Linkworthy: Columbia Law School Music Plagiarism Project

The Columbia University Law Library has created a section of their site dedicated to the dissemination and organization of information regarding plagiarism in the music industry. The project, called the Columbia Law School Music Plagiarism Project, organizes and digitized copyright infringement cases in the United States revolving around music plagiarism as far back as the 1800s.

Clearly, this site doesn’t encompass all incidents of music plagiarism discovered. Many incidents are not actionable in court, including those involving public domain works, since not all plagiarism is copyright infringement. Also it doesn’t cover the cases that were arbitrated out of court or otherwise settled without a lawsuit.

Though the site is there targeted at lawyers and legal scholars needing help with their cases and/or analysis, it’s a very simple and easy read for just about anyone and comes with audio/video samples from most of the cases. This way, in addition to reading about the supposed plagiarism and the outcome of the case, you can listen to it and judge for yourself.

In going through it, I did notice that the bulk of the cases, especially in the modern era, deal with lesser-known artists accusing famous ones of plagiarism. A classic example of this being Madonna’s recent loss in a French court for alleged plagiarism in her song “Frozen”. Another common theme was companies and movie studios being accused of illegally using significant portions of popular music in their commercials and movies.

All in all, it’s a fascinating site that I can’t recommend highly enough.

[tags]Plagiarism, Content Theft, Copyright Law, Copyright, Music, Record Industry[/tags]

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