This essay uses a series of vignettes drawn from Billy Joel’s career to describe his encounters with copyright law. It begins by examining the ownership of the copyright in Joel’s songs. It continues by considering the authorship of Joel’s songs, and it concludes by evaluating certain infringement actions filed against Joel. This Essay observes that Joel’s encounters with copyright law were confusing and frustrating, but also quite typical. The banality of his experiences captures the uncertainty and incoherence of copyright doctrine.

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Notes/Citation Information

Brian L. Frye, Scenes from the Copyright Office, 32 Touro L. Rev. 83 (2016).