A copy is a copy if it sounds like a copy!

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  • #29652 Reply
    Art Munson

    Yikes, the dangers of getting too close to that fine line. I’ll bet there’s a clause in that writer’s contract that leaves him on the hook!

    “The New Zealand High Court recently found that the New Zealand National Party infringed copyright in the Eminem song ‘Lose Yourself’ as part of its 2014 election campaign.

    The National Party released a television advertisement which included a song called ‘Eminem Esque.’ Eminem Esque was written by Michael Cohen and consists of a musical track with no lyrics. Mr Cohen licensed the song to a music production company in the USA, who subsequently licensed the song to Beatbox Music. The National Party purchased a licence to use the track from the music library of Beatbox Music, believing it was fine to use for the advertisement.”

    More here…

    #29653 Reply
    Art Munson


    #29656 Reply

    Who now actually pays the $600,000 damages?

    #29658 Reply

    That case has been around for a year or two. Copying other works or making something that sounds like another work is risky business.

    Who now actually pays the $600,000 damages?

    Every library contract that I’ve seen has an indemnification clause that makes the composer responsible for infringement.

    The reality is that most composers are what is called “judgment proof,” meaning that they don’t have significant assets from which the damages could be collected. That, however, may not leave them off the hook. Often, a lien will be entered against the judgment proof party that could follow them for the rest of their life, just in case they win the lottery, inherit money, or start to have success, and then they have to pay.

    Damages are only part of the problem. Win or lose you will face the cost of defending yourself if you are sued. Your defense costs could easily be six figures.

    Libraries are now turning away from knock-offs. Some won’t even let you mention a well-known work or well-known artist just in comparison.

    At the end of the day, is it worth taking that big a risk on the chance that you might make a few hundred dollars selling your knock-off? It’s a fool’s mission. Write your own music.

    #29659 Reply

    Many companies need Soundalikes or “replacement” tracks and even encourage artists to do these.But at the same time,like MichaelL said,all the contracts clearly state that the composer is responsible for infringement.
    Personally i always found soundalikes completely unimaginative and dull.Combine it with a potential lawsuit and it’s a complete waste of time.
    If you can write your own music why bother copying someone else?

    #29663 Reply

    If you can write your own music why bother copying someone else


    There are not too many greater “Highs” than to be “Your OWN Artist, that has cultivated a unique style; and find that style embraced by the masses”.

    Imagine this, we take something that comes from no-where, put it into a tangible form; and then literally get paid for our thoughts & Ideas.

    Sure enough, we are a product of our musical/creative influences. But then to take those elements, and “create” something that is truly & uniquely our own?!

    You can’t put a price on that kind of joy!!

    #29666 Reply

    There are not too many greater “Highs” than to be “Your OWN Artist, that has cultivated a unique style…

    +1,000! Spot on, BEATSLINGER!

    #29668 Reply

    I would love to hear the two tracks side by side

    #29673 Reply
    #29689 Reply
    Michael Nickolas

    I’m against that verdict. I was taught that melody and lyrics were what constituted a copyright. And that is how the courts always decided, wasn’t it? So now copyrights can be judged based on a feel? Or a groove? Nobody can be influenced by the artists that came before them anymore?

    #29690 Reply

    I think there was clear “intent” Michael. I agree with you about Lyrics and melody defining the copyright. i remember my very first meeting with an attorney and my band going over our first record deal and he said that melody and lyrics are what constitute a copyright in a musical work. I agree with the Eminem case because the “intent” was so overt. The tempo was the same, the guitar tone, the drum beat, the bass…it was just so obvious that the intent of the music producer was to get the track to sound as close to the original as possible.

    The Robin Thicke case with blurred lines was a bit grayer in my opinion. Anyone, everyone is cloning everyone these days. Look at how many I, IV, VIm, V progressions are “out there” with very similar production approaches; 4 on the floor beat, reverse piano, muted palm guitar.


    #29691 Reply
    Michael Nickolas

    Yeah, I was referring to the Blurred Lines verdict. Then Eminem copy was blatant with clear intent. I’ve listened to the original and the copy!

    I mean Blurred Lines sounds similar to Marvin Gaye, but I think everyone is influenced by the great artists of the past. Maybe this just shows more than usual on Blurred Lines. Listen close enough to any artist and you can hear where they are coming from, who they are influenced by or studied, or are inspired by. I’m thinking of the Amy Winehouse album Back to Black I think it is. She evokes the great artists and the sound of the 60’s. As soon as you hear it you can recognize that. I don’t remember reading about lawsuits there. It would be a shame if a future artist like Amy was afraid to create and release their music because of this “new” definition of a copyright.

    #29703 Reply

    The Copyright Society just shared this article about the Blurred Lines decision. It addresses some of your concerns Michael. Yes, it redfines copyright to a degree. https://abovethelaw.com/2018/03/blurred-lines-can-you-copy-a-music-genre/

    I still think there’s room to work in a genre without infringing. IMO, not everyone who uses certain elements to evoke a “sound” is going to infringe. But when you set out to write a song that sounds like something specific, like “Got to Give it Up,” you’re in different territory because you have intent.

    #29711 Reply
    Composer Of Notes

    Maybe if he hadn’t called it Eminem Esque no one would have paid attention!

    #29713 Reply
    Michael Nickolas

    Thanks for the link Michael, the author seems to agree with me :

    “the majority establishes a dangerous precedent that strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere.”

    Thicke’s version used a lot of Gayes’s elements, that is for sure. The tempo, the bass sound and the stylized use of the background voices. The percussion also, to a lesser extent. He probably thought he was ok, given previous definitions of a copyright being melody and lyrics only. The problem was the song made too much money.

    So I wonder, how many elements of a style will the courts allow in the future? Can we trust the courts to judge each case individually, based on intent? Actually Michael, do you know if intent was the deciding factor with the appeals court judgement or were they basing it on the similarities? I didn’t read it.

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