Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Library & Information Science


Dr. Samuel Trosow


The legislation of a public performance right in musical works in the late 19th created the opportunity for the formation of an initial copyright collective within the Anglo-American legal tradition. The subsequent widespread expansion of Performing Rights organizations marked an early successful example of trans-national capital. Despite the widespread expansion and subsequent acceptance of copyright collectives since their inception, there has been very little scholarship in this area generally and almost none that attempt to critically pursue the issue beyond simple economic or legal analysis.

This thesis traces the historical establishment and expansion of the public performance right in musical works within those countries united by the Anglo-American legal tradition, with a case study focused on the Canadian experience. The thesis contextualizes the issue within the separate frames of the philosophic justifications of intellectual property as a whole and the nature and constitution of the music industry leading up to the establishment and entrenchment of the public performance right in musical works. Viewing the issue of the public performance right in musical works within a critical Marxist frame, the essential problem leading to the creation of the public performance right in musical works is seen as an outgrowth of the struggle between the author/composers and the dominant publishers which dictated their terms of employment and recompense. Within this frame the historic analysis utilizes Antonio Gramsci's theoretical conceptions of Hegemony to provide the lens with which to view the Canadian case study. Ultimately the struggle is seen as an example of the dominant publishers effective absorption of the desires and goals of the creators, but reiterated in such a way as to achieve the primary goals of the publisher’s interests within an evolving hegemonic order.