Questions About Expert Testimony in Music Infringement Cases

When: September 21, 2020 at 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT - This event has passed


Music copyright infringement cases often depend on expert witness testimony. The expert witness (typically a musicologist) testifies about similarities between the plaintiff’s and defendant’s works and opines that the similarities do or do not establish copying. The use of expert testimony in music infringement cases rests on the belief that a person with musical training can determine whether similarities between two musical works are merely coincidence or proof of copying. The truth of this proposition may seem obvious, but closer reflection suggests that the foundation for expert opinions about copying is questionable. The weaknesses become apparent when one compares music infringement cases with other cases based primarily on coincidence. This presentation will offer an example of such a comparison by invoking the tort doctrine of res ipsa loquitur and the use of expert witnesses in such cases. 



Alfred C. Yen is Professor of Law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law School, where he was Associate Dean of Faculty from 2015-2018. Professor Yen has also served as Visiting Scholar at the University of Arizona since 2012 and as an Invited Professor at the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne since 2018. In 2020, he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Copyright Society, a leading peer-reviewed journal. Professor Yen’s works include articles about trademark and copyright law in numerous leading law reviews, as well as the casebook Copyright: Essential Cases and Materials, Third Edition (2016, West Publishing), co-authored with Joseph Liu. Professor Yen also has interests in sports law, torts, and the training of business lawyers. He helped found the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty and served as Chair of the AALS Section on Minority Groups. Professor Yen holds degrees from Stanford University and Harvard Law School.



Colorado Bar Association Sports and Entertainment Section


1 General Credit Approved in Colorado



Colorado Bar Association S&E and IP Section Members: $5
Copyright Society of USA Members: $5
Colorado Bar Association Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

CLE Credit Details

1 General Credit Approved in Colorado

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