Erickson had alleged that Blake's pi song "sounded substantially similar," and therefore infringes the copyrighted melody that Erickson registered in 1992. He told CNN last year that "nobody can copyright pi," but that he "copyrighted the melody of pi to protect my work, just like anybody would copyright their work."
Judge Michael H. Simon, of the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, agreed with the plaintiff on that point: "Pi is a non-copyrightable fact," he wrote. Still, he continued, "the transcription of pi to music is a non-copyrightable idea. The resulting pattern of notes is an expression that merges with the non-copyrightable idea of putting pi to music: assigning digits to musical notes and playing those notes in the sequence of pi is an idea that can only be expressed."
That doesn't mean Erickson's copyright is invalid, "only that Mr. Erickson may not use his copyright to stop others from employing this particular pattern of musical notes," Simon continued.
Erickson said in an e-mail to CNN on Tuesday that he would simply urge people to watch his video and Blake's video and draw their own conclusions.
"I wrote "Pi Symphony" 20 years ago, I am thrilled to have presented it first," Erickson said. "It was my gift to the world, no strings attached. Life goes on."
You be the judge of that.
Erickson's Pi Symphony...
Blake's Sound of Pi.