One might think that a recording of Beethoven’s or Schumann’s music is in the public domain, free for anyone to share and enjoy, but that’s only the case if the recording artists decide to make their specific performance freely available. Most recordings of classical music are, in fact, copyrighted, and can’t be used without permission. Musopen is an independent charitable organization that’s recording music in the public domain, and making the recordings freely available as public domain works as well.
Now, Musopen is raising funds via the Kickstarter platform: Set Music Free. They’ve exceeded their $10,000 goal, but chipping in additional funds can only help. They are also looking for votes in the Pepsi Refresh Project, which could get them a $25,000 grant.
Wikimedia and other free culture projects benefit from these recordings: There are already more than 100 Musopen recordings of public domain music in Wikimedia Commons, used in more than 45 different Wikimedia projects. We wish Musopen success. Their work will help keep classical music alive.
See also: EFF coverage