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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:12 AM EDT

Luciano Pavarotti just died. I adore Pavarotti's singing. I have some of his CDs and I attended a concert once where I had the exquisite pleasure of hearing him sing live, which is nothing at all like hearing him on CD.

I asked an opera singer, a friend of mine, who studied with the same coach as Pavarotti, what made the difference. Because there were many singers on that stage at that concert, and only one of them made my ears tremble pleasurably with their singing. Literally. He said it's a technique of tongue placement, placing it right behind the bottom teeth. It doesn't sound so romantic, telling it that way, but I assure you it's an experience I'll simply never forget, because it was unique. I'd never experienced it before, and I never have since. It's not every man who can say he can do something for a woman that is unique.

It's fair to say my favorite single piece of music is him singing Nessun Dorma. I wrote to him once, because I just had to tell him how I felt. I asked a friend to help me so I could write it in Italian. I wasn't looking to meet him or anything like that. I just wanted to tell him and share a thought or two. And he wrote me back, a very warm and friendly note. He'd written it on an old fashioned typewriter, the kind you have to bang on to get the keys to hit the ribbon, like my mom prefers. And he'd signed it personally. I still have it. Of course.

So when I read that he had died, I cried. Next, I started wanting to hear him sing once again. But I wanted to see him too. So I looked on the Internet, and I found two videos I decided I wanted to share with you, on a certain website that shall be nameless in this context, one of my favorite, Nessun Dorma, and another of him and James Brown (It's a Man's World) in a collaborative duet, Pavarotti in Italian, and Brown doing his thing. It's very special. But, then I was stopped in my tracks. My paralegal brain started working. I started thinking about copyright law.

Can I safely link to those video clips? Maybe not. Maybe someone will claim copyright infringement. How about I don't link, then, but I just do text urls? No? Still could get sued? I could hint, give the title and the artists and the website and you could find it for yourselves, brainiacs that you are.

That might be bad. What if the website reads Groklaw and removes the videos for fear someone's lawyer will sue? Or someone sues the guy who uploaded it, and I'm to blame for his sorrows? No, that's out. I'm a straightforward person. I don't want to be devious.

But it's an outdoor concert. Surely they gave instructions to the audience on what they could and couldn't do. What if they did but someone cheated? Or they said nothing. The default is no copying. It's so complicated [PDF], the rules on paying, even if you know who to pay.

What if I think it's OK and I link to it and some friend of SCO's or Microsoft, drooling to cause me pain and trouble, proxy-sues me for putting a link to content that allegedly infringes someone's copyright?

Right. Like they wouldn't.

Or the RIAA gets wind of it and sues me for millions, a dollar for each of you who clicked, according to Media whatever that outfit calls itself nowadays they hire to collect IP addresses badly, and they say I'm getting the special deal they only offer to people willing to sign a paper acknowledging my guilt and promising never to link to Pavarotti again as long as I live, on pain of God knows what penalty next time. Kidding. Not about the suing part, though.

I next tried to find any CD that might have the duet for sale. At least I could point you in that direction. I can't find it for sale anywhere.

Whose copyright is it? Let's think it through. Pavarotti? His widow? The concert hall? The TV station that aired it? James Brown's heirs? I don't want to tangle with that mercenary crew. They couldn't even get him buried while they wrangled with each other.

What about fair use? Does it apply? Let's review the factors...

How do I know? Nobody knows until they get sued.


I spent four hours thinking it all through. I want to respect the law, no matter how ridiculous it might seem, but what is it?

But I really want you to see this man sing. I wanted to pay tribute to his talent. And this is history. Hmm. Maybe that makes it fair use? I can do commentary, and Groklaw is noncommercial, and it's a news story. Maybe I'm overreacting and giving up fair use rights I actually have, like Bound by Law says.

Yeah, but music. They sue people for three notes. What has the entertainment industry wrought, this terrible fear of sharing culture?

So, I went searching for some legal way. I hunted and hunted for some evidence that the clips were ever sold anywhere. Not that I could find. So, I wouldn't be undermining any commercial venture. Except folks do sell Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma and James Brown singing It's a Man's World.

I tried his official website. Maybe they'd have clips to share there they want you to sample. Many artists do. No. It's shut down, just a picture of Pavarotti. Google shows a cached version of what it normally looks like, but you can't enter the site right now. That is their tribute, no doubt, but it meant I couldn't find anything to share with you from that source.

I next found out, after much searching, that the James Brown duet was part of a charity concert in 2002, one of a series that Pavarotti hosted in his home town of Modena, to benefit Angolan refugees. It was aired on RAI UNO television live. So, I reasoned, does that mean I can show it to you? They aren't collecting money for that purpose from it now, after all. Maybe?

What if some television guy has some deal to be the exclusive source of Pavarotti and Friends videos? And they're up all night right now editing it with dreams of making a mint in the wake of Pavarotti's death?

