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posted by LaminatorX on Friday March 13 2015, @03:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the let's-get-it-on dept.

The Washington Post reports that the $7.4 million verdict that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke copied Marvin Gaye’s music to create their hit song “Blurred Lines” could ripple across the music industry, potentially changing how artists work and opening the door to new copyright claims. Howard King, lead attorney for Thicke and Williams, said in closing arguments that a verdict for the Gaye family would have a chilling effect on musicians trying to evoke an era or create an homage to the sound of earlier artists. Williams contended during the trial that he was only trying to mimic the “feel” of Gaye’s late 1970s music but insisted he did not use elements of his idol’s work. “Today’s successful verdict, with the odds more than stacked against the Marvin Gaye estate, could redefine what copyright infringement means for recording artists,” says Glen Rothstein, an intellectual property attorney. King says record labels are going to become more reluctant to release music that’s similar to other works—an assertion disputed by Richard Busch, the lead attorney for the Gaye family. “While Mr. Williams's lawyer suggested in his closing argument that the world would come to an end, and music would cease to exist if they were found liable, I still see the sun shining,” says Busch. “The music industry will go on.”

Music copyright trials are rare, but allegations that a song copies another artist’s work are common. Singers Sam Smith and Tom Petty recently reached an agreement that conferred songwriting credit to Petty on Smith’s song, “Stay With Me,” which resembled Petty’s hit “I Won’t Back Down.” Other music copyright cases include Former Beatle George Harrison's 1970 solo song "My Sweet Lord" which had a melody heavy with echoes of "He's So Fine," the 1962 hit from The Chiffons. The copyright owner sued Harrison. A judge said that while the tunes were nearly identical, Harrison was guilty only of "subconscious plagiarism." Harrison would eventually pay out $587,000. Probably the most bizarre case of musical infringement was when John Fogerty was accused of stealing from John Fogerty. The Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman was sued for his 1985 solo song "The Old Man Down the Road" because his former label thought it sounded too much like the 1970 Fogerty-penned "Run Through the Jungle," a song it owned the rights to.

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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:13PM (#157329)

    down with copyright!

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:19PM (#157332)

      Well, reading the summary, I'd say that restricting the copyright to actual copying would already be a major step forward.

      • (Score: 2) by CirclesInSand on Friday March 13 2015, @06:13PM

        by CirclesInSand (2899) on Friday March 13 2015, @06:13PM (#157385)

        How is this a point? Are you suggesting that changing 1 bit should make copying legal? Otherwise, what objective standard do you have for deciding what is copying and what isn't? This is one of the biggest problems with copy law, it can't be made objective. "Limit it" you say, but have you actually thought about it?

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Zinho on Friday March 13 2015, @07:23PM

          by Zinho (759) on Friday March 13 2015, @07:23PM (#157405)

          Are you suggesting that changing 1 bit should make copying legal? Otherwise, what objective standard do you have for deciding what is copying and what isn't?

          You make a good point, but we're at the opposite end of the pendulum swing from that position. Previously courts had held that four sequential notes in sequence constituted infringement; in other words, the entire rest of the song is different, but because four notes are the same and in the same order then the new song infringes. With this ruling there are not even two consecutive notes in common between the songs, and infringement was held due to them being the same style. This is the polar opposite of your example, where the tunes are identical except for one dissimilar note.

          There's a balance to be struck between protecting the rights of the original creator and allowing space for others to be inspired by the original. Your example was one of nearly zero protection for the original artist, the current situation provides zero protection for new artists. Lots of thought goes into this, and there are valid interests on both sides. I'd expect that as a society we'd swing back and forth between the two positions, and with this ruling many people are seeing that we've hit a hard stop, there's virtually nowhere further to go for protection the original artist.

          The way I see it there's been too much push for protection of the original artist, and there will probably be a lot of push now in the opposite direction; I expect to see the pendulum bounce back a bit. It will be interesting to see the way society and the music industry proceeds from here. I expect that the studio execs would like to just glue the pendulum to the wall where it sits now, but I can't really see that happening. If it does, it will do a lot of damage to our culture and the new generation of musicians.

