Please Pass the Yost

March 10, 2008 at 12:22 AM · I'm sending a copy to Michael Stern. The next person who wants a copy should contact him through this website, and become the next contact person on the list by placing his or her name on this thread. And so on and so forth.

What I would really like is to be able to turn Yost into a file and post it here on the website for free access to anyone who wants it, but I don't have the means.

Replies (100)

March 10, 2008 at 04:04 AM · I'd like a copy! And also have the means to scan into a PDF file...

March 10, 2008 at 04:09 AM · I would like to have a pdf of this as well. Bruce

March 10, 2008 at 10:42 AM · I'd like it too, and could help with scanning, if necessary. How long is it?

March 10, 2008 at 01:12 PM · Yes, please! I would *love* a copy! I lent mine to a student years ago and never got it back.

March 10, 2008 at 01:30 PM · I would like to have a copy as well, please. :)

March 10, 2008 at 01:31 PM · I am not familiar with this book, so I don't know if it would be public domain. I believe it is otherwise still necessary to have the last publisher,owner or author's permission to make copies, even w/o any payment expected. At the very least, a thorough Net search for same could protect you if someone decides you are infringing. Sue

March 10, 2008 at 02:45 PM · I'd like a copy if the .pdf becomes available... legally.

March 10, 2008 at 04:39 PM · ewwww... yost.

Those of you who have yost, how have you used it exactly? What sorts of assignments are you giving your students from this book, or would you give them since it's not in print?

March 10, 2008 at 02:54 PM · would love a copy as well

March 10, 2008 at 03:40 PM · Me too please.

March 11, 2008 at 01:16 AM · Bless your heart Emily!

Sue has a good point. As much as I would like a copy,before contacting Michael, I’d like to know if we are clear about the copyright issue on this and that you and Michael are protected.

March 10, 2008 at 04:34 PM · I also would love a copy.

After searching the net for some time there are only a few vague references to it being out of print.

Could someone post the publisher details of any copies available? It may help us track down the status as we could contact the company.



March 10, 2008 at 05:07 PM · I have my teacher's borrowd copy, it's a great book for shifting and I'm finding it extremely useful for orchestra playing.

March 10, 2008 at 05:49 PM · I'm not familiar with this work, but it could be:

Yost, Gaylord (1888-1958). Exercises for change of position. Pittsburgh, Pa. : Volkwein Bros., 1928.

I don't think it's in print since more recent editions do not appear in library catalogs. However, it may be possible that this Volkwein is the Volkwein that is still a music store in Pittsburgh (

It's copyright status is not clear since it was published after 1923. It's possible that the copyright was not renewed. If so, it has entered the public domain. If it was renewed, it will enter the public domain in 2023. Thank you Sonny Bono!

March 10, 2008 at 07:32 PM · Hi everyone,

I posted the Yost etudes story a little while ago, and you can find it here:

The way I see it, if Warner Bros. has decided to destroy the plates, I don't have any problem with passing around the etudes, provided no profits are being made, which they obviously won't be. I'll be out of town for a couple of weeks, but as soon as I get back I'll scan the photocopies Emily's sent me, and put them into a .pdf file that we can distribute.

March 10, 2008 at 07:45 PM · 2 weeks is not too long to wait for something I've been searching for a long time. Have fun on your trip and don't forget us!

March 10, 2008 at 08:02 PM · I would also love a copy. This is great.

March 10, 2008 at 09:19 PM · I have a copy of "The Yost System: The Key to the Mastery of the Finger-Board" c. 1934, and though it's a bit blurry (from multiple generations of copies, no doubt) it's still legible enough to figure out the patterns. Do you know if there are other Yost books besides this shifting one? If so, anyone willing to share...legally?

March 10, 2008 at 09:27 PM · It's interesting to see all the interests in "Yost" shifting book because I've just started teaching the "Yost" system with all of my students! I hope they know how lucky they are. haha~ Anyway, it's basically a simply "Old finger-New finger" shifting excercises between two given positions and it's not too difficult to figure out the patterns. However, I've found the Sevcik Shifting book very useful after understanding about the "New-Old" finger...

March 10, 2008 at 09:47 PM · There are a number of books by Yost all published by Volkswein:

Title: Yost violin method Volume I

Date: 1946

Title: The Yost system for violin - Book 4: The key to the mastery of bowing

Date: 1938

Title: The leaves are falling

Date: 1947

Title: The Yost system for violin - Bow and finger magic

Date: 1948

Title: The Yost system for violin - the key to the mastery of double-stopping

Date: 1941

Title: The Yost system for violin - excercises for change of position

Date: 1928

The last one in particular is the one I'm currently after for the Shifting exercises.

