Keeping Score: The Struggle for Music Copyright
Inspired by the passionate contemporary debates about music copyright, this Article investigates how, when, and why music first came within copyright's domain. Although music publishers and recording companies are among the most aggressive advocates for strong copyright protection today, when copyright law was first invented in eighteenth-century England, music publishers resisted its extension to music. This Article sheds light on a series of early legal disputes concerning printed music that yield important insights into original understandings of copyright law and music's role in society. By focusing attention on this understudied episode, this Article demonstrates that the concept of copyright was far more circumscribed than it is today and that music -- which currently is treated as core copyrightable subject matter -- once presented a difficult case. A number of audiences will benefit from a better understanding of the struggle over music copyright, including scholars who advance general theories about the evolution of property rights and policymakers seeking to place the current disputes over music copyright in historical perspective.
Economics | Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law | Intellectual Property Law | Internet Law | Legal History
Date of this Version
Michael W. Carroll, "Keeping Score: The Struggle for Music Copyright" (February 25, 2005). bepress Legal Series. bepress Legal Series.Working Paper 470.