Lou Reed sang at that same concert. And he was quoted as saying this about the experience:

Reed shrugs. 'I don't know. I'm afraid to commit to saying anything that aggressive, that I know what wisdom is. But I'm trying. And at least I know the area I'm trying in now. I was doing this thing with Pavarotti - this is five, six years ago - and James Brown was there. I'd met him before. So we got to talking. This is James Brown .... James! Brown! And he says, "You know, Lou" - he calls me Lou, right; last time before that we met, he says, "Hey, Wildside" - and I say, "Yes, Mr Brown," because you always call him "Mr Brown"; he says, "Well, Lou, you know what the difference is?" And I say, "No I don't, Mr Brown, what is the difference?" And he says, "The difference is, now we know why we're doing what we're doing."

'Now I happened to know what he meant. At that point I'd come far enough down the road to know what he was talking about. He'd figured out why he was out there doing music. Why he's out there in the middle of God knows where doing this thing; why Luciano is out there doing It's a Man's World with him. That was amazing. James Brown and Pavarotti singing together, with an orchestra.'

So I went to RAI UNO's website. Maybe I could find a contact email and I could ask if they'd mind. No -- that would take too long. He died today. Three days from now is too late.

Well, maybe they'll have a clip of him, since they aired his concerts.

So I tried. The videos I wanted to show you, I can't, as I don't see them there. But there is on the RAI TV home page a video of Pavarotti that you can view for free without getting arrested and thrown in jail.

Victory at last!

So I tried to play it myself. But alas! You need Windows Media to view it.

The way I feel after the MS OOXML ISO shenanigans, I feel like I would rather die than watch my beloved Pavarotti with Windows Media at the moment. But at least I can give you a link to it, so you can watch it if you feel less emotional.

Is copyright law not ridiculous? I lack the power to change the law. So it's obey or not. And I do. I always do my best.

Culture dies when you can't see it, build on it, be affected by it, share it with your friends. Creativity is born in such soil. And culture is dying, thanks to laws that don't think about that. When all you think about is money, you lose sight of the need for culture, what it does for the human heart. Not all humans on this sad old earth have money for culture, though. It's that simple. Is the world a better place if they can't taste it? Pavarotti wasn't born wealthy. He decided to become an opera singer when he heard opera sung on the radio. What if there was no free radio for a poor youngster in a small town in Italy to listen to? Imagine what the world might have lost.

Pavarotti was criticized during his lifetime for giving free concerts, doing opera on television for the "masses", and doing the Pavarotti and Friends concerts of "lowbrow" music. But he didn't care, because he *wanted* people to enjoy music and be exposed to opera in particular. I should have written to him again while he was alive. I know... I *know* he would have granted permission. Because he was out there on that stage with James Brown singing It's a Man's World, knowing what he was doing: he was sharing culture freely with anyone who wanted to enjoy it. That is the ironic part of this frustrating tale, and it's why I decided to write my own music-free but deeply heartfelt tribute to him.

But music-free. I don't dare share with you the links to those videos. And so a little bit of culture is lost, and millions of people who read Groklaw, some of whom might never have seen the videos I wanted to share, miss the thrill of listening to this wonderful talent with me, in two short videos that no one is even selling, because I'm too worried to share them with my friends here on the day that Luciano Pavarotti died.

Update: The BBC to the rescue (if you have Real Player) -- Pavarotti singing with his father, an amateur singer. And a report on the famous concert in Hyde Park in 1991, which some criticized. And finally, a brief taste of Nessun Dorma at the end of this clip about his life. At least a taste! Even if it isn't the Torino 2006 performance.

And being Groklaw, I can't resist highlighting this geek memory of Pavarotti from Groklaw member jumpman, on his encounter with Luciano Pavarotti:


Wow you jogged the old cranium on this one...

Believe it or not I have met him as well, under extremely similar circumstances. I was working as an engineer for an AV company at the time and I was assigned to designing and final configuration of the sound system in that hall. It was put in specifically for him and was immensely complex, far past what was necessary for the day to day stuff the system would be used for. The College went all out, not because he requested it, but because WCSU wanted to give him a system that would be worthy of someone of his talent.

I spent 20 hour days, 6 days a week, for three weeks behind racks doing adjustments and setting EQ curves. The final 5% of the adjustments are always the worst, and cinder block walls and cement floor with thin carpeting made the acoustics....interesting (in the same way feeding X-lax to a dog makes a dog walk interesting). Compounding the issue was Mr Pavarotti's vast vocal range, forcing me to make adjustments in frequencies that are hardly ever used by the human voice (including rock concerts, and I have configured more than my share of those).

It was coming down to the wire and we were expecting him at any moment to go through his rehearsal. At this point I had not seen my family or my girlfriend for the past month, and I was voicing how much I was missing them to a co-worker when I feel a hand on my shoulder and a very warm voice say, "I can wait a few hours, go home and see your family."

Standing over me, with a warm smile on his face, was the man himself. After my heart went back to it's proper location (seeing as it jumped clear up to the top of my throat) I asked him if he was sure. He asked me how long I have been working on the system and how long have I been away from my family. After I told him, he playfully slapped me upside the head and told me to go home. He told me something that I will never forget. "Family is everything, there will always be more work."

