Problems Raised by Technological Advances on Copyright in Musical Recordings

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1961

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Abstract

This thesis attempts to point out a number of lacks in the present Copyright Act which exist because of recent advances in electronic technology. Specifically, it attempts to indicate the enormous growth of electronic entertainment for the home, and to show how this new form of entertainment poses problems concerning copyright which never have existed before. Since very few cases are on record which deal with the use of recorded music at home, it has been necessary to examine cases which deal with copyright and music in general terms and to draw analogies to adapt existing precedent to new situations. It is pointed out in some detail that the Copyright Act of 1909, still in effect today, does not treat present conditions as explicitly as might be liked, and results in considerable confusion where non- commercial and non-profitable use of recorded music is concerned. The subject is of vital interest to copyright attorneys, manufacturers of recordings and recording equipment, performing rights societies, artists, and amateur hobbyists since no thorough analysis of problems raised by home recording has ever been made. The handful of acknowledged authorities on the subject have only a personal opinion on the outcome of any hypothetical case dealing with home recording. Whether or not a home recordist violates the Copyright statute when he records music from a radio has never been officially determined. It is the intent of this paper to analyze the Copyright Act and its judicial and practical application and show how. by several lines of reasoning. home recording does not infringe. The thesis is divided into chapters which deal with the growth of modern technology. the present Copyright Act. performing rights societies and judicial interpretation. Finally. a concluding chapter offers a solution to the mounting problem of home recording as it could be treated in a general revision of the Copyright Act.

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