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Dark Horse copyright infringement -- what do you think?

TimCox

Active Member
I'm not sure what difference it would make if the synth sounds were completely identical. Are the sounds copyrighted? Put another way, are identical snare sounds playing a particular rhythm (in different songs) the subject of copyright lawsuits?
They're all stolen from sounds created by Richard Wright and all of the synth pioneers of the 70s and 80s anyway
 

rollasoc

Member
From now on, I am only going to write my songs using midi. With each bar having random 1/128th or 1/64th notes at velocity 1, along with some normal notes at normal velocities. Then when they try and compare the sheet music of my song with others, mine will be a jumbled mess, which they will never untangle. Mwahhhhh. :)
 

Daryl

Senior Member
From now on, I am only going to write my songs using midi. With each bar having random 1/128th or 1/64th notes at velocity 1, along with some normal notes at normal velocities. Then when they try and compare the sheet music of my song with others, mine will be a jumbled mess, which they will never untangle. Mwahhhhh. :)
Won't matter. If you actually have notes, you'll be infringing.
 

ThePrioryStudio

Uk Computer
It's not the lawyers arguing in defense of US
Exactly this. It doesn't matter if it was ripped off, doesn't matter if it sounds similar or not similar at all. That's almost the most irrelevant part about it. The lawyers made a case and drained each side for their fee. That's it! It's wealth generation, simply.

As far as musically speaking, I'm sure KP's side wished they'd hired Rick Beato given his excellent synopsis
 

reddognoyz

Senior Member
It's a crap decision decided by a group of people unequipped to be able to differentiate between what is common and what is intrinsic to the song. I feel it's coincidence, it's such a common phrase.
 

josejherring

Senior Member
It doesn't bode well for commercial music. Every established style is recognized by similar rhythms and chords. Now some ass can sue a new artist because 10 years ago he wrote a Reggae tune. These lawsuits are just a money grab and a deliberate attempt to hammer at the music industry. The flip side of this is that these lawsuits are similar to Nestle trying to put a patent on water or Monster cable trying to place intellectual property rights on the term "monster". But, because it's music and it's more subjective, then people don't see it for the absurdity of what it really is. It's like somebody suing somebody because he used the clave rhythm in a Latin tune. Give me a f***in' break already.
 

mac4d

Active Member
So here are the intro lyrics from Joyful Noise by Flame, put out in 2008.

You know what it is
I love it
Yeah
I love it
Let's talk about it..

I present the above lyrics here for fair use educational purposes, in order to inform the general public, and possibly some copyright infringement concerned artists, the following...

In 2007, T.I. put out a rap song called: You Know What It Is.
T.I. and guest rappers use phrase 'you know what it is' 7 times in song. These exact words, not just similar. Exact same 5 words, and if one were to get picky about it, exact same 15 letters (think 15 notes for the musical equivalence).

Not only that, but if you listen to this song, there's a prominent mono sawtooth portamento patch, very similar to what Flame used.

And just overall, these songs have very similar hip-hop feel, groove, vibe. I very much doubt a layman jurist who doesn't listen to rap or hip-hop would be able to tell these songs apart easily, if at all. It's like for people who are not fans of jazz, jazz all sounds the same to them (actual people have told me this). Same with classical. And a number of styles like polka, or big band... but i digress...

Moving on..
In 1995, Tim McGraw put out a country song called: I Like it, I Love it.
Tim sings the words 'I love it' twice in each chorus (there are 3 choruses).

This song was a big hit. I don't listen to country stations, but even I remember hearing this song, likely Top 40 radio. From genius.com: “I Like It, I Love It” is the first single off of McGraw’s 3x multi-platinum album, All I Want.

Anyway, Tim sings the exact same 3 words that Flame appropriated and used in his song 13 years later. Even the exact same 7 letters.

Interestingly Tim says 'I love it' twice in his chorus, and Flame says 'I love it' twice in his intro.
Coincidence? hmmmm...I think not!

In 1964, The Beatles put out a rock song called: She Loves You. In this song they say 'Yeah' many times. This was a big hit for them. The Beatles were very popular!
Exact same word, 4 letters, is lifted by Flame in 2008 for his song. Scandalous!

In 2002, Clipse put out a rap song called: Let's Talk About it.
In this hip-hop rap song, rapper Jermaine Dupri raps 'Lets talk about it' 6 times in a chorus. There are 3 choruses so he raps this phrase 18 times. Exact same phrase that Flame lifted and used 6 years later in his song. And without even asking permission! Exact same 15 letters.

Now Flame might claim he never heard the Clipse song, but I'll bet money he heard Salt-N-Pepa's 1991 humongous hit: Let’s Talk About Sex.
So he clearly heard 'let's talk about' before his 2008 song, and likely, as a christian artist he would have to change 'sex' to 'it' so as not to offend his christian audience, cause you know, they don't like sex.

