The role of technology in the historical development of the reproduction right in musical works
Author: J Joel Baloyi
Affiliations: BJURIS LLB (Venda) LLM (UWC) LLD (UNISA).
Source: Fundamina, Volume 26 Issue 2, p. 233-287
This contribution recounts the historical development and expansion of the reproduction right in copyright in response to, and as a result of, technological developments, with a focus on the music reproduction right. It is shown how the very first copyright statute, the Statute of Anne, was enacted in response to the effects of a technological development, namely the invention of the printing press, which had been experienced over some time. To safeguard the interests of rightsholders, the Statute of Anne gave rise to and was itself epitomised by the reproduction right (the right to copy or print). The uncertainty with regard to the question of whether the Statute of Anne applied only in respect of books and other literary works, or whether it also extended to musical works, was resolved in the case of Bach v Longman, which extended the application of the Statute to musical works. It was particularly in the area of musical works that the reproduction right was further developed in the wake of rapid technological developments that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century and have continued into the digital age. This has led to the expansion of the music reproduction right into a multi-pronged right, covering usages made possible by the various technological developments, thus creating increased sources of income for rights-holders. Using a historical and contextual analysis, the contribution recounts these developments and their continuing relevance today.