Sponsored by The George Washington University Law School & Columbia Law School

Music Copyright Infringement Resource

“Absolutely wonderful stuff…a unique and irreplaceable service to copyright students and teachers. Bravo.”

Robert A. Gorman
Kenneth Gemmill Professor of Law, Emeritus, U. Penn. Law School

“A great contribution to copyright scholarship and teaching.”

Paul Goldstein
Stella W. and Ira S. Lillick Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
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This resource provides information about music copyright infringement cases from the mid-nineteenth century​ forward in the U.S. and, to an increasing extent, in foreign jurisdictions.


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. Vielen Dank ebenfalls an Leonie! 

Gauthier Lunardi, a law student at Université Grenoble Alpes, is gathering and contributing to this resource, documentation and commentary on music copyright infringement cases in France. Un grand merci, Gauthier!

And many thanks to Prof. Daniel Müllensiefen and Robert Cason of Goldsmiths, Univ. of London, for their contribution of documents and commentary concerning disputes in Commonwealth nations including the UK, Australia, and Canada.

Likewise, Chien-Chih Lu, Assistant Prof., National Chengchi University College, and accomplished jazz musician, has generously shared with us documentation he has gathered relating to recent music infringement cases in China and Taiwan.


A COVID casualty, the 2020 event has been postponed until early 2022, with a revised focus and title: Singing from the Same Sheet? Consonance and Dissonance Among National Copyright Regimes in the Adjudication of Music Infringement Disputes, sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine. Details will be posted here late 2021.   

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 …

Katherine Leo’s (J.D.; Ph.D. musicology) book (2020) on the evolving role of “forensic musicologists” in litigating music copyright infringement disputes.

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 



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