Blurred Lines & Bright Lines: Copyright Lessons from the Blurred Lines Trial

When: July 8, 2015 at 3:00pm - 6:00pm EDT - This event has passed


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.

3 Illinois State CLE Credits Pending

Please note: Panel 3pm-6pm followed by a reception


CSUSA Members $30.00 in advance / $35.00 at door
Nonmembers $35.00 in advance / $40.00 at door
Full-Time Students* $25.00 in advance / $30.00 at door

* Please bring your student ID to check-in.


Moderated by Robert J. LabatePartner, Holland & Knight LLP

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 their 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 U.S.A., and has appeared as a guest lecturer at the law schools of UCLA, Columbia, Vanderbilt, George Washington, NYU, and Fordham as well as the Beverly Hills Bar Assn., LA Copyright Society, and the American Independent Music Publishers.

Barry F. Irwin is the founding partner of Irwin IP. Barry has been litigating intellectual property and technology matters for twenty-three years. Barry began his legal career at a prestigious intellectual property boutique law firm. Three years later, Barry joined one of the largest, most successful general practice firms in the world where he practiced intellectual property litigation for 18 years, the last fourteen as a partner, and the last ten as an equity partner. In addition to his active litigation practice, Barry is an Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame Law School where he teaches both Patent Litigation, and Advanced Copyright/Entertainment Law. Barry is also the Vice President of Lawyers for the Creative Arts. Barry has been a first-chair litigation attorney on high-stakes patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, restrictive covenant, unfair competition, false advertising, and antitrust matters. Barry has also supported numerous other litigations (as second-chair or in more junior roles) that resulted in jury verdicts, summary judgments, and injunctions being entered in favor of his clients. Each year, for over a decade, Barry has been named a Leading Lawyer, and a Super Lawyer. Barry also received Martindale Hubbell’s highest ratings (AV and AV+) in his first years of eligibility and each year thereafter. Recently, Barry received the rare distinction of being named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). The LCA is an invitation-only honorary society dedicated to promoting superior advocacy, professionalism and ethical standards among trial lawyers. Composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, LCA Fellows are selected based on their legal excellence and accomplishments in litigation and superior ethical reputations. Barry’s trade secret practice received high praise from the 2008 edition of The Legal 500 U.S., who noted that “in Chicago, Barry Irwin comes in for praise as ‘superb.’” Barry has been a supervising attorney for numerous pro bono matters involving a broad range of issues and hundreds of attorney hours annually, including matters involving: the confinement conditions at a juvenile detention facility; employment discrimination, a trial of an aggravated assault charge resulting in acquittal; and serving as guardian ad litem.

Margit (Maggie) Livingston teaches and writes in the areas of intellectual property, commercial law, and animal law. Her articles have appeared in the primary law reviews of North Carolina, Iowa, Fordham, William & Mary, Washington, Nebraska, and Boston College, among others. Her scholarship has focused on topics such as copyright protection for stage directions, copyright infringement in music cases, the legal regulation of animal cruelty, the valuation of animals for tort purposes, and the notice-giving function of the public filing system in secured lending transactions. Her article entitled “Copyright Infringement of Music: Determining Whether What Sounds Alike Is Alike,” 15 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law 227 (2013) (with Joseph Urbinato), was selected for republication in the ENTERTAINMENT, PUBLISHING AND THE ARTS HANDBOOK (Thomson Reuters West 2013), as one of the best law review articles in the fields of entertainment, publishing, and the arts published in 2012-13. Professor Livingston serves as Director of the DePaul Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology (CIPLIT®) and Associate Dean for Faculty Development. She has also acted as the Director of the DePaul Center for Animal Law since 2002. She has been Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law; Fordham University School of Law; and Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary. She has won numerous awards for her teaching, scholarship and service, including the DePaul College of Law Faculty Achievement Award in 2010, the DePaul University Spirit of Inquiry Award in 2014, and the DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015. She is a graduate of the renowned Second City Conservatory for Improvisational Comedy and recently studied advanced acting for several years at HB Studio in New York. She holds a JD and an MA in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota and an LLM from the University of Illinois.

Peter J. Strand is a partner at the entertainment, media, and intellectual property law firm Leavens, Strand & Glover in Chicago. He represents content providers and content creators including media companies, television and radio broadcasters, authors, songwriters, recording artists, musicians, television and film writers, independent record labels, independent film producers and documentarians, and production companies in various transactional and litigation matters in the entertainment industry. In addition to contract preparation, analysis and negotiation, Peter assists clients with protecting and enforcing their copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights; licensing or exploiting their creative works; acquiring and distributing content; and selecting, securing and protecting product and service brand names. In addition to his law practice, Peter teaches entertainment law and music law as an adjunct professor at Chicago Kent College of Law. He has also taught at DePaul University College of Law and Marquette University Law School. Peter recently served as a National Trustee of the Recording Academy (Grammys) representing the Chicago Chapter. He is a former President and Vice President of the Board of Governors for the Chicago Chapter and has served several terms as a Chicago Chapter Governor. Peter is a vice chair of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Division of the ABA Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries. In 2015, Peter was named one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Illinois by Chicago Magazine. He has been also selected as “Super Lawyer — Billboard Magazine’s 50 Attorneys of Note in the Music Business” 2014; Entertainment Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers Magazine/2013 Chicago edition; “Leading Lawyer” in Arts, Entertainment and Sports in Illinois from 2003 – 2014; “Illinois Super Lawyer” in Arts & Entertainment as one of the top five percent of Illinois attorneys in the entertainment field by Chicago Law Bulletin Leading Lawyers Network; “Leading Business Lawyer” in Media & Entertainment Law in Illinois, 2006 – 2014, – America’s Leading Business Lawyers in Chambers USA. Peter also provides pro bono legal services to musicians, artists, and arts organizations through the Lawyers for the Creative Arts, where he has been involved as a volunteer, Board Member and on the Honors Council for more than 20 years. In 2008, Peter received the Thomas R. Leavens Awards from the Lawyers for the Creative Arts for his distinguished service to the arts through LCA. Before becoming an attorney, Peter played and recorded as a full time touring musician with several bands including recording two albums for RCA/Millennium Records. 

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

Cancellation Policy
Refunds must be requested in writing at least three business days before the event. Refunds will not be issued after that point. Unfortunately, we will not be able to credit your registration payment toward a future event, but you may allow another person attend in your place.

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CLE Credit Details

3 Illinois State CLE Credits Pending

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