March 10, 2008 at 10:01 PM · That's the one I'm using, Exercise for Change of

position. 1928.

It is really good. Shift slowly and, as my teacher says, enjoy the ride up and the ride down.

March 10, 2008 at 10:14 PM · If you know the basic pattern, you know the whole book. He only gives you some keys in which to practice them.

March 10, 2008 at 10:45 PM · I, too, would love to have a copy of the book (pdf preferred if available).

Thank you,


March 11, 2008 at 01:19 AM · I, too, would like a copy (PDF). thanks.

March 11, 2008 at 01:25 AM · Me too me too for the PDF!

March 11, 2008 at 01:48 AM · If it's out of print shouldn't you be able to post it on line here legally?

March 11, 2008 at 02:39 AM · Ray, out of print books can stil be copyright protected. These days, some books go out of print in a matter of 10 years or so after publication but the copyright stays a bit longer.

March 11, 2008 at 02:48 AM · When did Yost die? That would be a major factor in determining whether there are any copyright issues - at least as far as we Europeans are concerned.

March 11, 2008 at 03:18 AM · A copyright doesn’t always stay with the author but can be sold or transferred in part or all of it like other personal property. But the law is different in different jurisdictions so this further complicates the matter.

March 11, 2008 at 03:36 AM · Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! Me wants a copy too, please ^___^

It would be nice to have some kind of file-sharing system on this site, or at least a page with downloadable .pdf files of old pieces.

I have a few Filipino violin classics that I can share!

March 11, 2008 at 04:14 AM · More Gaylord to the people! :)

March 11, 2008 at 08:19 AM · Wow. You guys are so into the weirdest things...

If anyone wants to get in on the secret of Yost without obtaining an actual copy, it's real simple:

Pick two notes and whatever fingers you want to use for the shift. Slur as you shift from note #1 to note #2 (or the same note, in some cases). Slur as you shift from note #2 to note #1. Repeat.

The joy of Yost is that it systematically gives you just about every combination of shifts, on all strings and in many key signatures. But you could easily do something like this on your own.

The important stuff isn't on paper anyway, like the mechanics of shifting, and all the thoughts that go through my head while I play them.

I like to take shifts from regular music and practice them Yost style, ten perfect repetitions. That seems to work pretty well for me.

The problem with my copy is that is is rather grey (it's a copy of a copy). It also has interesting little things written on the cover and margins. I don't know if you want to use it for the official pfd that gets posted. If someone has a more pristine copy, I think it would be better to use that.

March 11, 2008 at 08:23 PM · May I have a copy as well?

March 12, 2008 at 04:07 AM · Awwww, but Emily, it is those notes in the margins that are the most interesting and entertaining!

March 12, 2008 at 07:26 AM · Here's some more...nothing like one finger scales to really give you a workout:

G string: Ab major

D sring: Eb major

A string: Bb major

E string: F major

Play these scales in two octaves staying on each string using the following fingering patterns, shifting on every single note:











And you can do this not only for major, but also natural/harmonic/melodic minors, all sorts of interval combinations, and a chromatic scale on each string.

March 14, 2008 at 03:35 PM · Hi everyone,

I've been getting a lot of e-mails about Yost, and I thought that rather than reply to each one, I'll save some time and post a general response here. I'll be away until the 27th, but will scan what Emily sends me then and post it as a .pdf file somewhere online. Once I do that, people here can just download the file, which should be pretty small. Anyone who wants a little Yost in their life will probably have it by the end of the month.

March 28, 2008 at 09:47 PM · I would love to get the Yost, too! Please let me know when the pdf files are available

March 28, 2008 at 10:13 PM · Still no sign of it on my end. I'll scan it when I get it.

March 28, 2008 at 10:48 PM · i'd like to see the yost!

March 30, 2008 at 06:05 AM · Me too!

April 3, 2008 at 01:43 AM · Hi,

I am in desperate need of this book!

please send me a copy!!

or at-least, the first page!!



April 4, 2008 at 08:09 AM · Alright kiddies, Yost's up! Thanks to Emily and to Denise for the etudes. I've posted them as a .pdf file on Rapidshare, because I heard it was the easiest and doesn't require people to have an account to download things. Just use the following link, click on Free, and then choose a downloader. Seems simple enough. Have fun!

