We relocated permanently to Austin, Texas earlier this Spring after several years of shuttling back and forth between Austin and New York. I have resumed teaching copyright law at UT Law School, an impressive institution in its own right, but one part of a vast university system with many deep pockets of expertise, from archeology to cyber tech, with hundreds of labs, research units and centers dedicated to a sweeping range of disciplines. I plan to tap into some of those resources; in the past, I’ve struggled with questions over materials science in the making of vinyl records and electrical engineering in the design and implementation of power systems for sensitive audio playback systems. Here’s a short essay that was recently published at The Vinyl Press about settling in and setting up. I have resumed writing about older recorded music and will probably expand that to include live performances as and when they happen here in the “live music capital of the world.” More to come….
In spite of his considerable talents, a vast body of commercially successful recordings spanning the decades and enduring recognition from the time he first appeared on Motown’s Tamla roster as “Little Stevie Wonder” at the age of 11, Stevie Wonder is vastly underrated as a composer and performer. His growth as a songwriter and musician not only helped redefine the sound of “soul” and popular music in the ’60s, but led to a period of deeper, more introspective music in the ’70s resulting in a trilogy of genre-defying albums that remain a benchmark for modern music today. Among those, Songs in the Key of Life is not only the most ambitious, but unfolds as a rich, complex tapestry of ideas and themes that are timeless.
I had the honor of writing an essay about “Songs” for the National Recording Registry, which was inducted in 2005. The piece appears here: https://www.loc.gov/programs/static/national-recording-preservation-board/documents/Songs-in-the-Key-of-Life.pdf
Bill Hart served as an expert witness on U.S. copyright law in a case in London involving rare concert footage of The Beatles–the so-called “Lost Concert”– providing written reports to the court on the copyright status of the film and its relationship to the separate rights in the musical compositions. At trial, Mr. Hart was called to testify on a subset of issues concerning the “fair use” doctrine under U.S. law.
of the Library of Congress recently invited me to write some essays for the National Recording Registry. This is a real privilege for me. The Registry has published two of my essays so far: Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced and Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues (with Buddy Guy).