The Future of Copyright Infringement Analysis in Music

When: March 5, 2020 at 1:00pm - 6:00pm EST - This event has passed


In August 2019, a jury awarded a little-known songwriter $2.8 million in damages for copyright infringement. The alleged infringement involves four notes from Katy Perry’s hit song “Dark Horse.” The verdict can be viewed as a victory for the little guy—a Christian rapper who, pre-internet, would have struggled to show access, a required component of illegal copying. It can alternately be viewed as a dangerous precedent, opening the door for copyright trolls and deterring creation.

In 2017, Silicon Flatirons hosted a conference focused on the recently decided Blurred Lines case, in which Marvin Gaye’s estate secured a multi-million-dollar copyright infringement judgment against songwriters and recording artists, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke. Since that time, dozens of similar lawsuits have accused artists­—ranging from Ed Sheeran to Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga—of unauthorized copying of others’ songs. Some of these cases have settled with few publicly-available details. Others have gone to trial with juries ultimately awarding millions of dollars in damages.

Join us for our sixth annual content conference where we will welcome back some familiar faces, and new experts, to ask: Is this a good development? Are juries getting these “substantial similarity” cases right? If so, how do we know? If not, what are some alternative ways to handle these types of cases?




03/05/20 1:00pm – 1:15pm

  • Kristelia García
    Associate Professor, University of Colorado Law School; Content Initiative Director, Silicon Flatirons

03/05/20 1:15pm – 2:15pm

  • Joseph Fishman — Moderator
    Associate Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law
  • Anna Morsett — Panelist
    Songwriter and Recording Artist (The Still Tide)
  • Jeff Prystowsky — Panelist
    Songwriter and Recording Artist (The Low Anthem)
  • Alex Stewart — Panelist
    Professor of Jazz Studies and Ethnomusicology, University of Vermont (Musicologist for Taurus)
  • Sandy Wilbur — Panelist
    President, Musiodata (Musicologist for Williams defendants)

03/05/20 2:15pm – 2:30pm


03/05/20 2:30pm – 3:30pm

  • Pamela Samuelson — Moderator
    Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California Berkeley; Co-director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology
  • Kevin Erickson — Panelist
    Director, Future of Music Coalition
  • Edward Lee — Panelist
    Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Lateef Mtima — Panelist
    Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law; Founder and Director, Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice
  • Regan A. Smith — Panelist
    General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, U.S. Copyright Office

03/05/20 3:30pm – 3:45pm



03/05/20 3:45pm – 5:00pm

  • Kristelia García — Moderator
    Associate Professor, University of Colorado Law School; Content Initiative Director, Silicon Flatirons
  • Richard S. Busch — Panelist
    Partner, King & Ballow (Counsel for the Gaye estate)
  • Kenneth D. Freundlich — Panelist
    Attorney, Freundlich Law (Counsel for Amici Musicologists in Favor of Katy Perry)
  • Lydia Loren — Panelist
    Henry J. Casey Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School
  • Francis Malofiy — Panelist
    Founder, Francis Alexander LLC (Counsel for the estate of Randy “California” Wolfe)

5:00pm – 6:00pm – RECEPTION


General — $15 ($20 at the door)
Copyright Society Members — Free
CU Faculty/Staff — Free
CU Student — Free
CU Alumni — Free
Silicon Flatirons Sponsor — Free
Livestream — Free

This event has passed