Annotated Bibliography: Copyrights

Bishop, Jack. “Building International Empires of Sound: Concentrations of Power and Property in the ‘Global’ Music Market.” Popular Music and Society 28.4 (Oct 2005): 443-71. Online Resource.

This source offers a comprehensive look at the big four music recording corporations have responded to the digital age of music. It looks at how copyright law has continually expanded and the detrimental effect this has upon local cultures. The “Big Four” have continually influenced laws in this country, as well as the laws of developing nations in order to “preserve corporate hegemonic control over the music of the world” (444). I like this article because of its in depth look at the four corporations and how they exercise control over creativity. Although Bishop does not offer a solution to this problem, his article is very interesting in what it identifies to be the problem of copyright in the United States and the world.

Demers, Joanna. Steal this music: How intellectual property law affects musical creativity. Athens : University of Georgia Press, 2006.

Demers’s work deals with how copyright law changed with the advent of sampling, wherein music of other artists was “duplicated” instead of simply “alluded to”. This duplication lead to new laws in which sampling without consent (that must be bought) became illegal, laws that greatly increased copyright litigation and to some extent hurt the creativity of the artists. Her conclusion, unlike that of McLeod or Vaidhyanathan, is not simply that copyright law has hurt the creativity of artists, but that it has changed the face of music: “To argue for a consistent, predictable correspondence between IP law and musical creativity, however, would be unwise, if not impossible. After all, the relationship is dynamic, and the circumstances of particular musicians can vary widely” (10). In her book, she interviews a variety of musicians, which will be very interesting to explore.

McLeod, Kembrew. Freedom of Expression. New York: Doubleday, 2005.

This book is a follow-up to Owning Culture, and the two chapters that will be most pertinent to my paper are “Copyright Criminals”, which deals with sampling and what it means to the artists, as well as a deeper look into how the artists have responded (the hegemonic process that is music copyright law), and “Illegal Art”, which deals with how art has fought against the law, and the different forms of cultural dissent to unfair copyright litigation. McLeod is a very interesting writer, and both of his works will be of great use to me, particularly in how they explore how artists have responded to copyright law. I’m interested in exploring how electronic music artists have responded to these laws by allowing their music into the public domain, and permitting other electronic music artists to borrow freely.

McLeod, Kembrew. Owning Culture: Authorship, Ownership, and Intellectual Property Law. New York: Peter Lang Publishers, 2001.

This work deals with the extent to which intellectual property law has been expanded in our modern culture. Although borrowing has always been central to the creation of culture, increases in the power of trademarking ideas leads to the “privatization of culture and the transfer of power into the hands of wealthy individuals and corporations.” This book will be essential to my paper and my analysis of a musical culture in which borrowing is often illegal. McLeod gives a detailed account of how musical borrowing was made illegal, a narrative bound up within race and the movement of technology. He also explores how artists have responded, how music copyright is a hegemonic process.

Rosen, Ronald S. Music and Copyright. Washington : U.S. G.P.O., 2008.

This book is intended as a guide for musicians about how to avoid copyright lawsuits and how to engage in copyright lawsuits if the musicians feels that his own music is being infringed upon. I think the most useful chapter of this book is “The Basic Elements of Musical Language and Ideas: The Copyright Perspective”, which lays out how copyright has come to view music. It will be interesting to see what sorts of ideologies are implicit within this view of music (the first section is entitled “Music as Language”).

Scherzinger, Martin Rudolph. “Music, Spirit Possession and the Copyright Law: Cross-Cultural Comparisons and Strategic Speculations.” Yearbook for Traditional Music 31.1 (1999): 102-25. Online Resource.

In this article, Scherzinger explores how non-Western countries have had trouble implementing copyright laws because they hold different ideological views of the creation of art. Because art’s creation is not often attributable to one person within non-Western countries, Western copyright laws are not applicable to those countries. I haven’t yet decided the extent to which I will explore copyright in other countries, but if I do, this article will certainly be of use to me. Both Scherzinger and Bishop write about how the United States has forced its own laws about music (essentially bound up within capitalist ideologies) upon other countries. I’m not sure if I will look at copyright laws within one genre of music, or what the exact focus of my paper will be yet.

Vaidhyanathan, Siva. Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity. New York: New York University Press, 2001.

This book explores similar topics to those explored in McLeod’s works; however, it focuses more on how American culture has shaped the laws that have been put in place. I’m not sure what culture I’m going to be exploring (whether it be American or a more global, musical culture), but in either case, Vaidhyanathan’s candid analysis of copyright and its effect upon creativity will be useful.

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