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Doubt about plagiarism
Old 10th October 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 
Dawero's Avatar
 

Doubt about plagiarism

Hello.

I have a keyyboard which has a lot of arpeggios/rythms.

If I made a song with those arpeggios... is it a plagiarism?

I mean, the arpeggios that come with the keyboard are free to use in a song that you will earn money with it? Or the arpeggios are only for getting inspiration?

Thanks in advance.
Old 10th October 2019
  #2
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frans's Avatar
I don't know about other legal systems but here in my country, there is something like a rule that says that either your idea/design/composition is original and then you can claim rights for it or, on the other hand, it's just a heap of bland and overused elements, then you can't claim any copyrights for it. It's probably the same as in that you can't copyright a scale of notes, as it simply exists and you didn't invent it.
Old 10th October 2019
  #3
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Dawero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
I don't know about other legal systems but here in my country, there is something like a rule that says that either your idea/design/composition is original and then you can claim rights for it or, on the other hand, it's just a heap of bland and overused elements, then you can't claim any copyrights for it. It's probably the same as in that you can't copyright a scale of notes, as it simply exists and you didn't invent it.
That is my perception.

I want to suposse that when you buy a keyboard with rythms/arpeggios, the brand of the keyboard can't demand you for plagiarism... and at the same time, as it is a serious brand, the arpeggios that come with it are free of copyright (so you can't have any troubles of plagiarism, nor withe the brand, nor with other musician).

Thanks.
Old 11th October 2019
  #4
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Dawero's Avatar
 

Any more opinions?
Old 11th October 2019
  #5
Copyright can be fuzzy in practice, in part because courts build on the precedence of rulings from other courts, and few judges (or juries, for that matter) have much musical knowledge (which is how you get a mess like the Gaye Family v. Thicke trainwreck) but the bulk of that precedent has been that (at least in the US), the primary features that can be copyrighted are melody and lyrics. Chord changes cannot be copyrighted, by extension, arpeggios derived from those chord changes are generally not considered copyrightable.

However, Gaye v. Thicke muddied the water greatly and introduced a sort of 'sounds like' quality that is, of course, quite subjective in nature and can lead to results such as those in Gaye v. Thicke, where the latter song was found to be infringing despite the fact there were almost no identical musical elements whatsoever.

(There WAS some precedent, even for that, at least in some views: in the 1960s, the bass line from the hit "Shotgun" was found to be a chief element in the song and central to its 'identity.' That ruling, if I recall, referred, perhaps pertinently, to the iconic bass and drums tattoo of the swing era instrumental, "Big Noise from Winnetka.")


Bottom line: you'll be safe using such built-in algorithmic arranging tools as arpeggiators, chord generators, pattern and arrangement generators [like Band in a Box etc], etc.

Last edited by theblue1; 12th October 2019 at 12:29 AM..
Old 12th October 2019
  #6
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You're fine using arpeggiator patterns
Old 12th October 2019
  #7
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Pali's Avatar
 

No way its plagiarism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberti_bass , as another pattern idea widely used.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #8
Gear Head
 
Dawero's Avatar
 

Well, almost one year after I found this...

Quote:
Owners of Yamaha musical instruments may use Yamaha’s preprogrammed sounds (STYLES, VOICES, PERFORMANCES, PATTERNS, ARPEGGIOS, SAMPLE DATA or YAMAHA STYLE DISKS hereinafter collectively referred to as “Programmed Sounds”) for their personal musical pleasure. Examples of permissible use include composing musical pieces using such Programmed Sounds and incorporating them in public performances or in recordings, regardless of whether such compositions, performances or recordings are for profit.
https://usa.yamaha.com/about_yamaha/...ice/index.html


So, I understand that if I made a song with chords and arppeggios that come with the keyboard, I can't have problems about plagiarism with the brand.

The doubt still is... what if another musician has choose the same chords and arpeggios than me in a song that is so simple (4 chords, 4 arppeggios)? I supposse (or want to supposse) that the melody is what at the end matters.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawero View Post

The doubt still is... what if another musician has choose the same chords and arpeggios than me in a song that is so simple (4 chords, 4 arppeggios)? I supposse (or want to supposse) that the melody is what at the end matters.
Won't happen.

But if it did. .

You'll get sued, you fight back loudly, you get thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of free press, streams go up on all your music, more people start following you on social media, gearslutz threads pop up discussing the legitimacy of the suit full of straw men and insults, and streams go up on all your music even more. Cha Ching.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #10
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Won't happen.

