Against Music Censorship Essay

First Amendment And Music Censorship Essay

1284 Words6 Pages

The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights exists because the Founders of our country understood the importance of free expression. The First Amendment states "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . ." (Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution 17). One of the ways the American people use this freedom of speech and expression is through the creation of the art form known as music. Music's verbal expression bonds our society through our emotions and experiences. This fundamental right of freedom of expression is being threatened by public and governmental groups who believe they have authority to monitor and decide what others should experience. The censorship of music…show more content…

In 1964, The Rolling Stones catapulted to fame amid outrage and controversy about the surliness of their demeanor and the length of their hair. The Stones were considered "dangerous" and riots and scenes of hysteria erupted wherever they played. "Today, they're in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, winners of the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and on the cover of TIME magazine" (RIAA; History 2 of 4). "There's nothing new about pop and rock music finding its roots in the anger and rebellion of young people, and there's nothing new in older people expressing unrealistic fears about that music" (RIAA; History 3 of 4). History has shown us that what may be initially perceived as objectionable is actually only the reaction of a new or different experience.

Musicians are protected under the First Amendment equally as any citizen in the United States of America. They deserve the same basic human rights we all practice, "however the freedom of expression has special relevance for musicians (Hald 1 of 8). "This offers a special protection of musicians against arbitrary censorship and persecution" (Hald 1 of 8). Not only does censorship of music threaten the freedom of speech, but it also threatens a musician's right to promote their work through free enterprise. "Musicians have the freedom to play music in public or private domains, give concerts, and release CDs" (Hald 1-2 of 8). Some concert

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Censorship in Music Essays

1076 Words5 Pages

Censorship in Music

Censorship in music has been a major problem plaguing America since the early nineteen forties. It came to a head during the nineteen sixties with the Vietnam War and the hippie movement. During the nineteen seventies and eighties heavy metal and hard rock were getting the brunt of the censorship heat. Now in the nineteen nineties the major focus of censorship is rap; primarily gangster rap. Some of the main factors of music in general that cause legal ramifications are sexual content, suggestive violence and obscene language. Censorship is an attack against our first amendment right guaranteeing the freedom of speech. However if a song or album is deemed obscene the first amendment does not protect this. The mass…show more content…

It began by the Recording Industry association of America agreeing to voluntarily place-warning labels on albums that were deemed obscene. This came after a congressional hearing before the Senate commece, science and transportation committee. Frank Zappa a controversial musician attended the conference and called Tipper Gore who is co founder of the Parent's Music Resource Center a "Cultural Terrorist."(Winfield pg. 25) Record labeling made many angry and at the same time pacified others. It was seen as a step forward in attempting to control the one mass media aimed directly at teenagers. Musicians such as Axle Rose have spoken out against labeling claiming their right to express themselves musically no matter what the response. One artist, Luther Campbell, of the rap group 2 Live crew released a single titled "Banned in the USA" in response to the labeling (Winfield pg. 14). This labeling of albums is not the first attempt and success at censoring music. For 50 years radio stations have been censoring songs deemed inappropriate. In 1940 NBC banned 147 songs. The Supreme Court upheld the FCC's authority to regulate music in 1978 (Winfield pg. 14). The rock and roll community could only expect some sort of limited censorship. Initially the ban was only in effect from 6 am until midnight but in 1988 president Reagan made the ban all day. The FCC in an attempt to let radio stations know what types of songs were unacceptable sent a list of 22

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