Friday, November 6, 2009

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".


Emily N said...

There is a parallel between the novel Johnny Got His Gun, and Metallica's song “One.” Both the song and the novel are about the war and the men that fought in the war. The video has clips of a former solider how is hurt and can’t move; that communicates with the doctor. He repeatable tells the doctors to kill him. In the novel the solider has lost his arms, legs, and face but he can still think clearly, he uses Morse code to ask the doctor to grant his wish to be put in a glass box. In the song the lyrics are, “I cannot live I cannot die trapped in myself” which is basically what happens to the main character in the book.

Anonymous said...

A small-time band out of New York, the Creaky Boards claim that the band Coldplay plagiarized their song in Coldplay's hit single "Viva La Vida". Ironically, Creaky Boards' song is called "Songs I Didn't Write". The songwriter for the band says that Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin came to one of their shows in 2007 and stole the melody from their song to use on Coldplay's next album. After listening to both the songs I agree that the melody is very similiar, almost exact. However, I do not believe it was intentional plagiarism. There are only so many melodies in the music world. I think it is possible that Chris Martin was inspired by the Creaky Boards' song but I don't thik he purposely stole that same melody to use in his next song. He probably didn't even realize it was the same when he wrote it.
-Carolyn Hathaway

Alex Grimes said...

Tom Petty's "Last Dance with Mary Jane" and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers's "Dani California" is a true example of a plagiarized song. I think this because not only does the rhyme of the songs match but the lyrics of "Dani California" and extremely similar to "Last Dance with Mary Jane." Joe Satriani's "If I Could Fly" and Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" is an example of a coincidental plagiarizium. I think this because they are similar beats, but i dont think that its plagiarizium at all.

B Blye said...

The Used : I caught fire
Fireflight : Unbreakable

Plagiarism in song is relatively common. There is only so much you can produce that wont sound like another piece of music. There is band called The Used which was formed in Orem, Utah. They came out with a song called "I Caught Fire (in your eyes)" that came with their first album In Love and Death. Another band called Fireflight was formed in Eustis, Florida. Their second album that came out was titled Unbreakable which contained the song, "Unbreakable." The Used's song "I Caught Fire (In your eyes)" has the same chords in the beginning of the song "Unbreakable" by Fireflight. These chords were plagiarised by the band Fireflight because they took the chords from The Used.

ChadMc$$$ said...

George Harrison was sued for plagiarizing the Chiffon's song "He's So Fine" in his "My Sweet Lord." This case was successful after an extended period in court, and Harrison was ultimately labelled as a plagiarist. Listening to the two songs, there is an undeniable similarity between them, and I personally believe that the song was copied.
I also researched the alleged plagiarism of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many people believe that their song "Dani California" is taken from Tom Petty's "Last Dance with Mary Jane." When I listened to a side-by-side comparison, I found the two very similar. I could understand if the parallels existed for a few seconds, but the song beats were almost interchangeable for a long time. However, during a Rolling Stone interview, Petty dismissed the instance as a coincidence, and even said that it would not bother him if his song was copied.

K.Robillard said...

One example of a truely plagariarized song is "Do It" by Timbaland. The media said that he plagariarized the motifs and sampls from the album "Loose" by Nell Furtado without giving her any credit or compensation.

An example of just a concidental song is Bruce Springsteens song "Radio Nowhere." The media said that it sounded similar to the song "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone. His reponse was "I'm really honored at a similarity, if any, I think there's too much suing in the world now."

Jason... said...

I have listened to both Mary Jane last Dance/Dali California, and If i could fly/Vida la viva. "Viva la viva" has been accused of taking the guitar from "If I Could Fly" and using it as a lyrical melody. In my searches I came across mp3 (that can be listened in school located here ) that mixes both songs. In my opinion i believe this is true plagiarism. If you didn't know "If I Could Fly" was an actual song you would think it's an instrumental of "Viva la Vida", but in reality "If I Could Cly" was released first and "Viva la Vida" plagiarized it.

The songs "Mary Jane Last Dance" and "Dali California" seem to be coincidental to me. The lyrical melody seems somewhat the same, but with music eventually some things are going to lightly overlap. It's hard, as a modern artist, to do something that has never been done before. You can comapre the two songs at ,but i believe this to eb a coincidence.

Coren G. said...

Joe Satriani's "If I could Fly" nad Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" are a good example of plagiarism in music. The guitar in both songs overlay eachother when played to gether and sound too close to the same exact notes to be coincidental, whether or not the instruments and octaves are different. Coldplay clearly stole Satriani's guitar playing and music to his song and did nothing much to change it when they made their song with it.

Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" and Rubinoos "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" are an example of two coincidental songs. While Lavigne took phrases and music sections from the Rubinoos song, she made them her own and worked them into her own song. Their is very little as far as similarities and I cannot see why using something you like is plagiarism. I find that the main similarity is the use of "Hey, hey you, you" to start the chorus in both songs. The beats are similar, but they are still different. Their is no plagiarism here.

