© questions? … © answers!


Legal Issues in the Music Industry

BuzzGig’s newest publication, Legal Issues in the Music Industry, is now in galley proofs, preparing for a January release. - - - MJD

Two Years Later

Two years ago we released the Complete Copyright Kit for Composers & Musicians, our first foray into e-publishing. Summer of 2008 saw the release of The Teacher’s Guide to Copyright in paperback, PDF, & Kindle editions. So, what’s next? I just finished the draft of Legal Issues in the Music Industry, based on the class I’ve been teaching at Loyola University since 2001. It covers copyright, music publishing, record labels, infringement, royalties, and a whole lot more. Unlike other books written by lawyers, it’s not boring. Keep tuned. - - - MJD

Northeastern University - College of Professional Studies

This week I’m honored to be a guest online facilitator for Northeastern’s graduate level class “Legal and Intellectual Property Issues for Distance Learning”. It’s only been a day, and the students’ questions are keeping me on my toes.
What I’ve learned so far is that educators have a real need for clear & practical copyright information. - - - MJD


I received this message from the MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board today.
Dear Mr.Davis
Your scholarly work in instructional technology has been peer reviewed and published in MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching). The MERLOT project is an international initiative enabling faculty to integrate technology into higher education. MERLOT is supported by 27 systems and institutions of higher education as well as the National Science Foundation. MERLOT is also endorsed by Educational Learning Initiative (ELI) of EDUCAUSE. Over 150 faculty members from these institutions have been performing the peer review of instructional technology, modeled after the peer review process for research and scholarship.

1909 Piano Rolls & the Compulsory License

An interesting article from The Public Domain website about Congressional hearings on the 1909 Copyright Act.
My comments:
An important point of clarification is in order here. The piano rolls were not “sound recordings”. They were mechanical reproductions of compositions. The argument was that you couldn’t “read” a piano roll as you could “read” sheet music. Therefore the rolls weren’t “writings” protected by statute. The compulsory license was instituted to balance out the concerns of both sides. Sound recordings were not copyrightable in the United States until February 15, 1972. They were however protected under state property laws. - - MJD

Mark J. Davis Contact Info

If you want to comment, praise, gripe, get in touch, annoy me, or send me spam, send an e-mail to:

First Kindle Sale

The Teacher’s Guide to Copyright registered its first Kindle download this week.
What John Worthington says is true: “We live in a digital world, and teachers need to communicate in the same digital language as their students.” - - - MJD


The Teacher’s Guide to Copyright will soon be available on Amazon’s Kindle. - - -MJD

Are Tweets copyrighted?

Are Tweets copyrighted?

A novel question was raised recently by Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, when the NBA fined him for comments he made on Twitter.  Mr. Cuban asked "Are Tweets Copyrighted?" Several non-attorneys put in their 2¢ worth, but I'll approach this from a legal basis.
1) Does the tweet meet the 3 requirements of copyrightability? That is, is it an ORIGINAL EXPRESSION of the author in FIXED FORM? I believe that Mr. Cuban's comment in his tweet meets all 3 requirements.
2) Once all 3 factors are met, the copyright begins.
3) So, in short, YES.
- - MJD

Palm Beach School District

We’re pleased to announce that my New Media Consortium presentation Fair Use Ain’t What You Think It Is: Copyright and Fair Use in the Digital Classroom is now used in the copyright training course for the School District of Palm Beach County. Remember when it comes to copyright - we can help you, so DON’T PANIC. - - - MJD