Ipse Dixit


Derek Miller on the History of the Performance Right

Season 1, Ep. 110

In this episode, Derek Miller, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, discusses his new book, "Copyright and the Value of Performance, 1770-1911," which is published by Cambridge University Press. Miller provides a comprehensive history of the origins and development of the concept of copyright in performance. Among other things, he explains the dialectical relationship between the social and economic "value" of performance in historical context, and how the law reified performance, transforming it from propriety into property. He describes the social entrepreneurs who pioneered the concept of owning performance, and the legal disputes in which courts defined the ontology of drama. And he reflects on how the tension between social and economic value persists in the contemporary concept of the performance right. Miller is on Twitter at @DerekKMiller.

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