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 8: How notice-and-takedown regimes create markets for music on YouTube: an empirical study

Paul J. Heald

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


In theory, notice-and-takedown regimes can lower transaction costs by facilitating communication between users and copyright owners, especially where content filtering automates much of the process. This market study tests the transaction costs theory by tracking 90 songs on YouTube that reached No. 1 on the US, French, and Brazilian pop charts from 1930 to 1960. The data collected includes the identity of the uploader, type of upload, number of views, date of upload, and monetization status. YouTube uploads of a sample of 385 popular songs from 1919–1926 are also charted. An analysis of the data demonstrates that the DMCA safe harbor system as applied to YouTube helps maintain public access to many old songs by allowing those possessing copies (primarily infringers) to communicate relatively costlessly with copyright owners in order to satisfy the market of potential listeners. Keywords: Notice-and-take-down; YouTube; transaction costs; US Digital Millennium Copyright Act; safe harbor system

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