Dissertation Index

Author: DeVlieger, Dana L

Title: Promoting Creativity: How the Use of Music Analysis Affects Value Judgments in Copyright Litigation

Institution: University of Minnesota

Begun: August 2016

Completed: June 2020


This dissertation investigates the role of music analysis in copyright litigation and demonstrates that forensic musicology is a subjective and problematic discipline. Part of this subjectivity is due to misunderstood terms and definitions. Additionally, forensic musicology is an interpretive act, rather than a falsifiable statement of facts. For this reason, it is entirely possible that opposing experts could come up with contradictory but equally valid analyses of the pieces at issue in a case. Finally, the lack over oversight of forensic musicologists and the discipline’s disconnect from music scholarship has fostered the use of flawed analytical techniques, misleading claims about the nature of analysis, and a general disregard for newly developed methodologies geared specifically towards popular music. This project addresses each of these issues, bringing together perspectives from legal scholarship, music scholarship, and creators of popular music. Ultimately, several solutions are proposed to improve the consistency of music copyright litigation.

Keywords: copyright law, popular music, analysis of popular music, forensic musicology, creativity, ontology of music


Chapter 1: What Are We Protecting?
Chapter 2: Key Terms
Chapter 3: Musical Experts
Chapter 4: Music Analysis in Recent High-Profile Cases
Chapter 5: A Case Study
Chapter 6: Finders of Fact
Conclusion: Now What?


Dana L. DeVlieger (danadevlieger2023@nlaw.northwestern.edu)

     Return to dissertations