim, it can be challenged by the other "owner."

    Now watch what I do. I change one word:

    2nd. Jeff O., it is difficult, no, impossible, to be 100% original, but that is not what establishes a legit claim to ownership of an idea. ( I am guessing that you know this all too well, but you proposed this idea) To go to the extreme to illustrate, I don't have to invent my own alphabet, or indeed, language, or poetry form or style, to claim ownership of my new poem, so there is a "reasonableness" that is at play in all of these determinations. Of course I am building on past achievements. So do inventions. There is a bar set for "unique" claims for patenting an invention. One determinant is called "non obvious" advancement of the state of the art of whatever invention is being improved. So the assumption is there that inventions build on other established patented ideas. Nothing new here. The patent office makes determinations as to if the patent applied for meets criterion. Copyright is the same, if it is too close to someone elses claim, it can be challenged by the other "owner."
    (This paragraph copyrighted by Jeff Ostrowski)

    Ridiculous, no? However, this type of thing happens ALL the time in music. As a music theorist, I know this. Do you see that what I did is more than simply "using the alphabet" ?
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    A few years ago our diocese commissioned (i.e., paid) a well known musician to write a piece of music for our annual convention. It was sung by all at several occasions during the weekend. With the exception of two added notes it was precisely the tune, rhythm, meter, etc., of "Delta Dawn". Now he might have tried to publish the song for profit but I suspect that the DD copyright owners would have come a'knocking to ask that his inadvertent "homage" be turned into cold hard cash.
  • vigilate
    Posts: 12
    Gosh, if the topic is what's a proper wage for a parish music director, we talk serious money and skills that must be developed over years of training. But if the topic is composing music, we talk free and how easy it is to put notes on a staff. Glad I have a day job.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    No system is perfect. I see much hope and benefit in Creative Common than Copyright system for promoting sacred music in Catholic church. So far what we are tired of is that a few publishers controlling the 'market' and making profit by hiring composers who can sell music regardless of their true value to the Church and the faith of the people.

    Maybe one has to become a 'fool' (one who does something different from others), in order to pull out a system that is ingrained in a wrong place and deteriorated with the miscoception of church music.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159

    Your sentiments are on target, ( though I don't think the employment of Copyright principals has anything to do with the ills you cite) and the solution is coming, but publishers are just filling a "need" which means that a lot of CAtholics don't know or appreciate good church music and/or liturgy, or have not been exposed to it. So the need is really the appetite on the part of Catholics for a wide gamut of music, a lot of which is trite, not high quality, bad poetry. None of this really has much to do with copyrights. Copyright simply protects the owners of the music from others using the music without paying. It is not a "gun to the head" that says the church must use this music.

    Now the issue of texts is a real sore point and the church herself should control her own texts, and if that were the case, I am pretty sure there would not exist these "tribute" money payments in the form of a Shared copyright with the translation arm. This is the church dropping the ball and not, per se, the fault of publishers.

    The Creative Common is what? A fair use idea? Well, why is that needed? Anyone can add a blanket license to freely distribute by simply attaching a note right on the music itself, ala:

    "The end user is hereby advised that he/she is free to make as many copies as required. No permission is required to distribute, reproduce or perform this work in any way the end user deems fit."

    Is that the Catholic Commons understanding in a nutshell Jeffery?

    BTW, the copyright system is not going away, and it need not. The Catholic spirit is not "either/or" but "both/and." Where is the "both/and " spirit in some of these posts?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    -Copyright simply protects the owners of the music from others using the music without paying.-

    To me, the hymns (in general sense, all the music that glorifies God) are prayers. You might think I'm too naive on this, but should I ask people to pay to share my prayers with others? I think the mindset of secular business world can be different from the faithful who want to share their faith through prayers and other talents they received from God. I don't think I have talent in composing music, but I share my little talent and education in teaching that God gave me with others by giving chant classes for free whoever wants it. (I know many people here do the same, sharing their talents in many different ways.) But I charge for other classes and lessons that are not about sacred music. Is this 'ownership' of the prayers necessary in the community of the faithful? Would our God make people who share their beautiful prayers go hungry? My schola members who saw lots of free on-line music in CMAA site are much more willing to help musicians here than those who own commercialized and copyrighted music.
    I cheer for sharing than ownership of the prayers for our Church and our faith.

