Friday, July 10, 2009

"We want to drink your blues"

James Boyle discusses the production process for the new Tales from the Public Domain comic book he is working on with Jennifer Jenkins and Kieth Aoki. This one will be called Theft: A History of Music, and it will present an overview of musical borrowing.

This is a topic I have written about on and off for a number of years. (Several posts, together with others', from back in 2000 here, and, much more recently, I discussed contrafacta here, and unconscious musical borrowing here. Nor was I idle in the years between, mentioning musical borrowing at least in passing in a number of essays and blog comments, for example here, here, here, and here.) In recent years, beginning around 2002 with a brief mention in Chris Sprigman's essay "The Mouse that Ate the Public Domain" and a brief discussion in Eric Shimanoff's "The Odd Couple: Postmodern Culture and Copyright Law" (Media Law & Policy, vol. 11, p. 12, Fall 2002, footnotes 62-79 and accompanying text), followed in 2004 by J. Michael Keyes's "Musical Musings: The Case for Rethinking Music Copyright Protection" (Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, vol. 10, p. 407, Spring 2004) and in 2006 (though drafts began circulating earlier) by Olufunmilayo Arewa's "From J.C. Bach to Hip Hop: Musical Borrowing, Copyright and Cultural Context", (North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 84, p. 547, 2006 ) the subject has has attracted the attention of the official legal scholars as well. Arewa, in particular, has discussed the topic in several subsequent publications.

And now we will get a comic book as well!

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