Brandon M said...

Brandon Moreau

Plagiarism is defined as "the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work." (Merriam Websters Online Dictionary). In the printed word and on the sheet of music plagiarism is a low point that is nothing short of theft in all walks of life. Therefore in music, in itself a cut throat business, plagiarism is present and as in all forms of intellectual ownership is a taboo to practice facing the accused artist with nothing less than eternal shame. However although plagiarism is present not all accusations are true in fact most are merely identical strings of notes and not really applicable because music is bound to have repeated patterns due to the narrow amount of notes and then the select few combination's that are pleasant to the ear are narrower still so that in the end patterns are due to repeat.

An example of a truly plagiarized song in the eyes of the law is in the case filed against George Harrison for plagiarizing the melody of the Chiffons song He's So Fine in George Harrison's song My Sweet Lord. George Harrison ended up in the end paying out a large sum of money as he should, as he stole the intellectual property of another and claimed it as his own.

However there are also seemingly plagarized works in music however the incidince in question is more often than not due to accidental coincidence of vocal patterns and guitar chords. Such as in Joe Santarini's If I could Fly and Coldplay's huge hit Viva La Vida; the suit was based on the guitar chords of Santarini which he alleged were the same as Coldplay's lyrical beat. Another case of supposed plagarism is filed as a result of the stealing of Tom Petty's Last Dance with Mary Jane by the Red Hot Chili Peppers Dani California. However the case was not proven to be plagarisim in either case.

In conclusion it can be accuratly deduced that although plagarisim is a problem it is not as prevalent as one would expect.

Brian Acker said...

1.) An example of a truly plagiarized song is Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” Coldplay clearly ripped off Joe Satriani’s “If I Could Fly” in this song. Coldplay used Satriani’s main guitar line in “If I Could Fly” as the vocal pattern in “Viva La Vida.” The two patterns are not just similar, they are exact. Not only are these two melodies the same, but the two songs are both in the exact same key, have the exact same chord progressions, and use the exact same timing. Because of this precision and closeness of the songs, they sound exactly the same and sound great together when one is layered over the other. You can hear an example of this at the website: The two songs are exactly the same, and since Satriani’s “If I Could Fly” was released four years before “Viva La Vida”, it is clear that Coldplay plagiarized him.

2.) An example of a coincidental relationship between two songs is Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dani California.” This is obviously a coincidence because while the songs sound similar, the two songs are not exactly the same, and only a few chords are copied. There is not near enough evidence to call this clear plagiarism.

Ashley G. said...

1. Chiffon's "He's So Fine"/George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"- To me, these songs sound similar, and the content is similiar, but I don't think it's a case of plagarism. Harrison's song is much slower and it feels deeper to me. Both songs are about a loved one, but Harrison's seems more intimate and connected opposed to the Chiffon's. I think the content in both songs are coincidentaly similar and if analyzed, the beat is comparable, but I would denounce the idea of plagarism between these two songs.

2. Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"/The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California"- I would say that this may be a form of plagarism. At the beginning of the songs, both have prominent guitar solo's and both have almost identical beats. Yes, Petty's lyrics are different and more "old-fashioned", but both Petty and The Red Hot Chili Peppers sing about a beautiful, rebellious-type girl who moves to discover more to life. They both talk about how the place that she moves to isn't ready for her and that it's a huge adjustment. The songs take us through the girl's journey in a new place. To me, both songs seem like they have a similar hidden message too (maybe suicide?). I would agree with the fact that The Red Hot Chili Peppers did plagarize Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" to some extent.

3. Joe Satriani's "If I Could Fly"/Coldplay's "Viva La Vida"- In my opinion, I would say it's fair to say that this is a case of plagarism. I feel like I could sing "Viva la Vida" along with Satriani's song. The beats and guitar usage in both songs are extremely similar and one gets the feeling that if you put the lyrics to Coldplay's song on top of Satriani's, it would match up pretty accurately. I would have to consider this a case of plagarism within the beats and instrument usage on Coldplay's part.

Shannon Cap said...

For the plagiarism in song that i believe to be on purpose is Beyonce's "Halo" and Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone". There has been speculation on the radio that Kelly Clarkson did infact copy the exact beat of Beyonce's song. If you play both of the songs at the same time you would not be able to tell which song is which; they sound exactly alike. Beyonce's song came out before Kelly Clarkson's, and in todays music indistry it is not uncommon to hear people stealing music from other artists. The pair that i believe to be coincidental is "He's So Fine" by the Chiffon and George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord". I do not think either one took from the other. When listening to the song you can hear a little bit of similarity in the rhythm but most of the similarity comes from the lyrics. The lryics seem the same but i do not think that these songs are examples of true plagiarism.