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 6: Music and co-authorship/co-ownership

Alison Firth

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


This chapter discusses the complex law of copyright joint authorship and joint ownership with regard to musical works. It shows that joint authorship under UK law depends upon collaboration of musical co-authors, and on original contributions from them towards the finished work. The contributions must be merged, so that they are not distinct. The contributions must also be of the correct kind, that is to say, contributions towards the expressive form that is protected by copyright. Keywords: copyright authorship; musical works; copyright co-ownership; joint ownership; German authors’ rights law; US copyright law.

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