It has been argued frequently, especially by the entertainment industries, that copyright protection is “good” for music because it promotes creativity and music-making and rewards musicians for their efforts.
Copyright can never be “good” for music per se because copyright is only a legal instrument. The history of music indicates that the advent of copyright had little, if any, impact on musical creativity. As far as the history of music in England is concerned, copyright tended to be advantageous to the exploitation, but not to the creation, of music, as can be illustrated with the example of Haydn's visits to London in the 1790s. Copyright has a neutral relationship with music if applied in a considerate manner. However that has become a problem today. The entertainment industry “manufactures” copyright works for profit maximisation irrespective of their musical value, and vigorously seeks protection – and overprotection – of their existing copyrights.
The argument that copyright protection for musical works is generally good cannot be sustained. Where copyright is used as an income-generating device, it is detrimental to creative music-making. Reforms aimed at an extension of copyright protection need to bear in mind this potentially negative impact of copyright.
Journal Article. 3650 words.
Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law
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