British rockers Muse
British rockers Muse

The “Blurred Lines” copyright infringement decision could put significant constraints on music composers, as I argued yesterday. As AP reports, intellectual property attorney Glen Rothstein “said the decision sets a precedent because ‘paying homage to musical influences was an acceptable, and indeed commonplace way of conducting business and even showing respect for one’s musical idols, (but) after today, doubt has been cast on where the line will be drawn for copyright infringement purposes.'”

In short, the scope of creativity has been narrowed significantly. The AP story noted,

Larry Iser, an intellectual property lawyer who has represented numerous musicians such as Jackson Browne and David Byrne in music copyright cases, criticized the verdict.

“Although Gaye was the Prince of Soul, he didn’t own a copyright to the genre, and Thicke and Williams’ homage to the feel of Marvin Gaye is not infringing,” Iser said.

Predictably, the Gaye estate has announced that it will pursue additional lawsuits of this sort.

Until the courts find some scientific measure of musical originality—a doubtful occurrence—there will be an increase in the number of such lawsuits and a decrease in musical cross-pollination. Copyright is supposed to foster creativity, not frustrate it. Our copyright laws need much clarification and liberalization.

The UK alternative/progressive rock band Muse has announced a new tour of Britain and Europe beginning this month, plus a new album to be released on June 8. Singer Matt Bellamy said that Drones will be a sci-fi concept album about contemporary political themes: “To me, ‘Drones’ are metaphorical psychopaths which enable psychopathic behaviour with no recourse. The world is run by Drones utilising Drones to turn us all into Drones.” A non-album track, “Psycho,” will be released today, and the first Drones track, “Dead Inside,” on March 23.

The FXX Network is showing a full evening of Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween specials tonight from 6 to midnight EDT. Check your local listings for availability and channel number.

Have a great weekend.