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Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby scw » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:58 pm

scw wrote:The recent US ruling on Blurred Line's throws everything into total confusion and chaos (IMO). The ruling was made on "feel".

I should clarify that this ruling was made by an American Jury and not the Judiciary. This begs the question why are such decisions made by a Jury? What do they know? :roll:
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:21 pm

scw wrote:
scw wrote:The recent US ruling on Blurred Line's throws everything into total confusion and chaos (IMO). The ruling was made on "feel".

I should clarify that this ruling was made by an American Jury and not the Judiciary. This begs the question why are such decisions made by a Jury? What do they know? :roll:
Indeed, personally I think the judge made a bit of a hash of both the case and the jury instructions. But hey, turns out I'm not actually a lawyer... ;)

Though interestingly (for a given value of 'interesting') the reason that the Stairway case is back in the dock is because of a dodgy jury instruction so there's still some hope.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:34 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:
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?

Depends on the Jurisdiction. Could also depend on definitions and interpretations. I'm really not that familiar with that case.

Where I am there is a Statute of Limitations on it of 3 years, the last time I checked. It's a bit of a muddy grey area though, as how do you really prove the date someone knows of a possible infringement?
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:09 pm

ReadySaltedChris wrote:They sound nothing alike. Move on.

^^

This

They have rhythmic keys and drums. So does Back to Black. The similarities end there.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby ReadySaltedChris » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:51 pm

manhattan wrote:
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.

True but not bigging myself or anything mate but not only have i got grade 5 piano (just missed out on a merit by 15 marks) but i know more theortical stuff too - like that e minor has two flats and that there's treble, base and tenner clefs. That kinda thing.

So yeah, i know things.

hth
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:01 am

BJG145 wrote:
ReadySaltedChris wrote:They sound nothing alike. Move on.

^^

This

They have rhythmic keys and drums. So does Back to Black. The similarities end there.

I disagree.

The two examples I posted sound nothing like back to black and have more in common than just keys and drums.

When you listen intently and break apart the two examples I posted, there are really striking similarities, otherwise, I wouldn't be wasting my time or anyone else's.

When I say striking similarities I mean even in the structure and different parts enough to pique the curiosity to why they are structured overall so similarly and ultimately have very similar progressions in notes especially when they are played.

While I understand this is mostly simple music and not some classical or prog rock stuff, and therefore can be feasibly believed that there is a possibility other people are coming up with a similar thing on their own free from inspiration from mine or anyone else's song, its still important I seek more opinions, yours included, which I appreciate.

I also want to iterate that I'm really just doing my due diligence, I own sound recordings where others are represented and if I do not do more investigating then I am not handling my duties and obligations therein, which I prefer to ensure I do. I am also not searching or desperate for something, I'm not hoping on a big break or looking for a big score or some fame thing, I simply walked into a coffee shop one day and heard Chasing Shadows playing, I walked in when there were no vocals on and immediately went, woah that's a song I own, and then after a few seconds went, oh wait its not a song I own but man does that sound similar. Similar enough for me, a very busy man, to want to investigate and source further opinions on the matter. I wouldn't think that with back to black.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:12 am

ReadySaltedChris wrote:
manhattan wrote:
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.

True but not bigging myself or anything mate but not only have i got grade 5 piano (just missed out on a merit by 15 marks) but i know more theortical stuff too - like that e minor has two flats and that there's treble, base and tenner clefs. That kinda thing.

So yeah, i know things.

hth

You don't have to feel you're bragging, all is good, congrats on nice achievements.

I can sit back and say some stuff to big myself up as well but I've never been a big theory guy so you definitely have me there, which is cool and I appreciate the opinion.

Ultimately what I am getting at, is one musician or professional who may or may not be better, smarter, more talented, experienced than me, isn't going to change my mind or sway me one way or another.

That being said I definitely took what you said and put it into the column for definitely a no copyright infringement and put an asterisk beside it for qualified professional. Yours are definitely the opinions I am seeking, however, I have to take it with a grain of salt regardless of anything you or anyone else may say or think. I assure you its strictly business, nothing personal. Ultimately it will be only one of the factors in my decision, which has been rather passive and tepid anyways.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:48 am

I'd definitely take a moment to have a read up on the recent decision on the Stairway case as it goes into a lot of detail around the different assessments of 'access' and 'substantial similarity'.
There's a good post here that goes into the detail: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20181 ... ines.shtml
It is a complete minefield. :(
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:49 pm

