I gave a paper at a CRASSH-hosted conference, Creativity, Circulation and Copyright: Sonic and Visual Media in the Digital Age. The event was live-blogged by Joe Bennett, the post about my paper is here.
My abstract was as follows:
Human-machine creative collaboration and copyright: improvisation-driven music systems
Copyright can be problematic in areas unforeseen by legislators. One such area is that of improvisation-driven music systems which combine an improvising instrumentalist with live electronics to create a collaborative performance. The capabilities of such systems are as varied as the number of systems that have been created. These range in a continuum from the instrument paradigm, where an acoustic instrument is extended electronically (for example, MIT’s Hyperinstruments), to the player paradigm, where the system provides an improvising partner that feeds off the instrumental improvisation but is independent of it (Lewis’s Voyager or IRCAM’s OMax).
This paper will discuss these systems and their performance, raising questions about works (in the improvised input, in the output of the system, the mixed output of system and improviser or even in the system itself?) and authorship (is the improviser performing or creating, is the creator of the system the author of its output, are the creator and improviser co-authors of the mixed output?). In the light of these questions and based on legislation and case law, suggestions will be made as to where copyright may subsist and who might own it.