What if "all the help it can get" entails a forced burst of originality? Just sayin' ...
Maybe American popular music has been too derivative and has driven itself into a dark corner where
nothing sounds new and thus very little sounds interesting. Laziness and taking the path of least
resistance are human nature, so it's not surprising that in an age where nearly every bit of
recorded popular music is hearable, most of it instantly, the typical pop artist wouldn't feel the
need to sweat hard and find inspiration in a new direction.
Rather than protecting a bad status quo, shouldn't we embrace mechanisms that will shake out the
dead wood and foster new creativity? I think that's the only future for all western musics (all of
which, it's arguable, have become very derivative and stale).
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Aaron Levinson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2015 3:51 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] maybe the end of ripoff "songwriting"
> One point is that people are constantly referencing the similarities in the RECORDINGS, which the
> Gaye estate by the way, does not even own. This ruling will not stand imho.
> Nor should it.
> The chords and melody are quite different and a rhythm itself cannot be copyrighted. This seems
> more a case of people not liking Robin Thicke and the court of public opinion and not a
> musicological debate.
> I think if it does stand it will have a decidedly negative and chilling effect on creativity in
> popular music and that alone is extremely unfortunate.
> Creativity in popular music in this day and age needs all the help it can get.
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Mar 16, 2015, at 2:47 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I think there's a difference between referencing a song or melody and outright ripping it off.
>> Sampling is, and has been decided legally is, outright ripping off others' work, and thus those
>> people must be compensated. Referencing -- using a riff or a run of notes, or taking a lyric
>> phrase, for instances -- is more of a gray area. It'll be interesting to see how this Marvin Gaye
>> descision ends up in the courts, and whether it ends up being a Supreme Court test case. I think
>> Robin Thicke/Pharell's unoriginal tune more referenced than sampled that Marvin Gaye song, but
>> it's worth looking at the instructions to the jury, because they did get relatively thick into
>> the copyright weeds in deciding the case.
>> David's reference to Bach is interesting, because I think Bach and Beethoven and perhaps Dvorak
>> and other composers who recycled "folk" songs and melodies may have ended up in court under US
>> Copyright law in 2015. Does Beethoven's 9th outright "sample" large parts of a German drinking
>> song? Isn't that exactly what got De La Soul in trouble with Gilbert O'Sullivan? It would be
>> interesting to hear one of the copyright experts' opine on that comparison.
>> My disdain for the Thicke/Pharell situation is, if you can't come up with an original song, just
>> credit the originator and pay the damn royalties on your hit. There's no shame in making a career
>> covering other people's material. Look at all the crooners out there, look at many Country music
>> icons, look at Sinatra, Presley, Ronstadt, etc etc. It's sleazy to appropriate and not give
>> credit, in any creative endeavor. I look at Led Zeppelin ripping off Son House, Robert Johnson,
>> Muddy Waters and others with equal disdain, even though I happen to like their music a heck of a
>> lot better than Robin Thicke.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, March 16, 2015 1:24 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] maybe the end of ripoff "songwriting"
>>> Grandpa Jones' tune -- and incidentally, I just delivered a talk on him at
>>> the Library Wednesday -- was his hit "Old Rattler" in the 1947 King
>>> Pete Seeger's was something called "Old Gray Mule" from an album "Birds,
>>> Beasts, Bugs and Little Fishes" that Rebecca had known since
>>> childhood, but I'd never heard. I think Pete Seeger's recording is later,
>>> but not much so. One thing both have in common is that they were big
>>> fans of Cousin Emmy.
>>> Dave Lewis
>>> Hamilton, OH
>>>> On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 2:11 PM, Paul Stamler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>> On 3/16/2015 9:31 AM, David Lewis wrote:
>>>>> Just last night Rebecca pointed out to me an instance
>>>>> where Grandpa Jones and Pete Seeger used exactly the same musical setting
>>>>> for two different songs. Which of them wrote it? Neither of them; it was
>>>>> something that was out there before either of them and they simply fitted
>>>>> what they
>>>>> knew to lyrics that were also around.
>>>> Just out of curiosity, what were the Grandpa Jones & Pete Seeger songs?
>>>> Old hymns also tend to be profligate
>>>>> in terms of what they are set to.
>>>> Read the Sacred Harp hymnal, and you'll find the same words set to half a
>>>> dozen tunes.
>>>> The crossover between "sacred" and "profane" was a big deal; for example,
>>>> "Come Ye That Fear the Lord" used the tune of "Captain Kidd". And my
>>>> favorite example, Alfred Karnes's use of the tune from "Don't Let Your Deal
>>>> Go Down" with the lyrics to "The Promised Land" (rec. 1927 for Victor).