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Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

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Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:01 am

Hi,

I appreciate anyone who reads this post and desires to offer any assistance.

I have read SOS before and even been around this forum although I generally stay away from forums and online posting. That said I am looking for another opinion before I press on with some other angles first.

I do apologize for making this my first post here.

I have a situation here and am on the fence. Normally I would handle this kind of thing offline but again if anyone wants to lend a helping hand that would be great.

I have two songs here, the music is fairly similar, although I'm not certain its similar enough to constitute an infringement case and judgment. Most say it sounds similar, some aren't sure and some don't think its close enough to be an actual infringement.

I'm aware, at least the last time I checked, that the statute of limitations start when I become aware of such an infringement. I became aware of this infringement a few months ago.

I am yet to use the services of a Musicologist, however have in the past. To be fair I've had a difficult time finding any lately with the time or the desire to help, even with pay.

Preferably a musicologist would give a listen and then offer their professional paid services if they thought it was worthy of a lawsuit or a case, ie I would pay them to write a letter stating their professional opinion.

Two songs, one has vocals and I have uploaded the other without Vocals.

The structures are a bit different however you will notice they are strikingly similar with the parts just sectioned differently. While one starts with the slower note having the higher quicker piano kick in, the other starts with the fast section off the bat and then switches to the slower part later. The tempo is a bit different and the selection of samples are a bit different, ones phasier. The odd note is a bit different although the timing of notes is very similar.

I can't say for sure how they would have gotten this song although my song was published and released years previous to Santigolds.

Please if you care to take a listen and offer your opinion that would be great.

If you would prefer to offer private help in hopes of some pay, that is also appreciated.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DsI3_ ... A7rwf2hzbO

https://drive.google.com/open?id=11MAGp ... jpkRapO_6S

Thanks for your time.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:02 pm

Hmmm, suspect you're going to need professional legal advice on this, as it may well depend where in the world you are and therefore what legal precendent has been set.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby ReadySaltedChris » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:54 pm

They sound nothing alike.

Move on.

(IMO)
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Wonks » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:10 pm

I'll just point out that ReadySaltedChris is a true professional musician who produces an awful lot of top quality library music that appears in films and commercials. So he knows all about being careful that his tracks don't sound like anyone else's.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:20 pm

blinddrew wrote:Hmmm, suspect you're going to need professional legal advice on this, as it may well depend where in the world you are and therefore what legal precendent has been set.

Yes precedent could matter, good point.

Thanks.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:24 pm

ReadySaltedChris wrote:They sound nothing alike.

Move on.

(IMO)

As far as notes, chords, mix or overall sound?

When I first heard it randomly my brain thought it was the song I own and then after a few more seconds, I thought it sure sounded a lot like it.

I've mostly moved on but with SOL it's important I do my due diligence to make sure.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and offer your opinion.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:32 pm

Wonks wrote:I'll just point out that ReadySaltedChris is a true professional musician who produces an awful lot of top quality library music that appears in films and commercials. So he knows all about being careful that his tracks don't sound like anyone else's.

Thanks.

I certainly appreciate the feedback and of course welcome the opinion, however, a musician isn't necessarily an expert at music theory or infringement.

I have some songs on Television and used in Advertising Campaigns.

For me, it's about making sure it's not a possible Copyright Infringement case. While I think it sounds a bit similar Ive seen other cases where songs sounded more similar and there was no case or judgment for the plaintiff. Whether or not it sounds alike or that they found the song and used it as inspiration to create theirs is ultimately beside the point.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:34 pm

Unklike Chris I would say they are pretty similar. But can you be sure you didn't inadvertently 'borrow' the riff from somewhere? I'd guess it must have been done before. Without the melody and/or lyrics being the same I would describe it as coincidence and not worth pursuing but see below.

