Katherine Leo (J.D.; Ph.D. musicology) music professor at Millikin University, has published her book on the evolving role of “forensic musicologists” in litigating music copyright infringement disputes. Her expertly researched and written historical review spans the earliest U.S. cases in this area from the 19th Century through the notorious “Blurred Lines” dispute from early in the 21st. Here is information on obtaining a copy.

Foreign cases

We are expanding this project to include information about music copyright infringement cases litigated in courts outside the U.S. Readers can identify these by the 2- or 3-letter country code given in the cases list. While we do not anticipate providing the virtually comprehensive coverage that we offer for U.S. cases, we hope to provide a representative sampling of cases offering insights into similarities and differences in the handling and disposition of these disputes among various national copyright regimes.

Patrick Savage, Associate Professor at Keio University in Tokyo, has shared with us documentation for Japanese music infringement cases he has studied in connection with his work on use of quantitative information to determine musical similarity. (Select the text “Creative Thinking about Musical Similarity” at the bottom of this page to learn more about his research.) ありがとうございました Pat!

Jonathan Huber, a recent graduate at Hannover’s Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien has provided us a valuable cache of information about German cases. These primary source materials were the basis of his Master’s thesis dealing with German music copyright infringement disputes between 1966 – 2020. Vielen Dank Jonathan! Leonie Schwanneke, student of Prof. Linda Kuschel at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg has offered to  assist with drafting original commentary, and analyses of these cases.  

This meeting has been postponed until the 2020-21 academic year. 

Come one, come all!

Friday, March 20, 2020, GWU Law School Intellectual Property Programs will hold a symposium sponsored by Latham & Watkins: I Hear America Suing: Implications of Unsettled Copyright Infringement Jurisprudence for American Music and Musicians. The program is open to the public without charge. If you plan to attend, please register on the symposium website.


Previous news items …

Gary Rosen’s Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer: Nathan Burkan and the Making of American Popular Culture (University of California Press 2020)

Denouement in the “Blurred Lines” dispute

Music Modernization Act

Creative thinking about musical similarity


Drop some sauce