Steal This Music: How Intellectual Property Law Affects Musical Creativity

Overview

Is music property? Under what circumstances can music be stolen? Such questions lie at the heart of Joanna Demers’s timely look at how overzealous intellectual property (IP) litigation both stifles and stimulates musical creativity. A musicologist, industry consultant, and musician, Demers dissects works that have brought IP issues into the mainstream culture, such as DJ Danger Mouse’s “Grey Album” and Mike Batt’s homage-gone-wrong to John Cage’s silent composition “4’33.” Demers also discusses such artists as ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $23.34   
  • Used (6) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Is music property? Under what circumstances can music be stolen? Such questions lie at the heart of Joanna Demers’s timely look at how overzealous intellectual property (IP) litigation both stifles and stimulates musical creativity. A musicologist, industry consultant, and musician, Demers dissects works that have brought IP issues into the mainstream culture, such as DJ Danger Mouse’s “Grey Album” and Mike Batt’s homage-gone-wrong to John Cage’s silent composition “4’33.” Demers also discusses such artists as Ice Cube, DJ Spooky, and John Oswald, whose creativity is sparked by their defiant circumvention of licensing and copyright issues.

Demers is concerned about the fate of transformative appropriation—the creative process by which artists and composers borrow from, and respond to, other musical works. In the United States, only two elements of music are eligible for copyright protection: the master recording and the composition (lyrics and melody) itself. Harmony, rhythm, timbre, and other qualities that make a piece distinctive are virtually unregulated. This two-tiered system had long facilitated transformative appropriation while prohibiting blatant forms of theft. The advent of digital file sharing and the specter of global piracy changed everything, says Demers. Now, record labels and publishers are broadening the scope of IP “infringement” to include allusive borrowing in all forms: sampling, celebrity impersonation—even Girl Scout campfire sing-alongs.

Paying exorbitant licensing fees or risking even harsher penalties for unauthorized borrowing have become the only options for some musicians. Others, however, creatively sidestep not only the law but also the very infrastructure of the music industry. Moving easily between techno and classical, between corporate boardrooms and basement recording studios, Demers gives us new ways to look at the tension between IP law, musical meaning and appropriation, and artistic freedom.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Although there is a growing body of literature on copyright and culture, no book takes quite the same tack as Steal This Music. This is the first book to gather a broad range of research about copyright and music. Demers has written a valuable and necessary book in a clear, coherent, and highly readable style that a general audience interested in music will appreciate."—Kembrew McLeod, author of Freedom of Expression®: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity

"In an age where we take so much for granted—our rights to know about spyware, our right to know about how we can or cannot share memories and exchange files—this book is a primer for those who are more than curious about the rapidly changing landscape of American copyright law. In the same vein as Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture and Siva Vaidhyanathan's Anarchist in the Library, Joana Demers's Steal this Music gives us more tools to take apart the all too confusing landscape of modern copyright law. It's a clear and concise history of the rights and wrongs of copyright in an age when it's getting harder and harder to tell where the line is between the need to control how materials are distributed in a world of networks, and the natural inclination we all have to SHARE!!! This book is a timely wake up call that these things are all blurring more rapidly than many of us suspect."—Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, author of Rhythm Science

"A concise, clearly written book that deserves to be read well beyond the academic community . . . Demers cautions that the debate on cultural expression is too important to be left to the self-interest of intellectual property rights holders, whether individual or corporate. It concerns us all. Steal This Music is an excellent introduction as to how and why."—PopMatters

"Demers offers a concise, but thorough analysis of how intellectual property law has struggled to define and regulate music. . . . Demers provides a fascinating account of how law shapes music and, in turn, music responds to those regulations."—American Studies

"An absorbing new book . . . It is impressive that so trim a book can give the reader so broad a sense of how musical creativity is being affected by the present intellectual property regime."—Inside Higher Ed

"Steal This Music's strengths [are] its clarity, its vivid anecdotes, its historical grasp, and its fair and balanced assessment of grim facts. . . . Books such as Steal This Music, while not advocating a revolution, prove that articulate observers like Joanna Demers are speaking on behalf of everyone who fears that fair use is slipping away for ever with each new triumph in court for a content provider over a musician, performer, or consumer who has often done much less than what Demers’s title seems to exhort all of us to do."—Popular Music and Society

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820327778
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 2/27/2006
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Joanna Demers is an assistant professor of music history and literature at the University of Southern California, where she teaches on twentieth-century concert and popular music. Her work has appeared in Popular Music and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. She is also freelance forensic musicologist and consultant on music copyright.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Making music in the soundscapes of the law
Ch. 1 Music as intellectual property 11
Ch. 2 Arrangements and musical allusion 31
Ch. 3 Duplication 71
Ch. 4 The shadow of the law 111
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)