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Music Publishing by Dick Weissman, Ron Sobel

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1 A brief history of music publishing and copyright law

In an historic U.S. Supreme Court decision, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote that copyright protection—far from being inconsistent with the rights of free speech and freedom of information—is the very engine of free expression (Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., et al. v. Nation Enterprises et al.; May 20, 1985). This principle is not new. Over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the other champions of American democracy, considered copyright protection and the ownership of intellectual property so essential and complementary to freedom of speech that they included a mandate for it in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

Art. 1, Section 8. The Congress ...

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