Reuters, along with other news agencies, is reporting that Belgian songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva won a plagiarism lawsuit against pop sensation Madonna. In the suit, Acquaviva claimed that the melody from Madonna’s 1998 hit song “Frozen” was lifted from his “Ma Vie Fout L’camp (My Life’s Getting Nowhere)”.
The ruling, which also required stores to remove copies of the song and for broadcasters to stop playing it, did not set any damages but, instead, left those to be negotiated at a later date.
However, what most of the media outlets aren’t covering is the fact that the alleged plagiarism was of only four bars in the respective songs. A three minute song, typically has about 90 to 100 bars. Though I’m not a musician by any stretch, it seems possible to me that two people could independently come up with four bars of identical music with no plagiarism taking place, much like how two identical sentences can appear in unrelated essays. I open the floor to any musicians who want guide me on that issue.
Nonetheless, the courts ruling is law (at least until Madonna appeals) and this isn’t Madonna’s first time she’s been brought to court for alleged copyright violations. It will be interesting to see how this case evolves and what the fallout from it is.
I have a feeling that this story is far from over.
[tags]Plagiarism, Madonna, Frozen, Copyright Infringement, Copyright Law, Sampling[/tags]