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plagiarism dilemma

Andy7 12 May 19 - 07:25 PM
leeneia 12 May 19 - 07:50 PM
meself 12 May 19 - 07:52 PM
Ged Fox 12 May 19 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 May 19 - 08:19 PM
Andy7 12 May 19 - 08:24 PM
Acorn4 13 May 19 - 03:12 AM
GUEST,Dtm 13 May 19 - 05:28 AM
John MacKenzie 13 May 19 - 05:48 AM
Reinhard 13 May 19 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Jerry 13 May 19 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 13 May 19 - 12:09 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 May 19 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Jerry 13 May 19 - 01:45 PM
Steve Gardham 13 May 19 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Jerry 13 May 19 - 04:00 PM
Steve Gardham 13 May 19 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,DTM 13 May 19 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,DTM 13 May 19 - 04:53 PM
SPB-Cooperator 13 May 19 - 04:55 PM
Steve Gardham 13 May 19 - 05:18 PM
John P 13 May 19 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Tootler on his iThingy 13 May 19 - 06:12 PM
Tattie Bogle 13 May 19 - 06:57 PM
Tattie Bogle 13 May 19 - 07:05 PM
Andy7 14 May 19 - 01:28 AM
Mr Red 14 May 19 - 03:43 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 May 19 - 06:23 AM
EBarnacle 14 May 19 - 11:06 AM
Stringsinger 14 May 19 - 12:43 PM
punkfolkrocker 14 May 19 - 01:19 PM
Steve Gardham 14 May 19 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 14 May 19 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 15 May 19 - 06:57 AM
Tattie Bogle 15 May 19 - 03:57 PM
Steve Gardham 15 May 19 - 04:35 PM
Tattie Bogle 16 May 19 - 12:08 PM
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Subject: plagiarism dilemma
From: Andy7
Date: 12 May 19 - 07:25 PM

An acquaintance of mine has written, and performed at our local club, a very nice song.

But the beginning of it sounded rather familiar to me; and so, just for my own interest, I went searching on the internet.

And I discovered, that the first line of his song is almost identical to the first line of an already published song.

That already published song is not at all well known; I'm fairly sure that no one in our club will have heard it. And my acquaintance will almost certainly only ever sing the song locally, and never for profit.

If I point out to him the possible plagiarism, he might just stop performing his song altogether, depriving others of the chance to hear it, as well as being hurt and embarrassed himself.

So, what should I do?


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: leeneia
Date: 12 May 19 - 07:50 PM

Lots of songs have similar first lines. Examples:

As I went a-walking one morning...

Come all ye, and listen to my...

On Somesuch Mountain there dwelt a...

Oh Lord that makes the...
=========
I wouldn't say anything about it.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: meself
Date: 12 May 19 - 07:52 PM

Ignore it. Don't say a word.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Ged Fox
Date: 12 May 19 - 08:19 PM

Whatever you do, don't ask the question on Mudcat, because your friend will see it and know you're talking about him behind his back. Oh! er...


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 May 19 - 08:19 PM

Post the:
lyrics
date
location
(tune if possible)


Sincerely,
Gargoyle

most every recorded - written/spoken has a source.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Andy7
Date: 12 May 19 - 08:24 PM

"Whatever you do, don't ask the question on Mudcat, because your friend will see it and know you're talking about him behind his back. Oh! er..."

Haha, I already considered that! And so I've cleverly disguised the real details of the possible plagiarism!

P.S. It's not you, Ged! :-)


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Acorn4
Date: 13 May 19 - 03:12 AM

"Roseville Fair" and "Good to See You" by Allan Taylor just one example of almost identical melodies and chords.

I wrote a song and discovered later it was almost identical to one by Bob Seger which, as far as I know, I had never heard in my life before. And it wasn't a three chorder either.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,Dtm
Date: 13 May 19 - 05:28 AM

A couple of year ago, I wrote a parody on a famous seasonal song and was amazed to discover that a similar parody had been written over 10 years ago. What was even more surprising was that half of our parody lyrics and rhymes were very similar. Fwiw, I had never heard the first parody before. Nowadays, when I sing my version, I acknowledge the existence original parody. I think that's only fair.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 May 19 - 05:48 AM

My Heart's tonight in Ireland in the sweet County Clare A Irvine
My Heart's tonight in Texas, by the lonely Rio Grande. Carter Family

Tunes are very similar too.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Reinhard
Date: 13 May 19 - 12:00 PM

Is "Once upon a time" plagiarism or an established phrase to start fairy tales?


