Music and Copyright

Topics: Copyright, Property, Intellectual property Pages: 9 (3072 words) Published: October 2, 2008
Music has a powerful influence on society, like mass media and television. In our society today, music has the ability to define our culture. Many people around the world listen to music while driving, at work, doing housework, or even studying. Music may be seen as simple and unproblematic, but looking at the structure behind it is very important. One of the key features of music is music copyright and what that means to the music industry. Defining what this means in the historical context is of great significance. Music and copyright is a vital aspect of the music industry. The question that remains, however, is what happens with motivation or intension when samples of music are not originally controlled in a larger network. Intellectual property rights such as copyright laws need to be met in the music industry in order for an artist to be protected. If, for example, an appealing sample is created, will this be then adequate enough to confer its author constitutional copyright protection if the other requirements of copyright are satisfied since copying is a crucial component of infringement?

The music industry over the years has grown to be a rather profitable industry and is “one of the fastest growing export sectors of the global service economy” (Anderson et al 2000). Intellectual property plays a significant role in what the music industry is all about. It is defined as a law in which governs the exploitation of culture and of the private ownership of creative production, which also includes copyrights and trademarks (Hermanns 2005). The holder of the intellectual property rights has certain exclusive rights to the creative work that they produce in which they are protected under this right. According to Anderson et al (2000), intellectual property plays a critical role in determining its performance in the music industry. It also transforms the expression of one’s intellectual efforts, for example a script or movie, or even music, into a piece of property that can be owned. Furthermore, it attaches certain rights and privileges to that ownership (Lorimer and Gasher 2004). Hal Varian of the University of California in Berkeley said that intellectual property law “recognizes that no exclusion would create poor incentives for the creation of intellectual property. But at the same time, permanent intellectual property rights would lead to the standard deadweight losses of monopoly.” He also mentions that there are different forms of intellectual property which have different combinations of these characteristics. An example that he uses to explain this would be that copyright protects the expression of ideas for quite a long period of time with a low standard for originality.

Music is an ideal copyright industry that is based on creative talent and has a vast amount of specific properties. Even though the music industry has its foundation in the early twentieth century, “when technological breakthroughs in recording meant that reproduction rather than live performance became the basis of the industry, its present shape owes much to the rising incomes and personal experimentation of the post-war golden age, and in particular the growing financial independence of young people” (Anderson et al. 2000). Anderson et al. says that the industry was still relatively small at time, during the late 1950s, and was dominated by the United States market, where sales had reached “$500 million.” By 1998, when this article was written, over “4 billion records were sold worldwide, generating a total revenue of nearly $39 billion. A further $5 billion was generated from pirated recordings. Moreover, music has become increasingly tied to other entertainment products, such as TV, films and videos, this generating further revenue streams” (Anderson et al. 2005 pg 7).

Technology keeps continuing to shape the music industry in many ways. One of these ways is the impact of new digital technologies, especially the Internet, which makes...
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