Monday, August 2, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

MuseScore Requests Downloader Takedown

Jim Salter (via Hacker News):

The MuseScore app itself is licensed GPLv3, which gives developers the right to fork its source and modify it. One such developer, Wenzheng Tang (“Xmader” on GitHub) went considerably further than modifying the app—he also created separate apps designed to bypass MuseScore Pro subscription fees.

[…]

It’s important to note that the application itself and the sheet music to which it provides access are not the same thing, and they are not provided under the same license. The application itself is GPLv3, but the musical works it enables access to via musescore.com have a wide variety of licenses, including public domain, Creative Commons, and fully commercial.

In the case of commercial all-rights-reserved scores, Muse Group is not generally the rightsholder for the copyrighted work—Muse Group is an intermediary that has secured the rights to distribute that work via the MuseScore app.

[…]

Bypassing those controls leaves Muse Group on the hook either for costs it has no way to monetize (e.g., by ads for free users) or for violating its own distribution agreements with rightsholders (by failing to properly track downloads).

[…]

[While] musescore-downloader facilitates unlicensed downloads of DMCA-protected works, it does not itself contain those works, which means GitHub itself can ignore DMCA takedown requests.

Previously:

2 Comments

Kevin Schumacher

I will admit I haven't really looked into this, but just on its face, this sounds incorrect:

> [While] musescore-downloader facilitates unlicensed downloads of DMCA-protected works, it does not itself contain those works, which means GitHub itself can ignore DMCA takedown requests.

That's not the whole story. Not containing copyrighted content itself is not, in itself, the only reason that a DMCA request would be invalid. It's unclear (having not looked at the actual code, and the Ars article doesn't say) how musecore-downloader actually accesses musescore.com. If it circumvents any technological measures designed to prevent unauthorized access, that is explicitly against the DMCA. If that's not the case, then say that. Don't give a reason that is not relevant to the actual reason that copyright law doesn't apply here.

@Kevin It’s not totally clear, but the impression I got was that the API is not secured, so the code is not actually circumventing anything. So it was kind of like security through obscurity/terms of use.

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