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Music Ownernship In Today's World Essay

1619 words - 6 pages

As early as one can imagine, man has been stealing ideas and concepts from other humans. Whether for financial standings, self-gratitude, or social benefits people have stolen. This trend of stealing isn’t a thing of the past, even today people steal from others. In 1710 things began to change, Britain instituted the Statute of Anne as a safeguard for authors against publishers and other thieves (Copyright). The Statute was the basis of the U.S. Copyright Office in use today. However, it’s umbrella of protection has grown immensely. It no longer just covers periodicals and books, but also music, film, and many other types of media. The domain of music ownership is by far the most controversial in modern day life though. New technologies have both broadened and torn at the very foundation of copyright laws. There is only one question that society should be focusing on now though; who owns music, corporations, artists, or the people?

        When one thinks of music the first thing to come to mind are rolling harmonies and flying melodies, that or booming bass; all are created by artists, one by themself or many together. However, to create their music they need sign a contract with a music label for proper funding and cd production possibilities. These contracts work as a trade off, the artist gets to make their music using corporate money, and the corporation uses the music as they see fit. When new music is made the corporations immediately get a copyright to protect it from other individuals trying to steal ideas in the music, such as a guitar riff or lyrics. This causes a problem though, it creates a logical quagmire between the corporation and the artist. Who really owns the music created by the artist, the creator or the corporation? One would immediately think the artist seeing as how they create it, but not necessarily, in most contracts artists are forced to sign the rights of their music over to the corporation in order for the artistic benefits such as money. This can create issues if the artist wishes to leave that label after his contract ends. John Fogerty encountered this problem when he released his solo cd Centerfield in 1985. He was sued by his former label for the song “The Old Man Down the Road” which according to them sounded too much like the song “Run Through the Jungle” from his time with the band Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogerty). If one were to stop and think about it, they should immediately realize how ridiculous that suit was. A music label should not be allowed to sue a former artist for sounding too much like themselves when they record music. All artists have a signature style, and it is that style that makes their music their own, not a record label’s.

        Even with music labels owning the music created by artists it is possible to purchase the rights to a given song or songs for a given price. In 1985 Michael Jackson outbid Paul McCartney for the majority amount of shares from ATV...

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