April 4, 2008 at 09:46 AM · Emily, Denise and Michael - a huge THANK YOU!

I have just downloaded a copy of YOST and will start practising today!

Not forgetting of course, Laurie and Robert whose work makes it possible for this site to support so many violinists (and wannabees like me!)


April 4, 2008 at 10:29 AM · I also want to thank Emily, Denise and Michael.

April 4, 2008 at 11:11 AM · Thanks to all! It looks great.

April 5, 2008 at 08:50 PM · Thank you!! :)

April 5, 2008 at 09:15 PM · I can't get it to download. I keep getting an error message as follows. Any suggestions? : You have requested (1350 KB).

Too many wrong codes given! Only free-users have to enter an access-code to prevent abuse.

Premium-users don't have to enter anything! Get your own Premium-account now. Instant download-access!

Go back to try again.

April 5, 2008 at 09:35 PM · Bruce, where you have to type in that security code, it's case sensitive. I tried it just now and got your message if I used the wrong case, but it started the download if I used the right case.

April 5, 2008 at 11:29 PM · Sorry that took so long Michael, I'm just horrible at remembering to mail things.

I just remembered the most important practice tip regarding Yost. Ten repetitions, then stop and tell yourself you're awesome. Begin each set with a clean slate.

At the end of each line, I take a tiny coffee break.

April 6, 2008 at 01:26 AM · Thank you so much Emily, and Denise and Michael!

April 6, 2008 at 01:58 PM · Unfortuneately the address does not seem to work for me when Googled in the UK, or else in my dottage I am doing something incorrectly...!


Having just posted this... I tried another way.. without Google... and got it immediately.. just shows the grey matter does work for older folks... at times. thank you all for most interessting site.


April 6, 2008 at 02:25 PM · I can't get it to download, it shows error. Help?

April 6, 2008 at 07:17 PM · Yost published several books. I have only seen one and I think its the Yost that is indispensible.

It is The Yost System for Violin The Key to Mastery of the Fingerboard It is 27 pages of scales, arpeggios and broken scales (thirds, sixths 4ths etc.) . Everything is to be played on one string (only the G string version is printed) on one finger or various combinations of fingers. The various fingerings are all stacked over and under the notes.

I suppose there may be value in the other books but the one I know and love is the one I have described.

April 7, 2008 at 07:04 AM · Hmm, perhaps you could share that one with us... :)

April 10, 2008 at 04:49 AM · I second Emily's comment, any chance of posting that one as well.

April 10, 2008 at 11:24 AM · Has anyone tried Volkwein? I don't have facilities for uploading it and I would be reluctant to do it without permission.

FWIW The Key to the Mastery of the Finger-Board is published by Boston Music Company

April 11, 2008 at 12:36 AM · If it's still published, then I'll purchase a copy. I thought it was out of print.

May 19, 2008 at 01:49 PM · Hi all

I'm new to the forum and what a great site it is too. I managed to get the brilliant Yost position changing exercises - thank you all. Although Yost states that each exercise is to be repeated 10 times, is this mandatory - how should I study these exercises. Your thoughts/advice please would be greatly appreciated.


May 22, 2008 at 08:46 PM · "The way I see it, if Warner Bros. has decided to destroy the plates, I don't have any problem with passing around the etudes, provided no profits are being made, which they obviously won't be."

After a bit of personal experience in the pirated digital media business, I have to re-evaluate and tell you you're a bunch of thieves. You won't pay for it, but you'll hump like there's no tomorrow if it's free. They took it off the market because no one bought it. If you think you aren't a thief, have you sent a check for $15 to its OWNER ? If you did, tell me and I'll marry you. Fortunately a pdf can't phone home and report you like a piece of software can.

May 23, 2008 at 06:55 AM · Did someone steal software from you, Jim?

May 23, 2008 at 06:32 PM · Emily, every thief has a clear conscience. The world has done him wrong, or in this case, Warner has enough money already. Use that logic to rob a gas station and you might get a bullet between the eyes (in this state).

If you knew nobody was watching you in a store, would you shoplift? It's obvious that you would (but you're in good company, seeing as they know to watch us all). You think this is insignificant, but someone who steals a penny will steal any amount. That's one reason an accountant who's a penny short gets fired. Could you print this out and show it to your pastor with a clear conscience? Interesting dynamic.

