Do New and Atypical Works Deserve Protection?
Edited by Enrico Bonadio and Nicola Lucchi
Chapter 9: Original compilations of musical works: can DJ sets be protected by copyright?
This chapter examines whether DJ sets and playlists, which are essentially compilations of sound recordings, can or should be protected by copyright both in common law countries like the UK and the US, and civil law jurisdictions such as Germany and France. The question, of course, must be assessed on a country-by-country basis using the relevant national law given the territorial nature of intellectual property rights such as copyright. But the underlying principles concerning whether DJ sets should be given copyright, or some other form of intellectual property, protection around the world depends upon the same points regarding creativity and the need to protect the creative output of individuals in order to encourage others to use their skills in a similar manner, thereby benefitting the whole of society through entertainment and cultural diversity. There is no question that authors, songwriters and directors should be given such protection, so why not DJs and others who create music compilations? Many world-famous DJs are paid large sums of money to put together the perfect combination of tracks, whether that is as a radio DJ broadcasting to millions, a nightclub superstar DJ spinning tracks for thousands of revellers, or working with a record label to create a multi-platinum-selling dance compilation
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