"Christians And The Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 3, No. 4:  January 25, 2002.



The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed
online at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati67.htm.  The
Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links.

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  See
the end of this issue for more information on "CATI."


Before you read this part in the series on the subject, you
should read this article:

Updated: Download, Unzip, & Install Files from the Web (#1)

In fact, some of what is said here is dependent upon your
having done so.

In that article, instructions were given on how to download
and install a program called Freezip, a free and easy-to-use
program for unpacking files that have been packed in a "zip"

By the way, what we are talking about here has nothing to do
with Omega's Zip disks.  We are using "zip" in an entirely
different way, i.e., a file format that allows several or
many files to be packed (or "zipped") into a single file, a
file that takes up less space than the separate files that
make it up.  (Here's a situation where the whole is less
than the sum of its parts!)

A "zip" file can usually be recognized by the file extension
".zip" which appears at the end of the filename.  Windows,
unfortunately, may hide that information from you, unless
you tell it not to do so.  Here's one way to do that for
some versions of Windows:

(1) Double-click on "My Computer" on the Windows desktop.

(2) Click on "Tools" and then on "Folder Options."  (Another
way to get to "Folder Options" is to click on "Start," go
to "Settings," click on "Control Panel," and double-click on
"Folder Options.")

(3) Click on the "View" tab, and make sure that the box next
to "Hide file extensions for known file types" is NOT checked.

I strongly recommend that you do this, for many reasons.  One
is that the file extension often indicates the type of file
(.gif and .jpg are graphics files, .mid and .mp3 are sound
files, .doc is usually a Word document, and so on).  Another
is that such information helps you not only know what kind of
file you have before you, but also helps protect you against
computer viruses (e.g., unless you're sure that it's safe, do
not click on files ending in .exe, .com, .bat, .pif, or .scr).

Here's where you'll find more information on file extensions
and how such information can be helpful to you:

The (Un)Hidden Secrets of (Un)Hidden File Extensions

Again, if you see .zip at the end of a filename, you know that
it's a "zip" file.  If you have Windows set to "Hide file
extensions for known file types," it is likely that you will
NOT see the .zip extension.  For example, both Jigsaw.exe (a
program file) and Jigsaw.zip would show up simply as Jigsaw
(with no extension), as would Jigsaw.txt (a text file).  In
my opinion, it is important NOT to hide such information from

The instructions in this article are oriented toward those
who consider themselves to be somewhat novices.  If you would
like to do things differently and know how to do so, by all
means feel free!  The steps I provide are not the only way to
do these things:  they do, however, provide one safe way such
things can be done, and you can't harm your computer if you
do it exactly as described here.

So what are we going to do?  Assuming that you have completed
last week's assignment (which needs to be done first), this
week we are going to download and unzip (unpack) some MIDI
files of tunes used for various Psalms and hymns.  Next week
the plans are to download and install Traver Mini MIDI Player,
a simple player for MIDI (and MP3) files which takes up much
less screen space and is easier to use than Windows Media
Player, Winamp, MusicMatch Jukebox, or other such programs.
That installment will complete this series on downloading,
unzipping, and installing files from the Internet.

The first thing we are going to do is download _all_ of the
tunes for the 730 hymns in the Trinity hymnal!  It's a lot
easier than it sounds, since the files are packaged together
in one file (and it's not difficult to download one file).
The MIDI files are found on the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Web site at the following address:

OPC: Trinity Hymnal

Look for the phrase "Download all the MIDI files at once in
.exe (2,795 K) or .sit (2,398 K) format" (with ".exe" and
".sit" underlined).  You will be clicking on ".exe" (unless
you have a Mac and then you'll want the ".sit" version).  Then
you will be following steps similar to those presented in the
last issue, except that designating the destination for the
download will be a bit different.

But there are two matters to mention before you download the
file.  First is a warning:

Caution:  This is a fairly large download, so if you have
a slow connection to the Internet (e.g., 26,400 bps), the
file may take as much as twenty minutes to download, so you
should keep that in mind when you're deciding on the best
time to download the file.

Second is an explanation:

Did you happen to notice that the file extension for the
file is ".exe" rather than ".zip"?  How then can it be a
"zip" file?  The answer to that legitimate question is
that it is a special kind of zip file, known as a "self-
extracting zip archive."  What this means is that it's a
special format where, in essence, you have the zipped
file combined with an unzipper, so that you do not need
a program like Winzip or Freezip to unzip this particular

Most people do not bother to create a "self-extracting zip
file" for your convenience.  W.H. Bacon (to whom we are
indebted for the MIDI files) was being kind in providing
the material to you in this format.  To unzip the files
contained in his archive, all you have to do is run the
.exe program.  No separate program is needed.  (Again,
this is not the usual situation with zip files.  Shortly
we will be downloading and unpacking a normal zip file,
after we finish with the Trinity Hymnal MIDI files.)

