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Section | Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Section Meeting

Recent Developments In Music Copyright Law

Jeffrey G. Knowles | Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP
David Kostiner | Counsel LLP
Judith Finell | Judith Finell MusicServices Inc.

Join the MCBA's Intellectual Property Section and the Northern California Chapter of the Copyright Society for a virtual webinar on Recent Developments In Music Copyright Law to be held on Tuesday, May 11th from 12:00 to 1:00 PM.

We are excited to announce that Judith Finell, a nationally known and highly regarded musicologist, president of a music consulting firm in New York and LA, and professor of forensic musicology at UCLA, will be joining us as a co-panelist. Judith was a key expert in the Blurred Lines case, one of the decisions that is a focus of the presentation.

Recent years have seen major developments in the law of music copyright. Legislatively, the enactment of the Music Modernization Act in 2018 was a major milestone that dramatically altered the landscape for licensing of musical works and, for the first time, extended federal protection to pre-1972 sound recordings. Case law developments have been equally dramatic, especially in the Ninth Circuit. After first lowering the bar for establishing infringement of musical works in the 2018 and 2019 "Blurred Lines" and "Stairway to Heaven" decisions -- setting off a wave of challenges to major recording artists -- the Ninth Circuit reversed course in 2020. Overturning a number of earlier decisions, including the 2019 panel decision in the "Stairway to Heaven" case, the court sitting en banc once again raised the bar for establishing infringement of musical works. David Kostiner, Judith Finell and Jeff Knowles will walk you through these developments.

There will be time for Q&A following the presentation.

1.0 CLE will be provided.

Jeffrey G. Knowles and Steven A. Nielsen
Co-Chairs, MCBA Intellectual Property Section


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MCLE Notice: To receive MCLE credit, you must connect by digital device; i.e., tablet or computer. Call in by telephone only will not qualify. This activity is approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California. MCBA is a certified provider: Provider #411

Accessibility: People with disabilities and/or special requests should contact MCBA regarding reasonable accommodations.

1.0 CLE | General


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05/11/2021 12:00 PM 05/11/2021 1:00 PM America/Los_Angeles Intellectual Property Section Meeting Recent Developments In Music Copyright Law Hosted Webinar, Log in sent after registration, , CA, Marin County Bar Association false MM/DD/YYYY


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Date and Location

Tuesday | May 11, 2021

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Speaker Information

Jeffrey G. Knowles

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP

Jeff Knowles is a trial lawyer practicing complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on intellectual property matters. He has specific expertise in copyright, trademark, trade secret, Lanham Act, and other unfair competition cases, with deep experience in music-related litigation. He has represented clients in a broad array of industries, from music and Internet technology to consumer products and real estate.

Jeff has deep experience in the music industry. He was co-lead counsel to the music publisher plaintiffs in the groundbreaking Napster case, in which the plaintiffs secured and successfully defended on appeal an injunction prohibiting the defendant from facilitating the unauthorized internet distribution of their copyrighted works. See A&M Records, Inc., et al. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2001). He has also represented the major record labels in anti-piracy and other litigation, including in Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. v. Radionomy (N.D. Cal. 2016), an action against one of the world’s largest webcasters for failure to obtain statutory licenses. Jeff has represented numerous recording artists and performing rights organizations, including BMI. He currently represents SoundExchange, the collective rights management organization that collects and distributes royalties for non-interactive digital audio transmissions.

Jeff served as a law clerk to the Honorable Eugene F. Lynch of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and prior to joining the firm, worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. where he represented federal agencies in national impact litigation.

He served as the firm’s co-managing partner from 2008 – 2018.

David Kostiner

Counsel LLP

David Kostiner is the Managing Partner of Counsel LLP, a boutique creative law firm based in San Francisco, CA. His practice includes the representation of creators and innovators in the entertainment and technology industries with respect to all aspects of their businesses. David specializes in music, film and start-up strategies, rights transactions, corporate formation and maintenance, and trademarking. David was formerly an associate in the San Francisco office of Davis Shapiro Lewit and Hayes, LLP after beginning his career as a percussionist drumming in jazz clubs and appearing in the Tanglewood, New England and Interlochen Symphony Orchestras. He later joined Dreamworks artist Creeper Lagoon and toured and recorded with countless independent and major label artists.

Following his performing career and during law school, David co-founded the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (later sold to Sony Music) was the sponsorship director for the Noise Pop Music Festival and managed the internationally acclaimed artist Rogue Wave. David currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Entertainment Law at the University of California Hastings College of Law and frequently appears as a panelist and public speaker. David has been published by the Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal and the Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal.

David's education includes a J.D. from the UC Hastings College of Law, a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University and studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston University's Tanglewood Institute and the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Judith Finell

Judith Finell MusicServices Inc.

Judith Finell is a musicologist and has served as an expert witness and consultant in many music copyright disputes throughout the U.S. and abroad. She joined the UCLA faculty in 2019, and teaches the only course on forensic musicology in the country. She also advises film, television, advertising, media and tech companies on a wide variety of music topics, including digital sampling, music rights, infringement, and public domain. In addition to testifying in many notable copyright trials over the past two decades, she was the testifying expert for the Marvin Gaye estate against Pharrell Williams in the “Blurred Lines” trial in Federal District court, and also before the Copyright Royalty Board on behalf of the National Music Publishers Association regarding ringtones. She presides over Judith Finell MusicServices, a music consulting firm in Los Angeles and New York with a team of musicologists advising attorneys and their clients on music copyright issues. Judith Finell was honored to be the commencement speaker at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in 2018. She is active in the Copyright Society USA, including serving as the co-coordinator of the chapters, and as a trustee.