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While the commercial distribution channels of popular music (such as record retailers, radio stations, video channels, web stores), attribute authorship to performers, copyright law requires that a 'musical work' be invented ex post facto out of the 'sound sculpture' produced by the artist (and others, such as the producer) in the recording studio. This article explains how copyright law came to privilege some types of authorship, discusses the potential effects of recognizing a multiplicity of authorial contributions in the production of music, and argues for a closer correspondence of legal and aesthetic understandings of culture.
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Keywords: Copyright; author; musical work; performer; popular music theory; sound recording

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: C.I.PI.L., Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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