Archived - Tagg, Philip
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I have been employed full time since 1971 to teach popular music studies,
including music for moving images. During these 38 years I have had to
contend continually with the conflict between providing students with
insights into the workings of music in the modern media (i.e. doing the job
for which I am paid as a public servant) and the constraints of copyright
law which prevent me from doing that same job. Put simply, the workings of
music in the modern media cannot be understood without analysis, analysis
cannot be carried out if students have no access to the analysis objects,
and I cannot provide access to most of that material without infringing
copyright legislation in some way.
Since 1979, when my doctorate on television music was published, I have
spent inordinate amounts of time trying to find ways of doing what I'm under
contract to do without breaking the law. I've described the basic issues
involved in a number of documents to which I take the liberty of referring
- "Copyright vs. the democratic right to know" (winning article in
competition organised by wipout.net, 2001–2002).
- YouTube counter-claims. Misunderstandings about scholarly and other fair
use aspects of citation. How US law can help us in the democratisation of
knowledge about music in the modern media.
- Background to the establishment of the Mass Media Music Scholars' Press (MMMSP), set up by Bob Clarida (media attorney at Cowan, Liebowitz and
Latman, New York) and myself to facilitate the legal publication of
scholarly musicological work that cites extracts of music under copyright.
- "Copyright and Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences" — A
British Academy Review, September 2006. Pages 12–13 in the PDF version deal
with the problems music scholars in my area face on a daily basis. The
report is well informed and balanced. It is very critical about the way
copyright law is interpreted and enforced in educational and research
- Given this experience, I am very concerned that changes to Canadian
copyright legislation will be influenced by well-financed media industry
lobbyists rather than by the interests of my colleagues and students who, I
believe, should have the democratic right to know the inner workings of
messages, including musical, circulating in the modern media. Serious
researchers and teaching personnel should be guaranteed the not-for-profit
right to make audiovisual analysis materials available to their students and
to the general public according to Sections 107–118 of the Copyright Act,
title 17,U.S. Code. Abuse (e.g. diffusing such material for financial gain)
should of course be punishable but the dissemination of important knowledge
about our culture and society must never be compromised.
Professeur de musicologie, Faculté de musique, Université de Montréal