Music and Copyright

The Brooklyn Law School Library New Books List for October 12 is out and among its 49 titles is Music & Copyright in America: Toward the Celestial Jukebox by Kevin Parks (Call # KF3035 .P37 2012). The ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law published the book in August. It is the first book to explore the history of music copyright from the early 19th century (with America’s first superstar of music, songwriter Stephen C. Foster) to the present. The author, an attorney, educator and entrepreneur, highlights the close relationship between new technologies and the evolution of music copyright, examining the historical debates and struggles over copyright that shape the industry today.

At 239 pages, the book’s Table of Contents is divided into seven parts (I – Music as American Commerce; II – The End of the World as We Know It (Part 1 Rolls, Cylinders, and Discs); III – Public Performance for Profit — From Lüchow’s to the La Salle Hotel; IV – Recordings and Recording Artists; V – Revolutions in the Air; VI – The End of the World, (Part 2); VII – Into the Cloud) and 49 chapters. See sample pages from the first four chapters from Part I: Music as Property — The Early Sheet Music Trade; Copyright in “Musical Compositions”; Music Goes to Court; and The First Superstar of American Song. Parks sheds light on how Americans have created and listened to music. Besides being rich in legal history, the book shows how individuals have created and shaped an industry. It is worthwhile reading for lawyers and law students, entrepreneurs and scholars, and anyone interested in the intersection of business, law, and culture.