All right.  Here are the steps to follow after clicking on
".exe" on the OPC Web page when you're ready to download:

(1) Choose "Save this program to disk."

(2) Click on "OK."

(3) At the next display, keep clicking on the icon at the top
right with the arrow in the yellow box until it says "Desktop"
to the left.  (The yellow box at this point probably turned

(4) Double-click on "My Downloads."  (If you deleted or never
created such a folder, you can create one at this time or
cancel the download to do it at a later time.)

(5) Click on "Save."

When the download is finished, you may or may not be expected
to click on "Close" to close that box or window.

For most people, the download will take perhaps ten to fifteen
minutes, which isn't that long when you consider that you're
downloading a zipped file that contains more than seven hundred
files, including music in MIDI format for all of the music in
the Trinity Hymnal!

Now let's unpack the package.  To do that, double-click on
the "My Downloads" folder, and once inside double-click on
the file Th1.exe.  ("Th" stands for "Trinity hymnal," and the
"1" stands, I think, for the fact that it's the first rather
than the second edition that is in mind.)

My recommendation is that you stick with the default here
("C:\music\hymns\Th1") as you unpack (or unzip) the archived
file that you downloaded.  That will make my comments later
on easier to follow.  Click on "unzip," and before you know
it, you'll be told that no fewer than 783 files have been
unzipped successfully!  At that point, click on "Close."

Next week we hope to provide you with an easy-to-use player
for MIDI files, but you don't have to wait until them to
listen to what you downloaded.  You can use the default MIDI
player on your computer (and if you're running Windows, it
is almost certain that you have one).

Try the following to play the music through your sound card.
On your Windows desktop, double-click on "My Computer",
double-click on "C:", double-click on "Music", double-click
on "hymns", double-click on "Th1", and double-click on the
file Th1_402.mid.  You should hear a piano playing "Amazing
Grace."  (That's because "Amazing Grace" is hymn #402 in the
first edition of the Trinity Hymnal.)  Likewise, you can
listen to any of the over seven hundred other tunes for hymns
or Psalms in the Trinity Hymnal by double-clicking on the
appropriate filename.

You'll find some comments on the MIDI files by their author,
W.H. Bacon, on this page on the OPC Web site:

Trinity Hymnal Music Collection

Unless you have specialized music software, however, you can
probably disregard his comments about using "inst" files to
change the musical instrument.  Without such special software,
I think you will find that these MIDI files will only emulate
the sound of a piano.  (The Cyber Hymnal site has some MIDI
files that emulate other instruments, such as organ.)

That was our first project for this week.  Our second project
will be to download and unzip MIDI files from the Cyber Hymnal
Web site.  (This download, however, should take less than one

Before we do that, let's first prepare a place to put them.
On your Windows desktop, double-click on "My Computer",
double-click on "C:", double-click on "Music", double-click
on "hymns", and at this point you'll see the "Th1" folder
where the Trinity Hymnal MIDI files were put.  At this
point, do NOT double-click on the "Th1" folder, but instead
on the top menu bar click on "File," click on "New," click
on "Folder," and name the new folder "Cyber Hymnal."  You
now have a place to put the new MIDI files you will be

Now let's go get the files!  We start again at the OPC Web

OPC: Trinity Hymnal

On that page, click on the link that says "Cyber Hymnal."  On
the next page, click on "Downloads."  On the next page, click
on "MIDI Files" to get to their compressed zip archives which
contain their public domain MIDI files.  Click on TCH-MIDA.ZIP
and then follow these steps:

(1) Choose "Save this program to disk."

(2) Click on "OK."

(3) At the next display, keep clicking on the icon at the top
right with the arrow in the yellow box until it says "Desktop"
to the left.  (The yellow box at this point probably turned

(4) Now double-click on "My Computer", double-click on "C:",
double-click on "Music", double-click on "hymns", and then
double-click on "Cyber Hymnal."  The purpose of all this is
to put the file in the directory where we want the unpacked
files to be.  There are other ways to accomplish this, but
this is probably the easiest.

(5) Click on "Save."

When the download is finished, you may or may not be expected
to click on "Close" to close that box or window.

