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Article

John Barnes, Charles Beare and Laurence Libin

Faking musical instruments can involve such acts as creating an entirely new deceptive object, rebuilding an instrument with intent to deceive, conflating parts from different sources to form an instrument with a fictitious history, or forging an inscription on an instrument (and producing false documentation) in order to associate it with an advantageous name or period. A successful faker needs to know what customers want and the extent of their historical knowledge. Fakes can thus shed light on those who were deceived as well as on those responsible for deception. Partly to discourage misrepresentation, during the Middle Ages European trade guilds began to register makers’ marks and require their use on products; bells were perhaps the first instruments to bear such identification. Despite continuing efforts to suppress the practice, and improving methods of detection, faking and forgery, especially of valuable instruments sought by collectors as investments, continue to flourish.

Instruments of the famous Ruckers family, enlarged and redecorated to satisfy contemporary taste and musical requirements, were in demand in the 18th century, particularly in Paris. Since the alterations concealed much of the original material and involved replacement of many parts, it was not difficult for those engaged in this trade to satisfy the market without actually starting from an original Ruckers instrument. Several workshop inventories taken for legal purposes refer frankly to counterfeit Ruckers harpsichords....

Article

Mark Clague and Michael Mauskapf

An organizational form that does not distribute profits to owners or shareholders, but instead reinvests them in pursuit of a goal or mission. A nonprofit organization (NPO) must serve some kind of public benefit and be privately governed by a board of volunteers. Any type of organization (e.g., association, corporation, trust, shareholder entity, membership or board managed) that meets these criteria may apply to receive tax exemption under section 501(c)3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code. State entities may also excuse NPOs from sales and property taxes. Such tax breaks reduce the cost of operation in exchange for public good and effectively provide public support for service innovation. Although nonprofit organizations have existed in some form or another for over 300 years, the legal criteria used to define the modern nonprofit have evolved mostly since about 1960. Nonprofits (typically known as non-governmental organizations or NGOs in Europe) include churches, universities, hospitals, service providers, and many arts and culture organizations....

Article

[RIAA]

An organization that represents the US recording industry; its members include record labels and distributors that collectively create and distribute the vast majority of recorded music sold in the United States. In addition, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights and the rights of artists through consumer, industry, and technical research, and by monitoring state and federal laws, regulations, and policies.

The RIAA was formed in 1952 primarily to administer technical standards in the industry as applied to frequency response in vinyl records during manufacturing and playback. It has become better known for its sales award program for singles and albums, which uses separate thresholds—gold, silver, platinum, and diamond—to gauge the commercial success of a single or album. In the years since the RIAA recognized the first “gold” singles and albums in 1958, these thresholds have occasionally changed. Certification levels are based on units sold; in the early 21st century the levels were 500,000 (gold), one million (platinum), two million (multi-platinum), and ten million (diamond). In ...

Article

Timothy M. Crain

Performing rights organization. It represents songwriters and publishers and their right to be compensated for having their music performed in public. With headquarters in Nashville and offices in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and London, it is the smallest of the main Performing rights societies in the United States. Unlike the not-for-profit organizations ASCAP and BMI, which distribute all income from performance royalties to their composer and publisher affiliates (minus an administrative fee), SESAC retains a certain amount of the performance royalties from its members. Moreover, membership in SESAC is selective and only granted through an application process. Once admitted, musicians and publishers are paid royalties based upon how much their music is played through monitoring by computer database information and broadcast logs.

SESAC was founded in 1930 by Paul Heinecke, a German immigrant to the United States. Heinecke lead the company until his death in 1972. The original name of the company was the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, although it has subsequently gone simply by SESAC. The society originally strove to support under-represented European stage authors and composers with their American performance royalties. With an established base repertoire of European concert traditions, it turned its attention to American music traditions in the 1930s, including gospel and Christian music genres and eventually moved into mainstream popular musics during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Since the 1960s the company has represented an ever-growing range of writers and genres, including notables such as Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond. In ...

Article

Timothy M. Crain

Nonprofit performance rights organization. It collects license fees and distributes digital public performance royalties on behalf of sound recording copyright owners and featured artists for non-interactive digital transmissions, including digital cable and satellite television services, non-interactive webcasters, webcast transmissions of FCC-licensed radio stations, and satellite radio services. Membership in the organization is comprised of recording artists and sound recording copyright owners (i.e., labels), and is overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of members distributed equally between organizations representing the rights of musicians, such as the American Federation of Musicians, and the rights of recording labels (both major and independent), such as the Recording Industry Association of America.

Before 1995 US copyright law contained no provisions for the performance rights of sound recordings. Due to changing market conditions, primarily the expanding presence of the Internet, Congress passed the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act in 1995 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in ...

Article

Aaron S. Allen and Laurence Libin

Term encompassing issues of respectful management of natural resources and corresponding ecologies so that they endure. Unsustainable depletion of resources through excessive use or misuse, habitat destruction, climate change, and associated cultural and ecological pressures increasingly concerns instrument makers, consumers, and preservationists, leading them to realign values and practices. Sustainability has become an existential problem for societies that rely on vanishing resources, and for plants and animals that interact in ecosystems, which in turn encompass humans. While cultural aspects of sustainability have been considered in many ethnographic and organological studies, ecological implications require further attention.

Many kinds of instruments have traditionally incorporated materials from now-endangered or threatened species. These animal and plant materials have been exploited for their tonal properties, durability, or other physical characteristics, and for decorative, symbolic, or economic reasons. The efficacy of instruments played in religious or magical rituals, displayed as regalia, or worshipped in their own right can depend on the use of these rare substances, and the value of collectible instruments is enhanced by their presence....

Article

Mark Clague and Dan Archdeacon

Growing out of the Detroit Artists Workshop (founded 1964), Trans-Love Energies (TLE, formally, Trans-Love Energies Unlimited, Inc.) was an anti-establishment commune founded in Detroit in February 1967. Its mission was to “produce, promote, manage, and otherwise represent musical and other artists, in recordings, concerts, tours, media, and related fields of culture and entertainment, including films, books, posters, light and sound environments—all on a cooperative, non-profit basis, for the purpose of educating and informing the general public in terms of contemporary art forms and cultural patterns.”

An umbrella corporation, TLE included a production company, a light show and poster company, the Artists’ Workshop Press (distributor and publisher of underground newspapers, including the Warren-Forest Sun), and many side enterprises that helped fund commune operations. Inspired by rock music’s potential to catalyze social change, TLE managed musical acts including the Up, Iggy and the Stooges, and most notably the MC5. The activist leader John Sinclair (...