          --
          "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Friday March 13 2015, @09:58PM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 13 2015, @09:58PM (#157520) Journal

          The problem we are discussing here is that there are only twelve notes in the western musical scale and some combos? Just aren't pleasing to the ear. So if we take this ruling to its logical conclusion then its almost certain that every pleasing combination has already been copyrighted so you can pretty much give up new artists making a thin dime as they will get sued because a bridge sounds like some song 40 years ago or their chorus sounds like a tune some band you never heard of wrote in 1972. And what they were busted of is true of damned near every band, listen to U2's "Vertigo" and then play "sex type thing" by STP. Is it the exact same notes? Nope but neither was this, but it has the same "feel".

          Remember folks this does jack and shit for "the artists" as unlike this case more than 75% of major label music of the last century is owned by the corps, so all this will do is give yet another advantage to the corporate gatekeepers that have been feeding us shitty "artists" while trying to fuck over anybody that won't play ball. Has anybody here seen a standard corporate record contract? I have and loan sharks offer better deals, in fact some friends of mine had to disband and throw two albums worth of good music in the garbage because of how badly they got fucked by your standard record contract. I believe it was the producer Steve Albini who said to the effect "The modern recording business is forcing kids to fight each other through a ditch filled with shit and dirty needles only for the company to mug them when they make it out the end".

          Anything that tilts it more in their favor? BAD ruling.

          --
          ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
          • (Score: 2) by gidds on Sunday March 15 2015, @11:28PM

            by gidds (589) on Sunday March 15 2015, @11:28PM (#158144)

            there are only twelve notes in the western musical scale

            True, but mostly irrelevant in my opinion.  After all, there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet; does that mean that all books, scripts, and poems are trivial?

            Black-and-white drawings are made up of only 2 colours!  Does that make them trivial too?

            And ultimately all digital media is 1s and 0s...

            No; it's not the component parts that make a work creative, but the way they're put together.  And (depending on your exact parameters) there are infinitely many ways of doing that.)

            --
            [sig redacted]
            • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Monday March 16 2015, @09:53AM

              by tonyPick (1237) on Monday March 16 2015, @09:53AM (#158284) Homepage Journal

              True, but mostly irrelevant in my opinion. After all, there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet; does that mean that all books, scripts, and poems are trivial?

              Nope, but if we decided any four letters in the same order with the same spacing as had been used before made a copy, or as in this case then we thought that despite not having copied or quoted any of the original just having a similar style or feel was enough, then we'd run out of original works real fast. Which is the place we're getting to in music.

              The problem I see here isn't about how original (or not) these things are, but the impact on people trying to create new things.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:40PM (#157346)

      down with copyright!

      Only if you do not like the GPL or BSD license.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Refugee from beyond on Friday March 13 2015, @08:08PM

        by Refugee from beyond (2699) on Friday March 13 2015, @08:08PM (#157430)

        GPL is a weapon, not a thing of worship.

        --
        Instantly better soylentnews: replace background on article and comment titles with #973131.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by CirclesInSand on Friday March 13 2015, @06:11PM

      by CirclesInSand (2899) on Friday March 13 2015, @06:11PM (#157382)

      There are a lot of good reasons for ending copy law, and not so many for keeping it.

      It is subjective. A person can be in court for an action that no one knows (not even the judge) if it was illegal, and eventually a judge simply decides if a derivative work is an infringement or not. Even what counts as "copying" is questionable: if you visit a webpage with a copy protected media, and it gets transferred to your hard drive, you may have violated copy law. Fair use is by no means an objective standard: See these photography cases [99designs.com], it is just a crap shoot.

      Copy law is arbitrary: the duration of ownership is set without reason. When you buy a car, the materials for it don't return to public use "50 years after death": you are entitled to sell it in a will, and the subsequent owner is entitled to own it forever as well. Laws that aren't based on reason, but rather the fickle feelings of a generation are dangerous things. What was a significant achievement in the past is not a significant achievement today, so setting the same copy prohibition term for everything is inevitably oppressive.