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 13 May 19 - 12:02 PM

Surely parody songs are plagiarism in essence anyway, and usually fraught with copyright issues? Nevertheless, it’s very easy with a true parody - playing around with the original lyrics - to find that someone has already done similar, but then you’re not being original anyway if you are basing your song on a previous one. Don’t get me wrong here, I love parodies and have produced dozens myself, without intending to denigrate the original - like with comedy impersonators, we are only rude the ones we love.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 13 May 19 - 12:09 PM

I was twenty one years when I wrote this song
I'm twenty two now but I won't be for long

Presumably, Billy Bragg opened New England with a tribute to Paul Simon?


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 May 19 - 12:36 PM

It dawned on me recently that hit song "Angel of the Morning"
is just a slowed down and tamed rewrite of hit song "Wild Thing"..

This was confirmed by googling...



However, as both were written by Chip Taylor,
we'll have to turn a blind eye to this blatant plagarism...


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 13 May 19 - 01:45 PM

I did a parody of that one too:

I was twenty one years when I lit this barbecue
I’m twenty two now and it’s still not cooked through
It’d be quicker to have stew
And the meat that was lean burns to brown
And it gives you chronic wind
And it rumbles in your glands

I threw my burger at a duck
And watch the cygnets run amok
And I never gave a further thought...


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 19 - 02:28 PM

I might be wrong but in order for plagiarism to be established it has to consist of a certain percentage of the whole to actually be plagiarism. I'm not even sure 'plagiarism' is a legal term. Is it just an expression used morally? 'Infringement of Copyright' is surely the legal term and as I said this has to be a substantial percentage of the original work. Certainly with books you are allowed to quote/use a certain percentage in a work of your own without infringing copyright.

Otherwise, if it can be shown that the first line in question existed in the public domain then there would be no problem.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 13 May 19 - 04:00 PM

They used to define plagiarism as copying someone else’s work, and research as copying lots of other people’s work.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 19 - 04:06 PM

Dtm,
Which seasonal song? I did exactly the same thing. I wrote a local historic song based around the tune and first verse of a well-known carol, only to find Mike Waterson had done precisely the same thing 50 years ago. Not exactly the same words of course, but using the same template and basing it on the same event.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 13 May 19 - 04:51 PM

Steve, the song I was referring to wasn't a carol. It was an old standard. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone with regards to committing 'accidental plagiarism'. I guess there's always the chance when one slips into the unscrupulous world of a parodiser :wink:















iin question wasn't a carol, Steve. It was an old standard. It's comforting to know accidental plagiarism has cursed other composers too (whilst committing the unscrupulous crime of parody. :wink:)


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 13 May 19 - 04:53 PM

Please ignore that bottom line of the previous post. Tis an error.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 13 May 19 - 04:55 PM

I though plagiarism was a deliberate action,without prior knowledge of the previous song/tune.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 19 - 05:18 PM

It is but he did it accidentally on purpose:)


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: John P
Date: 13 May 19 - 06:05 PM

It might be a kindness to hear that he quoted an existing song from a friend rather than from a heckler. You can ask him if he knows how much the opening of his song sounds like another without accusing him of plagiarism. It happens a lot, both consciously and unconsciously. There are, after all, only so many notes and chords. I've written a song that I later heard part of in another song, without any possibility of me and the other writer having cross-fertilized our melodies.

Maybe there's an interesting medley in the making.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,Tootler on his iThingy
Date: 13 May 19 - 06:12 PM

I'm pretty sure the formal definition of plagiarism is "passing off someone else's work as your own". At least that's the one used when I was working as a lecturer in a University.

Copyright is slightly different as it's a legal term and even if you acknowledge the source, it's still a copyright infringement if you do not get permission from the copyright owner to use the material.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 May 19 - 06:57 PM

It is not too difficult to write a tune that, in all good faith, sounds a bit or even more than a bit, like another. We all absorb tunes and phrases of them that we hear, and they may sink into the subconscious only to re-emerge when we try to write a "new" tune. As has been said before, there are only so many notes, and therefore so many potential combinations and sequences of them. (Actually any statistician might challenge that!)
If I am writing a new tune myself, I will usually run it past a couple of knowledgeable friends to see if they detect any elements of accidental copying of other tunes, and if so, will re-work the tune to eliminate that.
One of my friends came up with a new song, which, to me, sounded as if he had copied the tune from another "in copyright" song. I spoke to him privately of my suspicions and sang him the other song. He acknowledged how similar it was, but could not recollect ever having heard the other song. But he did change the tune of his own song.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 May 19 - 07:05 PM

And in answer to Andy7, I guess from what I've said in my previous post, it's how you go about it. As I said, a private tactful kindly word, prefaced by, "That's a great song, but did you not realise it sounds a wee bit like xyz song?". And if it's someone you know well and you already have mutual respect for each others' musicianship, it's easier to say something.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Andy7
Date: 14 May 19 - 01:28 AM

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. The subject is quite complex!

