"Shareware" is a concept designed by software writers. Users are encouraged to freely copy and distribute the product. Those who are interested are encouraged test the product to see if it is to their liking, but anyone who chooses to keep the product is required to pay the shareware fee.
The advantage of the shareware system is that it requires very little marketing and distribution by the creator of the product. The disadvantage is that payment depends entirely on the honor system, and it's extremely easy for anyone to cheat by keeping the product without paying.
Like most shareware publishers, I'm not doing this to make money. My primary goal is to make sheet music easily available to musicians, so I intentionally set the fees very low. Still, presenting the material requires work and effort. A few dollars may be negligible to you, but to me it makes a big difference when users neglect to pay the fee. It is only by recouping some of my expenses in shareware fees that I'm able to continue adding material.
Browsing is encouraged here. Unlike the commercial sites offering sheet music online, I do not require you to pay up-front before you can even see the music. Please download and print any music you think you'd like to look at. But if you keep the piece, or pass it on to someone else, please pay according to the shareware agreement.
As one who often procrastinates, I know first-hand how easy it is to forget to put an envelope in the mail. To me it makes no difference if you are dishonest or simply forgetful, so please don't delay in paying the fee.
Send all shareware fees to me at:
Mark D. Lew
19701 Locust Way
Lynnwood, WA 98036
I have traditionally preferred a check, because of the risk of sending cash in the mail, but the current address has a secure mailbox, so cash is also acceptable if you prefer
Fees are set in U.S. dollars, and I prefer U.S. money. However, if you are outside the United States and obtaining U.S. money is inconvenient, go ahead and send your local currency (cash). Use current exchange rates to determine an approximate equivalent to the U.S. dollar amount of the fee. Please do not send a check on foreign currency. (Note to readers outside the United States regarding copyright information.)
For my records, please write a note on the check or on the envelope telling me which piece you are buying.
(I understand that many, particularly outside of the United States, would prefer to pay with PayPal. I'm old-fashioned and never developed an interest in that, but if you can properly calculate how much PayPal will deduct from your payment and make sure I end up with the right amount, I will accept that. If someone can explain PayPal's deduction formula for me, I'll post a rate chart and officially start accepting PayPal.)
There are two different types of shareware fees used on this site:
Print basis. This is the usual basis for solo pieces. The rules are essentially the same as those for sheet music you might buy in the store. Paying the shareware fee gives the payer ownership of one copy of the music. It is OK for the owner to make additional copies for personal use, to loan to an accompanist, etc., but copies may not be given freely to others. Any other person who wishes to keep a copy of the music is expected to pay the shareware fee. If you wish, you may purchase additional copies by paying the shareware fee more than once. Additional copies purchased in this way are yours to give away as you see fit.
Where a piece is offered in more than one key, paying the shareware entitles the owner to any or all versions. Singers who wish to experiment with a piece in more than one key are encouraged to download and print as many versions as they choose. These are considered additional copies, subject to the restrictions noted above.
Occasionally an updated version of a piece is released, usually to include minor corrections or alterations. Paying the shareware fee entitles owner to all subsequent updates.
For any music files, you may print a copy on a trial basis. If you decide to keep the music, you must pay the shareware fee. If you discover that you aren't interested in the piece, you may throw it away without paying.
For libretto files, browsing of the document may be done on-screen, but printing the document is not permitted until after the shareware fee is paid. For the files which are restricted in this way, the PDF file is locked with a password. All passwords are displayed on a separate password page on this site, where there is a reminder that the file may not be printed until after the shareware fee is paid.
Performance basis. This is the usual basis for choral works. The rules are similar to those for renting copies of the music. Permission to photocopy any number of copies is freely given, but right to perform is retained. Paying the shareware fee entitles an organization to perform the piece in concert, as specified on the printed music. I generally measure performances in weeks: Paying the fee entitles a group to perform the piece any number of times within the course of one week. If a performance run goes longer than one week, or if a repeat performance is scheduled for later, the shareware fee must be paid again.
Your fees make this site possible. If you use my music, please don't neglect to pay the shareware fee. If you distribute photocopies to others, please explain the shareware system to them.
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