The last thing we will be doing (and you may have wondered if
we were ever going to get to it) is to unzip a normal zip
file.  In case you're not there, here again is how to get to
the appropriate folder:  Double-click on "My Computer",
double-click on "C:", double-click on "Music", double-click on
"hymns", and double-click on "Cyber Hymnal."

Now to unzip the TCH-MIDA.ZIP file....  Double-click on the
file.  That's it!  It's as simple as that!  Unless you have
told it to do otherwise, Freezip unzips the files to the
current folder.  (And note that you didn't even have to do
anything to get Freezip to unzip the archive other than to
double-click the file you wanted to unzip.  Again, it's as
simple as that!)

If you right-click on TCH-MIDA.ZIP, you can choose "FreeZip
Help" to learn more about the program, but usually you will
just be using the program as an easy way to unzip files to
the current directory, and that, as you have seen, is very
simple to do.  (Can you see why I like Freezip so much?)

Cyber Hymnal creates a lot of subfolders for you, and I'm
afraid I don't see much sense to them.  In the alphabetical
folders are put tunes according the second(!) letter of the
filename.  (At least that's the only pattern I can find.)
Rearrange the files and directories to your own liking.  The
important thing is that you now have lots of new MIDI files
downloaded to your hard drive, and you can decide what to do
with them (including deciding which ones to keep and which
ones to delete).

Speaking of deleting, that's one thing that you can now do
with the zip file you downloaded (unless you want to keep a
copy as backup).  To delete TCH-MIDA.ZIP, simply click once
on it to highlight it and then press the delete key.  (You
can do the same for Th1.exe in the "My Downloads" folder on
the Windows desktop).

Two points before we stop....

(1) The reason I went so much into creating new folders for
specific purposes is that when you start to do downloading
(and ever after), it is very important that you learn to be
organized (with a place for everything, and everything in
its place).  Otherwise your hard drive will soon become
chaos out of which it may be impossible later to bring
forth order.

(2) I would also like to emphasize the importance of getting
rid of "clutter."  If you don't want to keep anything that
you may have downloaded in trying out the specific examples
in this article, feel free to delete everything that you
downloaded (by removing entire folders, if you like).  I do
think the Trinity Hymnal files are worth keeping (even if
you happen not to believe in the use of musical instruments
in public worship itself, it may be helpful to listen to
the tunes), but that's your decision.

Next week we hope to go over downloading, unzipping, and
installing a program from the Internet (and this time it
will not be as easy to install as Freezip was).  Hang in


[This article is being reprinted with some updating from CATI,
1/9.  One reason I'm reprinting it is that many of the links
in the earlier article - although working at the time - no
longer are accurate.  The Web addresses (URLs) in this updated
version are all working.  In addition, another article in this
issue (i.e., 3/4, not 1/9) shows how to download and unpack
MIDI files, and not all present CATI readers may be familiar
with what MIDI files are.  This article provides some helpful
background. Finally, this updated article does contain some
new information, including changes at the Classical Music
Archives site plus a URL for a site where you can download
MIDI files of tunes on Scottish bagpipes (just what you always
wanted to know! <grin>.]

MIDI files are great for everyone.  If your computer can play
music, it can play MIDI music files.   It doesn't matter how
old or new your computer system is.  And you can download MIDI
music files from the Internet.  It doesn't matter how fast or
slow your modem is.

One of the nicest things about MIDI files is that they are
"mini" in size.  If a nice thing about MP3 music files is that
they are one-tenth the size of corresponding WAV music files,
a nice thing about MIDI music files is that they are one-tenth
the size (or even one-hundredth the size) of MP3 music files!
(This means, for example, that if it takes minutes to download
a MP3 file, a corresponding MIDI file can be downloaded in

What is "MIDI"?  "MIDI" stands for "Musical Instrument Digital
Interface."  Essentially, it's a standard format by which a
computer may talk with an electronic musical instrument.  That
musical instrument may be an electronic keyboard, a digital
piano, a music synthesizer, or -- surprise! -- the sound card
(and speakers) in your computer.

In one sense, MIDI music files are different in an important
respect from the other music files you'll find around for
computers, such as MP3 files, WAV files, and so on.  All of
these are generally what I call "microphone-music files."  To
create them, somebody played music, a microphone recorded it,
and the result was placed in a computer file.  When you play
the file, your computer does its best to reproduce the actual
sound that was recorded.

MIDI files are different.  They are what I call "player-piano-
music files."  No microphone was used to record them.  Rather,
the file is like a player piano roll.  It can be played back
on an electronic musical instrument that can act like a player
piano.  Remember:  your sound card (helped by the appropriate
software) can be that kind of musical instrument!