Never have I been treated with more respect and treated more like a human being from a Star.

He left a lasting impression on me and my staff.

He will be dearly missed.


That's all people want from the entertainment industry too, to be treated like a human being with more respect. And please don't misunderstand my point. I think copyright law is important. I benefit personally from its protections. But could you please do something about the fair use wiggle room we've lost in the digital world? Fair use is part of copyright law too. I want to be a law-abiding person with a chance to enjoy that part of the law too, but no one knows where the line is any more, and we need to know. We know what the music industry thinks. They are like SCO. They'd apportion 100% to them, 0% to us. But I know that isn't the balance the law was designed to strike.

Update 2: Charlie Rose has some of his wonderful interviews on YouTube now, and I found the best interview of Pavarotti there. It's from 2003, and he talks about his career. There are three interviews on that segment, and his is the final one. I wish to say thank you to Charlie Rose for sharing these interviews freely with us.


Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law | 213 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute - perhaps appropriate
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:28 AM EDT
I to was saddened to hear LP had died.

Sometimes memory is a more useful kind of recording in such situations.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:36 AM EDT
I agree wholeheartedly. I too heard him sing in person, and I still
"shiver with delight" when I hear him sing Nessum Dorma. What a loss!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here please, if any
Authored by: tiger99 on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:37 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic here please
Authored by: tiger99 on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:39 AM EDT
Clickable links would be nice, where possible.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comments on newspicks items here please
Authored by: tiger99 on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:40 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Technique: tonge behind teeth
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:42 AM EDT
Risking to go against you mood or your frend's opinion I must say that
describing Pavarotti's singing quality as 'a technique' and only narrowing it
down to his tongue placement is a bit simplistic.

Yes Pavarotti had tremendous 'technique' and this on all levels: control of the
midriff, relaxing of the whole vocal system (chords, larynx,..) combined with
indeed exquisite placement of tongue and mouth. But that is just the foundation.

It's like saying that Michael Schumacher had very good control over his car (he
would, wouldn't he).

In the end the technique is what creates the possibilities but the result
depends on what you DO with those capabilities and that is the interpretation
you bring to the music.

So, your experience is not just the result of a technique that anyone could do
but the combined result of a natural talent/fisique (honed to perfection through
years of training) that MAXIMIZES an exceptional ability to find the best way to
express the emotions in the music.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Copyright law is far too inflexible
Authored by: tiger99 on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:52 AM EDT
This sad occasion proves the point rather well. But worse is the general inability to find someone who can authorise use of copyrighted material when required. There may be systems in place to capture significant fees from broadcasters, but no way of one ordinary person being able quickly to get approval to do something. Literary works are much the same, some faceless publisher somewhere holds the copyright to something you need to reproduce a bit of, but they are neither going to reprint it themselves, nor even bother to answer enquiries about it.

Maybe the law should be changed so that the copyright is actually registered in a database, where you can look it up, and agreed fees for various uses are available, so that small-scale usage can be undertaken simply by making an on-line payment. It would actually bring in extra cash for the copyright owners, but the RIAA/MPAA would not like their incredibly inefficient business methods to be bypassed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:52 AM EDT
I can play the video on the RAI Uno page with mplayer:


[ Reply to This | # ]

NYTimes has Links to audio
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:53 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ's right: A quote and a link to prove it
Authored by: Greybeard2 on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 08:05 AM EDT
Folks: Even more than that great voice filled with passion and power, we are
losing the Artists ability to reach their audience.
--- ---
From The New York Times Sunday Magazine (link below)

By the time Barnett first approached Rubin about coming to Columbia, Rubin had
already decided that he would have nothing more to do with Columbia Records.
This was because of the company's handling of the Rubin-produced Neil Diamond
record "12 Songs" in 2005. Diamond was a hero of Rubin's, and he spent
two years working on the album, persuading Diamond to record acoustically,
something he hadn't done since the '60s.

"The CD debuted at No. 4," Rubin told me at Hugo's, still sounding
upset. "It was the highest debut of Neil's career, off to a great start.
But Columbia — it was some kind of corporate thing — had put spyware on the CD.
That kept people from copying it, but it also somehow recorded information about
whoever bought the record. The spyware became public knowledge, and people
freaked out. There were some lawsuits filed, and the CD was recalled by
Columbia. Literally pulled from stores. We came out on a Tuesday, by the
following week the CD was not available. Columbia released it again in a month,
but we never recovered. Neil was furious, and I vowed never to make another
album with Columbia."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: studog on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 08:05 AM EDT
Some thoughts on unjust laws.


[ Reply to This | # ]

A high profile means you must be extra scrupulous
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 08:11 AM EDT
Conservative Republican Congressmen aren't allowed to play footsie in men's
rooms, and high-profile law websites aren't allowed to test the limits of
ambiguous laws.

People hate even the appearance of hypocrisy and the media latches onto that.

