Archive for the ‘litigated’ Category

Beastie Boys vs. GoldieBlox

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Beastie Boys threaten to sue toy company GoldieBlox for copyright infringmenent

(There is no shortage of photos of Beastie Boys going “wuhhhhhh??!!”)

UPDATE 2/1/2014: It looks like GoldieBlox pulled the original music and replaced it with something different. I wish I saved the original. Some more info on

The Beastie Boys are threatening startup toy maker GoldieBlox with a copyright infringement suit. Once again, the fine line of fair use and parody. I generally don’t voice my own opinion on these and just present the music but I’m a little torn here. Here are some thoughts:

1. This is a commercial for company and their products. It is not a couple of kids posting a cover song on YouTube (even then, I’m not even sure how that legally works if you are monetizing. I’m sure there is a 3,000 page document somewhere.)

2. If the Beastie Boys never became who they are and were currently pumping gas or spending their time making websites like this they would certainly want to be rewarded for the use of their song in this ad.

The ad is great and GoldieBlox seems like a great idea so kudos to the filmmakers – mission accomplished. Views on the OK Go inspired Rube Goldberg Machine video are nearing 8 Million as of this posting. GoldieBlox describes themselves as “…a toy company out to show the world that girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses. We believe that femininity is strong and girls will build the future — literally.”

The surviving members of the Beastie Boys have since threatened the company with a copyright infringement suit, saying that it is not fair use, as GoldieBlox state. In legal documents the company defends itself by writing: “GoldieBlox created its parody video with specific goals to make fun of the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes and to encourage young girls to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The GoldieBlox ‘Girls’ Parody Video has gone viral on the Internet, and has been recognized by the press and the public as a parody and criticism of the original song. –  from “Beastie Boys accuse viral video creators of copyright infringement” on NME

And here ya go:


The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

Beastie Boys – “Girls” (1986)


For more Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys – “Paul Revere” (1986) vs. Kia Shine – “Krispy” (2007)

Click here for more copyright infringement cases on

Robin Thicke Sues Marvin Gaye

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Robin Thicke Sues to Protect 'Blurred Lines' from Marvin Gaye's Family on

Just came across this article in The Hollywood  Reporter:

Robin Thicke Sues to Protect ‘Blurred Lines’ from Marvin Gaye’s Family

Here’s a link to a PDF of the lawsuit

In short:

Plaintiffs, who have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies, reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists. Defendants continue to insist that plaintiffs’ massively successful composition, ‘Blurred Lines,’ copies ‘their’ compositions.”

The suit claims the Gaye family is alleging that “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” “feel” or “sound” the same, and that the “Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work.”

Have a listen:

Marvin Gaye – “Got to Give it Up” (1977)

Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines” (2013)


George Harrison vs. The Chiffons

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

In the continuing interest of building upon the archive here at That Song Sounds Like, it’s time to make mention of one of the most high profile instances of song similarity in the history of popular music.

George Harrison vs. The ChiffonsGeorge Harrison’s All Things Must Pass debut, quite possibly the best of all post-Beatles solo recordings, was the proof, if ever there was any, that the band was not necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. While the record, released in 1970, had the benefit of including unused material that was originally conceived during the heady White Album sessions, it also had a wealth of newly crafted gems — a double album magnum opus of unwavering musical clairvoyance. One such number was “My Sweet Lord”, a song that went on to be Harrison’s first and biggest hit as a solo artist and established his trademark slide guitar sound. Perhaps in part a result of its success, the tune swiftly came under fire for its outright melodic similarity to the 1963 girl-group classic “He’s So Fine”, written by Ronnie Mack. Despite the numerous unique properties inherent in Harrison’s composition, by 1971 he had to face the music in the form of a lawsuit filed by Bright Tunes Productions.

What followed is a confounding tale that unleashed a fervor of excitement and took the better part of the decade to resolve. After extensive legal wrangling and highly duplicitous manipulation by some of the parties involved, U.S. district court ultimately deemed “My Sweet Lord” to have been “subconscious copied” by Harrison. Whether conscious or not, it’s unfortunate that the story of these proceedings has become an inextricable part of a song which was otherwise so purely intentioned.

The Wikipedia article on the matter is well written and essential reading for anyone who’s read this far already — among other things, in the way that it made an example out of Harrison, the lawsuit set a precedent for future measures taken in the music business to counteract allegations of plagiarism.

