Concepts of Music and Copyright

Concepts of Music and Copyright

How Music Perceives Itself and How Copyright Perceives Music

Edited by Andreas Rahmatian

Copyright specialists have often focused on the exploitation of copyright of music and on infringement, but not on the question of how copyright conceptualises music. This highly topical volume brings together specialists in music, musicology and copyright law, providing a genuinely interdisciplinary research approach. It compares and contrasts the concepts of copyright law with those of music and musical performance. The contributors discuss the notions of the musical work, performance, originality, authorship in music and in copyright, and co-ownership from the perspective of their own disciplines. The book also examines the role of the Musicians’ Union in the evolution of performers’ rights in UK copyright law, and, in an empirical study, the transaction costs theory for notice-and-takedown regimes in relation to songs uploaded on YouTube.

Chapter 4: The elements of music relevant for copyright protection

Andreas Rahmatian

Subjects: law - academic, cultural heritage and art law, intellectual property law


One may argue that copyright law has no genuine understanding of the nature of music as an art form; it attaches to certain aspects of music which it declares as normatively relevant and thus ascertains building blocks of the legal protection system. In this way music is considered as an object of legal transactions, especially as an object of transferable property. This is a result of the translation process of music into legal categories. This chapter looks at the elements and stages of this process, starting with sketching out a philosophical discussion of the phenomenon of music as a basis for copyright protection. Keywords: Copyright and musical work; performance; originality; idea-expression dichotomy; philosophy of music; property theory

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