    (Without the free on-line resources here, our schola could not have sung Propers at all.) Maybe the publishers are filling the 'need' in their own way, but I think the Creative commons has a highter goal and place in bringing and restoring the sacred music which is needed in our Church at the present time.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Usually we get better results when we don't "muzzle the ox." (let the beast of burden eat).

    The churches which have better liturgies pay the musician a fair wage, almost always. Music is hard work for those who really do it well because there is a lot of ground to cover. lots of preparation. Priests are paid, not always a lot, but they are paid. Should they volunteer? What is it with some Christians and money? Money is not evil, it is simply an exchange mechanism. Composing is hard work, just to study enough to know what you are doing. Jesus is the great healer, but we have no problem with paying doctors. What is it?

    I agree that the free resource found here can be a blessing. Nothing wrong with that model, but I would bet that most of the contributors make enough with their church jobs or other music jobs that they can afford to do this, though by that I mean not at all to diminish the generosity of those gestures, just that it is not possible for most to operate in this fashion.
  • Mr. Z.

    Copyright is absolutely worthless. There is no protection. Copyright is merely a person's way of waving a red flag that reads:

    "I have created this. I state that this is original. I, through the waving of this flag, announce my intent to sue you if you take what i have created and do not pay me."

    If it were a patent it would have more value, since patents must go through a process that tends to wean out non-original creations.

    There is no value to a copyright...but it does have the impact of locking things away from people that could use them.

    Let me ask you this one question:

    Should the English Mass be locked away while the Latin Mass is free to all to use in any manner?

    Why is the Latin Mass worth less to the Catholic Church than the English Mass?

    Why can I be sued by ICEL if I write out by hand the text of the English Mass and give it to you as a gift?

    Why do they not charge for both.

    Yes, why.

    Answer, please.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,528
    Mr. Z has already disavowed any support for copyright on liturgical translations, hasn't he? Then there's no point pointing out to him their absurdity.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159

    What do you mean to say, by saying copyright is worthless? I must not be getting the real meaning of the statement. We all heard about the Beatles catalogue, (famously bought by Michael Jackson) being worth a billion - no? The richest musician is the world is not giving concerts. No, it is the COMPOSER of Cat's and Phantom, yes, that is right, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and why is that ?? It is copyright as I am sure you realize, so, trying to get your point on some of this.

    Yes, the choir director at St. Stealalot's may get away with some xeroxing, but wait till the diocese gets sued for a million. It happens. There is the teeth.

    And, yes, there is a vetting process with patents that is not in place with copyright, (sort of irrelevant, but nonetheless..) but that is a hugely broad brush you brought out, and I don't quite get where you are going with the "worthless" idea.. Certainly we cannot be talking money, for it is patently obvious there is big money in copyright ownership, so what you mean to say is . . . .???

    As Chonak pointed out, the Liturgical text business is somewhat strange, and finds no support here. The rest of your question I would answer if I understood the gist a little better. There is no "English Mass" per se - just the Catholic Mass, Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form, (well, that and the twenty two Catholic rites Eastern and Western) and yes, the NO Mass has been translated to this or that vernacular, but the NO Mass is a Latin Mass. But you knew this at some level, did you not? So I don't quite understand your question.

    I really sense there is an anger to some of these postings in this thread, and I am not saying it is necessarily unjustified. It seems to be really deep seated, - probably extending beyond the parameters of this discussion- but let us identify where some of this anger is generating from - and I am directing this generally, not to one in particular. Then, whatever answer given might have some relevance, some impact. Otherwise, we are just exercising our poor (at least in my case) semantic skills.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Indeed the Church should take exactly the opposite approach to copyright. They should translate, approve, publish, and insist on these words and no others. Unfortunately there does not seem to be widespread willingness to be subordinate to the bishops these days. (Or, arguably, a willingness on the part of the bishops to enforce it.)
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Well the problem is, to name just one, that the bishops have gotten into bed with the ICEL which has in the past produced a rather impoverished translation, and thank God, literally for BXVI and his push to bring these translations back towards one that is truer to the original text, and now we get "And with your spirit" and not "and also with you," etc. And we get a big push back from the same bishops who gave us some of this more "pedestrian" bland liturgical translation in the first place. So the bishops themselves, at least a good number of them, and their arms, have been somewhat suspect in the realm of orthodoxy, and we see that now in the lack of support and unity with the bishop of Rome on some key issues. So if there is disobedience amongst the ranks of bishops themselves, should we not expect it as well among the "faithful" who have been taught that it is "OK" to "do your own thing?"