MIDI files thus cannot attempt to reproduce the sound as it
was originally recorded by a microphone, because there never
was sound recorded by a microphone.  Instead, essentially
the MIDI file is a set of directions (or, to change the
analogy, some sheet music) to be used to create the music.
And since MIDI is a "musical instrument digital interface,"
forget about voice.  (Yes, some computers can be taught how
to speak, but we don't have any electronic music instruments
yet that can sing words, as far as I know.)

To sum up, MIDI files make no attempt to supply detailed and
precise information to allow exact reproduction of music
originally recorded with a microphone.  Instead, MIDI files
simply provide sort of a player piano roll (or sheet music) to
your computer, and then your computer has to try to play the
music on its own as best it can.

With the right software, almost any computer with a sound card
can do this. The resulting music may vary considerably (just
as a player piano roll played on different player pianos will
vary more than, say, an audio CD played on different stereo
systems), but the approach means that file sizes can be very
small ("mini" in size) and thus the files are fast to download
and do not take up much space to store.  And many people (I am
one of them) find the music entirely adequate (but then again
I always loved player piano music, and we even at one time
owned a player piano).

By the way, don't let the player piano analogy fool you into
thinking that we're simply talking piano music here.  It's
more like a roll for a nickelodeon, because other instruments
(such as violins or guitars or drums) can also be involved.
MIDI files of Christian hymns, for example, will most often
sound like music played on an organ.

If you visit a Web page containing a MIDI file, you can
often play the file immediately using your Web browser (both
Internet Explorer and Netscape have this capability built in,
I believe).  To play the MIDI files off-line (that is, when
you are not connected to the Internet), you will need special
software to do that.  For those running Windows, the Windows
Media Player will do that just fine.  (A bit later I will
explain how to download MIDI files from the Web.)

The same warning I gave concerning MP3 files apply here as
well:  in obedience to the commandment "you shall not steal,"
you will want to avoid downloading any MIDI files that are
copyrighted unless appropriate permission has been granted
for you to do so.  Fortunately, most church music, classical
music, and ragtime music do not present a problem in that
regard, and the sample sites I'm suggesting in this article
fall into those three categories.

First, church music.  One of the best sites here is The Cyber
Hymnal (also discussed in another article in this issue):

Cyber Hymnal

As their home page says, "This site has over 3,300 Christian
hymns and Gospel songs from many denominations. You'll find
lyrics, scores, MIDI files, pictures, history, and more."
(When I wrote the earlier version of this article, they only
claimed 2,100 files, so their collection has increased by
50% since that time!)

And they describe their copyright policy here:


Regarding their MIDI files, they say this:  "Material on our
site which does not have a copyright notice may be considered
in the public domain."  They do ask, however, that you do
observe copyright restrictions:

"Please do not down­load or re­pro­duce any ma­ter­i­al with a
co­py­right no­tice, un­less the no­tice grants per­miss­ion to do
so. How­ev­er, the vast ma­jor­i­ty of the ma­ter­i­al in the Cy­ber
Hymn­al is in the pub­lic do­main, so en­joy!"

Let's download a sample file.  Go to the Cyber Hymnal home


Click on "Titles."  On the next page click on "A" at the left.
After the page reloads, click on "AMAZING GRACE" in the list
of titles at the right.  (You will probably have to scroll
down to get to it.)  At this point, you should be hearing
the music for AMAZING GRACE (and it should sound as if it's
being played on an organ).  But we are not finished yet.

Click on the words "John Newton" to the right of the picture.
A window should load which includes interesting biographical
information about John Newton as well as links to thirty or
more other hymns for which he wrote the words.

Close that window and go back to the "AMAZING GRACE" window.
A moment ago, you (left-)clicked on the phrase "John Newton."
Looking this time at "Music" rather than "Words," right-click
on "MIDI" (not left-click as you did before).  You should see
a "pop-up" menu.  If you're using Internet Explorer, click
(that is, left-click) on "Save Target As."  If you're using
Netscape Communicator, click on "Save Link As."  (If you're
using another Web browser, you may see something different.)
At this point you'll have an opportunity to save the MIDI
file for "Amazing Grace" to disk (or simply click on "Cancel"
if you choose not to do so at this time).

