Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!

July 23, 2010

Thanks for nothing, Anne!

Mechanical reproduction of printed matter enabled mass publishing from about 1440. By the Renaissance, a single printing press could churn out 3600 pages a day.

Standardised music notation towards the end of the Renaissance meant that sheets of music could be commercialised in greater numbers, though this was not common until the 19th centurybecause every publisher preferred to use their own musical notation.

The Statute of Anne, which came into force in the UK in 1710, is generally considered the first fully-fledged embodiment of copyright law. It said that the "copy" was the "sole liberty of printing and reprinting", handing the issue of copyright to those who owned of the technologies of reproduction.

The "authors or purchasers of Such copies" had a temporary right to copy books. Anyone who copied books without permission was fined and the illegal copies were destroyed. The Statute did not distinguish between books of poetry, books of prose, or books of musical script - a book was a book.

US copyright law did not mention music specifically until 1831. The first performing rights collection agency covering music formed in France in 1851 to collect royalties when works were performed on stage.

Despite centuries of 'refinement' to copyright laws, this focus on technology hasn't changed. Central to the concept of copyright is the idea that nothing can be protected by copyright law unless it has been fixed in a reproducible way.


From its very beginnings, the effect of the copyright law was to create a temporary monopoly over the application of technology to recording and distributing music, not on the music itself. Thus, the primary beneficiaries of copyright laws have always been owners of technology, not creators of intellectual property.

Anne's law did not allow for the mass production of iPods.
This post is the summary of Part 1 of Dr Huge's "How the record industry got it so wrong". The latest version of the complete ebook can be downloaded here and a hard copy can be ordered here.
Posted by DrHuge at July 23, 2010 3:05 PM

Leave a comment

Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!