Law: Geographical Boundaries in Outta Space
University of Westminster
Law is the nexus of copyright and contract that binds the music industry together from the music lovers to the music makers, to music sellers and beyond. Law is the inescapable glue. The digital environment challenges in every sense all that we know and understand about borders, boundaries and national identity-concepts that are essential to all current legal systems. In this fluid space a variety of ideas and approaches attempt to understand and shape this infinite black hole of information, a political war is being waged over the meaning and the means of production of culture, of which music is a part and to which legal systems give definition and a framework of exchange. It can be argued that it is the legal definition of music as property that is protected by copyright (Wikstrom) that created the music industry. The music and media landscape has changed: it has expanded in the digital era beyond national boundaries and now includes countless blogs and special interest websites along with social media giants Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. News, information and entertainment are received and consumed in a multiplicity of different ways, often simultaneously. Modern ideas of democracy and media power that have shaped regulation of the press and audio visual media are arguably outmoded and ever more difficult to police. In this chapter we will examine how music copyright and the all-conquering contract law is being developed and utilised to control the exchange of music, from the policing of the internet to the all rights deals and the free labour machines of the new cyber lords, Google, Facebook et al.