The Resilience of Music Copyrights: Technological Innovation, Copyright Disputes and Legal Amendments Concerning the Distribution of Music


  • Staffan Albinsson School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden



Music copyright, intellectual property rights, technological shifts, cultural economics


The introduction of the Internet and the convenient, although often illicit, file-sharing of copyrighted artistic products which it made possible has put Intellectual Property Right/IPR laws under stress. It is not the first and possibly not the last time that this phenomenon has occurred in connection with a technological shift. This paper contains a short history of the fundamentals of the processes which led to the incorporation of new means of distribution of artistic products in the Intellectual Property Rights regulations. It starts with music printing technology in Venice around the year 1500. It takes a leap to the recording devices of four centuries later. Via the introduction of broadcast devices, it ends with the blank media levies. The paper describes the events in the countries that created the first legal documents for these four types of technological inventions. Arguments pro and con IPR law differ but stakeholder positions remain the same.


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