#1
So, I was listening to my iTunes just now, and I noticed something. The song "Say Goodbye" by Theory of a Deadman sounds interestingly similiar to the Alter Bridge song "Rise Today".

Listen to the beginnings of both. Sound very similiar?

The ToaD song precedes the Alter Bridge song by about two years. Is this just coincidence? Making no accusations, just pointing out that in my opinion, they're very very similiar.

I guess this is kinda reflective of a moral problem within the music industry. To what extent is it okay to borrow or reproduce the ideas of another musician in your own songs? Is it acceptable to blindly profit from this?

Quote by snot_foster25
I will, however, clarify my point.

I do not believe Alter Bridge deliberately copied Theory of a Deadman's song. I am merely looking for opinions on the MORAL issue.
Last edited by snot_foster25 at Nov 9, 2008,
#2
Eventually some shit is going to sound the same as other shit. Doesn't mean they're ripping it off.
#3
You're stupid.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#4
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You're stupid.


You're unsubstantiated, ignorant, and have nothing to contribute. Go away.

I will, however, clarify my point.

I do not believe Alter Bridge deliberately copied Theory of a Deadman's song. I am merely looking for opinions on the MORAL issue.
#5
Moral issues? I don't think most people intend to really steal anything and claim it as their own. Music has been around for thousands of years, and there is bound to be a few similarities crop up.
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#6
I don't see how this is even a situation. I don't think any major artist actually deliberately copies another artist. It's far too risky for their reputation.
#8
Everyone rips off everyone and everyone bitches about everyone ripping off everyone.

There is no moral issue here. It's just more bitching.
#9
It's not a moral issue. Unless you're suggesting that, before they're allowed to release any material, all bands must be forced to listen to the complete discographies of all other bands ever, then there's not even any way of knowing that Alter Bridge have even heard the Theory of a Deadman song.

Both the system of Western Tonal Harmony and the generic features of individual styles of music mean that, although there is technically an infinite number of possible songs, the likelihood that any given song which subscribes to a certain aesthetic will use a similar chord structure to another that's already been written is fairly high. The chord sequence then places certain constraints on what the melody can do, so where again there is a wide variety of possible melodies, only a few of these will be functional, and still fewer will fit with the tempo and mood of the song.

Basically, songs will sound like other songs, it's not a moral problem, but it may become a legal problem if a band (or record company) believes that they have some kind of proof that the song has been intentionally plagiarised, and that such plagiarism is likely to cause economic harm to the band which originally had the idea.
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#10
Quote by snot_foster25
You're unsubstantiated, ignorant, and have nothing to contribute. Go away.

I'd rather be that than an over-analytical moron.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#11
I'm just voicing my opinion, using that as an example. I love Alter Bridge, and I have no doubt of their, or anyone else's integrity as musicians.

But look at the case of Noel Gallagher from Oasis. He has been accused before of copying music from other artists. Is that acceptable because his band has sold 30 million records?

At what point does taking a chord progression, or riff, or melody, from another song become plagiarism?

Quote by Xiaoxi
I'd rather be that than an over-analytical moron.


Maybe I am being over-analytical, but I'm doing nothing more than looking for opinion and debate on an issue I would consider to be important.

I apologise if that offends you. You don't have to agree with me.

If you don't like what I'm saying, stop reading and leave. It's not hard.
Last edited by snot_foster25 at Nov 9, 2008,
#13
Chord progressions don't have copyrights, so anyone can use any chord progression from another song. I get what you're trying to say though, and I'd also like to know, where do you draw the line?
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#14
Well, how about a melody or a riff then? Wouldn't either of those be sufficiently identifiable as a band or artists individual creative property to justify being theirs alone?
#15
Quote by snot_foster25
I'm just voicing my opinion, using that as an example. I love Alter Bridge, and I have no doubt of their, or anyone else's integrity as musicians.

But look at the case of Noel Gallagher from Oasis. He has been accused before of copying music from other artists. Is that acceptable because his band has sold 30 million records?

At what point does taking a chord progression, or riff, or melody, from another song become plagiarism?


I'm going to assume that it (legally) becomes plagiarism at the point where there's actual concrete proof that he's done so. I mean I'm not familiar with the exact artists Noel Gallagher is accused of copying from, but Oasis' brand of Brit-pop is so simplistic on a musical level that it's just as likely that the chord progression from Wonderwall sounds like the chord progressions from a good number of other songs because that chord progression's not a particularly complex or innovative one, especially on guitar, where the sus4 chords are produced by simply holding your 3rd and 4th fingers as they would be for a G chord and moving your index finger, the kind of thing that pretty much all guitarists do if they're just messing about with chords.

I'm not saying that no-one plagiarises music, but that it's pretty futile to accuse anyone of doing so when there's no possible way of proving it. It could only be construed as morally wrong really (unless you want to get into deontology) if the artist whose chord sequence had been used was actively losing money from the plagiarism, as I've already said.
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#16
This is a link to Noel Gallagher admitting to having plagiarised a song.

I have a legal question, then. To what extent does a copywrite protect the musical elements that make up a song? Does a copywrite protect a specific riff or melody in a song?

If not, should it?
#18
[DISCLAIMER - I'm not a law student, so my citations of laws just come from a quick google search, and my analysis off the top of my head]

US Copyright law doesn't define its limits beneath 'the work' as a whole, as to do so would cause huge problems, for example if an author gained copyright over all the individual words he used in a novel, or even individual phrases, since language, like music, is made up of common elements which are likely to appear in similar formulations.

The most important thing to ascertain would be whether such 'plagiarism' constituted a 'derivative work (one which adapts the original work)', as the copyright holder gains 'exclusive rights' to create derivatives. This is again difficult, as it is impossible to draw a definite legal line between adaptation and re-creation which would not harm future artists with genuine reasons for using a similar chord sequence, but it's safe to say that the more similar it sounds (is it in the same key? Does it use similar instrumentation? Similar fills? Is it just the chord sequence and melody that are the same?) the more grounds one would have for a case.

The second element of copyright law which applies is the concept of fair use, whereby some copying and distribution of a copyrighted work is permissible, but the legality of this is debated based on the following concerns:

The purpose and character of the use;
The nature of the copyrighted work;
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

It would be impossible to go into a theoretical case here (mostly cause I have more important things to do), but hopefully you can see that it's pretty much 'case by case' - defining 'amount and substantiality' is difficult in terms of music, because there are so many unquantifiable elements, such as the emotion invested in a particular recording, and it's difficult to determine the effect on the market caused by one song to another, but these are the issues, and (in my opinion), the best that any artist could hope for, as to define anything more precisely than this would almost certainly stifle creativity amongst emerging artists.
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