Reggae open source: how the absence of copyright enabled the emergence of popular music in Jamaica

Toynbee, Jason (2010). Reggae open source: how the absence of copyright enabled the emergence of popular music in Jamaica. In: Bently, Lionel; Davis, Jennifer and Ginsburg, Jane C. eds. Copyright and Piracy: an Interdisciplinary Critique. Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law (13). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 357–373.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511761577.019

URL: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item556...

Abstract

Since 1960 a highly innovative form of music making has developed in Jamaica in the effective absence of copyright. It is argued that reggae music would actually never have emerged had copyright been implemented on the island. Quite simply, local forms of creativity and the nature of the musical labour process were inimical to intellectual property (IP). There are wider lessons to be learnt here it is suggested. Creative practice in Jamaica has been based on principles which apply in other territories and to other forms of culture choked by the constrictions of the contemporary copyright regime. A comparison with open source software reinforces this case.

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