Whose Song Is That? Searching For Equity and Inspiration For Music Vocalists Under the Copyright Act

Tuneen E. Chisolm
19 Yale J.L. & Tech. 274

This article examines some of the inherent inequities that exist for music vocalists under the United States Copyright Act and related music industry practices, due to the limited scope of protection given to sound recordings and the absence of an express inclusion of nondramatic music performance as a protected work under Section 102(a). It argues for expansion of the rights afforded to include, for music vocalists with respect to nondramatic works, an inalienable copyright, separate from the sound recording copyright, based upon a sole right of authorship in their performance as an applied composition, once fixed. It also argues for a restriction of the sound recording copyright to limit derivative works thereof to use of the integrated whole, thereby enabling the vocalist to control the use of an isolated vocal performance and the resulting applied composition embodied therein.