Can you send me a copy of a song(s) or rag(s)?
I am often asked, and in many cases legitimately so by people outside of the United States, if I can copy a piece, or two, or even ten or more (seriously) and just scan and send them the images, or even mail them copies, often for free. I am generous, but not to such a fault. There are several problems with this scenario, and after you see them outlined, I hope all will understand why this is simply not practical.
I must first repeat some information from a previous answer in this section. Even though ragtime is a major part of my life, it is supplemental income to my web programming job here in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, meaning that I have a hefty commute in addition to work responsibilities. I also am part of a music ministry at a large church that takes up time, I personally and gladly answer an average of over 100 of your emails or Facebook requests each week, and my family needs a piece of me as well. So I pour my passion and free time into the art in which I am degreed and have spent most of my life studying. Altering or expanding my focus too far would not be fair to me, all of you, or the music. So there is the issue of personal capacity. If I tried to honor ALL of these requests I would spend two hours a day five days a week scanning, printing, mailing, emailing, etc. This is not fair to my time, nor to other concerns listed below.
Dover Books has, in the past, had a lot of great ragtime compilations available, some still readily found, and their contents alone should keep most pianists happy for several years. There are other companies with similar books, and many of them are listed on my Ragtime Folios page. Support these companies for what they have done. The average cost of a rag in a folio is around .35¢, as opposed to $35.00 per piece based on the contents of most of the books and eBay prices, books with Joplin rags averaging at higher prices, of course. To recreate Dover's Classic Piano Rags book with 81 pieces would cost at least $22,500 in 2015 dollars, and would likely take a decade or more to acquire all 81 pieces in usuable condition, providing you are willing to pay what the owners of the Joplin and Lamb pieces are asking for them. Fifty cents or less is cheap for a rag. That's what they often cost in 1900, in fact. It costs me about $2.15 to print out just one rag considering high-grade paper and ink/toner costs, which is over six times the .35¢ cost in folio form. Home copiers don't always do it well, and require my going to a commercial copier outlet. Support Dover and the other publishers. Also try your local library which will have many of the Dover books on their shelves. There are additionally many good archives on the web that have a lot of rags and tens of thousands of other pieces that you can simply print from your browser or load to your tablet. You will find them on my Ragtime Links page. I should also point out that neither I or these archives will provide any pieces currently under copyright (©1923 and later) due to the restrictions based on the distribution of these sheets.
So I'm not really a crusty old curmudgeon on these matters. I'm simply not a librarian or copy service, and I don't have the physical or financial resources to sustain the level of requests for copies that I sometimes get. I will always, however, gladly answer any of your questions on any rag, and point you to where you can locate certain hard-to-find pieces (in hopes that you have already read Search FAQ). I am grateful for the continuing support of all who visit this personal ragtime mecca, and honoring this reasonable request is one more way of providing that support.