copyright and the ex-avant-garde

Kyle Gann had a rather disturbing revelation about how copyright intersects with scholarship, and in particular scholarship about experimental music:

… you are no longer allowed to quote texts that are entire pieces of art. This means I’ve been trying to get permission simply to refer to Fluxus pieces like La Monte Young’s “This piece is little whirlpools in the middle of the ocean,” and Yoko Ono’s “Listen to the sound of the earth turning.” And of course, Yoko (whom I used to know) isn’t responding, and La Monte is imposing so many requirements and restrictions that I would have to add a new chapter to the book, and so in frustration well past the eleventh hour, I’ve excised the pieces from the text.

Normally, I’d expect the publishing companies to be the most obstructionist, as this commenter said:

Just last week I found out that, even for a thesis that will not be published, Shirmer [sic] now asks money to permit me to reproduce musical excerpts. If I paid every institution (libraries for manuscripts / publishers for printed matter) that holds rights to the excerpts that I need to reproduce to illustrate points and arguments, my dissertation would cost in excess of 15.000US dollars for permissions alone.

Some months ago I was warned that I may not have had the right to TAKE NOTES while studying Cowell manuscripts at the LOC in 1998.

Apparently, however, the artists themselves are also the problem. Way to make yourselves even more irrelevant…