Il 16 maggio 2023 giudice Stanton, US district -southern dist. of NY, 18 Civ . 5839 (LLS ), STRUCTURED ASSET SALES , LLC v. Sheeran, Atlantic Recordings +altri, nega la contraffazione di Let’s get it on di Marving Gaywe dsa parte di Thinking Out di Sheeran (v. link al testo dal sito del Tribunale).
Il ragionameto interessante sotto il profilo sostanziale è sub Analysis 2. Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment is Granted , p. 9 ss., e si concentra sulla proteggibilità di un insieme di due elementi singolarmenet non proteggibili:
<<SAS alleges that the combination of the chord progression
and the harmonic rhythm used in “Thinking Out Loud” is
substantially similar to that in “Let’s Get It On,” and thus
infringes the work. SAS acknowledges, and the Court concurs,
that the chord progression and harmonic rhythm, in isolation,
are not individually protected . The question then is whether two
common elements are numerous enough to make their combination
eligible for copyright protection .(…)This Court is not aware of any case upholding a selection and arrangement claim based on the combination of two
commonplace , unprotectable musical elements . Courts often
evaluate combinations of at least three common musical elements
and still find their selection and arrangement to be unoriginal.
(…) At some level , every work is the selection and arrangement
of unprotectable elements . Musical compositions chiefly adhere
to this template . All songs , after all , are made up of the
” limited number of notes and chords available to composers .”
Gaste v . Kaiserman , 863 F . 2d 1061 , 1068 (2d Cir. 1988) . Within
that limited number , there are even fewer ways to combine the
elements in a manner that is pleasing to the ears . That means a
songwriter only has finite options for playing a commonplace
chord progression . The options are so few that many combinations
have themselves become commonplace , especially in popular music .
If the selection and arrangement of unprotectable elements , in
their combination , is ” so commonplace that it has come to be
expected as a matter of course ,” then it lacks the “minimal
creative spark required by the Copyright Act and the
Constitution” to be original and thus protectable . Feist
Publications , Inc . v . Rural Tel . Serv . Co ., 499 U. S . 340 , 363
(1991) >> .
In conclusione, la canzone azionata non è proteggibile: <<The selection and arrangement of these two musical elements
in “Let’s Get It On” is now commonplace and thus their
combination is unprotectable. If their combination were
protected and not freely available to songwriters, the goal of
copyright law “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful
Arts” would be thwarted. U.S. Const. art. I§ 8. The Copyright
Act envisioned that there will be unprotectable elements-based
works “in which the selection, coordination, and arrangement are
not sufficiently original to trigger copyright protection.”
Feist Publications, Inc., 499 U.S. at 358.
As a matter of law , the combination of the chord
progression and harmonic rhythm in “Let ‘ s Get It On ” is too
commonplace to merit copyright protection>>.
Analogo esito pochji giorni prima per le stessi canzoni nella lite Townsend (erede di uno dei due coautori) v. Sheeran (testo però non reperito in rete)