On further investigation, it seems that the part of the song I thought might have been copied was itself likely copied, from an older song which is out of copyright.

I'm pretty sure that the person who sang the song would have copied whichever song it was unintentionally; so I agree, it can't then be described as plagiarism.

I've decided not to say anything at the moment, especially as he's an acquaintance rather than a friend. He writes and sings quite a number of songs, so it's not like this will become his 'magnum opus' and be continually performed.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 May 19 - 03:43 AM

best to keep schtum, and if and when your friend realises there are similarities, point out you had spotted it but prefer their version. That should do it!

But there may be some heckler who spills the beans and doesn't have the ettiquette!
I wrote a song delineating the Victorian trade of Pure Finding (collecting dog poo to sell to the leather trade) which given the subject is (had to be) humorous. And I have had comments that someone (Stanley Accrington?) had already written the definitive dog poo song. His was about "People keep emptying their dogs down our street". People make the most tenuous comparisons and think you can't visit the fringes of a territory without being second or inferior. Or write a humorous song about a genuine Folk/Historical subject. Like there is only one box to tick! Only one circle in a Venn Diagram! People? What are they like?


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 May 19 - 06:23 AM

I agree that it's best to just let it go, and say nothing. The complications of your mentioning it to him and it then going pear-shaped outweigh those of just letting him deal with any consequences that may arise - IF they ever do.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: EBarnacle
Date: 14 May 19 - 11:06 AM

I am currently working on a play about a well known, well documented historical figure. As said above, stealing from many sources is research, not plagiarism.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Stringsinger
Date: 14 May 19 - 12:43 PM

In the pop music field, it's plagiarism.
In the folk music field, it's the folk process.
In the classical field, it's stealing and all the composers do it.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 May 19 - 01:19 PM

George Harrisonwas well pissed off when he wrote This Song...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Song


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 May 19 - 02:30 PM

TB why be so precious about a song you write being similar to another? Very rarely is song, words and/or tune written that doesn't bear similarity to others. That's a plus in my book. Why reinvent the wheel?
Two of the best songs I've heard recently are going onto our next album. Both tunes are mixtures of existing tunes and they're really cracking songs. One was actually written for us to perform.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 14 May 19 - 06:38 PM

Andy...

It all boils down to CHARATOR.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

We got IT ... or we don't


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 15 May 19 - 06:57 AM

It's known in the trade as doing an Archer.

Words are one thing and tune is another. It may be that there are only four fundamental cadences, but that doesn't stop Led Zeppelin royalty beneficiaries spending their dotage in court.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 15 May 19 - 03:57 PM

I don't think I'm being precious at all, Steve. I write songs myself as do a number of my friends, and may well use parts of, or whole tunes, that are trad or out of copyright: this works well especially for humorous songs. In fact, as I'm not likely to record such songs or play them to a paying public, I might well use copyrighted tunes as do several friends as well. (I'm a session person, not famous - maybe infamous!) But for a more serious song, I do like to use my own tunes where possible. I'd really rather not be accused of plagiarism for my own songs, and as I said, it is possible to modify tunes so that they no longer resemble other known ones.
As for my friend, it was just that the song to which I was referring was such an iconic song, well-known to many, but obviously not to my friend, that I thought it best to tip him off privately. He did agree that "his" tune was almost identical and thanked me for telling him: no offence or umbrage taken by him.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 19 - 04:35 PM

HI Tattie
I do hope it didn't put him off singing the song or passing it on to others. Glad to see you also use existing tunes. I've written many songs to existing tunes and not one person has made any comment on that fact. In most cases it's blatantly obvious where the tune came from. We are simply continuing a long existing tradition.


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Subject: RE: plagiarism dilemma
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 May 19 - 12:08 PM

No it didn't; it's someone I know really well, and could anticipate that he would take it well, as he did. He has given me advice on my own songs from time to time, which I hope I have also taken in good part, as constructive criticism and acted upon.


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