United States Copyright law as it relates to music is complex and confusing, becauseembodies influences that date back as far as Ancient Greece.
The Copyright Code providesowners of musical compositions and sound recordings with a sophisticated web of rights that canbe lucrative when utilized effectively. This bundle of rights that accompanies original works of music has evolved over time in reaction to new technologies of media distribution andpublication. Technological advances ranging from the printing press to the player piano, to thecompact-disk have changed the ways in which music is disseminated and consumed. Since1790, the United States Congress has used positive law to reward copyright owners byexpanding the exclusive rights vested in copyrights in ways that have increased the bargainingpower of copyright owners each time new technologies affecting distribution of intellectualproperty are developed. The trend of expanding copyright law has intensified in recent years.Between 1975 and 2000, the Copyright code grew at an annual rate of 6.9%, ballooning from22,310 words to an astounding 124,320 words.
Internet radio is emerging as the most recent mechanism to change the way in whichmusic is consumed and distributed. Since 1995, Congress has enacted a new body of laws in anattempt to shape and guide the influence of internet radio. A problem however, is that legislationwas enacted prematurely causing a conflict among policy goals sought to be achieved by thelegislatures. Consumers and entrepreneurs have demonstrated a great demand for internetservices including the growth of internet radio.
Michael W. Carrol
Whose Music is it anyway?: How we came to view musical expression as a form of property
,72 U. Cin. L. Rev. 1405, 1420 (2004).
William M. Landes and Richard A. Posner, T
2 ( TheAEI Press 2004).