Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 August 2019
In this essay, I describe the experience of serving as an expert witness in the copyright infringement lawsuit popularly known as the Blurred Lines case. The case hinged on similarities between Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s song ‘Blurred Lines’ and the Marvin Gaye hit ‘Got to Get It On’, but the nature of the Copyright Act of 1909 used in the case raises key questions of definition. Is a popular song comprised of only the melody and the chords with everything else considered arrangement? Or does the nature of popular music as frequently aurally composed or groove-based indicate that we should expand our understanding of creative composition?