Pi Copyright Case Dismissed on Pi Day 2012

By Deakin T. Lauer Published March 14, 2012

In 2011 Michael Blake published a YouTube video titled “What Pi Sounds Like” in celebration of Pi day (March 14th). On Pi day 2011, NPR ran a radio story featuring Blake’s “What Pi Sounds Like.” The YouTube video went viral, garnering over 750,000 views. Less than a month later, Blake was sued in the District of Nebraska for copyright infringement by Lars Erickson who copyrighted a work called the “Pi Symphony” in 1992. As a result of Erickson’s suit, YouTube took down Blake’s video. Klarquist filed a motion to dismiss the case because the works were not substantially similar. The Nebraska court transferred the case to Oregon. On Pi day, March 14, 2012, Judge Michael Simon granted Blake’s motion to dismiss, finding that Erickson was impermissibly attempting to extend his copyright to cover the idea of creating a musical work based on the number Pi. CNN, New Scientist, and the Wall Street Journal have each written stories about Michael Blake’s case.

Blake was represented by Stephen J. Joncus of Klarquist.