May 23, 2008 at 05:19 PM · What kind of exceedingly faulty logic is that? There's a clear distinction between varying levels of crime in the vast majority of people's minds that I've come across, and laws make clear dividing lines too. Stealing a penny is not put on par with stealing something of significance because it doesn't display a reasonable threat or an affecting actuality.

I assure you that some sheet music shared with a hand of people will have no effect upon a corporation with the sheer size, power, and finances as Warner Brothers.

If the creator of an electronic file is dead, then there is no loss. Since the creator is dead, he loses no share of royalty. Since the files are electronic, Warner Brothers is losing no money as they aren't producing a physical good that's being stolen.

In that regard, and on the note of classical music, I also think it's perfectly ethical to share music when the artists are in their graves.

May 23, 2008 at 06:40 PM · Jake - theft is a _moral_ problem. Therefore, if you will steal a penny, you will steal any amount you think you can get away with. This is widely known.

"I also think it's perfectly ethical to share music when the artists are in their graves. "

Beware of visting KY and deciding it's perfectly ethical to rob a gas station because its original owner is in the ground.


May 23, 2008 at 05:38 PM · If I may pose a question, and consider that I don’t specifically follow copyright laws…

If it’s true that Warner Brothers destroyed the copyright plates to this Yost edition, might that be an indication that they are releasing the rights to it. If Warner Brothers chose to pursue prosecution of illegal distribution of this Yost edition, wouldn’t be much easier to prove it legally, if they retained the proof it belonged to them?

The question begs to be asked: not who is stealing what, but in finding out if this material has entered the public domain due to the destruction of the original plates.

May 23, 2008 at 05:35 PM · "Jake - theft is a _moral_ problem. Therefore, if you will steal a penny, you will steal any amount you think you can get away with. This is widely known."

Then I place this amongst the list of 'widely known' things that are ridiculously incorrect. This statement makes sweeping assumptions about ethical mindsets.

Many people who feel no moral faults at stealing a penny, do not feel guilt because they believe there is no loss to other parties of actual significence. If they are able to 'get away' with stealing something of much higher value, they may not under the grounds that though they would not get caught, there is a loss/high loss to other parties, and thus they don't feel morally correct in that choice.

"Beware of visting KY and deciding it's perfectly ethical to rob a gas station because its original owner is in the ground."

I believe I addressed this line of logic already. In your example, a physical good is being stolen, which cost labor and finances. If I send an mp3 of recording of Heifetz playing Bach solos to a friend, there was no cost in producing the mp3, as it's an electronic good. No physical CD, packaging, CD case, or album art is being stolen, and as such there's no loss to the recording label, as they didn't have to produce a physical good for me to send that file to my friend. Also, since Heifetz is dead, he loses no royalty money, and morally I don't think the recording label deserves money for an electronic file that involves playing not done by them.

Thus on my grounds of morality, I'd sleep very soundly at night sharing a Heifetz mp3.

May 23, 2008 at 06:28 PM ·

Jake - bottom line, someone else OWNS it. It's not yours to make decisions about. Neither legally or morally.

May 23, 2008 at 05:59 PM · Debra, their destroying the printing plates, if they did, has no relevance. They would have destroyed the plates to avoid the expense of storing them, or perhaps because they're old technology. If you want to know if they have placed it in the public domain, or are willing to, then ask them.

May 23, 2008 at 05:55 PM · "Jake - bottom line, someone else OWNS it. It's not yours to make decisions about. Neither legally or morally."

This is pitiable ethical simplicity. Yes, a company has legal ownership over it. Yet if they lose nothing from people exchanging the files since they're not producing anything, and the artist is dead so he won't gain any royalties, then many, many people aren't going to feel bad about sharing the files, regardless of legal ownership.

And legal ownership is rendered pretty meaningless when one can exchange every Heifetz recording ever produced in an hours time with such a small risk that it's more meaningful to worry about being struck by lightning.

When legal ownerhsip is unenforcable for mp3s, which is pretty much is, then it becomes quite irrelevant. Everything relies upon ethics at that point, which is why I am addressing the issue of ethics, and not legal ownership.

May 23, 2008 at 06:03 PM · "Jake - bottom line, someone else OWNS it. It's not yours to make decisions about. Neither legally or morally."

"This is pitiable ethical simplicity. "

Ethics are pretty simple, eh? LOL. "Do not steal." I forget which number it has assigned to it.