This seems to clarify things a little though, :- "Generally, there are two leading legal frameworks for determining when someone has infringed copyright:
Plaintiff must prove (a) defendant's access to the copyrighted work, plus (b) "substantial similarity" between the two works. This framework is used by the majority of courts, so we'll call it the "Majority Framework." It is also a bad framework.
Plaintiff must prove (a) "copying" and (b) "unlawful appropriation." To prove "copying," the plaintiff must prove (1) access and (2) "probative similarity." "Unlawful appropriation" is pretty much the same thing as "substantial similarity," but the different term is used to avoid confusion with "probative similarity" (and is also more accurate). This framework is preferred by scholars and is used by one half of the Second Circuit, so we'll call this the "Preferred Framework."
Both of these frameworks grapple with the same thing: to infringe copyright in a work, the defendant must both copy the work and take enough of the work that, well, um, it's too much. But the key is that copying is something that must be proved. In theory, if a magical monkey banged out Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets without ever have looked at a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, that would not be copyright infringement. It would just be unbelievably unlikely. The need to prove copying is actually a fairly important limitation on copyright law. We shouldn't lose sight of it."

Basically the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant had access to the work they are accused of copying and that the work they produced is "substantially similar". In the OPs case he will have difficulty proving access unless he can demonstrate the writers of the later work 'probably' did hear his earlier work. OTOH, while I'd say 'substantial similarity' is self evident, the work is not complex enough that there is a reasonable probability that the similarity is a result of coincidence.

But, neither am I a lawyer and am just trying to apply a little common sense.....
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:17 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:But, neither am I a lawyer and am just trying to apply a little common sense.....
There are some who would argue that those are contradictory standpoints... ;)
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:31 pm

:clap: t'is a bit like being a musician when you grow up?
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby stavrakas » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:54 pm

Hi Manhattan

Comparative analysis of the main 2 bar instrumental riff from the two pieces you posted as follows (before vox kick in):
Image

Santigold
- Key: Am
- Melodic range: E3 – A6
- Harmony (chords used in the two bar riff): Am 2nd inv / Bm 2nd inv / Dm / F 2nd inv
- Melodic rhythm on piano: Regular tuplet quavers
- Harmonic rhythm on piano: harmony (chords) change x 4 times over the two bar riff. Change of harmony happens on the off-beat resulting in a ‘syncopated harmonic rhythm’. N.b.This creates an overall syncopated groove.
- Drum rhythm: the bass drum uses a combination of syncopated quaver/semiquaver based rhythm in bar 1 whereas in bar 2 is regular using a crotchet (beat 1) and four tuplet quavers (beats 2 & 3). The snare rhythm follows a similar pattern, sounding more syncopated in bar one and regular in bar 2.
- Texture: this two bar instrumental riff consists of piano, kit (kick, snare and possibly hi hat) and sub bass. The addition of a sub base playing a counterpoint melody part against the other two instruments makes for a more interesting and varied texture (polyphonic like). Another interesting point worth mentioning here is that the sub bass on its own sounds like it’s in the key of C (play it on its own and you will see what I mean!). The notes of the sub bass can be heard more clearly if you pitch shift the track by 1 8va. This creates an ambiguous relationship with the implied key of the riff which is Am.
- Tempo: 77bpm approx.

Not alone yet
- Key: Am (implied)
- Melodic range: C-1 – C6
- Harmony (chords used in the two bar riff): Dm 1st inv / C 2nd inv / Am 2nd inv
- Melodic rhythm on piano: Regular tuplet quavers
- Harmonic rhythm on piano: harmony (chords) change x 3 times over the two bar riff. Change of harmony happens on the down beat resulting in a ‘regular harmonic rhythm’ (i.e. non-syncopated). N.b. This creates an overall regular groove.
- Drum rhythm: the bass drum uses a combination of syncopated quaver/semiquaver based rhythm and is exactly the same in bar 1 as in bar 2. The snare rhythm sounds only on beats 2 and 4 and uses a combination of regular downbeat crotchet and dotted quaver on beats 2 and four respectively.
- Texture: this two bar instrumental riff consists of piano and kit only making for a simpler homophonic texture. No bass or sub bass here.
- Tempo: 81bpm approx.

On paper then once you begin to break down and analyse the constituent elements, you realise that the two pieces are very different in many respects. The similarities, and possibly the ones that would fool some people into thinking that the two pieces are very similar, lie with:
1. the melodic rhythm on the piano right hand (i.e. the tuplet quavers which are in the same melodic range around A6 and sounding close together - 3rds & 4ths apart) and
2. the implied key in the main 2 bar riff of Am.
3. the roughly similar slow tempo

Everything else, as it can be seen from the music score, is very different, particularly the groove I would say (i.e. syncopate in Santigold and regular in yours).

Hope this helps in some way.

