Judith Finell, musicologist and UCLA alumna, to deliver 2018 UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music commencement address

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UCLA Commencement
UCLA Commencement

Judith Finell, a renowned musicologist specializing in forensics and music copyright, the president of Judith Finell MusicServices Inc., a music consulting firm in New York and Los Angeles, and a UCLA alumna, will be the keynote speaker for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music 2018 commencement ceremony, scheduled for Friday, June 15 at 4 p.m. in Dickson Court North.

“Judith is passionate about music and has used her expertise in musical analysis, history, literature and theory to build an internationally recognized music consulting firm,” said Judith Smith, the school’s dean. “She’s an influential voice in the field of forensic musicology and it’s an honor to have her speak to our graduates.”

As a specialist in issues involving the intersection of music, law and technology, Finell frequently testifies as an expert witness and consults in various litigations involving copyright infringement for music publishers, media and technology companies, advertising agencies and individual composers and songwriters.

In her most recent high-profile case, she served as a forensic musicologist for the family of Marvin Gaye, who won its music copyright lawsuit against the songwriters Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for their 2013 song “Blurred Lines,” one of the best-selling singles of all time. Finell has also testified and consulted on behalf of Michael Jackson, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner/Chappell Music, and for the estates of composer Igor Stravinsky and singer-songwriter Bob Marley.

Finell’s firm regularly advises entertainment company clients, among them HBO, Sony Pictures, Disney, Warner Bros. Films, Lionsgate and Lucasfilm, on risk avoidance and music licensing in copyright matters.

A trustee and former board officer of the Copyright Society of the USA, Finell has written numerous articles and a book on the topics of contemporary music and copyright infringement. As a highly-regarded guest lecturer, she has spoken at law schools across the country, including at the UCLA School of Law, as well as Harvard, Columbia and Stanford universities. She is a regular guest speaker in Los Angeles, where she has addressed the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Los Angeles Copyright Society and the Association of Independent Music Publishers.

While at UCLA, Finell completed her undergraduate studies in piano performance, receiving her B.A. degree. She also holds an M.A. degree in musicology from the University of California, Berkeley.