Nine Studio Albums. Five Tours. Two Re-Recordings. One Massive Fanbase. We know all too well that Taylor Swift is the pinnacle of success for the music industry. Spanning multiple genres from country to pop and even some folk(lore), Taylor Swift has accomplished a lot in her first 32 years of life. But what’s gotten her to this level of recognition?
Some say it’s her songs. Some say it’s her stage presence. Others say it’s her re-recordings. Taylor Swift says it could be her songs, “with a catchy hook and an intensely cathartic bridge section.” Call it what you want, I say her level of recognition comes from her fearless team of lawyers registering her trademarks.
If I played “Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss II, you would probably recognize the song immediately. In fact, there are dozens of classical pieces that many of us are probably familiar with, even if we don’t listen to classical music regularly. Copyright for classical music can sometimes cause issues for YouTubers and other internet content creators. For example, a YouTuber might think that they are free to play a song because the composer has been dead for centuries. However, the recording they choose to play in their videos might be protected by copyright law and result in the video being taken down! Two content creators named Ludwig Ahgren and “JSchlatt” took it upon themselves to solve some of their copyright problems once and for all. To understand what they did and how they did it, we should talk about copyright law first. Specifically, let’s look at the distinction between copyright protection over a musical composition versus a sound recording. Continue reading “Classic Copyright Issues”
As a first generation American, daughter of immigrants, my family’s three options for my future were “doctor, lawyer, or engineer”. There was no flexibility, nor was there any other option for me besides going to grad school.
Since my mom has been a constant source of inspiration, it was long assumed that I would follow in her footsteps, she was my hero. Nightly dinner table conversations of the complex surgeries she was part of left me in awe.
I ended up being pre-med for two years, shadowed an endless number of surgeons, and really thought medicine was what I wanted to pursue. At the time though, I had no idea what was ahead for me in law (cue IP).
When people think about musicians, they usually don’t think inventor. But some musicians broke the mold when they patented their inventions. Let’s explore these true renaissance people. We should make note of these talented folks who generally own both copyright on their music (and sound recordings) AND patents on their inventions
Before coming to law school, I only had a vague understanding of what the public domain was. Mostly, it seemed like a phrase people would throw around when describing music that was insanely old. However, a few of my friends make music in their spare time and seeing how they used music they found within the public domain” helped me understand its importance and how it functions.
Using the internet, my friend would find songs that were in the public domain. He would slice and dice particular sections from them. He would then add the sounds into his own sound mix, often changing the pitch and adding effects as he went along. The final product would sound unrecognizable, and usually really cool. (If you want an example of how musicians do this, this link offers some excellent examples of how to use public domain music. It also has a sound example that shows the unique sound a sample creates).
Intellectual Property (“IP”) is everywhere. IP laws cover things we interact with daily, like media, technology and even health care through patents, trademarks and copyrights. One of the reasons IP is so interesting is that despite its big impact it tends to be behind the scenes enough that many probably don’t even realize its influence. This post highlights some of these interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits of copyright law.