The name of the MIDI file is newbrita.mid.  The "newbrita"
part of the filename refers to the fact that the tune for
"Amazing Grace" is sometimes known as "New Britain," but the
part I want to say something about is the "mid" part.  As you
probably know, "mid" is short for "MIDI" (short, because DOS
and Windows before Windows 95 could only handle three letters
maximum after the period as well as, for that matter, eight
letters maximum before the period, which is the explanation
for "newbrita" rather than "newbritain" in the filename).

Anyway, MIDI files can ordinarily be recognized by their file
extension (that is, the letters after the period).  Just as
MP3 filenames ordinarily end in .mp3, so MIDI files ordinarily
end in .mid (which you may or may not see if you are using
Windows 95 or later - it depends on whether you have your
computer set to show or not show file extensions).

Here's another site where you'll find MIDI church music:
Favorite Hymns


The advantage (for some) of this site is that the hymns are
all keyed to the 1990 edition of the Trinity Hymnal, which is
a hymnbook used by many Presbyterian and Reformed churches (as
well as by some Baptists and others).  If you choose "Amazing
Grace," you can download to your computer the MIDI music file
by right-clicking on the words "AMAZING GRACE" in the top
right corner and proceeding accordingly as before (although
you'll see a different filename this time).

Let's move on to classical music.  In my opinion, if you like
classical music the best place on the Web to find good MIDI
files is the Classical Music Archives site:


At that site you will find a really outstanding collection of
classical music in MIDI format.  Although the site is more
complicated to use than earlier had been the case, if you like
classical music you will find it worthwhile to take the time
to learn how to use the site (as well as to become familiar
with its various rules and regulations).

In particular, I recommend that you read through the "Terms
and Conditions" (some of the musical compositions and/or
the MIDI arrangements are copyrighted, so you need to know
what you do and do not have permission to do with them), as
well as whatever is relevant to you in the "Help and FAQs"
("FAQs" are "Frequently Asked Questions") area.

In general, the files may be used freely for your enjoyment,
but there are a number of restrictions (in addition to how
many files can be downloaded per day):

ARCHIVES....  These files are licensed for your own
non-commercial and personal use only.... [A]ll users are
limited by their respective daily limits of downloads.
NOT, BE DOWNLOADED (COPIED) TO YOUR PC, only listened to at
the time of the visit. TO ATTEMPT TO SAVE OR COPY A STREAMED
MEDIA FILE FROM THE CMA [Classical Music Archives] IS AN

The site has some particular amenities it offers to paying
subscribers ("Friends" who pay $25 a year), but it welcomes
"Free Users" as well.  Here are the differences between the

"Free Users: ...Listen up to 25 files/day. No HiFi MP3 files
can be downloaded. Other material may also be restricted to
paying subscribers only. Free users can store a total of 100
files from the CMA on their PC. Subscribers have no such
limitations. Friends: ...Listen to up to 100 files/day.
Download up to 25 Zip Collections or HiFi MP3 files/day."

By the way, to listen to a MIDI file while on-line, click on
the link (the title of the composition).  To download a file
to disk, click on the disk-shaped icon in front of the title.

Do you like Debussy's "Clair de Lune"?  Do you like "Jesus
Loves Me"?  If you answered "yes" to both questions, then I
have a real treat for you!  Go to the following page:


Then try out "Bradbury/Debussy 'Jesus Loves Me'" (arranged by
Fred Boch).  You'll hear the children's "Jesus Loves Me" in
the style of Debussy's "Clair de Lune."  (I know, it boggles
the mind:  you have to hear it to believe it!)  Also on that
page be sure to try out "Happy Birthday!" (near the bottom
of the page).

You'll also find lots of "normal" classical music on the site
as well, of course.  In addition to general alphabetical
listings, there are special sections devoted specifically to
J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Handel,
Haydn, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Scarlatti, Schubert,
Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi.

Consider, for example, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750).  Take your choice of over a thousand musical
compositions, including Sonatas and Suites, Preludes and
Fugues, Concertos, Cantatas, Motets, Passions, Oratorios,
Complete Chorales, and more!

Johann Sebastian Bach:  Main Page

Johann Sebastian Bach:  Sacred Music

Johann Sebastian Bach:  Cantatas, Motets, Passions, Oratorios,
    and Complete Chorales

(Remember, however, that these are all instrumental versions,
since MIDI files cannot include voice.)

