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Music Media and Enterprise Exam 1

Autor:   •  November 11, 2018  •  1,383 Words (6 Pages)  •  112 Views

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Bach’s royal privilege was the legal basis for his suit, but he understood that this foundation was eroding. One would have expected Bach to hedge his legal risk by adding claims under the Statute of Anne and common-law copyright. However, Bach’s lawyer filed two bills of complaint, both of which relied principally on Bach’s printing privilege and possibly on a claim of common-law copyright but made no mention of the Statute of Anne.

- Why do you think Bach and his attorney chose to file under the existing license provision, nearing the end of its practical utility and not the relatively new and much more composer-oriented Statute of Anne?

- Do you think perceptions of social class and the traditions of nobility played a factor in this decision?

- Was it the most practical choice as basis for the legal claim? Why or why not?

- What was the ultimate outcome of the decision?

Most musical composers were hesitant to rely on the Statute of Anne while literary authors quickly asserted their rights under the Statute of Anne. This was due to the fact that authors relied mainly on publication as the their income and outlet to the public. In comparison, most musical composers were still performing professionally. During the 18th century, England saw the growth and spread of public concerts. This would eventually lead to a growth in the market for printed music, as amateurs began playing their favorite songs. With the increasing value of printed music and the establishment of copyright, one would think that this would lead to composers pursuing legal recognition as authors under the Statute of Anne. Rather, composers were hesitant to adopt this. One reason why composers in general would be hesitant is that The Statute of Anne applied to books and it was ambiguous to whether or not Parliament meant for it to protect more than literature. Most music publishers acted as if The Statue of Anne did not apply to music and as if composers had no initial entitlement to control reproduction of their work. Bach and his attorney most likely chose to file under the existing license provision and not the Statute of Anne due to ignorance that Bach’s works would not be protected. I also believe that perceptions of social class and the traditions of nobility played a factor in this decision. The text states that, “Bach’s royal privilege was the legal basis for his suit, but he understood that this foundation was eroding” meaning that Bach had royal privilege in the breach of musical copyright, however the Crown may have had no power to grant this privilege. Often times, the more successful and higher class composers acquired royal printing privileges for their music rather than claiming rights under copyright. They would then find themselves conflicted with the London music sellers who were not required to respect royal privilege. I believe that this was not the most practical choice as basis for the legal claim, as the Statute of Anne would later be found to protect a musical composition as writing. At first, Bach and Abel’s case was moving very slowly. In 1774, the House of Lords denied a man’s common-law claims, making Bach take notice. Later, him and his attorney would change their strategy and use the Statute of Anne to argue that music was a form of writing within the meaning of the copyright act. Ultimately, the court found that, “a musical composition is a writing within the Statue of the 8th of Queen Anne.” As for Bach, he would lose success as his concert series began to fail. Abel would withdraw from their partnership, leaving Bach in tremendous debt. A few years later, Bach would die in debt. As for other composers, there were not many immediate benefits from the decision. By making published music protected under copyright, the decision would create a more stable environment allowing for the growth of middle-class, self-employed musicians.

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