Copyright Struggles in the Digital Era


Steve Jobs opened the online iTunes store in 2003 which was the first breakthrough in legally downloaded music, of course, with Napster being its illegal predecessor. Although it got off to a slow start, this innovation opened the world up to digital music sales but has caused many problems with fair use and copyright.

Approximately six weeks ago, Representative John Conyers, Jr. began to fight for the artists’ creative contribution to the arts and that they are able to maintain copyright. “For too long the work of musicians has been used to create enormous profits for record labels, radio stations and others, without fairly distributing these profits to the artists,” he told the New York Times. The Recording Industry Association of America, the major representative of the major labels is fighting back (Rohter).

This Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court declined an appeal that would increase royalties for digital music transmission noting that copyright is a “performance right” and a digital downloads do not constitute as a performance (Sisario). It is likely that the Recording Industry Association of America and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, a performance-rights organization, will continue to struggle in dealing with the recent developments of the Digital Rights Era.

Deuze, Mark. “Chapter 21: Same as the Old Boss? Changes, Continuities, and Careers.” Managing Media Work. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2011. 237-247. Print.

Rohter, Larry. “Legislator Calls for Clarifying Copyright Law.” New York Times. 28 Aug. 2011. Web. 8 Oct. 2011.

Sisario, Ben. “Disappointing Songwriters, Supreme Court Rejects Music Appeal.” New York Times. 4 Oct. 2011. Web. 8 Oct. 2011.

Sisario, Ben. “He Pushed a Reluctant Industry Toward Digital Music.” New York Times. 5 Oct. 2011. Web. 8 Oct. 2011.

Kathryn Rudolph

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