Drawing on interdisciplinary research methods from musicological and legal scholarship, this book maps the historical terrain of forensic musicology. It examines the contributions of musical expert witnesses, their analytical techniques, and the issues they encounter assisting courts in clarifying the blurred lines of music copyright.
Katherine M. Leo is assistant professor of music at Millikin University.
Chapter 1: The Foundations of Music Copyright Law and Musical Expertise
Chapter 2: Judges, Experts, and Ordinary Listeners
Chapter 3: Arnstein, Krofft, and the Narrowing Role of Expertise
Chapter 4: The Problems with Arnstein and Krofft
Chapter 5: Sampling Cases and the Digital Audio Revolution
Chapter 6: New Standards of Musical Expertise
Conclusion: The “Blurred Lines” of Contemporary Music Copyright Litigation
Katherine Leo offers the first in-depth study of the evolution of the role of ‘forensic musicologists’ from the mid-1800s through the present day. Leo plumbs the essential question behind the ‘precarious ethics’ of the work of these experts: how two experts, applying the same knowledge, could reasonably hold diametrically opposed opinions on the question of similarity of original expression between two musical works. Leo deftly traces, in language accessible to all readers, how seminal copyright cases in the twentieth century circumscribed the role of music experts, yet ultimately did not diminish their significance in the adjudication of infringement claims. Meticulously researched and sparely and clearly written, Forensic Musicology and the Blurred Lines of Copyright History should appeal to anyone interested in copyright or music, but especially to those interested in both.
This manuscript explores in depth, and for the first time, many important arguments regarding consistency of methodology in forensic musicology. It focuses on the role of the forensic musicologist as an expert witness, with reference to high profile case studies of music copyright infringement disputes. The approach is helpfully chronological, which is desirable given the co-evolution of copyright law, music creativity, and lawsuit ‘culture’ in the U.S. The strongest features of the work are clear and accessible writing style, adherence to real-world cases, and the thoroughness of the scholarship.