Oh well, I'm sure there will be all kinds of legally authorized tributes on the
radio and TV over the next few days.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Pseudonym on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 08:15 AM EDT
Not a fan of Nessun dorma. However, if you ever find a copy of Pavarotti's duet with Ghaiurov of Au fond du temple saint, you're in for a magical experience.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A brief encounter with Luciano Pavarotti
Authored by: Thomas Downing on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 08:18 AM EDT
This story shows a certain light on the great singer, and
is one I treasure.

Several years ago, when I was in the bus business, we ran
the bus terminal at Danbury, CT. Just up the road from
the terminal was the Western Connecticut State College (as
it was then called) West Side Campus. On this campus a
new music center, the Charles Ives, had recently been

The college asked Mr. Pavarotti if he would honor them by
participating in the dedication of the new center. This
he did.

On that day, we noticed a familiar face in the terminal,
but we weren't sure. While puzzling over who it might be,
and was it really Mr. Pavarotti there in our terminal, a
uniformed chauffeur approached us and asked 'had we seen
Mr. Pavarotti, I have a limosine here for him'.

When we presented the chauffeur and stretch limosine to
Mr. Pavarotti, he murmurred a mild protest, in that quiet
shy voice, 'they really shouldn't have, a taxi was all I

If he had wanted, the college would have sent a helicopter
direct to him.

I wish now I could tell him that they were only seeking to
honor in any way they could a man who brought so much joy,
comfort and inspiration to so many.

Thomas Downing
Principal Member Technical Staff
IPC Information Systems, Inc.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ability to record TV going away as well
Authored by: seeks2know on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 08:53 AM EDT
I utilize MythTV (GPL software) to capture TV shows via the firewire port on my
cable provider's set-top box. This utilizes a feature that the FCC mandates to
the cable operators.

Yesterday, I received an update from a techical person who works in my local
cable company. She advised that the cable company was going encrypt all of the
data sent from this port.

She further advised that decryption would only be performed by authorized
devices that would respect and enforce content owners' copyrights that specify
whether the content could be recorded, how long the content could be stored and
how many times it could be watched.

And, by the way, this is all being done per a new FCC regulation. However, she
could not tell me which FCC regulation specified this.

I've invested thousands of dollars to build a network of MythTV boxes throughout
my home. Now it appears that some new MPAA-guided action will force the
implementation of some stupid DRM program that will make it all worthless.

When did we lose all of our fair use rights defined in copyright law?

There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it
-- George Washington

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 09:15 AM EDT
I will be listening to my recording of La Fille du Regiment today in honor (his
was always the best performance).

Beautiful post today PJ. Really struck a chord with me.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Man's World clip is on YouTube
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 09:15 AM EDT
It's been there 6 months without any 'take down'.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 09:23 AM EDT
(by joef, visiting my daughter and using her vista[ugh!] system**)

I had the pleasure of hearing him in recital in Cincinnati back in the
seventies. The program was pretty much standard Italian opera aria repertoire,
and after the last on the printed program came the encores. That's when he
started on the popular Italian song repertoire. After half-dozen or so, and
still being called on for more, he walked over to the accompanist's piano and
firmly shut the keyboard lid, took a last bow, and left the stage to another
round of thunderous applause.

I still shiver when I recall the experience.

**But she does use Firefox!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: thorpie on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 09:39 AM EDT
Say no more

The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime -
Floyd, Pink

[ Reply to This | # ]

Some audio extracts
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 09:41 AM EDT
On the "Il Corriere della Sera" (one of the major italian newspaper) site, there is a page with a collection of multimedia about Pavarotti's death. At the end, some audio extracts (not full, of course, probably due to copyright issues) from his most known pieces like "Nessun Dorma" and "Di quella pira". Link

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 09:55 AM EDT
Growing up I never had much interest in opera. As much as
I loved music and dancing, it never did anything for me,
except turn me off from it. Yes, I know it was a bit
narrow minded, but alas, how I felt.

Then one day I caught a program about tenor voices and
what made them different. It was a very technical study of
their unique voices. Being an engineer I could easily
follow and appreciate this approach to music.

I was immediately struck by the beauty in these tenors
voices, especially Pavarotti!

Not long after there was a program about Pavarotti and I
paid very close attention to his singing and before I knew
it I had fallen in love with opera. Pavarotti was not just
a voice, as PJ and others have pointed out. He clearly was
in love with opera and people.

By now I eagerly followed everything that I noticed which
included Pavarotti. Observing him on stage and interacting
with the audience I noticed something else. He was singing
_to_ people. Of course you may say, every singer does.
Which is actually not entirely true. If you pay close
attention, you can see how many sing to their piano, or
some point immediately in front of them. I had just seen
another top artist do just this, and as seasoned as he was
(a 30 year hit maker) he sang to his piano. But not
Pavarotti, he was so much in communication with people
around him you could not but feel personally included.

