Most orchestras and opera companies have pretty strict rules about how recordings and videos are handled. Trouble is, most of these things were set up long before things like YouTube existed. Earlier this month I had posted a few Opera San Jose videos, happily seeing and hearing some singers I enjoy. Shortly after, though, I realized that not only was what I was sharing illegal, but I could get the person who posted them in trouble, so I quickly removed them.

Well, they’ve been removed from YouTube now. And I’m sorry to see them go, even while knowing that had to be removed or opera would be hit with quite a bill.

Believe it or not, I can’t get recordings of my own solos in SSV either. It’s just against contract rules. We do record our performances, and some get posted at the site, but we aren’t allowed to received even snippets of our own playing.

I think that’s sad.

I think that times have changed. I think that contracts should be rewritten. I think that singers should be allotted a certain number of minutes of video to post. I don’t believe it would harm us if they were given that. I think I should be allowed to have at least a small portion of my own playing so that I can submit it to UCSC when I’m up for my review. No one is going to make any sort of money on these things. The opera clips would give OSJ a bit of free publicity actually, and the recordings of my own playing only help me keep my job.

I wonder if any readers out there have clauses in their contracts that allow for this now. Times, they are a’changin’. Just like our white tie and tails, we don’t seem to be able to change with this sort of thing either.

Could it be we actually want to nail the classical music coffin shut? I did, after all, just read this:

The days of classical music seem to have died long ago. Besides the occasional exceptional film soundtrack (i.e. The Fountain, Lord of the Rings), the glory days of men like Beethoven and Mozart have followed the dinosaurs into extinction. People were correct to say that we’ll never see anyone with the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, but the same can be said of Mozart and Beethoven.


  1. I thought there was some kind of ruling that says you can use 30 seconds or 10% of a recording for educational purposes. Wikipedia had some info but who knows how correct this is:

    I agree with the original purpose of copyright laws but just think of all the creativity and all the good that has been lost due to our laws. I’m off my soap box now. 😉

  2. It’s not really the copyright of composers that is the issue with our things; it’s a contractual issue, and anything that is shown is supposed to bring money to us. It’s rather silly, since no one is making any $$ off of a YouTube video. Even music no longer under copyright isn’t allowed to be posted.

    I really do understand why copyright laws exist. I just think it would be so wonderful to be able to show people around the world what we have here, and I”m sure other groups in other parts of the world feel the same way. I’ll continue to hope that things can change.