      Copy law results in music by legal firms rather than music by musicians. Ever wonder why everyone on the radio today is a talentless, musically illiterate child? Because it's lawyers that count, not skill.

      Copy law is a violation of the Freedom of Speech. It designates certain information (lyrics, story plots) as illegal to communicate to another person. Freedom of Speech is more important than arguing over whether an idea is original or not.

      Most importantly: copy law makes it illegal to do what is the most natural thing for a human to do. Humans observe, copy, and improve incrementally. I love hearing slightly different versions of songs, to see how different musicians approach the same concept. But to make such a composition is very dangerous: 20 years later you could be looking at hundred thousand dollar lawsuits.

      Copy law is assigning owners to music, to art, to words. It's abhorrent, and it's anachronistic. You violate it several times per day just by browsing the Internet port 80s. Nothing would end it faster than actually enforcing it, and any law that is better off unenforced is better off unwritten.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday March 13 2015, @07:08PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2015, @07:08PM (#157401) Journal

        Copy law results in music by legal firms rather than music by musicians.

        It does no such thing.
        Copyright creates a property interest in music and books that belongs to the authors. Because they own it, they can sell it, and if they choose to sell it to a corporation, they are fully within their right to do so.

        "Copy law" is a violation of the Freedom of Speech.

        Since copyright was included in the body of the constitution (ARTICLE I, SECTION 8, CLAUSE 8) it seems strange to claim that it violates the first amendment, since the 1st makes no mention of removing Article 1, section 8, or removal of copyright. Had the 1st intended to restrict copyright it would have said so.

        In short your entire post is full of half truths total misunderstanding of the facts.

        The founders wrote:

        The Congress shall have Power To...promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries....

        The violence done to this is clause has been due to the extension of the duration, beyond any reasonable length of time.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1) by NickFortune on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:53PM

          by NickFortune (3267) on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:53PM (#157737)

          Copy law results in music by legal firms rather than music by musicians.

          It does no such thing.

          Copyright creates a property interest in music and books that belongs to the authors. Because they own it, they can sell it, and if they choose to sell it to a corporation, they are fully within their right to do so.

          I think you're arguing at cross purposes. The GP is suggesting that copyright law in its current form is changing the priorities of music distributors and so distorting the creative process behind the music we hear on broadcast media.

          You are describing the way the law works and the rights conferred by the legislation without considering any effects on the music industry.

          It's possible that you're both correct

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by mrcoolbp on Friday March 13 2015, @04:20PM

    by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Friday March 13 2015, @04:20PM (#157333) Homepage

    I guess there's a "blurred line" between paying homage and infrigement.

    --
    (Score:1^½, Radical)
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by frojack on Friday March 13 2015, @06:03PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2015, @06:03PM (#157378) Journal

      With a million "covers" of just about any song can be found on Youtube, by *cough* artists of varying capabilities I would say the lines are indeed already blurred.

      Using the music recognition apps on my phone, I found that none of the apps had a problem properly distinguishing and attributing the two samples (see M. Baranczak's post below). Maybe we should go for a purely technical solution, purposely de-tuning the music matching filters somewhat.

      Having struck the jackpot once, Marvin's heirs are planning another attack [rollingstone.com] on Pharrell Williams.

      Had his own father not shot him to death, I suspect Marvin would never have launched this law suit. He often praised the work of others and admitted he copied their style [wikipedia.org].

       

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by mhajicek on Friday March 13 2015, @04:23PM

    by mhajicek (51) on Friday March 13 2015, @04:23PM (#157335)

    Are you a publishes musician who wants to sue someone? Just start a Pandora station with one of your songs and see what comes up next. If yours was published first, you win! (If not, hope that artist doesn't find out about this.)

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:26PM (#157337)

    These lengthening copyright periods will stop people from creating new works. Who wants to get sued, because their song has 3 notes, that make it similar to some other song. This nonsense will bleed over into the Publishing industry soon, and it will be even worse there. This situation perfectly describes cutting off your nose to spite your face, or however that saying goes.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:31PM (#157342)

      I still see the sun shining,” says Busch. “The music industry will go on.”