Pavarotti clearly loved singing, but he clearly also loved
people. Much like Pope John Paul II he was on a mission to
bring people together. Some months ago he had announced
his world wide farewell tour. In spite of bad health and
the trouble he had traveling, it was going to be his thank
you to all his fans. As usual he was thinking more of
others than himself.

For all of you who wish to find out more about this great
man, I suggest getting Three Tenor. You get to see three
great tenors interact and give you an insight into this
man's life doing what he did best -- Make you feel good!

With all my love,

Thank you, Luciano Pavarotti!

Steve Szmidt

[ Reply to This | # ]

Always a favorite...
Authored by: TemporalBeing on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 10:05 AM EDT
The world has certainly had a great loss with the death of Pavarotti. While I have not heard him in years, he was one of my favorites. Reading the various comments here only brings out more reason for him to be a favorite, well respected, and a treasure to the world.

Also, don't forget his work as one of the The Three Tenors.
I also didn't see the reference to the Wikipedia article on him, so I thought I'd provide it. Enjoy!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is there a License for Music Simular to the GPL?
Authored by: Davo.Sydney on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 10:45 AM EDT
I have wondered for a while about releasing some self written classical music in
a similar way to the GPL. Although my music isn't all that good, it is tuneful.
(Not quite Fugues but intertwining melodies none the less)

Basically I'm asking; does anyone know of a License similar to the GPL but for
written sheet music (And perhaps for a Midi recording or MP3 performance of that

For example, "Based on a piece of music by Person1, arranged by Person2,
re-arranged and changed by Person3, and so on" Where the original copyright
holder, (In this case the composer) and the arrangers, derivatives, are
mentioned by all down the chain. And such that any recording points to somewhere
when they can get a copy of the Sheet Music.

I ask for 2 reasons, (1) so I can set my music FREE, (Not that it's the best of
course, but I do know music Teachers would love freely usable music to teach
with), but more importantly (2) as it would be good to include in Groklaw's
complete record, a music license like the GPL and having music released under
that license, would save headaches and legal questions when simply trying to
share someones beautiful music.

Just for trivia of what I understand, Classical Music written over 100 years ago
has no copyright... but the layout of that printed music IS Copyrighted. Perhaps
there are copy out there without any copyright, expired copyright and not
renewed etc. I may be wrong on this, if anyone could confirm or correct this it
would be appreciated for all ... Many Thanks to all involved in Groklaw,
especially PJ :)

D/\/O = )

[ Reply to This | # ]

Pavarotti at the library
Authored by: bbaston on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 10:48 AM EDT
My wife's hero died at roughly 11 PM CDT yesterday - 6 am today in Italy. We had been listening to him and watching his videos since 6 PM CDT. We got these all at the local library.

Video (VHS):
Pavarotti and Levine in Recital (c) 1988
Pavarotti in London (c) 1982

Tutto Pavarotti - 2 CD set (c) 1988
Pavarotti at Carnegie Hall - John Wustman, piano(c) 1988
Pavarotti Songbook (c) 1974
Pavarotti Idomeneo Highlights (c) 1994 on compilation

My wife lived in Miami where Pavarotti apparently built his early popularity in the 1960s. Pavarotti's first US appearance was, she informs me, in a community in Missouri.

And yes, the Pavarotti web site was up before his death, with his singing.

From the "you can't win" department, my wife is highly offended by this article - because it is used to point out the negatives of copyright rather than to simply offer tribute. But perhaps the real problem was my reading PJ's article to her - as I did a much earlier one mentioning Pavaritti - while not being sensitive to her perspective.

imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 11:08 AM EDT
You know, without copyright, Pavarotti never would have been able to make a
living from recordings of his works. He would have had to perform live
exclusively, which means many many people would never have heard him.

So copyright enables profit, which enables wider appreciation and distribution.

Just because you want something for a particular price (or free), doesn't mean
that you have a right to it. Your sole recourse, if you don't want to pay the
price, is to not purchase the product. Just like you did with the WMV
recordings which are in the public domain.

Without the ability to make a living, people won't make art. Books, music,
movies, TV shows will all disappear.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 11:20 AM EDT
I had a similar problem last month when Beverly Sills died. There are very few
of her albums still available, and almost no videos. For years now, my wife has
been looking for a copy of her farewell performance of "Die
Fledermaus", with Carol Burnett. We saw it once on PBS long before we could
afford a VCR, but we have never seen it again nor been able to find it for

I'm now grabbing everything I can find by Kiri Te Kanawe before they all
disappear as well.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Thomas Downing on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 11:43 AM EDT
Yeah, Yeah, ya got me....

Thomas Downing
Principal Member Technical Staff
IPC Information Systems, Inc.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 11:48 AM EDT
> Culture dies when you can't see it, build on it, be affected by it,
> share it with your friends.
> ...

Wow... Well said. I want everybody I know to read that paragraph in

Thank you.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 11:57 AM EDT
Months ago I gave a sermon here (different post, of course, and I don't have a
link to it) on copyright law. Glad to see you're coming around. As I said, the
copyright corporate interests want to charge us for our memories, prevent us
from sharing them with others, eliminate the public domain.

