Blurred Lines – Five Years Down the Line

Few recent copyright cases have generated as much discussion as the Ninth Circuit’s 2018 decision in Williams v. Gaye, upholding a jury’s finding that the hit song “Blurred Lines” infringed copyright in Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” Some commentators feared this ruling would “chill” musical innovation and create liability for artists who find inspiration in other creators’ works.  However, since the time of this ruling, a number of other high profile music infringement cases brought against artists like Led Zeppelin, Katy Perry, and Ed Sheeran have resulted in findings of non-infringement.  Was Williams v. Gaye just an anomaly?  Have the subsequent infringement cases been getting the analysis right or wrong?  Are courts striking the right balance between protecting musical works, on the one hand, and giving latitude to new artists latitude to create, on the other?  Our panel, which reflects a range of experience in the music copyright field, will explore these questions and more.