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It would appear that in April, Ed Sheeran is going to be in court defending “Thinking Out Loud” against a claim that it infringes on Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” This has been a long time coming, years in fact, and in that time, I’ve written quite a lot about it. The musicology was fairly straightforward, but I considered lots of plausible if less obvious possible…

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The internet is right once in a while, and observers on the internet were right when they noticed that Toshifumi Hinata’s “Reflections” is sampled in Trefuego’s 90Mh. (Well, Trefuego’s for the time being.) And after issuing takedowns back in August (to apparently limited effect) Sony has now sued Trefuego.

“Reflections,” according to the complaint is Hinata’s most popular work and…

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After sixty years of being the World’s Greatest Rock And Roll Band, The Rolling Stones hadn’t released a song in many years. But they were inspired to write about the pandemic lockdowns, and so we got “Living In A Ghost Town.” Then they got sued for copyright infringement.

Serves them right.

A complaint filed late last week says the Stones…

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Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” vs Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is too important to get wrong.

Ed Sheeran is being sued because “Thinking Out Loud” sounds in some ways a lot like “Let’s Get It On,” and by all appearances, this is going to trial in April, finally. I first analyzed its main musicological points back in 2019. And I’ve…

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Should it have? Probably not. But neither should any of the nominated songs. It’s no great disaster. The music industry is, in the view of some at least, and there’s perhaps something to be said, as there often is, for a teaspoon of conservatism that’s at work here. Without it, Chat GPT could be the ghostwriter of a Song Of The Year before my kid goes to…

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The legality is questionable. The morality is also questionable.

I’m low-key rooting for this to turn into something. The music business and the law are both somewhat inadequately prepared for a case like this, and I think it presents all kinds of interesting questions and opportunity for discussion and consideration.

First, the basic facts: Rick Astley is suing Yung Gravy whose big hit “Emily (Get Money)” has someone singing over a…

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Perhaps you’ve heard that you can’t copyright a groove. (Copyright isn’t really a verb, but everyone understands what you mean when you use it as one.) And on the heals of “you can’t” you might also hear, “but what about Blurred Lines?!” And yes, when the silly Blurred Lines case happened, it was said that it “accomplish(ed) what no one has before.” Did it though? Did Blurred…

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Forensic Musicologist, Brian McBrearty

And what makes someone well-suited to do it?

Most people hear about forensic musicologists when they’re reading a news story about a famous musician being sued for stealing another musician’s song. Fairly reliably, the plaintiff’s musicologist testifies they stole it; the defendant’s says they didn’t.

A musician, music supervisor, or advertising producer, however, is more likely to hear about forensic…

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First Blush Prima Facie Hot Take: It’s a whole lot the same alright, but it might not be a sample, and it might not be copyright infringement. We’ll explain. Won’t take long:

Today we learned that Lil Uzi Vert, is being sued for what might be an illegal sample in his 2020 track Strawberry Peels, which also featured Read more

Ed Sheeran is right to be annoyed by the number of copyright cases he has to face, and it’s true that the world of music copyright has shifted somewhat since the “Blurred Lines” verdict. But there are legitimate interesting cases out there, and there are some less advisable ones. And because nobody doesn’t love a list, here are Musicologize’s picks for the Five Worst Copyright Infringement…

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