In-depth: Q&A

Q: What is a music expert witness?

A: A music expert witness, or music consultant is someone registered as a Technical Music Consultant (C.T.U.) with a Court as having displayed both "special competence" in the specific feld as well as "flawless morality". In this case, our music expert witness is Maestro Luca Ruggero Jacovella, registered C.T.U. with the Civil Court of Rome. (www.lucajacovella.com) A C.T.U. is generally summoned by a judge to carry out a sworn appraisal regarding some technical aspect (musical) decisive in determining the outcome of a litigation case between two parties. In such cases, we refer to a "Office Technical Consultations". Alternatively, the Consultant can be summoned by a private party (or company) who wishes to present a sworn appraisal in order to demonstrate or confirm their arguments and demands in a dispute, or following the nomination of a C.T.U., or to support an extra-judiciary request. This is known as a One-sided Technical Consultant - C.T.P.

Q: Under what circumstances would a private party, for example a publishing house, request a sworn appraisal?

A: The most common circumstances are probably those regarding copyright issues, such as plagiarism. That is, when it is assumed that a piece of music, registered later with SIAE (or a similar foreign company) by another author, is the same or similar to, or contains an obvious consonance of musical elements to a piece considered to be original or previously registered (types: total plagiarism or usurpation; partial; disguised,...) In such cases, the music expert witness analyzes the audible versions (if possible) of the two pieces of music in question and looks at the scores deposited with SIAE (or another foreign company). All parameters of musical language are taken into consideration (molodies above all, but also harmony, rhythm, arrangements, etc...) in order to formulate a conclusion supporting the denouncing artist (if regarding a "one-sided appraisal"). Staying within the realm of an author's moral rights, sometimes an author's paternal intellectual rights can go unrecognized with regards to a protected musical piece. In particular, we refer to cases of deformation, mutilation, changes or any act which damages the piece or prejudices an author's reputation or honor (as covered in article 20 of the copyright law – 22/4/41 n.633).

Q: How exactly do your consultation services take place?

A: You can either request an opinion, or a sworn appraisal from our music expert witness.

• The expert opinion: the client supplies all of the material necessary for a careful analysis of the case; or books a visit from our music expert witness (e.g. for an artist's audition at a work place). The opinion can also be expressed in writing, upon request. Fees may vary according to the complexity of the case, eventual travel expenses, reimbursement of costs incurred, etc...and will be agreed upon the client's request. The music expert witness will issue a commercial receipt.
• The sworn appraisal: of an entirely different rank as the music expert takes upon himself all legal responsibilities regarding his assertions. The procedure is the same as music expert witness activities previously stated. An appraisal must be delivered in written form. Fees may vary according to the complexity of the case, eventual travel expenses, reimbursement of costs incurred, etc...and will be agreed upon the client's request.

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