May 23, 2008 at 06:04 PM · Jim, I agree with you that theft is a moral problem, but I disagree with you in this particular instance in calling everyone on this entire thread – thieves.

If one takes the context of your use of the word in your posts, then “theft” implies implicit intent to deliberately defraud an individual or company. I can’t speak for all those on this thread, but I can say that most are merely excited to get a copy of a time-honored book that is no longer in print, and probably didn’t even consider the implications of copy-right law. I’m no idiot and I also work in Legal and my understanding of copyright law is about as clear as my speaking Klingon would be.

You seem very adamant that this “Yost” sharing is violating copyright law. Perhaps you would take a minute to provide that information to all of us so that we could correct our misunderstanding that this “sharing” is legal.

EDIT: In response to your most current post - perhaps we could obtain the facts, instead of making assumptions about Warner Brothers intent...?

May 23, 2008 at 06:38 PM · Debra, I didn't mean to literally call everyone in the thread a thief. People are deciding for themselves anyway :)

" Perhaps you would take a minute to provide that information to all of us so that we could correct our misunderstanding that this “sharing” is legal."

Unless it has been placed into the public domain, expicitly or though copyright expiration, it is copyrighted and the owner of a copyright has all the rights to the work that that gives him. Just like you owning your clothes. You and only you decides what happens with those things.

May 23, 2008 at 06:07 PM · "Ethics are pretty simple, eh? LOL. "Do not steal." I forget which number it has assigned to it."

I'm noticing a pattern in how you argue. It goes something like this: Step 1) Make an opinion Step 2) Back up that opinion by turning the opinion into a statement Step 3) ignore everything that contradicts that opinion


If you want to follow an overly simplistic moral code such as the Ten Commandments (which is what I believe you're referring to) then by all means, go ahead. But unfortunately for your views on morality, millions will continue to share electronic property when they morally judge there is no loss to the company. And as long as there is no way of enforcing this, legal ownership is trivial and ineffectual.

Spend countless money on CDs in which the artist is dead so all the money simply goes to a corporation that in my opinion doesn't justly deserve the full revenue since the cost of producing the physical CD is very minimum in comparison of costs to the sale (and there is no cost of production in case of electronic files)

Others would rather not give free money away.

May 23, 2008 at 06:19 PM · "If you want to follow an overly simplistic moral code such as the Ten Commandments..."

LOL. End of discussion. I hope you're no older than 15.

May 23, 2008 at 06:32 PM · Wow Jake!

You stated: But unfortunately for your views on morality, millions will continue to share electronic property when they morally judge there is no loss to the company...

And if millions decide to jump off a cliff because the rocks are so pretty at the bottom - you gonna' go along?

Right and wrong is absolute. Just because someone doesn't want to admit it doesn't change anything. It just makes them fight harder to try and justify their perception.

You also stated: And as long as there is no way of enforcing this, legal ownership is trivial and ineffectual

Should we stop trying to prosecute criminals because it's hard? I think that question answers itself without further clarification.

But, this topic seems to have exhausted itself...

Best of luck everybody! :-)

May 23, 2008 at 06:40 PM · Ah! Jim, It all makes sense now. You weren't being serious this whole time. Sorry, it took that last reply for me to realize you were just being sarcastic all along and pretending at the persona of ignorance.

Glad we got that all cleared up.

May 23, 2008 at 06:31 PM · "Right and wrong is absolute. Just because someone doesn't want to admit it doesn't change anything. It just makes them fight harder to try and justify their perception."

Oh boy ...

I'd rather not pillage this thread with a lengthy rant about the ignorance of those who adhere to absolute morality and are blind to obvious philosophical concepts.

I'll just summarize by saying that morality is subjective to the ethical tenants you judge any given action or thought process against. For this obvious reason moral 'right' and 'wrong' differ between schools of philosophy, religion, etc.

Feel free to believe that there's an absolute code of morality all you want, but unfortunately there are tens of thousands of contradicting and different systems. Many of them have common features, yes, and many people use these as examples of a form of universal morality, but unfortunately there's still clear examples of the void of their application.

Now, if you use 'right' and 'wrong' on the scope of not universal ethics, but that which is beneficial to the functioning and development of a social structure, then you can get closer to establishing 'right' and 'wrong', though first you have to make clear definitions for beneficial functions and growth of a society, and then find some way to prove that your examples of morality fit those definitions.

