Legal advice to musicians, after "Blurred Lines": pretend you have no influences


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/12/cold-dead-hands.html


#2

Oh wait, isn’t there a word for when a lot of different songs have a similar “vibe?” Oh yeah, a genre


#3

“Got to Give It To You”?


#4

Got To License It To You Under A Non-Exclusive Limited-Term Worldwide Licensing Agreement For An Undisclosed Fee…

…To You.

The future of music, everyone.


#5

musicians have always balanced on a knife-edge of contradiction, taking from other musicians to make their compositions and insisting that this is legitimate artistic progress – but suing and decrying other musicians who did this to them.

Case in point: Metallica

The band made much hay over their love of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (even doing many cover songs and occasionally lifting riffs).

And yet, before there was the Napster incident, there was that time they were guest vocalists on a Green Jello album (“Three Little Pigs” off Cereal Killer). And then they sued Green Jello for infringement because they briefly parodied “Enter Sandman” in another silly song on the album.


#6

Classic Metallica! After reading that I have even less respect for them, and I like metal.


#7

“It’s been two years since Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke lost a lawsuit brought by Marvin Gaye’s descendants, who argued that their song “Blurred Lines” infringed Gay’s 1977 song “Got to Give It To You,” not because it copied the music per se, but because it copied its “vibe.””

So KMFDM should sue every industrial band with money?

Or at least Rammstien.


#8

The real takeaway here is how amazing of a band Green Jello is. I would say, easily one of the most fun concerts I’ve been to (eclipsed only by the mighty GWAR).


#9

Tough on Rammstein, tough on the causes of Rammstein.


#10

Say what you will, but Blurred Lines didn’t just rip off “a vibe;” the note arrangement and chord progression are extremely similar to Got to Give it Up. The only real difference was the lack of Marvin’s authentic falsetto (as opposed to Pharrell’s autotuned one) and the rapey-ass lyrics.

Word.


#11

Damn right! Kein Mitleid!


#12

Yeah, stick to ripping off Bach and Mozart; it’s much safer.


#13

Fun fact number one;

That’s precisely why classical music was used so much in cartoons like Bugs Bunny in ‘Merrie Melodies’, because it’s free.

Fun fact number two;
Thicke was already way ahead of you, there, “ripping off” classical composers:

But your attempt at snark is duly noted…

:wink:


#14

Carl Starling composed most of Disney’s music for cartoons (Looney tunes, Merry Melodies) . Having heard that working for Disney is kinda like slavery maybe he didn’t get paid.

Fun fact: Carl composed a complete score every week for 22 years. -Wikipedia


#15

Disney isn’t Warner Bros, though; they’re two different companies…

That, I can readily believe.


#16

True dat! typo :blush:

Media Dyslexia


#17

I am fairly certain that talking about one’s musical influences after the fact is posttending, rather than pretending.


#18

Isn’t RammStein really just KMFDM and Laibach mashed up? And hell, Laibach kind of made their bones on covers, yeah?

And I would say that there are lots of industrial bands not ripping off KMFDM… I would say that KMFDM is certainly influential on industrial from the 90s on, along with Ministry and NIN. But by then, industrial meant electro-industrial, not what it meant when TG coined the phrase way back in the 70s. The genre sort of lost it’s more performance art associations, I think.

Genre is a weird thing, isn’t it?


#19

I remember when they came out I said something like, “I liked Rammstien in 1995 when they were called KMFDM.”

Not that I am toooo serious. There are many bands now that mash up the synth, dance beats, and metal guitar.

Certainly. I think Sascha found the label odd as he too thinks of the 70s more experimental stuff than what was shaped in the late 80s/early 90s. Lots of groups from Chicago and elsewhere helped form the sound. So while I have a clear favorite, I know it wasn’t just them. I like NIN and Ministry too, and they all did stuff together back then. NIN did some remixes for KMFDM, like on the LIGHT single.


#20

Carl Stalling is an interesting composer to bring up, considering how liberally he lifted themes from Raymond Scott pieces when he scored Warner Brothers cartoons.

Me, I just liberally steal from Wagner when I’m writing a requiem for Jack Chick. Sue me.