      Yes, the music industry will go on. The art, not so much.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Archon V2.0 on Friday March 13 2015, @05:19PM

      by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Friday March 13 2015, @05:19PM (#157360)

      I really need to re-read the short story Melancholy Elephants. As I recall it was entirely about this; the stagnation of art through lengthening copyright.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday March 13 2015, @05:42PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2015, @05:42PM (#157370) Journal

        As I recall it was entirely about this; the stagnation of art through lengthening copyright.

        Hmmm, wouldn't endless copying of prior music be MORE of a stagnation?
        Wouldn't lengthening copyright work against stagnation?

        Not arguing for or against the length of copyrights here, just pointing out a flaw in the reasoning of the story you mention.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 5, Informative) by tonyPick on Friday March 13 2015, @05:56PM

          by tonyPick (1237) on Friday March 13 2015, @05:56PM (#157374) Homepage Journal

          Hmmm, wouldn't endless copying of prior music be MORE of a stagnation?

          This would be true, if there were more than the 12 pitches in the chromatic scale, and the overwhelming majority of "new" music didn't use the four same chords.

          However the relatively small number of combinations (limited by what "sounds" acceptable, the standard 7-note or 5-note scales & modes, etc.) mean that it very quickly becomes impossible to come up with something which isn't a repetition of an earlier arrangement.

          See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I [youtube.com]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @01:25AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @01:25AM (#157614)

            I'm thankful for this decision.
            Without it, popular music will soon all sound the same.

            Hat tip to David Letterman.
            Additional hat tip to Uncle Joe Benson and his Laughter At 45 After (a Laugh In-like segment at ~5:45PT).

            -- gewg_

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by The Archon V2.0 on Friday March 13 2015, @07:47PM

          by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Friday March 13 2015, @07:47PM (#157413)

          > Hmmm, wouldn't endless copying of prior music be MORE of a stagnation?
          > Wouldn't lengthening copyright work against stagnation?

          Depends. Has West Side Story supplanted Romeo and Juliet? Does knowing that Rob Hubbard nicked a bit of Glass's "Koyaanisqatsi" make "Delta" any less of a classic chiptune? If you start singing "I Want a New Drug!" when everyone else in the carpool shouts "Ghostbusters!" at the radio, do they switch over without noticing? Why would someone read American Gods when they can just read a bunch of holy texts of assorted religions?

          There's a 1.3 TB torrent of FLACs out there consisting entirely of remixes of one composer's instrumental music. Some keep close to the source, some switch genres, some blend multiple songs either cleverly or clumsily, some add lyrics, some kinda go their own way, but it's all beholden to one source (which is in turn beholden to other sources). If it was all the same, would anyone go through the pain of downloading even part of it when they could just download the originals?

          There is a difference between something that's an honest but derivative product of culture and a soulless rehash. And yet, under the regime of copyright, we have been given yet another Spider-Man reboot.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Non Sequor on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:09AM

          by Non Sequor (1005) on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:09AM (#157623) Journal

          One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

          --T.S. Eliot

          Remember that historically music operated heavily based on improvising using a library of standards as base material.

          --
          Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by pogostix on Friday March 13 2015, @04:30PM

    by pogostix (1696) on Friday March 13 2015, @04:30PM (#157341)

    There's a business model here á la patent troll.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @09:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @09:30PM (#157497)

      Right, so i'll write a program that :
                          A: randomly picks a random length between 3 and 8 minutes
                          B: randomly chooses between 1 and 10 instruments
                          C: Chooses a random Tempo
                          D: Then plays the song with each instrument in each and every Key
                          E: LICENSE!!! Software, concept and each and every "song" Created
                          F: Start Suing everyone

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:35PM (#157345)

    "You ask who my influences are? ABSOLUTELY NOBODY. NOPE, I drew inspiration from absolutely nobody in creating My Sound. My Sound is a 100% Unique Original Creation, and bears Absolutely No Resemblance to any artist, living or dead who has a viable estate."