If you manage that, then yes, you'll have established a 'right' and 'wrong' merely for the definition of actions/thoughts for a (defined) benefit of structure and function of society.

If you're going to actually make the claim that there is in fact some divine or humanity-overruling form of ethics that establishes an inarguable 'right' and 'wrong' then I suggest veering off that course, since it has literally thousands of clear-cut examples and arguments that maim and cinder the very corpse of that very belief. Laughingstock of logic, if you will.

All in all, send me a message if you actually want to discuss it, so we keep the topic off this thread.

May 23, 2008 at 07:04 PM · Jake, if you attempt to take a nickle away from someone with a license to carry, they may choose to shoot you. They won't be prosecuted. It doesn't matter in the slightest what you think about it.

May 23, 2008 at 06:59 PM · "Jake, if you attempt to take a nickel away from someone with a license to carry, they may choose to shoot you. They won't be prosecuted. It doesn't matter in the slightest what you think about it."

When did I call into question legality of electronic 'theft'? In most countries' branches of law it is illegal to transfer electronic files that are copyrighted. I have not denied this, but have said as much.

What I am discussing is ETHICS. In case you are unaware, ethics is the study and field of conduct and lifestyle. Law, on the other hand, is a system of rules, enforced, set, and controlled by a governing institution.

If an act cannot be enforced through legal means by the governing body, and the person deems the act an ethical choice since no parties are losing from it, yet there is a gain, what is to prevent them from doing it?


If we go back to the definition of law, we see that one of the main aspects is the enforcement of rules and their control. In the act of sharing electronic files, enforcement is rendered nearly 100% null. Because of this, the action becomes an ethical equation; as law cannot enforce it, beliefs in morality now govern the action.

May 23, 2008 at 07:18 PM · You're one of those guys who likes to type more than they like to think. I think you're all related. All from one of the lost tribes of someplace.

May 23, 2008 at 07:21 PM · "You're one of those guys who likes to type more than they like to think. I think you're all related. All from one of the lost tribes of someplace."

And apparently you like to neither think nor type, since you haven't even presented an argument against anything I've said except petty analogies I've refuted multiple times now. And if you were actually being serious about your Ten Commandments comment, I think I may save us both a good deal of time by laughing instead of conversing, to be honest ...

May 23, 2008 at 07:29 PM · jake,

you write like an attorney.

are you an attorney ?

May 23, 2008 at 07:31 PM · Jake, present some argument clearly and succinctly and I'll refute it. I have a few minutes.

May 23, 2008 at 07:32 PM · An argumentative artist :)

Jim: I've made a fair amount of posts in the past hour or two. Pick any of the material from there which you disagree with, and refute it.

May 23, 2008 at 07:42 PM · I don't see much that I can follow. That's why I asked for clear and succinct just now. Out of time now, though.

May 23, 2008 at 07:43 PM · Perhaps you can elaborate on which parts you were unable to follow clearly? Well, if you can't understand what I am saying to refute it, perhaps we should cease the argument.

May 23, 2008 at 09:38 PM · Jim, I've stolen. You've stolen. We've both done wrong at some point or other during our lives. I confess, I do wrong every single day. But when did you become such a legalist/moralist? You sound like you were burned recently by some illegal activity, so that's why I asked the question. I figured that was why you randomly started raging on it.

Anyway, thanks for the conviction. Although I wrote both companies in question, I heard back from neither of them and decided to discontinue sharing Yost a couple of months ago. This thread is old, and if possible, I would request it be removed from the website, since it promotes illegal activities. I promise to try not to steal from you or anyone else.

May 23, 2008 at 11:03 PM · No Emily, unfortunately everything is going fine I'd say. But I have become more aware of how people like Jake will steal, if they believe they can, sometimes convincing themselves through these interesting convolutions that it's justifed. Reminds me of certain elements on Ebay. I didn't suddenly become some way. Any way I am, I've been that way for more than a few decades :)

May 23, 2008 at 11:34 PM · Well, when I originally posted this thread, I sincerely believed that it was okay to share out-of-print items. Once I found out it wasn't, I stopped. I was born with an over-active guilt complex, but you probably already know that by now.

Anyway, hope you have a good day. It's sunny and I'm going hiking.

May 24, 2008 at 04:27 AM · It's when it's entered the public domain, not if it's out of print. As a practical matter, you're probably right and they'd probably say have at it, but I don't know.

