Peters Edition v. Batt: The Intertextuality of Silence
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- Kurzon, D. Int J Semiot Law (2007) 20: 285. doi:10.1007/s11196-007-9050-4
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The article deals, on the one hand, with a legal conflict between a musical performer/arranger, Mike Batt, and the estate of a composer of avant-garde music, John Cage, over copyright. It is also concerned with the field of intertextuality – how meaning is created in a text or in a work of art, whether it is visual, musical or verbal, through allusions and quotations to previous texts or works of art. The controversy, which did not reach the courts because of a pre-trial settlement, was over an author’s rights to silence, or, as in this case, a silent piece of music. The central issue discussed is the way in which silence may be considered – if at all, to be protectable.