Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century

Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century

Alex Sayf Cummings


It used to be a time whilst tune fanatics copied and traded recordings with no permission. An outraged song driven Congress to cross anti-piracy laws. sure, that point is now; it used to be additionally the period of Napster within the Nineteen Nineties, of cassette tapes within the Nineteen Seventies, of reel-to-reel tapes within the Fifties, even the phonograph epoch of the Thirties. Piracy, it seems, is as outdated as recorded song itself.

In Democracy of Sound, Alex Sayf Cummings uncovers the little-known historical past of song piracy and its sweeping results at the definition of copyright within the usa. whilst copyright emerged, simply visible fabric equivalent to books and maps have been proposal to deserve safety; even musical compositions weren't integrated until eventually 1831. as soon as a functionality will be captured on a wax cylinder or vinyl disc, profound questions arose over the which means of highbrow estate. is just a written composition outlined as a section of paintings? If a singer plays a unique interpretation of a track, is it a brand new and specified paintings? Such questions have in basic terms grown extra urgent with the increase of sampling and other kinds of musical pastiche. certainly, track has develop into the leading battleground among piracy and copyright. it truly is compact, making it effortless to repeat. And it truly is hugely social, shared or traded via social networks--often networks that come up round track itself. yet such networks additionally pose a counter-argument: as channels for copying and sharing sounds, they have been instrumental in nourishing hip-hop and different new types of tune principal to American tradition this day. Piracy isn't regularly a foul factor.

An insightful and infrequently enjoyable examine the historical past of song piracy, Democracy of Sound bargains valuable history to 1 of the hot-button concerns concerning creativity and the law.

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