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @04:47PM (#157348)

      Well, just cite influences whose copyright, if there ever was one, is long expired. Like Mozart or Beethoven. Just make sure you don't cite a specific interpretation, since that may still be under copyright.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @01:30AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @01:30AM (#157618)

      Thank you for clearing that up, Bjork.

      -- gewg_

      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday March 14 2015, @04:42AM

        by mhajicek (51) on Saturday March 14 2015, @04:42AM (#157664)

        I kinda like Bjork's cover of Leaving On A Jet Plane.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by M. Baranczak on Friday March 13 2015, @04:57PM

    by M. Baranczak (1673) on Friday March 13 2015, @04:57PM (#157353)

    Old: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdnyrnLXFhg [youtube.com]
    New: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU [youtube.com]

    Bad musicians borrow, great musicians steal. Thicke and Williams sure as hell aren't great musicians. The difference is, whether you can take an old tune and add something worthwhile to it.

    But courts really aren't equipped to be making these kind of judgements, so yeah, the fact that this ended up in court is bad for music.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @05:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @05:33PM (#157365)

      But wait! Without this kind of valuable protection, what incentive would Marvin Gaye have to produce any new music? I look forward to hearing a new release from him any day now.

    • (Score: 2) by M. Baranczak on Friday March 13 2015, @06:02PM

      by M. Baranczak (1673) on Friday March 13 2015, @06:02PM (#157377)

      The only fair solution to this case would be to take the $7.4 mil and redistribute it to some worthy charities. Nobody who's involved in the case deserves that money. Not the lawyers. Not the record labels. Not the Gaye family - they already made enough money off Marvin's work. Certainly not Thicke and Williams. While we're at it, I would sentence each of those two to a kick in the balls - just to restore an illusion of karmic balance to the universe.

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Friday March 13 2015, @08:02PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Friday March 13 2015, @08:02PM (#157424)

      Looks like more trouble coming [youtube.com].

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RamiK on Friday March 13 2015, @10:06PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Friday March 13 2015, @10:06PM (#157523)

      "Got to give it up" is a song from the 70s from Marvin Gaye while "Blurred Lines" is an almost identically sounding song from 2013. If it was plagiarism from a living contemporary artist then it would have made sense for the law to intervene for the sake of public interest in providing protections for artist wishing to make a living off their work.

      However, Gaye died in 84 so who exactly are we protecting here? The law should at most require giving credits where credits due - like, say, an honorable mention in the track listings - and not much else.

      --
      compiling...
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by CirclesInSand on Friday March 13 2015, @05:43PM

    by CirclesInSand (2899) on Friday March 13 2015, @05:43PM (#157371)

    The relatively unusual chord structure of The Eagles' song Hotel California was probably taken directly from the composer Ian Anderson's song We Used To Know. The Eagles' were touring with Ian Anderson at the time (early 1970s).

    Ian Anderson's response was "I feel flattered": 2 minute interview [youtube.com]

    It's harmonic progression is almost a mathematical certainty you're gonna crop up with the same thing sooner or later if you sit strumming a few chords on a guitar.

    There's certainly no bitterness or any sense of plagiarism attached to my view on it, although I do sometimes allude, in a joking way, to accepting it as a kind of tribute. It's a bit like this tribute Rolex that I'm wearing.

    Top class guy, a real musician, and brilliant, not a one hit wonder or a lawyer sitting on an estate.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @07:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @07:43PM (#157411)
      It's the greedy and/or talentless ones who'd want to monopolize stuff.

      If you're a great musician you'd know that coming up with a chord progression or cool beat is nothing deserving a monopoly on. Great musicians/composers come up with more good/promising stuff than they can polish and make great.

      It's only the crappy musicians who think that every little shit they fart out is precious. Because they can only come up with one great song in their whole life.

      Similar for those inventors who only have one great idea - no surprise they cling to their precious one and only bright idea. The great inventors have so many ideas that they'd be happy if other people implement the ideas (as long as they don't monopolize it and slow down progress, or lie and claim it was their original idea). Great ideas not being implemented = less progress being made, fewer cool stuff created/happening.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:57AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:57AM (#157603)

        It's the greedy and/or talentless ones who'd want to monopolize stuff.

