Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


Tracy Reilly

First Page



The purpose of this Article is to contribute to the volume of legal scholarship that focuses on popular music lyrics and their effects on children. This interdisciplinary cross-section of law and culture has been analyzed by legal scholars, philosophers, and psychologists throughout history. This Article specifically focuses on the recent public uproar over the increasingly violent and lewd content of death-metal and gangsta-rap music and its alleged negative influence on children. Many legal scholars have written about how legal and political efforts throughout history to regulate contemporary genres of popular music in the name of the protection of children's morals and well-being have ultimately been foiled by the proper judicial application of solid First Amendment free-speech principles. Because the First Amendment prevents musicians from being held liable for their lyrics, and prevents the content of lyrics from being regulated, some scholars have suggested that the perceived problems with popular music lyrics could be dealt with by increasing public awareness and group action.