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On Demand Audio

Thicke v. Gaye: Musical Copyright Infringement

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on November 22, 2013

$ 59 Intellectual Property and Sports & Entertainment In Stock

Course Information

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

"Blurred Lines," The Robin Thicke song known as much for its controversial video as its catchy beat, has sparked a tussle between the Pharrel/Thicke camp and the Marvin Gaye estate. At the heart of the issue stands the question, "did Robin Thicke infringe upon Marvin Gaye's estate's copyright by producing a song that may or may not be too similar in sound, beat, lyric and general presentation?


In this course, Music law attorney and returning Lawline Faculty Member, Steven Gordon will join Copyright Law Scholar, Bob Clarida to discuss the underlying, determinative legal questions in music copyright infringement cases, addressing the standards used to determine 'song infringement', and the procedures that representing attorneys must prepare for in efforts to secure or liberate their clients' rights.

We know, "Blurred Lines" was all over the radio this summer. Lawline invites you to join us and these two fine attorneys as we explore the music from a different angle, set on defining what constitutes copyright infringement in the music industry.

Learning Objectives:

I.    Answer, "what constitutes music copyright infringement?"

II.   Trace the procedure from initial suit, to declaratory judgment, to summary judgment and beyond

III.  Comprehend at what stage music copyright infringement cases are most prone to settlement

IV.  Identify protectable vs. non-protectable song elements

V.   Determine which parties, in a music infringement, have standing to complain and/or answer


Steve Gordon

Steve Gordon Law

STEVE GORDON is an entertainment attorney with over 25 years of experience, including ten years as Director of Business Affairs/Video for Sony Music. His current and recent clients include emerging and major record label artists; managers; music and television producers; entertainment companies such Time Life Films, Shout Factory and Soul Train Holdings; and cultural institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. He also represents television, film and web based producers and production companies.

Other areas of his practice include serving as an expert witness; counseling producers of and participants in reality TV shows; registering trademarks and copyrights; and supervising copyright infringement and contract litigation.

Steve also operates a music clearance service for producers and distributors of feature films, documentaries, ad campaigns, musical theatre, concert programs, audio compilations, and music based apps and websites.

Steve is the author of The Future of the Music Business (Hal Leonard 4th ed. 2015). The book provides a legal and business roadmap to artists, entrepreneurs and music industry professionals for success in today's music business. Steve updates the book at His new book, The 11 Contracts That Every Artist, Songwriter and Producer Should Know, will be published by Hal Leonard this spring but is available for pre-order now at

Also an educator, Steve frequently lectures on entertainment law and music business issues, and is the recipient of two Fulbright scholarships. As a Fulbright scholar he taught courses on music business and law at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, and Tel Aviv University in Israel.

His CLE video for Lawline, "Thicke v. Gaye: Will the Jury's Decision Have a Chilling Impact on Creativity?" won the "Best Program" award at the most recent ACLEA (the Association for Continuing Legal Education) conference.

Steve is a graduate of New York University School of Law.

Robert Clarida

Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC

ROBERT W. CLARIDA, a partner at the New York firm of Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC, is widely recognized for his intellectual property expertise, having received professional peer recognition for the field of intellectual property in Chambers USA (2010), "New York Superlawyers" (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), American Lawyer's "Best Lawyers in the U.S."(2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and for the field of copyright in Legal 500 (2007). 

He advises clients in a wide range of industries including music, software, film, photography and new media. He has also litigated a number of high-profile copyright matters and argued significant federal appeals in several Circuits. He is admitted to the New York bar, and to the federal bars of the Southern, Eastern, Northern and Western Districts of New York, the Eastern District of Michigan, and to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Seventh and Ninth Circuits.

Bob speaks and writes frequently on copyright issues, and is the principal author of the annual review of copyright decisions published each year by the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA. He co-authors the regular copyright law column in the New York Law Journal, teaches a seminar on emerging intellectual property issues at Columbia Law School, is a past member of the AIPLA Board of Directors, the past chair of the Copyright and Literary Property Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, a past Trustee of the Copyright Society of the USA, and has served as an expert reviewer for the Multistate Bar Exam in the intellectual property area.

He earned his J.D. in 1993 from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar, after earning a Ph.D. in music composition from SUNY Stony Brook in 1987, and receiving a Fulbright fellowship to the Musicology Institute of Gothenburg University, Sweden.


Michele P.

It was interesting to listen to this lecture after the trial and appeal.

