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This is the piece that everyone here has come to experience 1 : the challenges to copyright of John Cage's 4′33″

  • David M. Seymour (a1)

Framed within the broader context of law's engagement with modernism, this paper offers an argument in defence of copyright protection of John Cage's 4′33″ as a ‘musical work’ under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This argument approaches the issues involved analytically and contextually. In doing so, it draws on both legal and non-legal sources. Throughout the paper, the underlying question remains as to whether Cage's 4′33″ really is – or is not – a challenge to law (and to music).

Corresponding author
David M. Seymour, City Law School, City University London, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB, UK. Email:
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Tom Sergeant, in his introduction to the BBC's broadcast of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, at the Royal Festival Hall, London on 16 January 2004.

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Legal Studies
  • ISSN: 0261-3875
  • EISSN: 1748-121X
  • URL: /core/journals/legal-studies
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