It was modern society and the sacrifices of lots of people that made it possible
to have an environment where artists can proper solely through the contribution
of art. An artist has a right to earn from his work, but likewise the people
have the right to share their memories and acquire, as public domain, the
materials after a reasonable amount of time. (I cannot possibly gain access to
the materials I treasured as a child if the copyright date is
"Life-of-author+90 -- that effectively guarantees that it will never be
available to me, a member of the public.)

The original fourteen years envisioned by the founders is more than adequate.
Especially with the vast expansion of marketing capability these days, there is
no need to hold a copyright longer than that, because a work can hit the whole
world and be exploited for a over decade, earning the author whatever it's worth
during that time. And then the public, the people who helped support this
artist by making and maintaining a society where the artist can propser as an
artist, needs to be paid back -- by moving the work into the public domain.

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8 seconds
Authored by: kawabago on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 12:09 PM EDT
I was watching The Daily Show one night when they had a montage of short video
clips. Jon explained that the courts had declared using up to 8 seconds of a
video was fair use, so the entire presentation was created using 8 seconds of
each video.

So you probably could have shown us 8 seconds of Pavarotti's video without

I don't recommend taking legal advice from The Daily Show in general but this
once is probably safe.

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Gutenberg's idea killed by lawyers...
Authored by: tz on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 12:37 PM EDT
I suppose it will all be converted to Silverlight so if you accept Novell's
Moonlight Collaborating (with the enemy) effort, you might have been able to
play it.

About 10 years ago, I came out with the fastest, most efficient electronic Bible
reader for PalmOS. It was called Concorde and is entirely GPL. But I could
only distribute the King James Version.

Most people wanted the NIV translation, but they wouldn't give me permission,
though I already had the text converted.

So instead of chains securing Bibles to monastery walls (back when bibles took a
year or two to make in a scriptorium so there was a reason) the modern
Christians chain their bibles with DRM, and if not that, Copyright and the DCMA,
threatening to pull a Torquemada if you even hint at spreading God's word in
their translation.

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Amusing Pavarotti clip
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 12:39 PM EDT
This is kinda silly, but it always makes me laugh out loud.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music tribute, thanks to Google
Authored by: doughnuts_lover on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 12:45 PM EDT
Luciano Pavarotti never had any fear of contact singing with non opera folks. Someone who knew him personally told me, that he really was a large-hearted human.

Google for Luciano Pavarotti & Sting
Google for Luciano Pavarotti & James Brown
Google for Luciano Pavarotti & Friends

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Reasonable Presumptions, Chilling Effects and Basic Liberties
Authored by: Simon G Best on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 12:52 PM EDT

It occurs to me that there's something that some objectionable aspects of some laws seem to have in common.

Thinking about the issue of whether or not it's safe to link to a video clip on some other website, it seems there's something quite unreasonable about law-abiding citizens having to worry about whether or not they'd be liable for contributory copyright infringements just because the video clips in question might be copyright infringing. And then that reminded me of the recent stuff about wireless networking hot-spots.

Not that long ago, I was travelling into London on a train. I happened to have a laptop with me that had wireless networking stuff. To pass the time, I booted it up as I sat on the train, and found it was detecting what seemed to be an open wireless network. Was I allowed to connect? I didn't know. On the one hand, perhaps it was intentionally open, for passengers such as me to use. But then again, maybe it was open by mistake. To play it safe, I decided not to connect.

Having thought more about it since then, I've realised that by making such allowances for those who might mistakenly set up open hot-spots, I'm probably going to miss out on intentionally open hot-spots. If, when I find an open hot-spot, I connect, only to find that the owner of the wireless router in question objects, I can point out that I reasonably believed I had permission to connect - their router told me I had permission. If, instead, I presumptively abstain from connecting just in case the owner might object, despite what their own router is telling me, I'll be missing out on intentionally open hot-spots just because there are some people who unreasonably expect other people, such as me, to take more responsibility with their routers than they do themselves. So, I've since decided that when I find an open hot-spot, I'll take that as indicating permission to connect. It seems, to me, to be the reasonable presumption.

What happens when I'm surfing round the web, and I come across a website playing music? What if that music is being played without the copyright holder's permission? What if there's nothing to indicate that there's any actual copyright infringement going on? What's the reasonable presumption for me to make there? Shall I abstain from surfing the web just in case I come across copyright-infringing content? Shall I abstain from linking to stuff just to be on the safe side? After all, if there were no such copyright infringers on the web, I wouldn't have to worry. I don't believe it's reasonable for me to have to abstain from legitimate surfing, linking, etc, just because there are some copyright infringers out there. I'll surf and link, making what I believe to be the reasonable presumption that content is up there, on the web, with the copyright holders' permissions.

