Sonic Publics| Music, Copyright, and Technology: A Dialectic in Five Moments

Aram Sinnreich


This article traces the coevolution of musical culture, law, and technology over the arc of modern Western legal and cultural history, from the Renaissance to the present day. This historical analysis is intended to lend context and substance to contemporary conversations about the role of the Internet and digital production platforms, as well as Internet-based intellectual property laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in shaping contemporary global musical culture. I propose a 5-stage coevolutionary process, based on the dialectical relationships between (1) laws and regulations, (2) market dynamics, (3) codes and practices, (4) music technologies, and (5) concepts of authorship.


copyright, music, authorship, media industries, technological innovation, cultural history, media law and policy

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