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Democracy of Sound
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Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century

Alex Sayf Cummings


It was a time when music fans copied and traded recordings without permission. An outraged music industry pushed Congress to pass anti-piracy legislation. Yes, that time is now; it was also the era of Napster in the 1990s, of cassette tapes in the 1970s, of reel-to-reel tapes in the 1950s, even the phonograph epoch of the 1930s. Piracy, it turns out, is as old as recorded music itself. This book uncovers the little-known history of music piracy and its sweeping effects on the definition of copyright in the United States. When copyright emerged, only visual material such as books and maps were ... More

Keywords: music, music industry, anti-piracy, legislation, Napster, music piracy, intellectual property, copyright

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199858224
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199858224.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alex Sayf Cummings, author
Georgia State University, Assistant Professor of History