It’s a new era folks. Although I’ve been running this site for over 10 years cataloging decades of soundalikes in popular music there has been a recent wave of mega hitmakers being sued for copyright infringement. Most recently Katy Perry and her songwriting team who lost a case for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse”. In 2015 Marvin Gaye’s family successfully won against Robin Thicke and Pharrell for their hit “Blurred Lines”. The defending argument is generally the same throughout – there are only so many notes, chords and combinations thereof to create a melody. But take the qualities of a vocalist, the playing style of an instrument, the melody of the bass guitar under the melody of the vocals, the synthesizer patch, the tempo, the vocal harmony. These things all interact and in sometimes ways that have never been heard before. But it’s also impossible for everyone in the world to hear every single piece of music to either ensure originality or to avoid being plagued by the opposite.
So here’s the latest. Via Forbes:
Lady Gaga’s song “Shallow” earned the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter her first Academy Award. The song, featured in the 2018 film A Star Is Born, is now the subject of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit. Steve Ronsen, an until-now-unknown songwriter claims Gaga stole a three-note progression from his 2012 song “Almost.” Through his lawyer, Mark D. Shirian, he has filed suit for copyright infringement and damages in the “millions and millions” of dollars. Lady Gaga and her lawyer have denounced the suit as a “brazen shakedown” and have indicated that they will fight it “vigorously.” This suit comes as the latest in a string of music copyright lawsuits, beginning with the “Blurred Lines” case, that has the music industry on edge as artists, producers, and publishers adapt to a changing legal landscape. – More at Forbes
Steve Ronsen – “Almost” (2012)
Layd Gaga, Bradley Cooper – “Shallow” (2018)