        So you're saying Marvin Gaye was a greedy and/or talentless musician? You've got some tough standards there, boss. Too bad he's been gone more than 30 years and he can't defend himself.

        It's only the crappy musicians who think that every little shit they fart out is precious. Because they can only come up with one great song in their whole life.

        Please share a link to your catalog of work, which I assume has more than one great song.

        Similar for those inventors who only have one great idea - no surprise they cling to their precious one and only bright idea.

        A link to your inventions would be nice too.

        You find it pretty easy to judge others because they haven't been creative enough by your standards. If everyone could just have one great idea, or create a piece of art or music or something else great then the world would be a much better place. Unfortunately most don't appreciate what it takes to be creative or innovative. So climb down off your pedestal and get to work creating something great, or at least better than everyone else you're judging.

        • (Score: 1) by Arik on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:44AM

          by Arik (4543) on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:44AM (#157630) Journal
          "So you're saying Marvin Gaye was a greedy and/or talentless musician?"

          As you point out, Mr Gaye has been dead for decades and has no part in the suit.

          His heirs are the ones suing, and to the best of my knowledge they have written nothing of consequence themselves.
          --
          If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tnt118 on Friday March 13 2015, @05:58PM

    by tnt118 (3925) on Friday March 13 2015, @05:58PM (#157375)

    A lot of talk so far about the theory, but have any of you actually listened to the two songs in comparison?

    I've a musical background (although no significant formal training) and I'm really struggling to see how there is any comparison between the two songs. Seriously, the closest argument I could come with up with is they both have percussion. That's it. And that's what makes this so scary to me... that it's such a stretch but still found to be infringing... I can easily see why folks in the industry would be concerned. I've also read that the jury could not listen to the song but only compare the sheet music. That surely cannot be a reasonable way to decide on such a matter and cannot be representative of what the songs actually sound like.

    --
    I think I like it here.
    • (Score: 2) by CirclesInSand on Friday March 13 2015, @06:17PM

      by CirclesInSand (2899) on Friday March 13 2015, @06:17PM (#157387)

      How did you listen to the songs without violating copy law? Did you actually buy them? You have the right to remain silent. I suggest a "fair use" for "educational purposes" defense, but it's not 100%.

    • (Score: 2) by karmawhore on Friday March 13 2015, @07:15PM

      by karmawhore (1635) on Friday March 13 2015, @07:15PM (#157403)
      In this case, it's even more of a stretch, since Marvin Gaye only chose to copyright the lead sheet (think melody, chord progression, lyrics) -- and it's very difficult to understand how "Blurred Lines" infringes. I can kind of see how the percussion would sound similar to the average juror, but that shouldn't have been considered, since there was no copyright on that.
      --
      =kw= lurkin' to please
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday March 15 2015, @07:57PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday March 15 2015, @07:57PM (#158093) Homepage
        Marvin Gaye did not chose to copyright, Marvin Gaye was legally granted copyright the instant of creation of the work. And that copyright is over all the work, independent of what he may have registered copyright over. The damages that may be sought are different on registered versus non-registered copyrights, but that doesn't mean non-registered parts are not copyrighted.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Snotnose on Friday March 13 2015, @06:11PM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Friday March 13 2015, @06:11PM (#157383)

    NSFW language, but the video is pretty eye opening and amusing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I [youtube.com]

    --
    Having a big nose is no reason to not wear a mask. I mean, I still wear underwear....
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @08:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @08:21PM (#157444)
      The problem is people thinking that music sharing some similar things = infringement. So what if something has the same style, or same chord progression, or similar drum beat, or heck even exact same drum beat.

      It's as stupid as saying a story having similar themes/ideas = infringement.

      I could write a story with the same theme/structure as some other random story and it would be crap, and nobody would want to watch a movie made of it. You can see so many movies/stories with promising themes and ideas but are badly executed/implemented.

