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A cloud hangs over the music industry four years after the copyright trial of No. 1 song where writers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, were ordered to pay more than $5 million for copying Marvin Gaye’s disco-era hit “Got to Give It Up.”


  1. According to intellectual property lawyers and music executives interviewed for this article, what has happened since the Robin Thicke case?
  2. How far back in time do copyright disputes go in U.S. music?
  3. How are songwriters arming themselves against the risk of copyright infringement?
  4. How is a copyright typically accounted for on the books of a company? 


Sisario, B. (2019). ‘Blurred Lines’ on Their Minds, Songwriters Create Nervously. New York Times, March 31 (Retrievable online at