On second thought, they'd probably not respond, because it would be working for free, another way of saying no. If you said you wanted to buy the copyright, they might respond if they still owned it. If they still owned the copyright, they'd never give you permission to distribute copies for free, just because it complicates their lives for no reason :)

May 24, 2008 at 06:51 AM · Jim has made a number of good points, but the notion of theft is an interesting one. If I pick up something on the ground without knowing who owns it, am I a thief? How do I know the object has not been abandoned or given away? If something is owned by someone in the past but has not been used or cared for over a long period of time, is it morally defendable, justifiable or even preferable for someone else to take care of it or make use of if, if doing so is benefiting the public and without obviously harming the interests of the owner or at least without the owner’s objection? Will acquiescence or sleep on one's claim adversely affect the owner's rights over the property? If so, when?

I would argue that, or to loosely paraphrase the Canadian criminal code on theft, to call someone a thief, you need to establish that the thing “stolen” is clearly a property owned by the owner X and someone (not-X) fraudulently takes that thing from the owner X with the intent to deprive the owner X’s rights over the property either permanently or temporarily.

In this case, we don’t really know the exact nature of the ownership of the out-of-print work. No one is making fraudulent claim over the ownership, nor is anyone distributing the copy with the intent to deprive the right of the owner if there is one.

I think there is plenty room for consideration before calling everyone a thief.

May 24, 2008 at 01:36 PM · I believe sharing the Yost publically like this may bring into question legal issues of ownership.


Is anyone else concerned with how difficult it is to find sheet music nowadays? I live in NYC and over the past 10 yrs it has become increasingly difficult to buy sheet music. Even Patelsons which I've heard may be going out of business... their shelves seem empty to me. A better use of this discussion is to direct it towards sharing ideas on HOW to obtain music more easily.

Must everything be bought through Amazon these days?

May 24, 2008 at 08:23 PM · Yixi sez: "If something is owned by someone in the past but has not been used or cared for over a long period of time, is it morally defendable, justifiable or even preferable for someone else to take care of it..."

Yixi, in the U.S.A we own property. It doesn't belong to the Commune for someone's idea of the communal good. lol. The thing you're talking about there is not yours. Plain and simple.

May 24, 2008 at 08:55 PM · Ouch! Jim, I studied law and philosophy in North America, and my questions were entirely raised within the context of western culture. If you care to do some research in common law property, you’ll see what I’m getting at. Moral principles may be simple and straightforward, but the devil is in the detail.


May 24, 2008 at 08:56 PM · Yixi, it really doesn't matter if a law exists that would allow someone to take the item you're talking about. That law really only permits someone to steal it with impunity. This is easy stuff.

May 24, 2008 at 09:00 PM · Is it so simple? Where does the doctrine come from? What is the rationale behind it?

May 24, 2008 at 09:25 PM · The thing doesn't belong to you. You want to take it away from the owner, and have created a rationale for doing so. That makes you a thief, Yixi. Sorry, but it does.

Your rationale and justifications are the same thing as Jake's. They're just more high-sounding, being for the common good and so on. Actually, he would claim to be working for the common good as well ;)

P.S. Lines like yours above, "Where's the doctrine come from," would never work in an actual mugging. You'd need to be less academic and more forceful :)

May 24, 2008 at 11:53 PM · The whole thing begs the question. If you can tell me that you know for sure what is owned by whom and what is wrongfully taken, then we can start to talk about whether theft exists in any case. Whether I agree with Jake or not is beside the point. I certainly provide no rationale nor would I even try to justify anything I don’t have a clue what we are talking about. All I'm doing is asking for some clarity in thinking.

May 24, 2008 at 11:36 PM · The rationale of yours that I'm talking about is your rationale for taking something that doesn't belong to you. I quoted it above, starting with "Yixi sez:".

As for "what is owned by whom," yes maybe you do need someone to tell you ;)

May 25, 2008 at 12:40 AM · Okay, I see you still don't get it. If you can tell me a)who at this point has the definite ownership of the exclusive right over the sheet music in question, b)such right prevents anyone from personal and non-profit use of it without paying a fee, c) the actual owner is not acquiescent about such personal use, and d)the actual owner clearly objects such personal use, then our conversation may get somewhere:)

May 25, 2008 at 12:05 AM · If there is a God

then allow that God

to prevent me the apprehension

of reading the insufferable

arguments included in

the dialogues above !!!

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