Here are the originals:

The Chiffons - "He's So Fine" (1963)
George Harrison - "My Sweet Lord" (1970)

Another more immediate result of the lawsuit was a series of reactionary recordings to capitalize on or otherwise outline the claims being made. Of particular note is the Chiffons’ recording of “My Sweet Lord”, made while the case was in limbo:

The Chiffons - "My Sweet Lord" (1973)

Finally, in 1976, Harrison offered his own reaction to the incident in the form of “This Song”:

George Harrison - "This Song" (1976)


Led Zeppelin vs. The World

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Led Zeppelin vs. The World

“If the lyric hadn’t been stolen, the music would have been lesser for it… It was decided that it was so far away in time and influence that… well, you only get caught when you’re successful. That’s the game.”

-Robert Plant


Editor’s Note:

This has been a hot topic for many years and Ben did an awesome job writing this up. I added some notes and the best images I could find on Google :P

Got anything to add to this list? Add it in the comments below!

Led Zeppelin is certainly no stranger to this site, which to a degree is inevitable with any highly mimicked, vastly popular band. However, most of their coverage thus far has revolved around what others have taken from the group, despite the likelihood that they themselves are one of the most infringing acts in the history of rock. A few glowing moments and an admirable knack for myth-making aside, Jimmy Page & co. borrowed far and wide for both riffs and whole songs, indebting Led Zeppelin not only to their contemporaries but even more substantially to specific old blues tunes — and yet it often went officially unacknowledged by them. Indeed, a cursory glance through old Zeppelin vinyl reveals that even tracks which were later assigned proper songwriting credits in the CD era — after the band was repeatedly taken to task — were initially devoid of any mention of their origins. Hand it to Led Zeppelin: at least they had good taste, borrowing from some of the day’s finest acts past and present.

What follows are samples of tunes that were originally notated as being solely written by the band — delusions since debunked.

Jimmy Page's "zoso" Saturn sigil

Start by considering the back-to-back examples offered in “Your Time Is Gonna Come/Black Mountain Side”, a one-two punch of plagiarism found on their 1969 debut.

The first is pretty straightforward:

Traffic - "Dear Mr. Fantasy" (1967)
Led Zeppelin - "Your Time Is Gonna Come" (1969)
Robert Plant and Steve Winwood on

Robert Plant and Steve Winwood (Traffic)



Van Halen vs. Tone Loc

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Van Halen vs. Tone Loc

The other day I was thinking I would have a listen to Tone Loc‘s “Wild Thing”. I figured I would check out the Wikipedia page for kicks. Wait, what? That was an uncredited sample from a Van Halen song? Check it out!

Tone Loc - "Wild Thing" (1988)
Van Halen - " Jamie's Cryin'" (1978)

The song uses an uncredited sample of Van Halen’s “Jamie’s Cryin’”. Van Halen’s management at the time asked for a flat fee (credited in some reports to be US$5,000) as payment to have the song sampled by Tone L?c. Apparently, this decision was taken without consulting the band’s original members (credited as co-authors of the song), who in turn did not expect “Wild Thing” to become the major hit it became. A subsequent civil lawsuit was settled out of court, with the band receiving US$180,000 as settlement payment. Alex Van Halen has gone on record saying that he had heard the song over the radio halfway and not realizing it had been sampled until he recognized his (by now famous) tom-tom break at least a few times. Concerning the settlement, he said: “Well, at least we got something. Tone L?c and his people made millions out of it…” – wikipedia

Carly Rae Jepsen vs. Aza vs. Puppies

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Carly Rae Jepsen vs. Aza vs. Puppies

Normally I post songs here that sound alike hence the name. This will be the one exception. It has come to my attention that Ukranian “singer” Aza has sued Carly Rae Jespen for lifting elements of her “song” “Hunky Santa” for her mega hit “Call Me Maybe”.  It is clearly a publicity stunt and you should really just skip this post. But if you must, watch Aza’s sorta-PG-13 rated-Rebecca Black-ish video for about 30 seconds (not worthy of an embed) - (note: Video Posted December 2011. No idea if there is an official release date before Jepsen’s Sept 2011).

Then wash your ears out with the infectious “Call Me Maybe” chorus which will no doubt be stuck in your head for another week now. (Tip: Come back here any time if you need a “Call Me Maybe” chorus fix).

Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe" (Sept 2011)

And now to cleanse yourself of everything in life watch a video of puppies I made.

Shameless plug! But who cares! They’re puppies! See more puppy videos at

For more on this breaking news story head over to your favorite major news outlets like Perez Hilton, E! or TMZ

If you really want to listen to more “Hunky Santa” then you can:

Aza - "Hunky Santa" (Dec 2011)