Stavros
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby manhattan » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:51 am

stavrakas wrote:Hi Manhattan

Comparative analysis of the main 2 bar instrumental riff from the two pieces you posted as follows (before vox kick in):
Image

Santigold
- Key: Am
- Melodic range: E3 – A6
- Harmony (chords used in the two bar riff): Am 2nd inv / Bm 2nd inv / Dm / F 2nd inv
- Melodic rhythm on piano: Regular tuplet quavers
- Harmonic rhythm on piano: harmony (chords) change x 4 times over the two bar riff. Change of harmony happens on the off-beat resulting in a ‘syncopated harmonic rhythm’. N.b.This creates an overall syncopated groove.
- Drum rhythm: the bass drum uses a combination of syncopated quaver/semiquaver based rhythm in bar 1 whereas in bar 2 is regular using a crotchet (beat 1) and four tuplet quavers (beats 2 & 3). The snare rhythm follows a similar pattern, sounding more syncopated in bar one and regular in bar 2.
- Texture: this two bar instrumental riff consists of piano, kit (kick, snare and possibly hi hat) and sub bass. The addition of a sub base playing a counterpoint melody part against the other two instruments makes for a more interesting and varied texture (polyphonic like). Another interesting point worth mentioning here is that the sub bass on its own sounds like it’s in the key of C (play it on its own and you will see what I mean!). The notes of the sub bass can be heard more clearly if you pitch shift the track by 1 8va. This creates an ambiguous relationship with the implied key of the riff which is Am.
- Tempo: 77bpm approx.

Not alone yet
- Key: Am (implied)
- Melodic range: C-1 – C6
- Harmony (chords used in the two bar riff): Dm 1st inv / C 2nd inv / Am 2nd inv
- Melodic rhythm on piano: Regular tuplet quavers
- Harmonic rhythm on piano: harmony (chords) change x 3 times over the two bar riff. Change of harmony happens on the down beat resulting in a ‘regular harmonic rhythm’ (i.e. non-syncopated). N.b. This creates an overall regular groove.
- Drum rhythm: the bass drum uses a combination of syncopated quaver/semiquaver based rhythm and is exactly the same in bar 1 as in bar 2. The snare rhythm sounds only on beats 2 and 4 and uses a combination of regular downbeat crotchet and dotted quaver on beats 2 and four respectively.
- Texture: this two bar instrumental riff consists of piano and kit only making for a simpler homophonic texture. No bass or sub bass here.
- Tempo: 81bpm approx.

On paper then once you begin to break down and analyse the constituent elements, you realise that the two pieces are very different in many respects. The similarities, and possibly the ones that would fool some people into thinking that the two pieces are very similar, lie with:
1. the melodic rhythm on the piano right hand (i.e. the tuplet quavers which are in the same melodic range around A6 and sounding close together - 3rds & 4ths apart) and
2. the implied key in the main 2 bar riff of Am.
3. the roughly similar slow tempo

Everything else, as it can be seen from the music score, is very different, particularly the groove I would say (i.e. syncopate in Santigold and regular in yours).

Hope this helps in some way.

Stavros

Yes, that is exactly what I was looking for!

That's incredible work, I very much appreciate your efforts on this for me.

While I'm not sure what I could offer you in thanks, feel free to let me know if you think of something.
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:53 am

Really helpful post Stavros :) :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby scw » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:54 pm

Outstanding Stavros!
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby The Bunk » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:57 pm

Stavros, that is astonishing!!
Post of the year 2019 already won I reckon!
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby CS70 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:05 pm

Sam Spoons wrote::clap: t'is a bit like being a musician when you grow up?

Yeah I heard you can't so them at the same time :D
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby stavrakas » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:20 pm

manhattan wrote:Yes, that is exactly what I was looking for!
That's incredible work, I very much appreciate your efforts on this for me.
While I'm not sure what I could offer you in thanks, feel free to let me know if you think of something.

You are welcome Mahattan. I am pleased I was able to add to all the other pieces of advice
you received on your very interesting post and shed some light from a music theory POV.
Copyright is a fascinating topic and a tricky one to get one's head around but I
hope you are a little bit more confident now to argue your case if need be.

I am sure you will find a way to repay the favour forward in the future by kindly sharing your knowledge and expertise with other forum members of this special music community.

All best

Stavros
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Re: Music Theory and Copyright Infringement

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:34 pm

stavrakas wrote:
manhattan wrote:Yes, that is exactly what I was looking for!
That's incredible work, I very much appreciate your efforts on this for me.
While I'm not sure what I could offer you in thanks, feel free to let me know if you think of something.

You are welcome Mahattan. I am pleased I was able to add to all the other pieces of advice
you received on your very interesting post and shed some light from a music theory POV.
Copyright is a fascinating topic and a tricky one to get one's head around but I
hope you are a little bit more confident now to argue your case if need be.

I am sure you will find a way to repay the favour forward in the future by kindly sharing your knowledge and expertise with other forum members of this special music community.

All best

Stavros

Nothing to add, just 'nicely done' and a belated welcome to the forums Stavros :wave:
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