Musical Works

It is also interesting to speculate on the extent to which nanotechnology may be expressed as "musical works" or "sound recordings," which are other categories that are entitled to copyright protection.38 Interestingly, the term "musical work" is not defined in the U.S. Copyright Act, although a definition is provided for a "sound recording" as "result[ing] from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds."39 A definition of "musical work" itself was not included in the statute because of Congress's belief that the term had a "fairly settled" meaning. What is clear is that, like literary works, there is no specific form in which the musical work must be fixed so that it is possible for it to be expressed in a variety of forms.40

To what extent can music be created by nanotech structures? This is not an easy question to answer. It is true that miniaturized versions of instruments have been created, like the nanoguitars that have been made at Cornell University (Figure I.20). Each of these guitars was fabricated by carving it out of silicon and the strings have a thickness of only about 50 nm. This focus on stringed instruments is a practical one because it is easier to generate actual acoustic vibrations from the strings than it would be with wind-type instruments. The Cornell researchers have actually played the 2003 version of the guitar by focusing laser light on the strings to set them in motion. The resulting sound has a frequency of about 40 MHz—roughly 2000 times the highest frequency detectable by the human ear and about 17 octaves higher than the frequency produced by a conventionally sized guitar.

Sequences of sound—music—produced by such nanoscale instruments should be as protectable under copyright law as any other type of music, notwithstanding the fact that their compositions would be outside the normal hearing range. It is also possible that music produced by nanoscale devices may have some practical applications. The frequency at which any string vibrates may be affected by its mass. The mass of molecules attached to the nanosized string may therefore be determined by plucking the string and determining the frequency at which it vibrates. While this by itself is

0 0

Post a comment