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Workshop: Back to the Basics – Deconstructing Intellectual Property Protection for Music

Recent legal disputes regarding music have revolved around the question whether the new song is too similar to an existing song and thus constitutes copyright infringement. This raises several questions: What can be monopolized by intellectual property law? Is the “sound and feel” of a song protected by copyright? When are chord progressions so commonly used that they are in the public domain? And what does it mean for the broader picture to think of music as an intellectual property?

Intellectual property law covers musical works and sounds on several levels – from copyright and related rights to a possible protection for industrial property. Some of the fundamental concepts of this multi-layered protection – such as its notions of originality, authorship, and the work of art itself – have been significantly challenged by boundary-expanding artistic practices. Further, the technological possibilities of copying and processing continue to transform. Against this backdrop, the question remains: In what way does intellectual property law foster or hinder creativity? In shaping the field of musical forms and the practices of musical allusion and appropriation, intellectual property law is generative as well as prohibitive. But does the current legal regime and its underlying rationale still fit the role of authors and producers in the digital age?

Workshop: Back to the Basics – Deconstructing Intellectual Property Protection for Music
19.04.2018 | 2-6 PM | HIIG | Französische Straße 9 | 10117 Berlin

Several participants will give lightning talks on selected issues, but the workshop is designed so that everyone invited has enough time to present their ideas in the discussion. As we invite participants from different countries, the working language will be English.

In 2017 and 2018, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) organizes a workshop series in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) to discuss the most urgent issues around music and copyright law in the digital society.

Please note that the workshops are not open for public and address experts in the field of music and law. If you are interested in joining this or another upcoming workshop of the series, please get in touch with Jana Leusing and briefly describe your background and reason for joining the event.

Event Location

The workshop series Music and Copyright Law takes place at the Alexander von Humboldt Institut for Internet and Society (HIIG), Französische Straße 9, in the room KOSMOS.

Event date

19.04.2018 | 2.00 pm – 6.00 pm ical | gcal


Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society,  Französische Straße 9,  10117 Berlin


Henrike Maier, Dr.

Former associated Researcher: Innovation & Entrepreneurship


This high-profile lecture series thrives to develop a European perspective on the processes of transformation that our societies are currently undergoing.


Once a month we publicly discuss the impact of digitalisation on the society. Therefore we invite special guests and engage in a dialogue with the audience.


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