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MW Chapter 7/8/15 Course Materials


Blurred Lines and Bright Lines

Copyright Lessons from the Blurred Lines Trial


When does music “inspired by” another work infringe copyright?

How should you advise music clients in the wake of the Blurred Lines decision?

Will Blurred Lines stifle creativity or promote it?

The controversial $7.3 million jury verdict in favor of the Marvin Gaye estate in the Blurred Lines litigation raises important questions about creating and performing music, and the scope of copyright.  Lawyers for the Creative Arts and the Midwest Chapter of the Copyright Society of the USA have assembled a panel of legal and musical experts to address these questions.  Our expert panelists will discuss the basics and intricacies of copyright protection of musical compositions, and when a musical performance or recording infringes copyright.  They will review the District Court’s rulings in Blurred Lines and discuss their implications for musical creativity.  Our panelists will bring to the discussion their diverse backgrounds in musicology, legal theory and as practitioners in transactional and litigation aspects of copyright law in what promises to be a provocative and educational seminar.


1.     Program Flyer

2.     Program Schedule

3.     Speaker Bios

4.     Blurred Lines Trial Documents

5.     U.S. Copyright Law Resources

a.   Copyright Act of 1909

b.   U.S. Copyright Law, Title 17

c.   Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, Chapter 800

d.   Copyright Registration of Musical Compositions and Sound Recordings, U.S. Copyright Office Circular 56

6.     Articles

a.   Craig Bradley, A Clear Look at the Blurred Lines Copyright Case. Lawyers for the Creative Arts (2015).

b.   Judith Finell, Scandalous Notes: A Musicologist Discusses New Developments in Music Technology That   Challenge Copyright Attorneys and Expert Witnesses, 19 NYSBA Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Journal, Special Edition No. 1 (2008).

c.   Margit Livingston & Joseph Urbinato, Copyright Infringement of Music: Determining Whether What Sounds Alike is Alike, 15 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology, 227 (2013).

d.   William T. McGrath, Should There Be a Presumption Favoring Awards of Attorneys’ Fees in Copyright Litigation, 12 J. Marshall Rev. Intel. Prop. L. 360 (2013).

7.     Form Songwriter Copyright Split Agreements with Instructions

8.     Copeland v. Bieber, No. 14-1427 (4th Cir. 2015)

9.     Barry Irwin Presentation Copy

10.    Judith Finell Presentation Copy

For more information, please contact:
Marci Rolnik Walker (
Seth I. Appel (
Rochelle Claerbaut (

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