Jung Hyun (Claire) Park wrote “Questioning the Copyright Act: Is Copyright Doing It Right?” for her second major essay in the WR 100 seminar “Boston Jazz Now!” The assignment for Paper 2 was to examine a particular instance of triumph or tribulation in jazz history. In her essay, Park addresses current copyright law as an existential challenge to jazz. She acknowledges that copyright law is designed with the laudable intention of protecting the intellectual property of composers, among others. However, she points out, the law deems improvisation (no matter how creative it is and no matter how much or little it depends on a previous work) to be derivative rather than original. This understanding, she argues, can have the horrible consequence of stifling the spirit of innovation without which jazz will cease to exist. In this thought-provoking essay, Park traces the background of the current law; exposes its flaws; and proposes strategies for ameliorating the problem.


WR 100 ESL: Boston Jazz Now