Flame didn't create one new original lyric phrase in his song's entire intro, it's all lifted from elsewhere. And he has the gall to go after Katy Perry for a background accompaniment mono portamento synth part, playing an ultra basic melodic phrase, repeating in a 2 or 1 bar loop, reminiscent of a gazillion other hip-hop songs.

Worse than that. They actually let this ridiculous case go to trial. Can't the court system find better things to do than waste time on an 8th or 16th note arpeggiator generated loop of the 1st phrase of 3 Blind Mice with the 3rd flatted? (Oh, how innovative! Must've taken them days to do.)

:)
 

dzilizzi

I know nothing
So if I take a stock EZDrummer midi pattern with the stock kit. Release my song, then you use the same pattern and kit. Can I sue you?
Or worse, an EZKeys midi phrase. I chose that specific chord progression to use with that specific phrase, I should be able to go after anyone else who uses it, right?
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
I think the likelihood of any of us being sued and losing under the same premise as Katy Perry is very small, because we're not multi-millionaires. I believe the jury in this case was swooned by the plaintiff's legal team into thinking $2.7 million is a drop in the bucket for the defense, who could and therefore should pony it up to the little guy.

There are a lot of people in the world who hate wealthy people just because they're wealthy. Get people like that on a jury, and they won't think twice about siphoning a few million dollars away from a mega pop star.

I believe that's how Flame won the case.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
So if I take a stock EZDrummer midi pattern with the stock kit. Release my song, then you use the same pattern and kit. Can I sue you?
You could, but since we're talking about percussion and not tones, I doubt anyone would take your case unless there were additional compositional elements similar between our two songs.

Or worse, an EZKeys midi phrase. I chose that specific chord progression to use with that specific phrase, I should be able to go after anyone else who uses it, right?
Yes. You own the composition in which you used EZ Keys MIDI phrase, so it would be no different than if you composed the phrase yourself. But the likelihood of one independent artist suing another over the same EZ Keys MIDI phrase is virtually non-existent... until one of you has a song that becomes popular and makes you a lot of money. Then the odds of another musician coming after you, who also used that MIDI phrase, goes way up.

The point you bring up is a good one, because it shows that if the country's relatively unknown, independent artists started suing each other in similar Flame vs. Perry cases, it would flood the court system with thousands upon thousands of cases... all of them legitimate thanks to the horrific precedent set by the Flame vs. Perry case.

Every one of us composers and songwriters has unwittingly plagiarized another composer or songwriter at some point. We are protected from lawsuits by two things: limited popularity/wealth, and the professional courtesy and common sense shared by the majority of independent artists in the music community. If we gained popularity and wealth, the odds would increase that someone would throw common sense and courtesy out the window and come after our money.
 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
I think the likelihood of any of us being sued and losing under the same premise as Katy Perry is very small, because we're not multi-millionaires. I believe the jury in this case was swooned by the plaintiff's legal team into thinking $2.7 million is a drop in the bucket for the defense, who could and therefore should pony it up to the little guy.

There are a lot of people in the world who hate wealthy people just because they're wealthy. Get people like that on a jury, and they won't think twice about siphoning a few million dollars away from a mega pop star.

I believe that's how Flame won the case.
I agree with that, but what scares me is if these standards start moving to commercials and media music, where we can find ourselves on the hook for far more than we got paid.

For example, suppose I get paid $10k to do a jingle for Pepsi. Clyde McLawsuit thinks I infringed his song, and since it's Pepsi, he knows there's tons of money to be had if he sues. Since there's an indemnity clause in the contract I signed, it's me, not Pepsi, who is on the hook for the entire bill, including legal fees.

That really happened, incidentally. Fortunately I was able to un-attach myself from the defendants. (The guy who owned the publishing had been ripping me off ... and in a beautiful case of Karma, his sleazy actions got me off the hook.) The case settled for low 6-figures. For a $10k gig. The publisher didn't have that kind of money, so the ad agency paid most of it. Had I not gotten myself un-attached, that would have been me who paid most of it.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
For example, suppose I get paid $10k to do a jingle for Pepsi.
I'd never be brave enough to work at that level in the industry, where it was necessary to sign an indemnity clause putting me on the hook for legal fees and punitive damages, knowing millions of people would hear my jingle. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I'd be more at ease writing cheap jingles for clients like "Owen's Discount Auto Parts on 53rd Street" to air at 7AM on the WKPI Earlybird Polka Showcase. :grin:
 

michelsimons

Active Member
Yes. You own the composition in which you used EZ Keys MIDI phrase, so it would be no different than if you composed the phrase yourself. But the likelihood of one independent artist suing another over the same EZ Keys MIDI phrase is virtually non-existent... until one of you has a song that becomes popular and makes you a lot of money. Then the odds of another musician coming after you, who also used that MIDI phrase, goes way up.
Even if in both cases you can trace it back to the same piece of software? "Yes, your honour, we both used EZ Keys, but I used it first."
 
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