Sunday, August 23, 2009

Musicologically Speaking... You're Nuts

So, I have this dirty little secret. I'm a Nerd. A Law Nerd, to be more specific. I am absolutely fascinated by the law. Not so much by the legal system (since I've been involved in that for years), but with the philosophy, development, and application of law.
The rule of law is the true underpinning of civilized society. And while some would argue that our society is far from "civilized," well, let me tell ya, we're not doing too badly here in the good ol' U.S. of A. If you don't believe me, go visit an "exotic" locale like say, oh, Kabul, Afghanistan...
Anyway, I'm such a Law Nerd that I regularly read legal opinions...for fun. Yep, it's true. One of my home pages is the page for the Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court. I also follow a number of federal dockets. And since I live near Washington, DC, I occasionally sneak into a federal court room just to watch and listen.
Sometimes a gal just needs to feel like she's doing something "intellectual." Can't read Jovi-porn 24/7 after all. (Well, not that that would be BAD...)
Anyway, I had to laugh when I read this ruling, from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. It brings together two of my very favorite things -- Bon Jovi and baseball -- so of COURSE I eagerly absorbed the legal wisdom in these pages.
If you follow Bon Jovi even slightly obsessively (and if you're reading this, chances are you do), you probably recall that a Red Sox fan/amateur musician sued Bon Jovi, TBS, the Red Sox, and several other individuals/entities, for copyright infringement. This guy apparently wrote a song back in 2004 called "Man I Really Love This Team," about his beloved Sawks.
Well, fast-forward to 2007, when TBS aired the promo for the MLB Playoffs featuring Bon Jovi performing "I Love This Town", intercut with video of various MLB teams and players. (You all know it; it was up on the Bon Jovi official site until like, yesterday). Apparently the Sox Fan didn't like this promo, and decided that TBS, Bon Jovi, et al had ripped off his Ode to the Sawks and used it for their personal gain.
So anyway, I'm not gonna hash out the details of the case here, you can read it yourself if you choose. However, I gotta say that I enjoyed the Court's analysis and opinion. The Court granted the defendants' (Bon Jovi et al) motion for Summary Judgment, which meant that there wasn't "a genuine need for trial." In the analysis, the Court noted the "evidence" presented by "Expert Musicologists" from both parties.
Now the thing that really made laugh were the excerpts from the reports of the Expert Musicologists, i.e. "This case is not strong musicologically." I didn't know "musicologically" was even a word. Huh. You learn something new every day.
The Court said: "(The Court) has also carefully listened to the Steele Song and the Bon Jovi Song and viewed both the original TBS promo and the version provided by the plaintiff... (and) detects no musical similarity between the Steele Song and the Bon Jovi song."
Well, Duh. I could have told you that, and I'm not even an "expert."
But think how much fun those law clerks must have had, listening to "I Love This Town" and watching that video over and over and over.... Damn. I need a job like that!


  1. So, great that you posted the link to the ruling. Already wondered how it looks like in detail. Thanks a lot.

    Oh, and I can understand your interest in law...I'm a law student after all. lol

  2. See, I knew there was something I liked about you, Kris! ;) Ya know what they say... "Nerds of a Feather.." Oh wait. Was that something else?

    Good luck this semester! I'm sure you'll be up to your eyeballs in cases soon...

  3. I am already. Have an oral test at Sept. 10th.


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