    Something else (a slight improvement? ) From the ICEL website:

    Publications not subject to royalties:
    No royalty is charged for reprinting ICEL translations in a publication for use at a specific Mass or celebration of an individual congregation or institution, for example: convention program booklets, jubilee Masses, ordinations, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, funerals, weddings, etc., provided that the following conditions are met:

    a. the publication is not produced by a publishing firm;

    b. the publication is not sold;

    c. the appropriate copyright notice appears on the cover, inside cover, or title page;

    d. the official editions of the texts are followed exact
  • I think that is the old text, not an improvement really. Anyone can be a "publishing firm" now. I mean, this only means that I don't have to pay ICEL to put out a page of stuff for this Sunday and this Sunday only. If they didn't permit that, well, good heavens!

    The improvement from ICEL of late isn't even posted on the ICEL site. It was sent to and printed here. It says that ICEL material can be posted online and digitally distributed without royalties. this is good.
  • to go back a bit in the thread, on Z's point concerning the rights of authors, these days the author/creator is the main victim due to contracts signed with publishers, contracts that take advantage of exaggerated expectations of sales that never arrive. it is a cruel system that exploits composer ego, because the music is effectively stolen by a corporation for 100 years after. i doesn't seem like a wise decision to go along with this. Until recently, however, most people knew no other option.
  • Music is also taken by publishers and never published.

    Some publishers take your music and stop selling it and leave you out in the cold.

    Others give you back your music so that you may attempt to find a new publisher.

    The Bishops are not getting in bed with anyone. [as well they shouldn't] The Bishops created ICEL. They permit it to hog tie people left and right.

    The Conception Abbey creates psalms.
    • ICEL creates Mass Text.
    Conception Abbey gets an indult so that for the past year they have been singing the psalms and making corrections to the edition that GIA is publishing.
    • ICEL will not grant an indult to my parish so that we can sing the new Mass I have composed to test it and prepare it for sale...when it is permitted.

    The reason given is that the Abbey is a religious order, functioning within their premises. Which I understand.
    • We are a religious congregation, functioning within our premises and are banned from doing this.

    We could move to South Africa where they mistakenly thought they coudl go ahead, did and now have an indult to continue. It's been years since I had a vacation,
    possibly ICEL might send Jeffrey, myself and others to SA to get us out of their hair?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,528
    For what it's worth, Noel, I don't think ICEL would bother you if you made trial use of your new Mass settings in choir rehearsals.
  • Removed.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    From Froggy

    "I bring this up not to criticize you,.."

    Oh, really, but it is sure not the "Welcome Wagon"

    "..but this brings to mind a storm.. "

    OOH, sounds ominous. How did you survive?? And exactly WHAT is "this" that brings to mind

    " ..."that surged through here months ago when someone with an agenda..."

    "... not that of this group.."

    I did not know that this was a "group" or private club, maybe? of some sort. How does one gain "membership." Is it like the KofC?

    "... began posting and simply created a riot before sanity reigned.""

    I am stunned. Just stunned.

    I don't really appreciate an intellectual joust, simply meant to challenge some fairly brazen assumptions/positions posted here, at least that is my take, turning toward the ad hominem. Just what would my "agenda" be. Please, now that it is there, explain yourself.

    Excuse me while I go try to find you on "Facebook" and "E-Harmony."

  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Chonak - valid point indeed. And also means that one's church would be ready the day we all get the go ahead.
  • I think this thread is getting out of hand; the language and attitude are getting too vitriolic. This is not what this Forum is about. A Google search of Mr. Z is quite informative; and I'll leave it at that.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159

    Thanks for the "tip."

    I thinks I will "look me up."" OOh gosh you are right, He is a musician, and boy, what an agenda. Better circle them thar wagons.

    Pathetic, truly.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,528
    Hi, Mr. Zamberlin.

    Usually I try hard to be conciliatory, but maybe the best way to do that in this case is to be frank about how negatively your message is coming across. In case you don't realize it, your rhetoric at the start of this thread came across as rather arch in tone, to the point where it seemed sarcastic. Just roll these phrases over in your mind:

    (1) "with all due respect", etc.
    (2) you opined that Jeffrey is an "advocate" for "good ol' Catholicism"
    (3) and called it "Funny, huh?" that "Catholicism produced clear thinking, with a rejection of rose glassed or agenda laden views of history."

    [And this is all before the actual argument!]

