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Music industry caught up in copyright infringement trend

Stairway to heavenly dollars

Lawyers who want to represent musician-plaintiffs in copyright infringement lawsuits may be climbing the stairway to heaven, financially speaking.

That’s according to an article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal regarding a Christian rap artist’s successful $2.8 million lawsuit against pop singer Katy Perry, who he said copied his song — and a judge agreed, leaving at least one law professor to quip: “I would think this is a lucrative market to consider entering” for lawyers who want to represent plaintiffs in such suits.

The latest move comes on the eve of two pending cases — both copyright infringement, one regarding the famous “Stairway to Heaven” and Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” — and on the heels of a $5.8 million award in 2016 to the estate of Marvin Gaye after singers/songwriters Robin Thicke and Pharrell were ruled to have copied Mr. Gaye’s hit “Got to Give It Up” for their “Blurred Lines” song, according to the article.

Insiders told a reporter they fear a trend is emerging: songwriters filing costly lawsuits over songs they think sound like their creation.

“I think every music lawyer in the country is screaming right now,” music-trial litigator Ed McPherson, a copyright specialist whose clients have included Lady Gaga, Fergie and Limp Bizkit, told the newspaper. “There are only 12 notes you can work with, and so things are going to sound alike without technically infringing,” he added.



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