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Author Topic: "Stairway to Heaven" VS "Taurus" lawsuit  (Read 2536 times)
L07 Shooting Star
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« on: June 24, 2016, 07:21:58 AM »

The jury ruled that Plant and Page didn't plagerize the song Taurus previously written and performed by the band, Spirit.  Did the jury get it right?  The criteria used to determine what constitutes a copy when it comes to music, is quite interesting and maybe worth discussing.  Apparently it comes down to details like what percentage of notes fall on the same place on the register at the same position on a musical notation when you compare them side by side.  Very technical.  Comparing by just listening doesn't seem to carry nearly as much weight.

https://www.bing.com/search?q=taurus+by+spirit+youtube&form=EDGEAR&qs=AS&cvid=4c28e1404f90490cb4bbac1038d821d5&pq=%22taurus%22%20by

http://www.whosampled.com/sample/6810/Led-Zeppelin-Stairway-to-Heaven-Spirit-Taurus/
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Walkerman
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2016, 01:22:51 PM »

Add to the evidence, Zep toured with Spirit, who played Taurus every night.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2016, 03:54:55 PM »

Amateurs borrow. Professionals steal.
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Walkerman
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2016, 12:09:05 AM »

Amateurs borrow. Professionals steal.

There has been a lot of it

Harrison used "He's so fine" for "My Sweet Lord."
Wilson used "Sweet little Sixteen" for "Surfin USA."

I am sure there's a ton more.
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eded
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2016, 03:09:31 AM »

There has been a lot of it

Harrison used "He's so fine" for "My Sweet Lord."
Wilson used "Sweet little Sixteen" for "Surfin USA."

I am sure there's a ton more.

Wilson credited Berry.

I guess all blues is suspect...  except one.  Or would it be 12 because there are that many keys for a 1 4 5(7th) progression?

In some ways, if a song is in the well tempered scale, it has to be copied.  By now, all the combinations have been used.

This is the biggest non-story of the week.

Ed
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 06:34:55 AM »

Wilson credited Berry.

I guess all blues is suspect...  except one.  Or would it be 12 because there are that many keys for a 1 4 5(7th) progression?

In some ways, if a song is in the well tempered scale, it has to be copied.  By now, all the combinations have been used.

This is the biggest non-story of the week.

Ed

I agree.  Just thought it interesting how a court of law goes about determining if there is an infringement.  I don't think all combinations have been used.  Yes there are only 12 notes available.  But when you consider the actual notes, their duration, the order in which they are presented, the fact that they can be octaved, the tempo and pentameter, and which words are tied to each note, I don't think all the permutations have been exhausted yet.  There is no way to tell, really.  I think it would be a lot easier to prove a lyric was copied than a song (melody with lyrics). 
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 12:56:45 PM »

I heard an interesting story on CBC radio's As it Happens a ways back. Barbara Frum was interviewing a lawyer representing Yoko Ono who was being sued by the copyright owners of the song "Makin' Whoopee" over her song "I'm Your Angel" off of the Double Fantasy album.  They played a snippet from each song and her lawyer freely admitted that the songs had identical tunes. He told the history and dates of the songs' writing. However, he said, listen to these and proceeded to play several tunes from earlier than "Makin' Whoopee" that had identical melodies. He stated he didn't think the suit would be successful on that basis. When Frum asked him why George Harrison lost his suit involving "My Sweet Lord" and "He's So Fine", songs that were not as similar as the two tunes in question, the lawyer said Harrison basically wasn't interested in defending himself and thought the whole process beneath his dignity. He said he though he could have easily prevailed.    
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Riverbend
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2016, 10:42:37 AM »

I heard an interesting story on CBC radio's As it Happens a ways back. Barbara Frum was interviewing a lawyer representing Yoko Ono who was being sued by the copyright owners of the song "Makin' Whoopee" over her song "I'm Your Angel" off of the Double Fantasy album.  They played a snippet from each song and her lawyer freely admitted that the songs had identical tunes. He told the history and dates of the songs' writing. However, he said, listen to these and proceeded to play several tunes from earlier than "Makin' Whoopee" that had identical melodies. He stated he didn't think the suit would be successful on that basis. When Frum asked him why George Harrison lost his suit involving "My Sweet Lord" and "He's So Fine", songs that were not as similar as the two tunes in question, the lawyer said Harrison basically wasn't interested in defending himself and thought the whole process beneath his dignity. He said he though he could have easily prevailed.    
And of course by then he'd already written "Sue Me, Sue You" for Paul's efforts to dissolve Apple. 
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skyline
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2016, 02:48:48 AM »

For a surprisingly good over-view on why the jury's ruling is correct, here's a piece from before they went into deliberation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT64JH-Vh98

Along with the musical problems inherent in the concept of suing someone over a chord progression, it also outlines the "evidence" that was to be presented.

When you see their logic printed out, you'll laugh over the musical ignorance of the "Spirit estate's" lawyers.


Anywho - Zep* probably lifted this chord progression from the same place Spirit lifted it.

In addition to the various tunes Mr. Emmet mentions: play the opening progression from Stairway to Heaven and sing "Chim Chimney" (Mary Poppins) - another perfect fit.



*is it just me, or does everyone avoid typing the band's full name 'cause they can't remember how to spell it?
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skyline
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2016, 03:57:46 AM »

Apparently it comes down to details like what percentage of notes fall on the same place on the register at the same position on a musical notation when you compare them side by side.  Very technical.  Comparing by just listening doesn't seem to carry nearly as much weight.

In a civil case, the jury is asked to decide if the complainant has been "wronged". In this case the complainant's council chose to focus on a technical interpretation based on notation - the singularly worst possible approach they could have taken. Apparently the jury took the complaint to heart, and logically ruled that the two songs were significantly different.

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Walkerman
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2016, 01:56:02 PM »

Wilson credited Berry.

Ed

Well, after he was forced to do so, and only much later ...

"When the single was released in 1963, the record listed Brian Wilson as the sole composer although the song was published by Arc Music, Chuck Berry's publisher. Later releases, beginning with Best of The Beach Boys in 1966, listed Chuck Berry as the songwriter. Later releases list both writers although the copyright has always been owned, since 1963, by Arc Music. Under pressure from Berry's publisher, Wilson's father and manager, Murry Wilson, had given the copyright, including Brian Wilson's lyrics, to Arc Music."
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