But if it did.
It did. I forget the case (it might have been Splice related), but recently, someone used a loop from a sample pack, and when they heard another song with that same loop from that same sample pack, they sued the other artist for plagiarism. Which is ridiculous of course, but the artist who got sued now has to defend himself. Which is going to cost him a ton of money, and not make him any money, as you allude to. Not sure if there has been an outcome in that case yet.

Cheers.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
It did. I forget the case (it might have been Splice related), but recently, someone used a loop from a sample pack, and when they heard another song with that same loop from that same sample pack, they sued the other artist for plagiarism. Which is ridiculous of course, but the artist who got sued now has to defend himself. Which is going to cost him a ton of money, and not make him any money, as you allude to. Not sure if there has been an outcome in that case yet.

Cheers.
This thread is about arpeggios on synths.

Sample packs create a new set of issues. Even then I wouldn't sweat it though, millions of tracks get released for any one case of this happening.

But even in this one-in-millions case, he clearly isn't doing step 1: fight back LOUDLY
Old 4th August 2020
  #12
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
This thread is about arpeggios on synths.

Sample packs create a new set of issues. Even then I wouldn't sweat it though, millions of tracks get released for any one case of this happening.

But even in this one-in-millions case, he clearly isn't doing step 1: fight back LOUDLY
In this case, sample packs and arpeggios/rhythms included with the kbd are one and the same.
Old 4th August 2020
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
In this case, sample packs and arpeggios/rhythms included with the kbd are one and the same.
With sample packs you're dealing with mechanical licenses of sound recording copyrights. Which creates an additional set of issues.

What you can't do is take someone's unique melody. I don't see typical arpeggiator use qualifying as a unique melody, but if an arpeggiator is used in a performance of some kind to create a unique melody, you could run into issues there. (This is where a sample pack differs and may actually save you: the copyright to the audio and melody belongs to the sample pack company who've licensed it out to multiple people non-exclusively, so two tracks could have the same unique melody without being awarded anything in a suit.)

What's a unique melody? Undefined. Sue or get sued and see where the chips fall.
Old 4th August 2020
  #14
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
With sample packs you're dealing with mechanical licenses of sound recording copyrights. Which creates an additional set of issues.

What you can't do is take someone's unique melody. I don't see typical arpeggiator use qualifying as a unique melody, but if an arpeggiator is used in a performance of some kind to create a unique melody, you could run into issues there. (This is where a sample pack differs and may actually save you: the license to the audio belongs to the sample pack company, so two tracks could have the same unique melody without being awarded anything in a suit.)

What's a unique melody? Undefined. Sue or get sued and see where the chips fall.
That's avoiding what I said. If a kbd comes with pre-made arps, whether or not you have the right to use them depends on the EULA; if the EULA grants you that right, and the sample pack developer/publisher also grants you the same right, the pack and the arp are one and the same for the purposes of this convo, which has gone in the direction of a composer getting sued for using a melody from a sample pack by another composer who used that same melody from the same sample pack. That's all I was saying.
Old 4th August 2020
  #15
Gear Head
 
Dawero's Avatar
 

I have read your discussion and I think that the final answer is:

You can use the arpeggios, but take care to not use it as the main melodic line, because if it is too simple, it may be an involuntary plagiarism and you will have problems.

So don't talk about arranger keyboards (I was thinking in buying one, but seeing this...)... the possibilities of incurring in plagiarism grow expotencially.
Old 4th August 2020
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawero View Post
I have read your discussion and I think that the final answer is:

You can use the arpeggios, but take care to not use it as the main melodic line, because if it is too simple, it may be an involuntary plagiarism and you will have problems.

So don't talk about arranger keyboards (I was thinking in buying one, but seeing this...)... the possibilities of incurring in plagiarism grow expotencially.
Yeah copyright suits come up because a melody or lyric has been stolen, or if a recorded work is sampled and used without permission.

These are irrational fears though. Arranger keywords (ie the Yamaha psr series) have been sold by the millions since the 80s and to my knowledge have never once led to a lawsuit. Also I’ve never heard of common arpeggiator patterns leading to a lawsuit.

Go and create as you like man. Drop the weight of all these concerns, it’s dead weight.

EDIT - there was a case in 2008 where another keyboard company tried to steal Yamaha's PSR Style Data exactly as it is for their own keyboards, which was awarded to Yamaha. This is a competing keyboard company being sued by a keyboard company though, not a musician suing another musician because they both composed using Yamaha Style Data. https://archive.yamaha.com/en/news_r.../20080508.html

Last edited by newguy1; 4th August 2020 at 05:03 PM..
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