On Trial: Mozart and Other Pirates

Thursday 1 June 2017, 18:00 - 19:30, followed by a reception

UCL Cruciform Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

UCL Institute of Brand and Innovation Law (IBIL):

On trial: Mozart and other Pirates

The distinguished conductor and harpsichordist Christophe Rousset will be conducting Mozart’s early opera Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Royal Opera on 26 and 29 June and 1st and 7 July. Mozart was not quite 15 when he wrote it. But did he copy, borrow, quote, or plagiarise (words which mean the same but carry different overtones) too much? Maestro Rousset, who has spent 25 years with his ensemble Les Talens Lyriques exploring and championing the music of Mozart’s forgotten contemporaries (Salieri, Paisiello, Jomelli), will discuss and illustrate with examples what Mozart and others did in an age where there was no copyright.

Suppose modern copyright law had applied then. Would Mozart have been an infringer – a “pirate” as the old-fashioned word has it? Modern instances of infringement or alleged infringement will be played for discussion with the audience and comparison with what Mozart did.

This will be discussed by the panel, as will a further question. Suppose Mozart had embellished what he took to the point of a new creative work, should he have a defence? Do the extreme reaches of modern copyright law actually threaten the creative process? Should there be a defence of “transformation” for artistic works – especially musical and visual works?

Speakers include:

  • Christophe Rousset (Founder and leader of Les Talens Lyriques and scholar of the Baroque and Classical pre-Romantic periods)
  • Professor Sir Robin Jacob (Hugh Laddie Professor of Intellectual Property Law, UCL)
  • His Honour Michael Fysh QC SC (Former Chairman of the Copyright Tribunal and Judge of the then-called Patents County Court)
  • About Christophe Rousset

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  • Watch the film of the event

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  • Queries

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