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Adapting to the Digital Culture: Rethinking Rights and Compensation within the Music Industry

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Music can possess a lasting power to influence the lives of listeners and inspire future works of art. Copyrights give artists and their production teams a monopoly over their intellectual creations insuring their compensation is relative to their audience’s appreciation of the work for a set period. The U.S. Copyright Law in it’s inception saw the value of limiting this monopoly in order to encourage innovation of creative works. Over the years, a complex system of royalty compensation developed based on these copyrights divvied amongst all players within the collaborative production of sound recordings. The invention of various technological mediums of sound distribution forces the music industry to adapt with new business models to protect the value of music copyrights. The future success of the industry is tightly bound to their adaptation to the digital age of distribution.
The Web 2.0 has developed a unique platform for creative expression and music consumption including copyrighted sound recordings. Downloading music files from the Internet without paying for them is deemed illegal as it denies royalty revenue to the copyright holders. The big question however is defining the fair use of media and establishing reasonable limits to copyright monopoly. The courts have so far refused to attach the principle of fair use to the digital file sharing of music. Since the culture of the digital age is quite resistant to limitations on access to digital content, the music industry has taken the route of litigation in order to protect the value of their copyright. This approach has not proven to be successful in curbing illegal file sharing and may prove to further bring down royalty revenue by widening the gap between the corporate...


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...lective principles of fair use, intellectual ownership and creative compensation. The digital age and the Internet have created an environment where accessing, sharing and using music is both interactive and user-friendly creating challenges for copyright protection. How the music industry addresses these challenges will produce reverberations throughout the Internet that will substantially affect both royalty revenue collection and how music is valued in the digital age.


Works Cited
Campbell, Richard, Christopher R. Martin, and Bettina Fabos. Media and Culture. 7th. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. Print.


Helft, Miguel. "YouTube Eases the Way to More Revenue." New York Times 07 Oct. 2009: B4. Print.


"SellaBand and Chuck D hit US market." Music-News.com 10 Mar 2009: Web. 5 Oct 2009. .


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