Is music copyright a specialization?

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scalawag

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Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:21 pm

I'm 29, I've spent a lot of time playing and analyzing music from different eras and different genres.

I'm by no means a musicologist, but I feel like it would be cool to work with them, in and out of negotiations, and if it went well say something to them like "good thing we weren't discussing Beethoven".

USC Gould has a really comprehensive source for music copyright cases. http://mcir.usc.edu

I'd really like to go through this and take notes, and listen to the songs and play them on my instrument, so that I have an array of relevant knowledge to interject relevantly during a negotiation or if the unfortunate occurs just get through it.

So I have three questions for the practicing attorneys:

1. Is music copyright an area of specialization? Where I could learn this and just do this.
2. What does the job entail? I feel like I wouldn't be expected to transcribe pieces, but looking at a score and understanding the strengths of the arguments, work with experts and apply their knowledge to the body of law, being able to converse with them.
3. Where should I look at for schools.

Gould has this great resource, I feel like there would be a faculty member there who would work with me if I needed assistance acquiring this knowledge over three years. What other schools should I look at?

Unfortunately I spent a lot of time on my instrument so my GPA isn't that great and I don't have a huge chance of getting into Gould - maybe 50% IF I hit 170.

dabigchina

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby dabigchina » Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:34 pm

An IP lawyer can probably answer this better than me, but I seriously doubt being able to play the piece on an instrument would help you as an IP litigator.

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby tomwatts » Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:41 pm

It does not sound as though being a practicing lawyer fits with what you want to do. Maybe you could be an expert witness in music copyright cases? People get paid to be expert witnesses, and I think some music copyright cases involve expert witnesses. I have zero idea how one gets into that line of work, though. I think expert witnesses usually have Ph.D.'s in their fields?

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:11 pm

Learning the songs on my instrument (and having notes and standard notation) would be akin to briefing a case.

I'm not a musicologist by any means, they pursue a field of study I've been given a taste of but have no desire going that far. It would be like getting a LLM. I don't need their education to be a music copyright attorney - I've got enough of a background to where I think I could perform those duties. Not entirely sure though, because I"ve never talked to a music copyright attorney before.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:25 pm

scalawag wrote:I don't need their education to be a music copyright attorney - I've got enough of a background. Not entirely sure though, because I"ve never talked to a music copyright attorney before.

:lol:

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:30 pm

Musicologists go way beyond the scope of a contemporary music copyright case. It gets really advanced.

But as far as contemporary music I can converse with them.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:32 pm

scalawag wrote:Musicologists go way beyond the scope of a contemporary music copyright case. It gets really advanced.

But as far as contemporary music I can converse with them.


scalawag wrote:I"ve never talked to a music copyright attorney before.

:lol:

cavalier1138

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:14 pm

What the hell is this?

OP: musical ability has no impact on whether you would be able to practice copyright law.

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:17 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:What the hell is this?

OP: musical ability has no impact on whether you would be able to practice copyright law.


I'm not saying music ability. I had a jazz professor tell me that jazz musicians are working theorists, so I'm always using theory. And jazz theory applies to rock and contemporary music.

For one I don't forget it but I will understand the piece well enough to converse with experts. A score would be nice but so is a guitar.

Picking up a guitar, playing and learning a piece would help me internalize it.

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:19 pm

For example when I would be doing music theory homework I would pick up my guitar so I could figure it out.

I know my instrument and it helps me learn the theory. I can look at a score too and compare pieces, but the instrument if helpful.

Is there anyone out there who could please answer my questions?

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:20 pm

Is this thread different than the one we did before?

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=252808&p=8787560#p8787560

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:23 pm

BigZuck wrote:Is this thread different than the one we did before?

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=252808&p=8787560#p8787560


I knew this looked familiar...

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:29 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Is this thread different than the one we did before?

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 0#p8787560


I knew this looked familiar...


I was a scatterbrained that day - let's leave it at that.

That analysis I was referring to would give me really complete comprehensive knowledge of cases decided.

Read the link below I'm not sure how this happened but I would never allow it to get to court. I just need to know whether or not there are jobs available to where if I work hard there is actually a market. I'm assuming most cases get settled.

But this is something that I wouldn't need case law to act on, the expert was deceptive and I'm capable of realizing this, and making sure that it is not brought before a court, or taken seriously in negotiations.

http://mcir.usc.edu/documents/musicologists%20brief.pdf

If it got to court I will file a motion for the evidence to be dismissed (if that's possible). But they're stepping in and that was some deceptive work done by an expert, I would cut that shit off in negotiations before it got to a partner's ear and if they said we'll see you in court I would make sure that was not brought into court.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:42 pm

Ahh yes, because the attorneys on that case don't have the mass of knowledge that you have. Especially since:
scalawag wrote: I"ve never talked to a music copyright attorney before.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:43 pm

Also:
scalawag wrote:(if that's possible)

:lol:

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:08 pm

I think it still sounds like you want to be an expert witness, not an attorney

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lymenheimer

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:19 pm

BigZuck wrote:I think it still sounds like you want to be an expert witness, not an attorney

No. Then he couldnt make a motion (if thats possible) to tell the judge to not allow the evidence.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:26 pm

BigZuck wrote:I think it still sounds like you want to be an expert witness, not an attorney

This exactly.
scalawag wrote:That analysis I was referring to would give me really complete comprehensive knowledge of cases decided.

Read the link below I'm not sure how this happened but I would never allow it to get to court. I just need to know whether or not there are jobs available to where if I work hard there is actually a market. I'm assuming most cases get settled.

