Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Karlyn DeSteno Humanities and Social Science

Intellectual Property and Processes of Musical Borrowing: Sound-Alike Composers and Their Work

All musical compositions borrow some material. It is not always easy for the law to draw the line between theft and inspiration. Recent changes in copyright law point to new systems of valuation of musical elements, both cultural and legal. This summer Ill be tracing these changes through a musical and legal analysis of music written for television and commercials, focusing on compositions which seek to copy elements of other, original works. Ill spend one month in Washington, D.C. using archives at the Library of Congress, and will also conduct a series of interviews with composers, producers, and musicians. My project will culminate in a Senior Honors Thesis for the Interdisciplinary Field Studies major.

Message To Sponsor

SURF gives me the chance to devote a whole summer to a single project, to dig deeper and wander around inside issues I am curious about. It also gives me the chance to engage directly with my studies by giving me the time to conduct interviews. I am thrilled about this opportunity, and deeply grateful to SURF and to my mentors for their support.
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Major: Interdisciplinary Studies Field
Mentor: Benjamin Brinner, Music
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