November 21, 2017 at 12:22 am #28885
I’m seeking professional counsel, ideally from someone experienced in music copyright issues.
I just found out that an old RF track of mine (that has been quite popular over the last years) might contain a motive that is close to a part of a movie score from some decades ago.
What I mean by “I just found out” is that I really had no idea this movie / soundtrack existed. Yet I did listen to a lot of “Movie Soundtrack Compilations” as a little kid (without knowing the actual movies). So it’s of course possible that this melody might have been engraved in my brain somewhere and came up when I wrote the track in question.
The melody is not exactly the same, but pretty close. Yet it’s so simple and short that I’m not even sure if this actually could be a problem.
Is there any professional with decent rates that would like to take a listen and give me some (legal) advice? I’d like to do this via PM / email though.
Did anybody else have similar experiences? A melody that popped in your head – yet later on you had to realize that you might have heard this tune somewhere before?
Thanks!November 21, 2017 at 3:08 am #28886VladParticipant
MichaelL is the guy you are looking for. Assuming he does ‘law from a distance’.
That said, yes…I recently heard one of my old tension tracks in a TV show. I started freaking out because the melody in one spot was VERY similar to the Exorcist theme. Different instrument. Different rhythm. Different key. Different backing Instruments. Similar tempo. Similar melodic arc. Same mode (in a different key). These similarities do happen and you probably have to analyze and weigh how egregious the offense was.November 21, 2017 at 4:41 am #28887
Thanks Vlad! I wrote a PM to MichaelL…November 21, 2017 at 8:24 am #28892LAwriterParticipant
A musicologist is what you need to determine “how close” and “how egregious” your potential quote is. An attorney is what you need to determine what action you should follow once you find out the above information.November 21, 2017 at 8:32 am #28893
A musicologist is what you need to determine “how close” and “how egregious” your potential quote is. An attorney is what you need to determine what action you should follow once you find out the above information.
You’re probably right, yet I was hoping to find someone here who has experience enough in both fields to give me some initial advice on how to handle my situation.November 21, 2017 at 12:16 pm #28895MichaelLParticipant
We all assimilate influences which are reflected in our work. You’d be hard-pressed to find a composition that is totally free from outside influence.
One important factor here is that this “quote” happened accidentally. You didn’t set out to create a soundalike, which shows intent and could trigger statutory damages if you got sued.
That said, courts have found infringement in as few as three notes. As an attorney, I can’t listen to your track and say whether or not you are in the clear. A musicologist can offer an opinion but it is just that, an opinion. There’s no way either a musicologist or an attorney could predict with 100% certainty what a jury would determine and it’s the jury’s opinion that matters.