But this is something that I wouldn't need case law to act on, the expert was deceptive and I'm capable of realizing this, and making sure that it is not brought before a court, or taken seriously in negotiations.

http://mcir.usc.edu/documents/musicologists%20brief.pdf

If it got to court I will file a motion for the evidence to be dismissed (if that's possible). But they're stepping in and that was some deceptive work done by an expert, I would cut that shit off in negotiations before it got to a partner's ear and if they said we'll see you in court I would make sure that was not brought into court.

This really isn't what lawyers do. If you're a lawyer you need to know the law. You don't need to know the music. You knowing/understanding the music isn't going to make the slightest bit of difference.

Also, FWIW: that's an amicus curiae brief. It's not really a pleading in the case, it's something that the court can read and consider whether it's worth anything or can choose to ignore. It's written by a lawyer (because you have to be a lawyer to file something in court), but it's based on all the input from the Ph.D. musicologists. If you want to be making arguments like those in this brief, you want to be a musicologist, not a lawyer. The lawyer is the conduit for those argument, they're not the source of the arguments.

tl;dr - what Zuck said.

Edit: understanding music generally is probably helpful. But there's no playing it on an instrument/internalizing it/doing the actual analysis of whether one song has ripped off another song.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:31 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
BigZuck wrote:I think it still sounds like you want to be an expert witness, not an attorney

This exactly.
scalawag wrote:That analysis I was referring to would give me really complete comprehensive knowledge of cases decided.

Read the link below I'm not sure how this happened but I would never allow it to get to court. I just need to know whether or not there are jobs available to where if I work hard there is actually a market. I'm assuming most cases get settled.

But this is something that I wouldn't need case law to act on, the expert was deceptive and I'm capable of realizing this, and making sure that it is not brought before a court, or taken seriously in negotiations.

http://mcir.usc.edu/documents/musicologists%20brief.pdf

If it got to court I will file a motion for the evidence to be dismissed (if that's possible). But they're stepping in and that was some deceptive work done by an expert, I would cut that shit off in negotiations before it got to a partner's ear and if they said we'll see you in court I would make sure that was not brought into court.

This really isn't what lawyers do. If you're a lawyer you need to know the law. You don't need to know the music. You knowing/understanding the music isn't going to make the slightest bit of difference.

Also, FWIW: that's an amicus curiae brief. It's not really a pleading in the case, it's something that the court can read and consider whether it's worth anything or can choose to ignore. It's written by a lawyer (because you have to be a lawyer to file something in court), but it's based on all the input from the Ph.D. musicologists. If you want to be making arguments like those in this brief, you want to be a musicologist, not a lawyer. The lawyer is the conduit for those argument, they're not the source of the arguments.

tl;dr - what Zuck said.

Edit: understanding music generally is probably helpful. But there's no playing it on an instrument/internalizing it/doing the actual analysis of whether one song has ripped off another song.


But can you answer his question, though?

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:44 pm

With all due respect I could make the arguments in this brief without a musicologist.

This guy in this case didn't consult and expert and I would like to work with them, but contemporary music, once I learn these cases I would have that knowledge. And I would know the law, and I could really have a conversation with a musicologist and figure out the best approach.

It would be nice if I worked somewhere with a creative department and they transcribed for me, but even if I had to pick up a guitar and write it on notation...
Last edited by scalawag on Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:46 pm

scalawag wrote:With all due respect I could make the arguments in this brief without a musicologist.

But the point is that as the lawyer, you're not the content expert. You have to find a witness to testify to/provide the content. You are simply the conduit for that expert knowledge - you can't both represent the party and provide substantive evidence (because what you're characterizing as argument is actually expert evidence).

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:52 pm

That's great then I could hold a discussion.

All previous cases would be binding (if relevant). So I would have some theoretical knowledge and direct the musicologist to certain cases that I feel would be binding. Do you think this would be helpful. I feel like this guy just got played when they rearranged the melody to make it more similar.

But I'm really wondering if I work hard on all this case law (and I will understand the theory because that would help me regurgitate cases that would be binding - you could get fooled by a case that isn't really binding theoretically, but I would be able to sift through that with a knowledge of theory and the law).

Everything that is typed you know explaining fundamentally different works I understand, and I think that's the extent of where copyright infringement goes as far as the musicology side.

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scalawag

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby scalawag » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:59 pm

Working with experts would be great but if you can answer my question that would be awesome.

The amount of music theory required to do this job is fairly simple. She's isolating small parts of the melody that are out of context and don't reach the substantial similarity. She cherry picked things, and even if she kept the rhythms accurate the melodies are significantly different.

The only way I can see this happening is the lawyer did not understand any theory, he didn't pick up a guitar and play what was written and realize it was way off.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:04 pm

Lawyers do not need to and should not be picking up a guitar and playing what is written.

When you say "theory," do you mean "musical theory"? I really don't understand most of your arguments.

You are doing musical analysis here, not legal analysis. You're disagreeing with the musical arguments. You want to be the music expert that the lawyer puts forward to make the legal argument they want to make.

Also, keep in mind that lawyers tend to find experts that say what the lawyers want them to say, which is what will help their case. The lawyer in question wasn't trying to reach the truth - s/he was trying to find a winning argument. If that means taking things in isolation/out of context/cherry picking, that's what they're going to do.

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Re: Is music copyright a specialization?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:05 pm

What actually is your question? I feel like you've made up what you think is a job, and then you're asking everyone how you can learn it and what school to go to for it, instead of actually figuring out what jobs are actually out there.



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