Sound Property? Investigating the Legal Status of Sound Recordings

An Interdisciplinary Conference on Music & Copyright
University of Salford, UK February 18-19, 2009

This conference proposes to investigate the current U.S. and U.K. statutes that regulate the protection of sound recordings. It will inquire to what degree those laws secure the rights of both the owners and creators of the music contained on these products as well as determine their impact upon those who consume and comment upon this material. The pending efforts to universalize an extended term of copyright underscore the potential for even more draconian controls upon recorded music. Will the public, creators, and commentators continue to be able to acquire, appreciate and appropriate musical materials? Can some balance be found between the need for profit and the pursuit of pleasure? Is it possible in a civil society for music effectively to be silenced through constraints over its recorded legacy?

Proposals are solicited that address the current U.S. and U.K. statutes; the impact of these laws upon writing and teaching about music; the impact of these laws upon musical creators and consumers; and the relationship between legal controls over recorded sound and issues of public policy and the needs of a civil society.

Conference papers will be organized into panel sessions of 2 hours, each comprising three 25-minute presentations with time for discussion. Proposals may be submitted either for individual papers or for organized panel sessions of three papers and a chair.

Proposals are welcome and encouraged from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, (including but certainly not limited to law, economics, sociology, music, popular music studies, history, cultural studies, film and television studies etc.) and from those with professional perspectives related to the subject (performers, producers, composers, lawyers, executives etc.).

Efforts are being made to incorporate responses from the corporate sector in addition to that of commentators, both from the academy and the public arena. Also, final plans may well include both a concert by musicians whose work depends upon the manipulation of pre-existent recordings as well as showings of films about these issues and those that employ a cinematic re-mixing of visual and acoustic sources.

Featured Speakers:

  • Nicholas Cook, Royal Holloway-University of London (Music: A Very Short Introduction & Director, Centre for the History & Analysis of Recorded Music)
  • Simon Frith, University of Edinburgh (Taking Popular Music Seriously; Sound Effects; Editor, Music & Copyright)
  • Charles McGovern, College of William & Mary (Sold American: Consumption & Citizenship 1980-1945; Only in America: Race, Citizenship & Popular Music: 19380-1997, forthcoming)
  • Kembrew McLeod, University of Iowa (Freedom of Expression: Resistance & Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property; Owning Culture: Ownership, Authorship & Intellectual Property)

Proposals of at least 250 and no more than 500 words should be sent to David Sanjek before December 17th Acceptance of papers and a final programme will be announced in late December.

David Sanjek
Professor of Music
Director, Popular Music Research Centre
University of Salford
Adelphi Building
Peru Street Greater Manchester
M3 6EQ U.K.
00 44 161 2956190

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