    (4) "Once again, you surprise me, totally surprise me, with you penchant for specious arguing"

    ["Once again"? How do you get into "once again" in the opening of an argument?]

    (5) "do get off the 'in Mozartean times' ;ideal' - puleeze."

    [Those words don't appear in Jeffrey's NLM piece; or were they from something else he wrote? It's hard to tell, as you didn't provide context.]

    The "puleeze" is an expression of exasperation -- but if in fact you had already reached a condition of exasperation at Jeffrey at the outset of this thread, then you'd given up on the dialogue before starting, and were merely venting. In the face of that, no wonder Noel went to search and figure out: where on earth is this man's mindset coming from?
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159

    Interesting handle. Thanks for the candor. Points well taken.

    An explanation is in order,

    (First, "good ol' Catholicism" is not a perjorative in the way I was referencing. I like good ol' Catholicism. Sorry if that wasn't clear enough).

    I challenged ( in a good way, I hope) Mr. Tucker a while back on some of these same issues on another thread. He answered none of these fair challenges, and then goes on to say he has a "comissioned" piece, which I was anxious to read, and that, it turns out, by his own admission, is not true, it was not a commissioned piece. And only because I challenged him on what is a very important idea did the truth come out, and the other ideas he presents are important and he is influential and he plays fast and loose with facts to buttress his claims. This is egregious on a site dedicated to truth. So yes, at that point, my tone changed and sorry for the perception problem it has created. Since my challenge was also serious, I went to great lengths to then make my case, and tried to make clear that it was not my intent to attack Mr. Tucker personally, not at all, as I admire his work. Just the ideas he was presenting. (BTW, he is still advertising his "commissioned" piece. Shrug.)

    When you say basically that all music in the church should be made available for free, well, I think you open yourself up to be challenged, don't you? Especially a person with a fairly high profile and some fair amount of influence. Does not mean he is wrong. But your better have your facts straight. Mr. Tucker is no doubt beloved here, with good reason, and all the more reason he needs to take better care with what he writes. Is that a fair point to make? I think so.

    I know composers and people who receive a good amount of their incomes in royalties, not fat cats, but sometimes good livings and just want that side to be represented to counter the seeming onslaught of publisher bashing, most of it not well founded or backed up with real facts, just sort of the assumption that they are the "monied and the mean" and most things evil in the church can be traced right over there. Not to say that some of that is not true, but it is mostly emotionally driven arguments instead of real case building that we are getting, and this should not be.

    Sorry for any perceived (or actual) vitrol. And please folks, don't do searches on the internet and trot out something to show that you really "know" something about a person, like a "gotcha" -- bad form, tacky, truly. [What is on the internet about me (proud of it, BTW) is sketchy at best.] (Oops more vitrol?) No that is Christian charity to correct that which needs correction.

  • To JZ: I'm certain that your parenthetical "Oops more vitriol?" was an attempt at humor; unfortunately, in light of the history on this thread, it might be interpreted as sarcasm.

    To all: Your message is received according to the recipient's disposition. Therefore an even-handed, dispassionate tone is more necessary when dealing with matters of greater import if you want to have your point taken seriously by those who advocate an opposing viewpoint — especially if you're the "away team". If that requires you to modify your posting habits, so be it. Remember also that online, you're writing for future readers, not just the immediate ones.

    For my part, while I certainly appreciate the fact that the sine qua non of Latin-rite music and its polyphonic descendants are freely available, I don't think that all music of the church should be available for free. ("Music" as I use the term here encompasses far more than the compositional aspect of it; I realize I may be veering from the thread with such a definition.) However, I question the veiled (and sometimes not-so-veiled) coerciveness of the "payment arrangement" attached to many compositions as well as the yielding of control from author to publisher and attached legal counsel — especially when the author doesn't realize what he or she is getting into.

    My own viewpoint (inasmuch as I can claim it as "my own") goes far deeper than the aspect of royalties — while I appreciate that royalties directly impact certain people's incomes for good and for ill, I see them as a peripheral issue — and is more comprehensively addressed by others (including Mr. Tucker) on forums of a different nature. In any case, most of the music I use currently is public domain — my situation affords/requires it — so my habits don't affect anyone's income positively or negatively.

    As far as the issue of a Mozartean ideal goes, I offer some food for thought.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159

    Good imput, interesting concept (food for thought). I like it.

    Agree with your take on "measured" responses, but thin skin disease in in full bloom these days. People all too ready, anxious even, to believe the worst about others' intent. Not a Christian/Catholic virtue. Still, point well taken.

