Making Music: Copyright Law and Creative Process. Chapter 4 in A Companion to Media Authorship
Olufunmilayo B. Arewa, 4. Making Music : Copyright Law and Creative Processes, in A Companion to Media Authorship 69 (Jonathan Gray & Derek Johnson eds., 2013).
This chapter considers changing conceptions of musical creativity during the nineteenth century, focusing on the European classical music tradition. During this time period, consistent with broader trends towards sacralization in other artistic arenas, Western classical music moved from being part of the fabric of a living musical tradition that was part of everyday life experience into a more rarified and untouchable realm. As a result of this transition, practices such as borrowing and improvisation, which gave performers authority to change music, became increasingly disfavored. During the course of the twentieth century, a musical takeover occurred in which African-based music became a dominant basis for popular music. The changing status of African-based music gives evidence of this takeover and challenges copyright assumptions about musical authorship on multiple levels. The chapter also considers how learning from events of the past can and should influence the shape of copyright law in the future.