The Man Musicians Call When Two Tunes Sound Alike

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Mr. Oxendale’s reticence to discuss ongoing cases — he won’t even show journalists his office in case they stumble across notes — is evidence of one truth about the world of music copyright: There can be a lot of money involved. Mr. Oxendale takes on around 450 cases a year in which musicians are liable for “thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of pounds,” he says. “The duty of care’s quite terrifying.”

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Peter Oxendale

Credit
Dan Charity

Last year, a jury awarded Gaye’s family $7.3 million after deciding that Robin Thicke’s hit “Blurred Lines” copied one of his songs. (Mr. Oxendale was involved in the case, though he won’t say how, and says the verdict was appalling. “Those songs only share a groove. A jury can say the sky is green, but…

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