Harmony Central Forums
Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Sue Happy Sound

Collapse
X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sue Happy Sound

    It seems as of late, that everyone is suing everyone else for copyright infringement for a particular sound, beat, melody, etc.
    At what point do we admit that contemporary music (specifically 1950s-today) has reached a critical mass regarding originality?

    My kids were listening to this 2014 Bruno Mars song: Uptown Funk


    I immediately said: Morris Day and the Time ...


    They sound almost identical! (or is it me?)

    Initially, I'm thinking: Well, old Morris Day's gonna have his day in court and collect big from Bruno, but ...
    At what point does an artist be honored that someone acknowledged the mark they made on music (years ago) and understand that we have hit this critical mass where originality becomes very subjective?
    Have the courts now set big money examples that will continue this sue happy sound trend?

    Yield ...
    Keeping the Harmony at Harmony Central

  • #2
    I think it wreaks of Minneapolis (the sound in general) a fair bit more than of the Morris day selection in particular. And Bruno maybe owes a few other people. That's his thing though. He doesn't do much of anything that hasn't been done before, essentially. The only difference is it's him doing it. And the critical mass is that it's been done and done well already, so we get the same cake, different frosting

    Comment


    • #3
      I think the Gaye v. Pharrell, Thicke, et al, verdict will prove to be anomalous and the defendants may well have a very good shot in appeal, since central in the judge's jury instructions was the warning that the Gaye record was not under sound copyright and so only similarities with the actual written music could be considered. As seems the overwhelming consensus among musicologists not on the plaintiff's paid witness list, there seems virtually no actual direct similarity between the later work and the written music of the former, it would appear that Pharrell and crew stand a good chance of getting a negotiated settlement -- or even a full reversal.

      Without a jury of aging boomers to have the predictable abreaction to Thicke's smarmy, consummately annoying personality, the former defendants will almost certainly have a better shot. Seems to me.
      Last edited by blue2blue; 03-19-2015, 07:20 PM.
      .

      music and social links | recent listening

      Comment


      • #4
        I've been following the Blurred Lines case closely, and was a bit upset at the ruling. Ironically, "Blurred Lines", as well as the Uptown Funk song were two of the most unique sounding songs on the radio. Only in that instead of trying to sound like everything else right now, they're trying to sound like music from 30-40 years ago. I think in both instances, they did a great job of borrowing the feeling without actually copying the song. I mean if this case is the path we're now headed on, then Bruno Mars's career is probably in a lot of trouble, since most of his material borrows from the past. Billy Joel hypothetically could get sued for the entire "Innocent Man" album, if it were released today.

        This was obviously different than the Sam Smith/Tom Petty settlement, where the actual melody was lifted.

        I don't think we've reached critical mass in terms of originality...I just think nobody even tries anymore, at least as far as pop is concerned. Every song is the same four chords over and over, with obvious, predictable melodies. There are so many more places they could easily go, but they don't bother. It's much harder to claim plagiarism of a song that sounds like 50 other songs by multiple artists. Easier to go after the ones where they can trace a direct line to a particular artist from the past, as in the Blurred Lines case.

        The only upside to this case is maybe it will encourage more originality among musicians? The thing is, I think it's something artists should freely choose to do. Not because they are in fear of someone coming after them if they don't. Of course this kind of thing was always an issue before, but I fear now the restrictions could be tightened to a point that is beyond reasonable. Feels a little too close to censorship for me.
        ...

        Comment


        • #5
          I always thought that rappers used the same melody. And pretty much the same beats.
          ..................................................
          Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

          ...Pericles

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by thankyou View Post
            I always thought that rappers used the same melody. And pretty much the same beats.
            Like it or hate it, "Blurred Lines," while having a rap section, also has sung melodies over most of the song. They're not much in the way of melody, but they are sung. And, rap section or not, I wouldn't call the style hip hop (not that you did).

            With regard to rappers and melody, I'm thinking that's more or less an ironic comment.

            But with regard to rhythms -- I'd say that's one of the most profoundly variegated aspects to rap in general -- while other musical styles tend to be dominated by a handful of basic rhythms, rap has embraced an extraordinary range of rhythms from Cumbia to Cowboy.
            .

            music and social links | recent listening

            Comment


            • #7
              There are only 12 notes in the scale! Not that many 3 or 4 note combinations that make any sense are possible, and there are tens of millions of songs. Of course everything is a copy of everything else!

              Too much music has been made. Too many people are looking for extra money in lawsuits. Everything in life seems to have a sountrack now from movies to elevators to TV shows to malls to websites to eating / restaurants, etc. etc. Even public campgrounds in national parks seem to always have some pitchy idiot strumming a guitar and caterwauling. Enough!

              I very much look forward to my annual two weeks backpacking the continental divide were there are no human voices, (few) industrial noises, and absolutely NO music. Life does not need a soundtrack!

              Terry D.
              Telling Stories releases 2nd CD, see our WEBSITE! Please check out my GROUPIE STORY and Tales from the Road.

