Week 2 – Blog 2: Copyright and Modern Infringements

This week’s blog addresses the issues surrounding copyright and intellectual property within the music industry. Copyright is widely prominent within the creative industries where millions of unique creations are created every day. Copyright plays an important part within the music industry. It protects the originators of unique productions with a set of rights that they are able to utilise whenever required. Copyright has had a huge impact on the development of music sales and consumption. With the set of rights that musicians own, they are able to produce music on a much larger scale without the worry of having their work copied or reproduced without them having a say in it.  

Although copyright applies to many cultural expressions, its expansion within the field of musical creativity manifests most clearly the complexities of the law and the range of its cultural influence. Joanna Demers (2006) states that from its origins as a right to prohibit the unauthorised copying of sheet music, musical copyright has dramatically expanded. With respect to musical compositions, the law now enables copyright holders to enjoin public performances, broadcasting, the creation of sound recordings, and the sharing of music with the help of modern digital technology. 

Within the music industry, the rise of digital technology has developed a crescendo of copyright infringement cases where digital copies of music are easily replicated and distributed amongst various media platforms.  Therefore, millions of consumers are able to obtain copyrighted musical creations without having to pay for it. As Patry (2011) suggests, by taking away the ability to buy lawful copies of copyrighted creations, there will be an increase of unlawful copying. The sales issue is just one example of many current issues relating to copyright infringement.

Within the world of Hip-Hop, there are several cases of copyright infringements where certain artists sample sections of other people’s songs in their own creations, without the originator’s permission. McLeod, K & Dicola, P (2011) claim that hip-hop producers built on former turntable techniques by using digital samplers to distill dozens of sampled sound sources into a single new track. However, there seems to be a lack of creativity with the tracks create by those who use samples of other songs. It is much harder to deal with the copyright laws of your song if you’re using sections of other people’s copyrighted material within your song. 

References:

Demers, J.T (2006). Steal This Music. Georgia, USA: University of Georgia Press. pp.6 .

McLeod, K. DiCola, P (2011). Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling. USA: Duke University Press. pp.4.

Patry, W. (2011) How to fix Copyright. New York: Oxford University Press.

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