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Old November 27th, 2010, 11:51 PM   #1
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How similar before a song is infringement?

How similar a song has to be to be considered copyright infringement?

Let's say you love a particular song, and you make a new one but 'inspired' on that popular one. How similar the new song you just created has to be to be considered copyright infringement?

Thanks a lot!!
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Old November 28th, 2010, 12:32 AM   #2
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Google "Ghostbusters" and "I Want A New Drug."
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Old November 28th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #3
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Google "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison and "He's So Fine"
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Old November 28th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #4
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Compare Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" to "Surfin' USA" by The Beach Boys.

Berry's resulting suit won him not only writing credit on Surfin' USA but royalties as well.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 03:35 PM   #5
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FWIW, a while ago I saw a parody on YouTube by some Aussie comedy group (don't remember the name off the top of my head, and no time to look it up right now....) that was instructional.

Basically, the intro was a Journey song... and they then morphed through, playing the exact same chord progression over and over, but just changing the lyrics to ever so many "popular" musical pieces... by ever so many "popular" artists...

It was hilarious if you got the musical "joke", that there are just so many ways you can string the same rather limited series of notes together in a way that is melodic and "pleasing", and it so happens that the old I-IV-V progression "works"...

While it's certainly possible to have a "signature sound", and many artists work very hard to get "their" sound, vibe, whatever you want to call it... so too "imitation is the sincerest form of..." flattery, or thievery, depending on your "take".

My suggestion is to find your OWN voice, your OWN inspiration, your OWN vision... co-operate with other artists, and respect the creations of others in the process.


NOW, to add a harsh cold bit of reality, just remember that when there's MONEY involved (whether "protecting" someones "rights" or recovering supposedly ill gotten proceeds) lawyers can find INFINITE ways to twist things around, and make a point, and generally have absolutely NO motivation other than generating their fees, whether their cause is "just" or "unjust", they are simply there to plead their position, and they tend to get paid whether they win or lose... right or wrong. Attorneys have a "little" thing NONE of the rest of us have called "priviledge" to make any argument they want (even if they "borrowed", were inspired by, fabricated it out ot thin air, or outright copied someone elses "work") as long as it's "connected" to litigation... and virtually NO risk of prosecution for anything they do.

SO, ask yourself before you ask the question... can "your butt afford to cash that check"? (Thoughtfully inspired by some movie... )
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Old November 29th, 2010, 10:49 AM   #6
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Interesting take on the legal profession. I certainly hope you never have cause to need an attorney.
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Old November 29th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #7
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Yeah, attorneys are necessary. I'm glad to have a good one, who is also my friend. Several other friends of mine are attorneys too. The law is complicated. It's good to have expert knowledge available from a trusted source when dealing with matters I have trouble understanding. We just keep passing more and more laws. It's getting harder and harder to keep up with all the regulations involved in running a business.

I'm thankful for all the good attorneys that help us stay out of trouble, and give us help when we blunder into it.
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