UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


Jeremy Aregood

Citations to This Work

  • Eleanor Selfridge-Field, Substantial Musical Similarity in Sound and Notation: Perspectives from Digital Musicology, 16 Colo. Tech. L.J. 249 (2018)

  • Michael G. Kubik, Rejecting the De Minimis Defense to Infringement of Sound Recording Copyrights, 93 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1699 (2018)


The result of Williams v. Bridgeport Music, Inc. highlights a major issue in musical plagiarism factfinding. Different circuits employ different tests for fact-finding, however all the tests involve some form of objective criteria that is guided by expert witnesses who perform musical analyses. Because expert witnesses influence their analysis with their own subjective interpretations of the music, and because juries are not fully aware of the distinction between objective and subjective analysis, juries have a distinct possibility of returning a verdict that contradicts the evidence and public policy. New advancements in technology and computation may assist courts in evaluating the objective similarity factors of musical plagiarism. This comment examines the music analytic technology being developed today, explores the potential applications as well as the implications of adopting new technology to improve music copyright law, and provides an understanding of the increasingly blurred line between objective and subjective music copyright litigation.