It's a bit like the "Stairway To Heaven" case, that descending baseline/riff has been around since before the first guitar was born so I doubt anybody living can really claim to have invented it. But US lawyers seem to think differently. If that case is won (by the complainant) I'd re think (and despair for songwriters everywhere 'cos you don't have a snowflake in hell's chance of coming up with something truly original)........
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:58 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Unklike Chris I would say they are pretty similar. But can you be sure you didn't inadvertently 'borrow' the riff from somewhere? I'd guess it must have been done before. Without the melody and/or lyrics being the same I would describe it as coincidence and not worth pursuing but see below.

It's a bit like the "Stairway To Heaven" case, that descending baseline/riff has been around since before the first guitar was born so I doubt anybody living can really claim to have invented it. But US lawyers seem to think differently. If that case is won (by the complainant) I'd rethink (and despair for songwriters everywhere 'cos you don't have a snowflake in hell's chance of coming up with something truly original)........

Thanks. I mostly agree.

I can't say for sure whether the riff was borrowed or not. I, or rather my company, ultimately owns the rights to this song and I only know it was made previous to the Santigold song. I am a songwriter on the vocal version but did not compose this specific sound recording. The lyrics are definitely not the same.

I was thinking the same thing earlier and even made a comment in an earlier reply about that specific song situation you are referring to. I've seen some cases where the sound recording sounded so much alike however still did not obtain a judgment in favor. This leads me to believe its likely just coincidence and not worth at least the expense of time or money in pursuing this other than some more opinions.

I tend not to listen to vocal music and most music for two reasons, 1. I don't even want to hear right now if someone may or may not be infringing on something I own due to the statute of limitations, and 2. I don't want to be influenced consciously or subconsciously by other music/vocals only to accidentally rip something off and face a case.

That being said I heard a song the other day and thought to myself, "how can this lead melody be original, how can anything be original anymore"?
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:50 pm

Putting my musicologist hat on, If those two tracks are similar enough for one to sue the other then I suspect both of them should be quaking in their boots if the author of this comes knock-knock-knocking on their door: https://youtu.be/rnKbImRPhTE?t=27 :roll:
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:13 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:Putting my musicologist hat on, If those two tracks are similar enough for one to sue the other then I suspect both of them should be quaking in their boots if the author of this comes knock-knock-knocking on their door: https://youtu.be/rnKbImRPhTE?t=27 :roll:

Isn't that just a modern cover? One using names and keywords to help it in searches so it gets more views?

Youtube will be paying any rights holders their fair share of the 24 million views, as that sounds like it would need a compulsory license at the very least and likely Dylan would even have a claim for use of his name and likeness. I even think this keyword SEO game is breaching into fraud and false advertising.

Not to sidetrack, but music is one of the guinea pigs in many ways regarding digital rights. Back in the day it was a lot harder for people to steal and/or to rip things off of people, music included. Now with the lack of digital security for basically everyone, it has changed the landscape. Where before you would be able to get it to market and start marketing and promoting and making revenues off of it, now it can be taken before you even finish it or show it to anyone!

Where an inventor could have a blueprint and fear only in person espionage of hardcopy theft for people to steal and impersonate, now you just need an internet connection and a hacker or those abilities.

Patent Lawyers and Patent Preparers are almost now all online, even writing up your patent application on their internet connected computer, and hardly any of them think anything of it.

For those who were worried the internet was going to democratize the music industry and ruin traditional publishing, they have been able to witness the opposite, contraction and hyper-consolidation.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:04 pm

Of course if you really want to go 'back in the day' copyright only laster 14 years and didn't cover music at all...
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:12 am

manhattan wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:Putting my musicologist hat on, If those two tracks are similar enough for one to sue the other then I suspect both of them should be quaking in their boots if the author of this comes knock-knock-knocking on their door: https://youtu.be/rnKbImRPhTE?t=27 :roll:

Isn't that just a modern cover? One using names and keywords to help it in searches so it gets more views?

Quite so, but my point was that having listened to the two tracks posted, I don't think any reasonable person would seriously consider taking action of any kind.