      So if it were up to me, I'd be fine with you copying from other people's works as long as you cite your sources.

      But if you try to charge for it, then any of your sources (cited or not) can challenge you for making an inferior/unworthy version. In which case if less than X% (X=1 [1]) of a random sampling of other people think your version is better than what you copied, you are fined (related to the maximum amount you are charging) and not allowed to charge for your inferior work. This of course is assuming that enough people think that your work is a derivative version of the original.

      [1] Is 1% fair? Should it be higher? If enough people think your work is obviously a derivative version, but less than 1% think its better, then you shouldn't be encouraged to produce more derivative crap - either make it better or make it different. I picked 1% so that you can cater for different tastes. People have different tastes but if you're making something derivative and that more than 99% consider inferior what niche market are you trying to target and charge? Go do it as a hobby and get a job doing something else.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @08:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @08:25PM (#157446)

      So that's why I can't listen to pop radio. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @06:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @06:42PM (#157395)

    They're basically saying the structural components of the songs are similar. Can anyone who writes a song using a pop chord progression get sued? Where would that lead? The next thing you know, people will be able to get vague patents on algorithms and math. Wait, bad example.

  • (Score: 1) by MuadDib on Friday March 13 2015, @10:54PM

    by MuadDib (4439) on Friday March 13 2015, @10:54PM (#157550)

    I wonder what ramifications this decision has for Weird Al with his song Word Crimes?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by isostatic on Friday March 13 2015, @11:29PM

      by isostatic (365) on Friday March 13 2015, @11:29PM (#157570) Journal

      That's Parody, specifically protected free speech.

      It's also far better artistically than Thicke's attempt.

    • (Score: 2) by Arik on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:32AM

      by Arik (4543) on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:32AM (#157628) Journal
      Bart Baker skewered it quite thoroughly with his parody as well.

      It's an interesting question, generally parody is well protected exemption in US law, I dont think it matters too much if the song they parody is later ruled to be derivative itself.

      It's possible that in another jurisdiction that might not be the case.
      --
      If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 2) by number6 on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:25AM

    by number6 (1831) on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:25AM (#157694) Journal

    tune: "Child In Time" by Deep Purple --vs-- "Bombay Calling" by It's A Beautiful Day

    • Ian Gillan (DP lead singer) has said that "Child in Time" [wikipedia.org] is based on It's a Beautiful Day's psychedelic song "Bombay Calling" [wikipedia.org] . It's a Beautiful Day in return borrowed Purple's "Wring That Neck" and turned it into "Don and Dewey" on their second album Marrying Maiden (1970). Ian Gillan says in a 2002 interview "There are two sides to that song - the musical side and the lyrical side. On the musical side, there used to be this song 'Bombay Calling' by a band called It's A Beautiful Day. It was fresh and original, when Jon was one day playing it on his keyboard. It sounded good, and we thought we'd play around with it, change it a bit and do something new keeping that as a base. But then, I had never heard the original 'Bombay Calling'. So we created this song using the Cold War as the theme, and wrote the lines 'Sweet child in time, you'll see the line.' That's how the lyrical side came in. Then, Jon had the keyboard parts ready and Ritchie had the guitar parts ready. The song basically reflected the mood of the moment, and that's why it became so popular.

    tunes by the band "Joy Division" --vs-- tunes by others

    • "New Dawn Fades" -vs- "Gimme Danger" by Iggy Pop and the Stooges     //the slowed down bass line after the first chorus
    • "Interzone" -vs- "Keep On Keeping On" by Nolan Porter     //the riff is an unmistakable copy, and the band admits it too.
    • A discussion thread at this forum [websitetoolbox.com]

    Classical Music: "Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

    Classical Music: "Moonlight Sonata" by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:24PM (#157784)

    Just another example of how copyright terms need to drop significantly. Less than 10 years was enough in 18th century (?), information has only moved faster and faster over time. If 10 years was enough at the outset, 10 years should be enough today. I realize there's no chance of that happening though, so I'll just keep infringing whenever I feel like it, and support the artists I feel deserve it whenever I can.