For well over one hundred years, we
have enjoyed listening to music by
the use of a mechanical device, beginning with music boxes and
progressing through piano rolls, wax cylinders, shellac, vinyl, 8-track
tape, cassette tape, compact discs and now, digital files. The use of
these devices, and the reproduction of the musical compositions
embodied within them, has been of paramount significance to the owners
of music copyrights and the companies manufacturing the devices.
Copyright law today generally requires the manufacturer of one of these
devices to obtain authorization from the owner of the copyright in the
musical composition embodied within in order to not commit copyright
infringement. This type of authorization, referred to as a mechanical
license, continues to be the subject of a great deal of attention.