Hello good folks of UG,

this debate popped into my head just now, and I wondered what you all think; just how derivative does a song have to be to be considered plagiarism? Given that there is a finite number of things one can do with music, everything has it's inspiration, but there is a line between inspired and simply blatantly copied.

Also, does it depend on the genre? Are songs from such genres as three-chord blues or punk (for instance) easier to rip off because they are more simplistic, or is there more leeway granted because there is less scope for musical experimentation? Does it have to be entirely theoretical - can a guitar tone or mixing technique be plagiarised, for instance?

I know where I stand, to an extent, I was just curious as to what you guys thought.

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I guess it depends on how greedy the band want to be. Some could say that a four chord progression with the same strumming pattern is plagiarism, but then how many songs could seriously be written?
Sometimes riffs sound completely stolen, but put into a context of a different backing all that's been stolen is one melody line.

Unless you're taking the drums, rhythm and melody from a song I honestly don't think you can say it's plagiarised. Chances are that the writer hasn't even heard the original track.
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