Wednesday, June 01, 2011

20th Century Music and the Supreme Court

In October we will be able to see how the Supreme Court deals with a copyright issue that could make performances of 20th century music by less-than-wealthy orchestras (like the ones in university music departments) no longer possible.

Mark Parry's article in the Chronicle of Higher Education is worth reading. Thanks to Michael for sending it to me.


Anonymous said...

A very fine reason why those who can afford to self-publish and use Commons licenses and similar strategies should consider this.

The fact that everything in the publi domain is finding its way onto the Internet means that publishing houses are already being pressured. One can have all the Schubert and Bach and Chopin one wants by printing it from PD sources. The publishers therefore in time will only have the 20th century to pluck, and much of it is not selling anyway. I foresee a number of publishers falling away.

When the New York sheet music stores shrank, everyone wrung their hands. I think it was the correct market decision, looking back. Technology is the future wave, and Internet publishing will consume and spit out word and music publishers in no time at all.

As to the Mickey Mouse law and to Disney themselves, I haven't bought a Disney product in decades. A small thing, but waves are made from small particles.

And as to Disney, the last dwarf is named Greedy.

Elaine Fine said...

I think it would be terribly sad to lose the music of the 20th century. I don't anticipate being alive when it has its "Renaissance."

Anonymous said...

The copyright law having grown so large and international assures that unless someone sidesteps publishers and makes one's own work available on line, there will always be distribution problems which can mostly be answered by big business models, and by royalties and residuals which will encourage people to avoid products anyway. A recitalist I know got stuck with a bill from ASCAP for more than then entire and very small earnings of that recital. All for one song. Now he performs only that which doesn't cost money. Pre-1923 materials gives a recitalist centuries of chocies. The 20th century's focus on wringing royalties and residuals from all, such that the amateur and semi-professional must avoid this period in music, as in other arts. Or pay fees many times larger than profits from a small concert.