What about patents? In general, I can't safely presume that I'm free to use a particular technique, because, for all I know, it might be patented. Even if I know of no such patent, I'd still be liable for infringement. Therefore, I can't simply presume that I can freely use whatever technique it might be; I'd actually have to find some basis on which to conclude I'd be permitted to use that technique. And that could involve arduous patent and prior art searches, and the like. My freedom to use techniques is reduced as a result. I'm not the only one who finds that to be an objectionable aspect of patent law.

The impression I'm getting is that one of the objectionable aspects of some laws is that we're effectively forbidden from making what surely should be reasonable presumptions. Our freedoms are reduced as a result.

I believe the law should protect us from copyright infringers by clearly protecting our right to reasonably presume that content is provided with permission of the copyright holders. We should not be held liable for others' copyright infringements. PJ should not have experienced the chilling effect of others' copyright infringements combined with current copyright law.

Quite simply, we should not have our freedoms reduced by law-breakers. The law should not be such that law breakers reduce our freedoms through chilling effects such as exhibited in this article. The law should instead protect us.

"Public relations" is a public relations term for propaganda.

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He was criticised for giving free concerts?
Authored by: billyskank on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 01:27 PM EDT
Now that is REALLY depressing to hear. :(

It's not the software that's free; it's you.

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Rhapsody online
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 02:19 PM EDT

Here's an option for your consideration. I would be interested to hear PJ's opinion on this. Real Networks has a music service called Rhapsody Online with several nice features:

  • It's cross-platform, works fine on Linux.
  • You can use it for free without giving any personal info, credit card numbers, or even any signup.
  • Stream 25 tracks per month in the free version.
  • Large library of music.
  • Paid version has unlimited plays.

The negative is:

  • DRM.

I tend to think that DRM is not unreasonable for a streaming service, where it's clear from the start that you're getting a listen rather than buying property - especially when it's a free listen. The free 25-plays-per-month version is enough to cover what a lot of people used Napster for in the first place: finding that song you heard once and liked, trying out music to see if you like it, letting a friend listen to something you like.

They do have Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma. If you like, you can link to it without fear.

So if you are willing to accept DRM on "free samples," this is quite nice.

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Authored by: rps on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 02:23 PM EDT
Not just for the loss of this truly great man, but because our beloved PJ has to
go to such lengths to keep the wolves at bay. We feel your pain, PJ.
PJ - both the videos you speak of (and more) are available on YouTube. No links
are necessary here of course as everybody already knows how to find videos on

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My own experience with copyright and DRM this week
Authored by: TAZ6416 on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 03:00 PM EDT
First of all RIP Pavarotti, I don't think it's been mentioned before but what I remember him for most is for Miss Sarajevo with U2.

I run a Eddie Irvine website and mailing list and he was on TV this weekend doing an article about Northern Ireland on ITV

Found a link on the ITV website to the program that streamed the entire episode, so sent it to the mailing list without checking it first.

Then the replies began, basically the ITV site will only play video if you have Windows and Media Player, and then you have to download and install an extra bit of DRM software to play it. And then I found out that only UK IP addresses can watch the show, and most of my mailing list guys are in Ireland, so they couldn't watch it along with Linux and Mac users.

And somewhat ironically it didn't work for two people who had Vista.

I suspect of the 120 people on the list, only about 20 saw it, because of Copyright and DRM. And it's basically a 10 minute piece about how beautiful Northern Ireland has so the commercial value is probably bugger all.


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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 03:02 PM EDT
FWIW, unless the law has changed substantially in this respect in the past
couple of years -- and I
don't believe that it has, there is no law that forbids recording of a
performance in public. Public
performance of a spontaneous piece is owned by the public. While the author
of the 'words and music'
of the recording are copyright, the 'sound recording' of the event is not and
cannot be protected.

This is specifically why venues try to suppress recording of live performances
and why live-broadcast
performances (life football games) are delayed if only by a moment.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Of course it's fair use...if
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 03:08 PM EDT
If you're showing the clip and discussing it in the context of criticism,
commenting on the importance of the work to opera, its relationship to the rest
of LP's work, etc., that would seem to be clear fair use, no?

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 03:43 PM EDT
>I lack the power to change the law.

No. The moment you think that, you're right - but that power is granted to
everyone at birth.

The odds are against you. Even if you want to change the law in a way that
everyone agrees, the odds are against you: if you want to do something
difficult, they are way against you.

But bad odds are very different from no odds. Laws are changed. By people. By

Change is possible.

PJ - in that post, in every post on Groklaw, you've shown that the way it was
yesterday is not the way it will be tomorrow. That's why you do it, right?

So, please, don't whimper when you stare at the monster.

Make it whimper when it stares at you.


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Luciano Pavarotti
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 03:44 PM EDT
The Maestro has left our planet. Now he can sing with all his might and glory
to the universe.

"All'alba vincero" Maestro. Indeed, vincero.


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Nessun Dorma
Authored by: josmith42 on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:16 PM EDT

How very fitting is the last climactic word of this aria for us here at Groklaw:

"Vinceṛ, vinceṛ!"

Considering the recent events in the SCO vs. Novell case, I would say quite appropriate.

RIP, Pavarotti.

