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Musical Plagiarism

02/28/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2765&newssectionID=1

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the world of classical music recently is that of the recordings of the late British pianist, Joyce Hatto. She retired from the public eye for a few years to fight and recover from cancer. At some point she started recording again, and put out a large number of CDs on her husband's small label. From what I've read, these were well received as this review from the Boston Globe attests.

This is where the story takes an odd twist. One of the purchasers of one of her CDs stuck it into iTunes which then identified it as an entirely different recording. Or, more accurately, someone else's recording of the same material. Further investigation revealed that it really was someone else's material and that it wasn't a unique case either. Several recordings were transferred with minor edits, possibly in order disguise their origins, while others were verbatim copies.

Eventually her husband confessed to the fraud, and it's that which is linked to above. His justification? This:

Barrington-Coupe explains that he did indeed pass off other people’s recordings as his wife’s, but that he did it to give her the illusion of a great end to an unfairly (as he terms it) overlooked career.

It's not much of a defence. A bit further on, the passing-off is described as a progressive slip from partial replacement to outright theft. I'm sure someone out there is going to try to use this as an excuse for yet more DRM or perhaps even a banning of enabling technologies like SoundForge. Meh.

(Via Neil Gaiman's Blog)


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