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3 Comments on "Musical Litigation Groove"

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Adam
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From this article, it seems clear that a different analysis would have applied to this case vis-à-vis the Copyright Act of 1909. Solely, from a musical perspective, every time I hear a new song, it sounds like I’m hearing a re-fashioned song from 20 years ago. There are only so many sequences, tempos, and chords by which to compose a song. Because the song was copyrighted before the passing of the Copyright act of 1976, it was governed by the 1909 Act, which states, in part, that because the sheet music of the song is a printed record in eligible… Read more »
Andrew
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When compared to the Copyright Act of 1909, the Copyright Act of 1976 affords triers of fact a broader spectrum of considerations when assessing whether one song violates the copyright protections of another. This is because the Copyright Act of 1909 restricted those assessments to a song’s sheet music, excluding from consideration various musical qualities that are not conveyed by sheet music. As the firm’s article aptly noted, a song’s “tone, mood, style, and feel” cannot be understood from sheet music alone, and thus could not be considered by juries deciding copyright cases under the 1909 Act. The Copyright Act… Read more »
Kelvin
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The write-up on the copyright dispute between the Marvin Gaye estate against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams does a good job of highlighting the impact that case will have on future disputes involving allegations of copyright abuse in music. The case was decided on the district level and is unlikely to be appealed, meaning that the precedent it sets is binding only in Nashville. While Nashville is home to many great artists, two major regions of the music-producing United States, California and New York, remain unaffected. Still, even without being binding in those jurisdictions, this case has set a standard… Read more »
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