This comment was typed using the Dvorak keyboard layout. :-)

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Paul Potts the new Pavarotti?
Authored by: bigbert on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 07:53 PM EDT
Link Yes, I went out and bought his CD. Why? Because this man has talent. Yes, I ripped it to mp3. Why? Because I want to listen to him in my car. RIAA, take note.

Surfo, ergo sum.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: wethion on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 08:20 PM EDT
And yet again PJ, I stand in awe of the depth and passion you share with us. I
am no fan of opera ( except that snippet of an aria used in "Shawshank
Redemption".. wow ), but I am going to explore this facet of music a little
more, based solely on the strength of your love for it.
From the bottom of my heart PJ, thank you for being you.

Jon Postel, you are missed.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 06 2007 @ 11:49 PM EDT
The biggest irony in all this. The industry that is leading the charge to protect their copyrights from computer theft is probably the single biggest abuser of peoples copyrights, and they did it without using computers.

I have an idea as a small project for PJ. Begin keeping a list of all the the victims of the music industry, like Jelly Roll Morton and Little Richard.

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 07 2007 @ 12:40 AM EDT
He was without any doubt the best tenor ever. I've heard them all. His voice is
unique, his personality amazing.... "Una furtiva lacrima" is my
favourite aria. Every time I hear it, I turn the full volume on and yes I do

A sad day for the operatic world.

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Fair Use is NOT a Consumer Right
Authored by: Bill The Cat on Friday, September 07 2007 @ 02:27 AM EDT
In a CNET article titled, "Perspective: Fair use is not a consumer right, Patrick Ross writes that the The Computer and Communications Industry Association claims there is no such thing as fair use.

So, I believe all of PJ's fears were probably valid.

Bill The Cat

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Copyright virtually becomes civil conduct code in Germany
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 07 2007 @ 05:40 AM EDT
In this PDF an expert has recently presented his finding about the role of the copyright in the modern society in Germany. His findings support PJ thoughts above. The news were reported by Heise

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Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 07 2007 @ 06:33 AM EDT
I know this post will almost certainly be lost in the ether, but maybe somebody
will see it.

BBC Radio 3's In Tune programme last night (6 September) was dedicated to
Pavarotti. If you go to the BBC Radio 3 website you will be able to listen to it
using Real Player. You need to do it within 7 days of the show before it is

The show and featured a lengty interview Pavarotti gave [on the same show]
several years ago, spoke with many of his friends and played a good selection of
his work.

Very good and highly recommened. BBC Radio 3 is accused of being a bit stuffy
sometimes, but the presenters are knowledgable and the shows are excellent.

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A familiar problem
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 07 2007 @ 12:34 PM EDT
Often I receive emails containing collections of humorous photos or cartoons.
Often I'd love to share at least some of these with friends. But I have a
simple rule: if the image doesn't have a copyright statement and grant of
rights attached, I assume that I have no right to distribute it, and I don't
forward anything.

Maybe it's time to turn the problem around. While figuring out how to pry
objets du culture from the grasp of greedy businesses, we should also work out
and widely publish simple things that content owners can do to share samples in
ways that don't leave people wondering whether they can safely pass them on. We
should do likewise with our own works, by way of example. We should try to
establish a cultural norm which says that creative people *do* freely share
samples of their work, even if they jealously guard the rest. There should be
something left behind from a life's work beyond a pile of merchandise.

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Real Player - Luciano Pavarotti died today... A music-less tribute, thanks to copyright law
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 07 2007 @ 05:12 PM EDT
"if you have Real Player"

Last time I started to download Real Player, I read the terms of use. Then
clicked cancel.

Just about as abhorant as MS Windows Media.

I know there is a lot of content out there I am missing out on. I'll miss out
on even more when Silverlight becomes dominant. But if I can't load it on a
Linux box, then it doesn't belong on my Windows partition! (Windows OS itself
the obvious exception. And grudgingly I'll admit there are a few work related
programs I have yet to convince the vendor they must port to Linux.)

The more you do stuff the MS way, the harder it is to get it on other platforms.
(That's not a bug, it's a design feature.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 07 2007 @ 05:28 PM EDT
"He'd written it on an old fashioned typewriter, the kind you have to bang on to get the keys to hit the ribbon, like my mom prefers."

The old typewriters like the Standard Royal were a bit physical to use, but the modern electric typewriters are a lot easier. Still need ribbons though. Will she not use a computer?

This link might be useful. Link

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation PM programme transcript
Authored by: Arthur Marsh on Sunday, September 09 2007 @ 01:30 PM EDT


Moffat Oxenbould is a broadcaster with the ABC's Classic FM, and a former artistic director with Opera Australia.
He worked with Pavarotti on that first visit to Australia in 1965.
MOFFAT OXENBOULD: He was very early in his career so we knew nothing about him but his name when he arrived and, ah, but the moment he walked into a rehearsal room and began to sing, we knew we were in the presence of something very special.

Audio files are also available at the URL above


[ Reply to This | # ]

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