Silence!

untitled-article-1440191738A piece of music is made up of a tone, a melody and (often) lyrics. One exception is the famous piece of music made by John Cage: this piece did not contain one single note, the piece was pure silence! A silence which consisted of three parts, indicated by (silent) movements of the pianist. This silence lasted 4:33, which is also the name of this famous piece.

An artist recently launched in Austria an artwork / music track as a protest against the (in his/her eyes) inhumane treatment of refugees in Austria. This piece of music is called “Schweigeminute (Traiskirchen)”, consists of one minute of silence and is now at the number 1 position in the Austrian charts.

A good initiative, of course, but we wonder whether this track can be seen as a copy of the piece of music of John Cage? In other words, can a piece of music without any music notes be protected by copyright law and if so, does an other piece of music without notes infringe those rights? You might say that the piece itself cannot be protected, but the whole context can. But if anyone, a copyright lover, has a different opinion, please let us know!

Arnaud Bos

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