    I also am in a church with absolutely no non PD music. (Byzantine, accapella) So a non issue from here, but the larger church needs all kinds of music, public domain, fair use, and paid for. Why is this controversial?

    My advice to you: since there are quite a few here that would benefit by a clear understanding of the publisher/composer/end user arrangements, don't shotgun blast a sort of general sense about situations that you are privy. Cite specifics, without necessarily naming names, as to not do so helps to create a general distrust of the few Catholic publishers, even if you are not shooting in that specific direction/ The impression that can be created is a cloud of aspersion cast in the widest possible fashion.

  • Wow, overnight this thread has spun out of control. I appreciated the challenge from Z but didn't much appreciate his language and assumptions. Still, everyone on the forum deserves a chance to demonstrate good will, not only in disagreement but especially in disagreement. I suppose Z is one step away from losing privileges.

    by the way, it is surely obvious that I meant "commissioned" in an playful way: a silly way of saying that someone asked me for an explanation of the topic. I can't believe that Z thinks that he somehow forced me to come clean that, in fact, I was not paid to write it. Good grief.

    Finally Z, you know, there is a vast and growing literature on this topic. Already on this forum it is quite clear that you have written on this topic far more than you have read.

    added: ok, it is clear that Z came here with an agenda not to learn or be part of a community but to harass. I was glad for the challenge because I love this topic and I think some good has resulted. But the value added of his contribution to the overall spirit of the forum has fallen to zero. Z you are free to write me to protest the suspension of your posting privileges.
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 230
    Very good decision, Jeffrey T.

    Z's posts were generating a lot of heat and not much light. Taking us off track.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,528
    "Interesting handle."

    I'm quite open about my name; Z can go ahead and click on the handle to see it.
  • Nonetheless, a very sad turn and outcome that I had hoped wouldn't eventuate, witness my first posting in this thread.
    This isn't my first rodeo, this particular forum. However, with all my heart I've hoped and prayed that that things viral and vitriolic would not EVER take root here. This is MY LAST REFUGE of sanity AND charity in my personal journey to improve my person and my skills in helping folks pray/praise through the singing arts.
    I used (and misspelled) the word "incongruent" earlier. I wonder if this statement is incongruent: the Church militant should be willing to turn the other cheek when the first one has been slapped, as its primary response.
  • I hope this has been handled right. We should all be inclusive in every way, but there must be a general demeanor of being part of a community. I tried to exchange him as closely and honestly as possible, without invective. Nor do i expect everyone or even anyone to agree with me on these points. But there is a problem when thing turn as they did. The value of the community is the most important thing.
  • Thanks for taking things in hand, Jeffrey. It seemed that Z kept revving up the rhetoric without provocation, and I think it was really upsetting to most of us. This Forum is my last refuge of sanity, too, and I so look forward to reading the postings every evening. I have found the concept of Creative Commons very interesting to consider, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the idea. Please keep the information coming, Jeffrey.
  • Z and I have exchanged emails, and I'm convinced that the overnight flareup represented a heated moment that we can get through. Let's all please welcome Z as a colleague and go forward.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,126
    While I am sorry for the heat and argumentation, this has been an interesting and worthy thread. For the record, I am a published composer and do receive some monies for my efforts. I am happy to have the funds, though it does not amount to much. I am glad to have some control over my music, though I also give it away at the drop of a hat. The point is, there is tension between getting the music "out there" and eating. Yes, overstated, but for those who do compose and would like to eat, copyright issues enter into our daily lives. I do not make a living as a composer, but I do know people who do.

    And lastly, my music is not sacred. It is secular, if you call piano pieces that. So perhaps I speak from a different plane. Nonetheless, i agree with Aristotle that all kinds of music( PD, fair use and copyrighted) is okay. Just because I make some profit from my work is not a bad thing.

    My .01 contribution (not elegant or high-minded)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I suppose what bothers me about the anti-IP argument is the mindset that results. I recall recently a poster asked for suggestions for anthems for a certain Mass. Some responded with some good suggestions, and the poster responded that he wouldn't do those because he'd have to purchase them. In my opinion, there is something VERY wrong with a choir which will only do music it can photocopy - and that's the effect this rhetoric has on people. I'm picturing dozens of priests reading Jeff's article, and then cutting the music budget of their parishes to 0 because they can just print off inaccurate editions from CPDL.