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Begged, Borrowed or Stolen: How Musicology Shapes Copyright Infringement Claims
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When: Thursday, September 15, 2016
11:30am - 1:45pm
Where: Lawry's The Prime Rib
100 North La Cienega Boulevard (near Wilshire)
Beverly Hills, California  90210
United States

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Join our LA Chapter for a panel co-presented by the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP).

Whether via a sample, interpolation or a “homage,” the most interesting infringement cases often stem from how similar a musicologist determines one composition and/or sound recording is to another. Our panel will cover a basic overview of musicological analysis and how both in general and specific ways such analysis can determine the path and outcome of possible infringement claims.  We will also address how the “substantial similarity” issue can influence a settlement or how a licensing deal is structured.

Additionally, the panel will include a veteran writer/artist/producer to discuss how the inclusion of samples and/or interpolations from pre-existing songs affect the songwriting process, and how a writer is involved if a copyright infringement issue arises after a song is released.  To round out the panel, we will have a leading sample clearance expert to discuss where licensing comes in, what kind of uses should be licensed, and how this can prevent copyright infringement from taking place.

CSUSA and AIMP Members receive a discount! Please click the appropriate link below.

CSUSA Members: Click to Register

AIMP Members: Click to Register

All Others: Click to Register

DEADLINE 9/14/16


Copyright Society Members $44.00
AIMP Members $44.00
Full-time students with a current student I.D. $47.00*
All others $57.00 per person

*Qualifying students MUST reserve by phone at (818) 771-7301 and pay by check. NOTE TO BERKLEE ALUMNI: If you are inquiring in response to a special offer via the Berklee Newsletter, please email for registration instructions. Additional information for students


Judith Finell is a musicologist and the president of Judith Finell MusicServices Inc., a music consulting firm in New York founded in 1985. She has testified as an expert witness and consulted in various litigations involving copyright infringement over the past 20 years, including most recently as the lead musicologist for the Marvin Gaye family in its dispute over the song “Blurred Lines” with Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke. She has also testified in disputes for Michael Jackson, Sony/CBS, Warner-Chappell, the estates of Igor Stravinsky and Bob Marley and before the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington on behalf of the National Music Publishers Assn. in a dispute with the RIAA. Ms. Finell’s firm regularly advises entertainment company clients on licensing and risk avoidance in copyright matters, including HBO, Sony Pictures, Disney, Grey Advertising, Lionsgate, LucasFilms, CBS, and others. Ms. Finell holds an M.A. degree in musicology from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from UCLA in piano performance. She has written numerous articles and a book in the area of contemporary music and copyright infringement and has appeared in trials on Court TV and before the American Intellectual Property Law Association. She is on the board of the Copyright Society of the USA and has appeared as a guest lecturer at the law schools of UCLA, Columbia, Vanderbilt, Harvard, George Washington, NYU, and Fordham as well as the Beverly Hills Bar Assn., LA Copyright Society, and the Association of Independent Music Publishers.

Gregory Hutchinson (Big Hutch/Cold 187) is an original member of the Ruthless Records family. A member of rap group Above The Law and co-writer/producer of tracks by ATL as well as Eazy-E, N.W.A., Kokane, 2Pac and many others, he continues to make his mark in rap music. Recent synch uses of his songs include “NEIGHBORHOOD SNIPER” (Eazy-E) in the film “STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON” and “BLACK SUPERMAN” (Above The Law) in the television biopic “THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON”.

Madeleine Smith started her career in music sampling clearance in the mid-80’s working for Ruthless Records and seminal rap artists Eazy-E, N.W.A., Above The Law, The D.O.C., and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.  Her company Songwriter Services was the first West Coast based company specializing in sample clearance and publishing administration for rap writers & producers.  They soon were also working for Death Row Records (Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac) and Ice Cube’s Street Knowledge Productions (Ice Cube, YoYo, Da Lench Mob, Kam).  Over time they handled sample clearances for hundreds of artists on all of the major labels and many indies.  Madeleine continued working on sample clearances and publishing administration on an independent basis until she joined the staff of UMPG in May 2016 as Manager, Music Sampling.  She is a former Board Member of AIMP, CCC, and LAWIM.

Jesse E. Morris Esq. (Moderator) is the owner of the boutique music law firm, Morris Music Law, where he primarily represents songwriters, artists, producers, managers, labels, publishers, and music-related tech companies. Jesse is also co-founder of TuneRegistry, an easy-to-use music catalog manager with integrated music industry administration tools. A Santa Monica native, Jesse graduated from Santa Monica High School and continued his education with a BA in philosophy at UC Berkeley and a juris doctorate (cum laude), from UC Hastings. Jesse is also a musician and composer of music himself, with skills on the piano, drums, trumpet, and tuba. He has been in many bands, so he understands the needs of the musician first hand. Jesse is a co-chair of the L.A. Chapter of the Copyright Society of the USA and regularly speaks at events for California Lawyers for the Arts.

MCLE/CE Credit

This activity has been approved for 1.0 hour of Minimum Continuing Legal Education Credit by the State Bar of California. Attorneys wishing to register for MCLE credit should bring their state bar number with them for the sign-in sheet.

This activity follows the continuing education guidelines specified in the California Board of Accountancy Regulations. CPAs wishing to register for one CE credit should bring their CPA license number with them for the sign-in sheet. Please be sure to pick up your certificate at the luncheon. AIMP cannot issue certificates after the fact.


Self-parking is available onsite at no additional charge. 

Premier Members and Groups
AIMP Premier Members and/or groups of 5 or more who have RSVP'd and paid online may request reserved seating via email or by calling (818) 771-7301.

The AIMP has launched its education initiative at Lawry's.  What this means is that up to 8 students are allowed to attend each panel for $20 per person.  The fee does not include food. This is a great opportunity to learn about music publishing and network. You must RSVP and pay in advance via email or by calling (818) 771-7301.

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