              Comment


              • #8
                I used to be selfish about my music. Now I see it as a gift - but it's not our gift to have it's our gift to share.

                When people practiced playing their instruments they developed their own particular sound and style. Their music was a product of the work they put into learning their craft - Beethoven's piano sonatas and Hendrix' psychedelic stratocaster excursions come to mind. Now that popular music is made by moving cells around on a spreadsheet...

                When we were young we were taught to share - but, because of greed and modern technology affecting the old business model, we are now being told that sharing is wrong.


                I think this whole intelectual property thing has gotten out of hand. We are, after all, all in this together.
                As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
                from the deepest hell to the highest states.

                It is up to you which one you choose to explore
                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  What about this one? It has at least 3 notes in common with Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecilia," but even more blatantly, IT HAS PERCUSSION. Percussion, I tell you. THIS CANNOT STAND.



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There's borrowing from the past, paying homage to influences..and there's nicking someone else's bag, for all the usual reasons people do such things.

                    Reminds me of a truck commercial I saw a few years back. As Mellancamp as could be, except for the actual notes. Maybe he actually sold them the mix-but I kinda doubt it. And another, that was 85% Bach C major prelude with whatever genius's personalized ending tacked on. Not a nod to the past, or homage. Something else entirely.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm curious why the jury was prevented from hearing the tracks side by side.
                      ..................................................
                      Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

                      ...Pericles

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by thankyou View Post
                        I'm curious why the jury was prevented from hearing the tracks side by side.
                        You mean the "Blurred Lines" case I suppose. I don't see where Bruno has been sued yet, and I don't think he will be. I think he cuts it quite close though, and he and or his crew know where the line is. I'd never checked him out until I caught his SuperBowl show. Well done. He's a very good performer.

                        The main drawback from being so derivative though, judging from one short show and the post here- is that I really don't feel like he has an identity. It just doesn't seem like it's HIS music. There's nothing there musically that seems of him more than it does the people he's pulling from.
                        Last edited by RockViolin; 03-24-2015, 11:33 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thankyou View Post
                          I'm curious why the jury was prevented from hearing the tracks side by side.
                          The Gaye recording of his song was not protected by copyright (an oversight, apparently, the law permitting such registration was enacted in 1972), so the judge basically had to restrict consideration of the Gaye song to its music as written in the sheet music. The jurors were specifically instructed to only consider the written music. Obviously, that was well beyond their expertise, as the music, as written, has little in common with the later song by Pharrell and the annoying guy.
                          Last edited by blue2blue; 03-25-2015, 06:50 PM.
                          .

                          music and social links | recent listening

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have been pondering the plagiarism case and I can't get past thinking that there has to be something or multiple somethings identifiable - some melody or melodic fragment/riff. And it seems things have to be quantifiable/countable. I listened on youtube back and forth between "Got To Give It Up" and "Blurred Lines". I expected to hear the bass line copied but didn't hear that. I expected to hear the cowbell rhythm copied but didn't hear that either. The concept of a prominent bass line and a prominent cowbell. So is the "sound" or the "vibe" copyrightable ? Seems like you should have to come up with a melody to copyright a musical piece. Unless it's a composed percussion piece with more than just a repeated groove.

                            If someone is a fan of Stax records and comes up with a Duck Dunn inspired bass line and some Steve Cropperish guitar chops is he committing plagiarism. I'm really scratching my head here. Music history consists of someone admiring someone else's music and modeling or imitating it while adding to or altering it in some way.
                            Last edited by davd_indigo; 03-29-2015, 12:39 PM.
                            https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

                            Dave's ,YouTube channel

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by davd_indigo View Post
                              I have been pondering the plagiarism case and I can't get past thinking that there has to be something or multiple somethings identifiable - some melody or melodic fragment/riff. And it seems things have to be quantifiable/countable. I listened on youtube back and forth between "Got To Give It Up" and "Blurred Lines". I expected to hear the bass line copied but didn't hear that. I expected to hear the cowbell rhythm copied but didn't hear that either. The concept of a prominent bass line and a prominent cowbell. So is the "sound" or the "vibe" copyrightable ? Seems like you should have to come up with a melody to copyright a musical piece. Unless it's a composed percussion piece with more than just a repeated groove.

                              If someone is a fan of Stax records and comes up with a Duck Dunn inspired bass line and some Steve Cropperish guitar chops is he committing plagiarism. I'm really scratching my head here. Music history consists of someone admiring someone else's music and modeling or imitating it while adding to or altering it in some way.
                              And even beyond all that -- there is the fact that the judge specifically instructed the jury to only consider the Gaye music as written -- which is clearly not anything close to identical.

                              The older jury voted with their hearts, all but completely ignoring any sort of legal rationale or logic. It was, in essence, 'jury nullification' of the law as written. They decided they liked Marvin Gaye better than Pharrell and, no doubt, especially better than the smarmy Thicke, who was clearly his own side's 'worst enemy.'
                              Last edited by blue2blue; 03-31-2015, 10:13 AM.
                              .

                              music and social links | recent listening

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X