Posted by Johnson & Johnson, LLP | Aug 11, 2022 |
The Ninth Circuit Frees Up More Musical Building Blocks (Gray v. Hudson)
In 2018, the Ninth Circuit upheld a jury verdict against the writers of the song “Blurred Lines” for copyright infringement in a controversial decision that, while arguably based on a technicality, quickly ricocheted through the creative community, leaving many musicians feeling that they could no longer safely predict where the line would be drawn between inspiration and appropriation. In 2020, the Ninth Circuit took the opportunity to course correct in the case of Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin by clarifying that it had no intention of locking up basic musical motifs under the auspices of copyright law. Now, two years later, the Ninth Circuit has doubled down on Skidmore’s direction in the case of Gray v. Hudson.