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Under the covers: Copyright, cover versions and the Internet


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This paper proposes that in relation to the current digital and economic environments and how they intersect with popular music practices (especially via the issue of copyright), it is important to avoid binary oppositions such as intellectual property vs. creativity, corporate capitalism vs. democratic user communities (Stahl and Homan 2012, Zeilinger, 2012). What is more interesting is to look at specific cases of how music producers/consumers are negotiating this new environment without idealizing them as noble artists, and also to draw careful distinctions between different copyright regimes and regulations without reducing them to a corporate or legal monolith. The case study is the cover version in the internet age and its associated regime - the compulsory mechanical license.
The cover version is a form of sampling that long predates the rise of digital reproduction. Analysis of the cover version and its associated legal history may reveal a complex interplay of forces between musicians and audiences that long predates the digital revolution and is not reducible to it. Warning: the author may draw upon his personal experience - creating and publishing a "cover version” of the Beatles’ album Revolver and obtaining the appropriate licenses (Bannister 2013).

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop or other event, and published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Copyright, cover versions, the Internet, popular music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Matthew Bannister
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2015 03:56
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:31

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