Lawrence G.

These guys were great.

Edward H.

Outstanding presentation. Well focused on a narrow area which allowed for significant depth. Both speakers were very knowledgable and engaging. Offer more like this!

Douglas C.

Highly knowledgeable panelists.

Kelly M.

Presenters were very knowledgeable and clear in their presentation style

Stephen R.


Nancy P.

very interesting, and kept my attention. i liked that they actually played the music so the audience could really participate.

Charles B. N.

Fun topic.

Robert P.

Excellent program. Great speakers.

Julie A. B.


Michael B.

Engaging and high-quality. Far better than most of the CLE's I have done. Steve Gordon is an outstanding presenter in terms of speaking ability, organization, and knowledge. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you.

Daniel C.

Great CLE. Entertaining, interesting, and very informative.

Maury J.

Well presented. Speakers made the material accessible.

JoAnn S.

Absolutely wonderful & informative course. I would highly recommend it. Thank you to the presenters and to Lawline.

Peter S.

Great course. More copyright courses with same speakers would be great!

Kushal M.

good fun interesting casual

Julie G.

Excellent program.

Brittin F.

Excellent coverage of a very interesting topic!

Anthony C.


Sunny B.

Very interesting and timely. Good discussion.

Gerald D.

very interesting.

Carla R.

Enjoyed hearing analysis of headline getting cases.

Sehla A.



Excellent program.


the question and answer presentation was outstanding and should be used more often

Samantha T.

The format of having two practitioners in a conversation helps keep the session dynamic and easy to follow.

Mary N.

Very interesting!

Erica R.


Michael S.

Very entertaining!

Rodrick W.

very interesting topic

Neil O.

This course was excellent. There were some very nice practice tips, including information on the cost of clearing a sample from a popular work. I also highly recommend the excellent update on the jury verdict and its potential chilling effect on creativi

Patricia C.

Good interplay between the two speakers.

julie y.


Andrew W.

Very timely selection for me

Scott S.

Loved how current the presentation was/is.

Karl O.

Good discussion of issues raised in music copyright infringement litigation.

Carl L.

Did not breakdown copyright infringement case as advertised.

Cindy M.

I really like the format of two speakers dialoguing together. Much more interesting to listen to than one person lecturing.

Daniel L.

Topical, enjoyable.

ronald i.

great presentation

Jeffrey W.

I like the two speaker format. Well done.

Chartrisse A.

Great Seminar!!

Thomas B.

A great topic for any lawyer

Michelle M.

great topic timely and educational

Robert E. L.

Very interesting and well presented.

Tiffany A.

Love the speakers!

Brandon D.

great program with lots of illustrations and discussion of the illustrations. best lawline yet.

John-Frederick B.

Interesting, especially for non-copyright lawyers

Diane E.

Interesting break down of case.

Joel F.

Really good commentators.

Thomas M.

Interesting format with the speakers in the dual role.

Jeffrey Alan G.

Great job presenting the framework for copyright infringement. Nice to hear the business and litigation viewpoints and how they work together. Also interesting to have it all wrapped in a "ripped from the headlines" bundle complete with audio examples and

Matthew L.

Interesting information

Michael J.

This course was excellent. Both speakers are passionate and articulate in the subject.

Swati A.

Great use of modern case to go through copyright laws.

Kelvin B.

Very timely. I enjoyed the interaction between the business affairs entertainment attorney and the litigator. This gave a good balance. I also thought that their analysis and projection of how the case would ultimately be resolved was insightful. More

Sandra A.

Makes me more likely than ever to want track the progress of this case!

Paul J. K.


Michael C.

Timely because I am working on copyright matters. Thanks.

Renee C.

The speakers were very well versed in the area of copyright and engaging.

Joseph S.

Excellent presentation. Practical and insightful.

Kristin P.

good contemporary subject

Brenda S.

Very Timely

Alisa Y.

Very interesting.

Hwesu M.

Very interesting discussion.

John A.

The materials included no case citations, no discussion, but instead were short bullet points. This is not acceptable.

Philip K.

Good presentation

Teresa P.

This was one of the most interesting classes I have taken for MCLE credit in a very long time. I loved the casual nature of the session along with the easy exchange of ideas and points of view and strategy. I would recommend this to all interested in this

Timothy A.

Very clear and very good litigation overview with business considerations.

Laurie C.


Nicole S.

Like TMZ exclusively for lawyers. Very interesting, very entertaining.

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