Renowned Copyright/IP Consultant and Berklee Online Course Author/Professor Dr. E. Michael Harrington Visited the School’s Gilbert, Ariz. Campus to Provide an Overview of Copyright and Intellectual Property Law as it Pertains to the Music Industry
Gilbert, Ariz., Feb. 22, 2023 – It is essential that anyone working in the music industry have a good knowledge of copyright law as it pertains to music because copyright law is the most important and only federal protection afforded to musicians for their work.
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS; www.cras.edu), the premier institution for audio engineering education, recognizes the importance that its students be familiar with this knowledge, and learn from the industry’s best. As such, CRAS once again welcomed renowned copyright/IP consultant and Berklee online course author/professor Dr. E. Michael Harrington to its Gilbert, Ariz. campus to provide an overview of copyright and intellectual property law as it pertains to the music industry for the next generation of pro audio and music professionals.
“[CRAS] students were very enthusiastic and engaged in my presentation, and I had one-on-one conversations with almost every student before, during, and after my presentation,” explained Dr. Harrington. “I always bring an audience into the presentation by means of questions I pose to them, often asking them as potential jurors in copyright litigation for their opinions. CRAS students work intimately and deeply in the nuances of music at its core…the recorded music copyright from stem-to-stem and from the beginning of a project through all its phases until its release.”
During his time at CRAS, Dr. Harrington delved into his work as a consultant and expert witness in cases involving Led Zeppelin, Katy Perry, Blurred Lines, We Shall Overcome, the U.S. Post Service “Creepy Clown” commercial, parody cases, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Ludacris, NWA, Busta Rhymes, George Clinton. He also discussed his work in preemptive/proactive copyright issues involving music in film, TV, advertising and games, and new issues involving co-writing, sampling, interpolation and mashups as well as his proposals for a Compulsory License to Sample Sound Recordings, a potential revision to the U.S. Copyright Law.
“Students at CRAS are very happy to be at that school and for the best reasons…they love learning about and applying their knowledge to every phase of the recording process and interacting with the faculty and each other,” Dr. Harrington continued. “They are extremely supportive of each other and helpful for any of their peers who could use friendly encouragement and/or kind words and/or help in the educational process at CRAS. From my viewpoint as a visitor, I notice and love the good feelings and vibes at CRAS. These are people you want to get to know, and hear their opinions and insight and build friendships with them. I hope to return to CRAS in the near future.”
According to Dr. Harrington, mistakes and oversights in copyright almost always result in federal offenses, i.e., the U.S. Copyright Act is a federal law and infringements can range from $750-$150,000 per offense. In addition, copyright litigation can often take many years to resolve even without appeals to the circuit courts.
Dr. Harrington was the expert witness responsible for freeing the iconic civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome” in 2018. He co-authored two successful amicus briefs for defendants Led Zeppelin and Katy Perry in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2020 & 2022 and has served as consultant in hundreds of music copyright & IP matters involving Apple, Amazon, Buena Vista, Walt Disney, HBO, Samsung, Blurred Lines, Busta Rhymes, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Marvel, EA, 50 Cent, Tupac, Led Zeppelin, the Chicks, Katy Perry, Steve Perry, Adele, Lady Gaga, Deadmau5, Danger Mouse, Vince Gill, T-Pain, Steven Spielberg, USPS and more. Harrington served as expert at the U.S. Copyright Office and World Intellectual Property Organization’s symposium “Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” at the Library of Congress on February 5, 2020. He created the Berklee College of Music/Coursera Copyright Law In The Music Business class/MOOC which has been taken by students from 172 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the Berklee Graduate Music Business Law and Music Business Capstone classes.
“I still would have understood Dr. Harrington’s presentation if I had never taken audio business courses at CRAS already,” said Kyra Phillips, CRAS AES Student Section President. “It was such a joyful, laid-back, yet informative event. Everyone had a good laugh, and might’ve heard one of their favorite songs while also learning about the quick ins and outs of music copyright and IP from an expert. I would love for Dr. Harrington to visit and present again.”
Added CRAS student Anthony Frausto, “Dr. Harrington provided a fantastic and engaging session discussing some of the pitfalls and particulars of copyright law. His use of actual music really cemented the concepts that he discussed and his reference to actual cases provided a practical look into how it affects musicians and producers. His humor made a dry topic entertaining, and kept me focused through the whole event. Dr. Harrington is a fantastic educator that I hope I am able to see speak at another event in the future.”
Concluded CRAS student Ethan Harmeling, “Dr. Harrington’s presentation relied on examples to illustrate what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to copyright. He compared songs to see if we agreed with the judge’s decision with some jokes sprinkled throughout, as well. The presentation brought new life to the topic of copyright law.”
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is composed of two nearby campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz. A CRAS education includes broadcast audio, live sound, film and TV audio, music, and video game audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have all excelled in their individual fields, including sound reinforcement, audio recording and production, digital recording, troubleshooting/maintenance, and music business.
The 11-month program is designed to allow every student access to learn and train in all of the Conservatory’s studios which are comprised with state-of-the-art audio recording and mixing gear, the same equipment used in today’s finest studios and remote broadcast facilities, including Pro Tools 12, API Legacy consoles, SSL AWS consoles, Studer Vista consoles, and much more. All students must complete a 280-hour industry internship to graduate from the Master Recording Program II that may ultimately lead to industry employment.
For more information on the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences, please visit www.cras.edu, contact Kirt Hamm, administrator, at 1-800-562-6383, or email to [email protected]
About The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences
Based in the heart of The Valley of the Sun with two campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz., The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) is one of the country’s premier institutions for audio education. The Conservatory has developed a unique and highly effective way to help the future audio professional launch their careers in the recording industry and other related professional audio categories.