Incidentally, J.S. Bach was a great Christian composer (some
regard him as the greatest composer ever!) who wrote music to
the glory of God.  If you're interested in exploring Bach
further, check out the J.S. Bach Home Page at this address:


And you can also find some good classical MIDI files at the
Classical MIDI Connection:


Here are some of the kinds of music you'll find there:






Twentieth Century

You can find classical music and ragtime music (how's that
for an interesting combination of interests? - it's one that
I happen to share) in MIDI format at the Primetime MIDI


Here's where you'll find their main ragtime page:


You'll find lots of music there by many ragtime greats:

Scott Joplin

James Scott

Joseph Lamb

Charles L. Johnson

Eubie Blake

Jelly Roll Morton

Here's where you'll find some interesting Swedish ragtime:


And here's where you'll find another page on their site,
this one with nearly 300 additional rags:


Another good site for ragtime music is Warren Trachtman's
Ragtime Piano MIDI Files:


And on that site you'll find many of the same ragtime greats:

Scott Joplin

James Scott

Joseph Lamb

Ferdinand ("Jelly-Roll") Morton

James Hubert ("Eubie") Blake

Charles L. Johnson

Tom Turpin

For various other ragtime composers on the same page, check
out this link:


If you look around the site, you'll also find references to
some contemporary syncopators.

Not your type of music?  You'll find lots of other kinds of
MIDI files on the Internet.  Before downloading files, you
should check out the site's policy on copyrighted material,
if you can.

Reputable sites like Cyber Hymnal and Classic Music Archives
will include no copyrighted material without the permission
of the copyright holder.  Other sites may not exercise as
much care concerning copyrighted material, so it may be up
to you to attempt to exercise such care.  In particular, do
not download files and pass them on to others unless you have
good reason to believe that the music is not copyrighted or
that you have the permission of the copyright holder to do so.

Here's an example of a site where the status of some MIDI
files is clearer than the status of others:

Bagpipes at Best

If you are a genuine Scottish Presbyterian, you may find such
a site to be of significant interest.  Not all of the files on
the site, however, appear to be of equal status.  You should
feel free to download tunes designated as composed by J.P.
Johnson or his father (since - if these files are copyrighted
- you presumably have the permission of the copyright holder),
and likewise there should be no problem concerning tunes that
you may recognize as traditional (i.e., not copyrighted).  But
it would appear that not all of the MIDI files on that site
may fall into those two categories.

To be specific, note what the person who maintains the site
has to say in the following Question and Answer:

"Q: I've noticed you have a lot of tunes. Could you be so
kind to post sheet music or send me a copy of my favorite
tune? A: No. I'm sorry, but there are copyrights on many
of the books I get the tunes from. This site is merely for
entertainment, and I had to pay for the sheet music."

The situation isn't clear.  Are the tunes copyrighted?  Or
is it the books that are copyrighted, with the copyright
covering the particular arrangement of the tune (something
that J.P. Johnson may replace with his own arrangement of
the tune)?

In such a situation, you'll have to decide what to do on the
basis of Christian discretion or "sanctified common sense."
Copyright violation that is prosecuted in court generally
involves evidence (1) that it was known that the material
was copyrighted, (2) that the act produced economic benefit
to the copyright violator, and (3) that the act produced
economic harm to the copyright holder.

Under these guidelines, for someone to use Napster or its
equivalent to get, say, copies of MP3 files so that he
doesn't have to spend money to buy the latest CD put out
by his favorite pop/rock group, would clearly be wrong,
since (1) he knows the material is copyrighted, (2) he has
the economic benefit of saving money, and (3) the record
company has the economic harm of losing a sale.

In general, MIDI files are not likely to present the same
moral dilemmas that MP3 files may present.  My own "best
guess" is that new arrangements of traditional tunes (even
if found in copyrighted books) are unlikely to constitute
copyright violation, particularly if the person downloading
such files intends them for personal, private use with no
financial benefit gained thereby.  Since, however, I make
no pretense of being a trained lawyer, I'm willing to be
corrected if I'm wrong on that inference.

What is clear is this:  in many situations the material is
obviously in the public domain or you have the permission of
the copyright holder to download it for personal use.  Now,
there may be a scarcity of "Great Highland Bagpipes" on the
Web, so there may not be alternatives to "Bagpipes at Best,"
but more often we can find sites with clear principles that
do not create ethical dilemmas for us.

For example, if you like marching band music by John Philip
Sousa, you can find it (perhaps surprisingly?) at Classical
Music Archives, a site that treats copyright matters with
seriousness.  Other sites may also offer Sousa MIDI files,
but those sites may or may not be as clearly law-abiding as
the Classical Music Archives site.

Well, that's it on MIDI files this time around.  Enjoy!


Like to know what this is?  This is the sixty-seventh issue
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