Both are very simple in terms of harmonic and melodic content (which increases the chances of someone else independently coming up with the same thing), and given the differences they do have, any legal action would be inappropriate in my view.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:46 am

I agree with Eddy (which was my point in the earlier post). There are a lot of guitar or keyboard 'riffs' which are almost automatic to even the most basic players https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDsUv_NIyaM for example. The "Stairway" riff is another and, on keys, the riff in your examples is another. I don't think anybody could claim to have 'invented' or 'composed' them. It's time for the courts to start throwing out these spurious claims (which are usually only brought when a song based around a popular chord sequence/riff becomes successful anyway.

As and aside, if there is a statute of limitations how is it that Page and Plant are being pursued through the courts WRT a song they wrote 48 years ago?
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:00 am

A little tongue in cheek but this always puts a smile on my face - how all the following songs use the same 4 chords :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOlDewpCfZQ

Journey -- "Don't Stop Believing"
James Blunt -- "You're Beautiful"
Black Eyed Peas -- "Where Is the Love"
Alphaville -- "Forever Young"
Jason Mraz -- "I'm Yours"
Train -- "Hey Soul Sister"
The Calling -- "Wherever You Will Go"
Elton John -- "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (from The Lion King)
Akon -- "Don't Matter"
John Denver -- "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
Lady Gaga -- "Paparazzi"
U2 -- "With Or Without You"
The Last Goodnight -- "Pictures of You"
Maroon Five -- "She Will Be Loved"
The Beatles -- "Let It Be"
Bob Marley -- "No Woman No Cry"
Marcy Playground -- "Sex and Candy"
Men At Work -- "Land Down Under"
Theme from America's Funniest Home Videos
Jack Johnson -- "Taylor"
Spice Girls -- "Two Become One"
A Ha -- "Take On Me"
Green Day -- "When I Come Around"
Eagle Eye Cherry -- "Save Tonight"
Toto -- "Africa"
Beyonce -- "If I Were A Boy"
Kelly Clarkson -- "Behind These Hazel Eyes"
Jason DeRulo -- "In My Head"
The Smashing Pumpkins -- "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"
Joan Osborne -- "One Of Us"
Avril Lavigne -- "Complicated"
The Offspring -- "Self Esteem"
The Offspring -- "You're Gonna Go Far Kid"
Akon -- "Beautiful"
Timberland featuring OneRepublic -- "Apologize"
Eminem featuring Rihanna -- "Love the Way You Lie"
Bon Jovi -- "It's My Life"
Lady Gaga -- "Pokerface"
Aqua -- "Barbie Girl"
Red Hot Chili Peppers -- "Otherside"
The Gregory Brothers -- "Double Rainbow"
MGMT -- "Kids"
Andrea Bocelli -- "Time To Say Goodbye"
Robert Burns -- "Auld Lang Syne"
Five for fighting -- "Superman"
The Axis of Awesome -- "Birdplane"
Missy Higgins -- "Scar"
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby scw » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:53 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:A little tongue in cheek but this always puts a smile on my face - how all the following songs use the same 4 chords :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOlDewpCfZQ

[/i]

Awesome! :P
This illustrates the well worn legal stand that chord progressions can't be copy written (like song titles).
The recent US ruling on Blurred Line's throws everything into total confusion and chaos (IMO). The ruling was made on "feel". WTF???
We're all doomed, Capt Mainwaring !!! Based on this I'd say both songs posted by the OP bore more than a passing resemblance IMO. :beamup:
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:19 am

Yep, the Blurred Lines decision has really made a mess of things frankly. Very disappointing from the court.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby The Bunk » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:17 pm

Brings to mind the story of Radiohead's "Creep" being nicked from the Hollies' "Air That I Breathe", to which Radiohead basically 'fessed up by all accounts. It's an unusual chord progression (the verse) and it's hardly as if the vocal melodies are similar. IMO you'd never have guessed.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby ReadySaltedChris » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:51 pm

Wonks wrote:I'll just point out that ReadySaltedChris is a true professional.

I wouldn't go quite that far matey :)
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Wonks » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:03 pm

And far too modest as well.
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