Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

James Brown, Innovation, and Copyright Law
  • K. J. Greene


The music world lost an unparalleled artist with the death of James Brown, the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Soul,” in 2006. James Brown achieved the rare musical triumph of “bringing a unique brand of southern black music to the forefront of American culture—without sanitizing it for a white public.”1 Remarking on Brown’s musical legacy. Rolling Stone magazine opined that Brown’s contribution to popular music and rock and roll exceeded that of the Beatles and Elvis combined.2 Much like ragtime genius Scott Joplin; jazz giants such as Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller; and blues legend Bessie Smith before him, Brown’s artistic innovations permeate popular music, making it difficult to say where Brown’s influence ends and that of other artists begins. “Soul Brother Number One,” as Brown also proclaimed himself, revolutionized soul music; pioneered the genres of soul, funk, and disco music; and changed the shape of jazz as well. Highlighting the impact of his work, Princeton University hosted a two-day symposium shortly after Brown’s death entitled “Ain’t That a Groove: The Genius of James Brown.”


Intellectual Property Critical Race Theory Popular Music Copyright Infringement Black Artist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Lovalerie King and Richard Schur 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. J. Greene

There are no affiliations available

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