The BBC reports that shoppers in Wakefield, Yorkshire have had the dubious pleasure of some rather unusual motivational “music” as they finish off their Christmas shopping. Once an hour, the sound of gobbling turkeys is piped from the city’s media and creativity centre. In fact, the recording is part of an “audio sculpture” entitled “what do people in Turkey call turkey?" by Jay Jones, a Californian artist. The work replaces another “audio” sculpture - "Countryside? Ceci, une vache", which comprised the sound of two cows mooing.

The IPKat has been pondering how such recordings of everyday noises can be protected by copyright. Certainly there will be rights in the sound recording but it may be hard for Jones to show that the meat of his “audio sculpture” fits into any of the classes of works listed as being eligible for protection. The artist may have a hard job convincing a court that his piece actually is a sculpture. He may have more luck arguing that it is a musical work. Musical works are defined in s. 3(1) of the CDPA as "a work consisting of music, exclusive of any words or action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music”. What exactly is meant by music isn’t considered. For example, must it be capable of being depicted on a stave? Can everyday noises, or at least an arrangement of them be considered music? Proving copying may also be difficult though since the sounds are so commonplace. As with much conceptual art, the original aspect is not so much the execution as the idea of calling the item in question “art”. The IPKat though is rather keen on the idea of performer’s rights for chickens.

How to prepare turkey here
How to drink turkey here and here
Talk turkey here, here and here

COPYRIGHT FOR BIRD-BRAINS COPYRIGHT FOR BIRD-BRAINS Reviewed by Anonymous on Thursday, December 25, 2003 Rating: 5

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