Half a Century After Holly
50 years ago today we saw the end of three promising young musicians—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The Big Bopper was fresh and bouncy, Valens was making a place for Hispanics in the rock ‘n’ roll world, and Holly was making inroads in both music development and, according to a couple of Texas Tech professors, the legal world. Holly was one of the first musicians to produce himself. His control over his own intellectual property not only made him a lot of money, but it allowed him to develop in ways that the music industry might have been slower to embrace without Holly. It’s thought that his wife, Maria Elena Holly, was also influential on his business practices, and in honor of the two the Texas Right of Publicity Act is referred to as “the Buddy Holly law,” and she still owns the rights to his name today. Today is a fitting day to remember the man who so greatly influenced music and intellectual property law. It’s a good time to listen to Peggy Sue, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, or American Pie.