Monday, December 8, 2008

POS: Plagiarism in Song

For blog-work this week, research and listen to some examples of musical plagiarism. Identify: 1) at least one example of a truly plagiarized song and 2) at least one example of a coincidental relationship between 2 songs. Discuss your findings here. Some notable instances include (listed as original/supposed plagiarism): Chiffon's "He's So Fine"/George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"; Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"/The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California"; and, most recently, Joe Satriani's "If I Could Fly"/Coldplay's "Viva La Vida".


Patrick G. said...

Anonymous said...

Tom Petty's song, Mary Jane's Last Dance, is clearly plagiarised by The Red Hot Chili Peppers', Dani California. The instrumental background seems as if it is exactly mimicked. Other songs however are more difficult to determine whether plagiarism is present or not. For instance, Viva La Vida by Coldplay is being sued for plagiarism of Joe Satrian's, If I Could Fly. It is said that the lead singer in Coldplay mimics, with his vocals, the rhythm or instrumental sequence in If I Could Fly. I however do not feel as though Coldplay should be getting sued for this because they are just singing in a key that sounds similar, but not stealing the instrumental sequence. I feel as though it is unfair. There are so many cominations of musical cords and pitches that can be combined without overlapping something. Plus, it is almost nearly impossible to have known every song in the world in order to know whether you have copied something or not. I believe Coldplay is being unfairly punished and a simple apology at the most (and given credit) should have been all that was done as a result.

-Laura Ready

Doug said...

1) Great example,
The Vanilla Ice/Queen and Bowie incident where he took their bass riff

2) I think the Coldplay and Satriani incident is just a mistake and it sounds so similar that it just happened by accident. Many songs can sound very much alike in sound with out even meaning it. For example, Hot Cross Buns and Mary Had a Little Lamb
Almost exactly the same note wise.

Cindy said...

In 2005, Madonna was succesfully sued by the Belgian songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva. He claimed that Madonna's hit "Frozen" was lifted from his earlier song "Ma View Fout L'camp".

Killing Joke sued Nirvana claiming that the riff for the song "Come As You Are" from their song "Eighties". The lawsuit was dropped.

Bridget said...

1.) I think the song "Viva la Vida " by Coldplay plagiarizes the song "If I Could Fly" by Santriani. I think it is a coincident; when listening to the exact part which is thought to be plagiarized, I could hear the slight resemblance between the two.

2.) I do not think that the song "Dani California" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers plagiarizes "Mary Jane's Last Dance" by Tom Petty at all. I do not any similar references from instrumental to instrumental, vocal to vocal, vocal to instrumental, or instrumental to vocal.

Mike said...

In January 2007, producer Timbaland, who's produced artists such as Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, and Jay Z was accused of plagirism on the Nelly Furtado song, "Do It". The accuser: Tempest. He claimed the song stole from his song "Acidjazzed Evening". Upon listening, the songs sound similar. In the case, it was concluded as plagirism.

ALYSSA said...

I think that the Red Hot Chili Peppers definitley plaigarized Tom Petty's Mary Janes Last Dance with thier song Dani California. The opening guitar is the exact same whiloe the rest of the instrumentals are very similar. Even the vocals match up even thought the Chili Peppers sing at a faster pace.

I think that Joe Satriani should not hav sued Cold Play for thier song Viva La Vida. Cold Plays vocals match up to Satriani's guitar playing but no identically. It is also too small of a portion of the Cold Play song that was supposedly plaigarized for them to have been sued for plaigarism.

Molli B said...

Blatantly Plagiarized:
“Last Nite”-The Strokes and “American Girl”-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
The Strokes stole the riff and chord progressions to Tom Petty's song. They openly admitted it on national television.

Green Day's "Waiting" is said to have plagiarized Petula Clark's "Downtown."

liz said...

Chiffon's "He's So Fine" and George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" are similar. The background music in both songs sound a lot alike. I’m not so sure if it was intentionally plagiarized, but there is a big similarity in the instrumental parts of the songs.

Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance” and The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California" have no direct plagiarism in both songs. The way the songs are sung sound alike, but there is clearly no plagiarism in the songs.

Anonymous said...

1.) “Beautiful Day”-U2 (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000) rips off “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.”-A-Ha (Hunting High and Low, 1985) This song is known as the most blatantly plagiarized songs in history
2.) “My sweet lord” by George Harrison and “He so fine” by Ronald Mack. I think these two songs are just a coincidental because they are separated by such a long period of time. Although the songs are not identical they do have some things in common, but are not the same exact notes.
-Patrick Traverse

Kayla said...

Plagiarism in Songs

I believe that Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida”, definitely plagiarizes Joe Satrini’s, “If I Could Fly”. Even though it is a very strange example of plagiarism, converting the notes of guitar strings to the notes that a voice can go to is very interesting. However, it definitely matches the notes perfectly. Another example of plagiarism is between Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and The Red Hot Chili Peppers “Dani California”. The music is precisely exact! And The Red Hot Chili Peppers cannot deny it, I feel if a band has a new song that they believe it to be theirs, I still think just to be safe, they should run a background check just in case.

Nicole N. said...

After listening to the overlap of "Viva La Vida" and "If I Could Fly" I think it's right of Satriani to sue Coldplay. Even though there are thousands of songs, I think that the chances of Coldplay being completely original is unlikely. Then again I don't 100% agree that anyone can own a sound anyway. I guess it's for each individual person to decide for themselves.

Kayla T. said...

Honestly, I don't believe that any of the songs that I have listened to are plagiarized. Yes, many of them are similar but, I still wouldn't call is plagiarism. And others are more than likely just a coincidence, and frankly a bit of a stretch. "Mary Jane's last dance" and "Dani California" start out with the music sounding just barely similar.

In addition, I think Coldplay getting sued is rediculous. If I was Joe Satriani, I would be honored and flattered and whatnot to have actual famous musicians getting inspiration from me. Also, with the Tom Petty and Red Hot Chili Peppers thing, the similarities take place in the instrumentals, but it still isn;t even that close. In the Coldplay/Satriani case, they are arguing that the vocals are too closely related to the instrumenals in the other song. This shouldn't even be an issue.

Maybe if someone sang the exact same song, the exact same way, and took credit for it I could see the problem, but all of these aren't close enough. People shouldn't be able to own a sound.