Pop music and the small matter of plagiarism

Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa (Image: AFP/Yuki Iwamura, Angela Weiss by way of ETX Daily Up)

While disputes over track plagiarism are definitely nothing new, they had been normally settled behind the scenes. But issues have modified within the age of social media and streaming platforms, and accusations of plagiarism and the ensuing lawsuits have multiplied lately.

This phenomenon doesn’t appear to spare anybody—simply take Dua Lipa. The British singer was lately threatened with two high-profile and dear lawsuits over her track “Levitating.”

Songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer accused her of plagiarizing two of their songs, “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and “Don Diablo.” They declare that the opening melody of “Levitating” is a “duplicate” of the melody of their very own compositions. This a part of the track is especially essential, as a result of it has contributed to the monitor’s viral success on TikTok, as said within the official grievance of Brown and Linzer, seen by Billboard.

The plaintiffs claimed that  Lipa has admitted previously to having “deliberately emulated prior eras” to create the retro sound she has been recognized for since her second album, “Future Nostalgia.” DaBaby, who seems on “Levitating,” and the Warner Music Group had been additionally named within the lawsuit filed by Brown and Linzer.

The two songwriters weren’t the one ones to say damages from Lipa over her hit track “Levitating.” American reggae band Artikal Sound System has additionally filed a lawsuit towards the 26-year-old singer. It accused her of copying the band’s 2017 monitor “Live Your Life” on her personal track.

The two songs are mentioned to be so related that it’s “highly unlikely that ‘Levitating’ was created independently,” in response to Artikal Sound System. Warner Music Group, DaBaby and everybody else concerned within the creation of Lipa’s hit had been likewise named within the group’s lawsuit.

In an age the place 1000’s of recent songs are launched yearly, there are various similarities between tracks. But many instances of blatant similarity don’t at all times find yourself in court docket—besides within the case of Ed Sheeran.

The English musician is in bother over the copyright of his most-listened-to track, “Shape of You.” Sami Switch and Ross O’Donoghue mentioned they seen similarities between their 2015 monitor “Oh Why” and Sheeran’s hit.

Artificial intelligence to the rescue

This isn’t the primary time the English singer has been accused of plagiarism. Sheeran was sued for related causes in 2016 for his track “Photograph,” and two years later for “Thinking Out Loud.”

He thus joins a protracted listing of artists concerned in plagiarism instances, together with Katy Perry, Led Zeppelin, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. Faced with the size of the phenomenon, the giants of the music business are turning to synthetic intelligence to assist precisely decide when a tribute turns right into a pallid copy.

In current months, Spotify has been engaged on an algorithm that would enable musicians to search out out if their newest compositions have harmonic similarities with different current songs.

This invention would scrutinize scores with rhythmic and melodic markers, as a way to detect in the event that they embrace parts of different songs hosted on the Spotify platform. The algorithm would thus alert the songwriter if their monitor is liable to being sued for plagiarism. A hyperlink to the track resembling the creation analyzed by the unreal intelligence system is also included to facilitate any rewriting work.

But would a plagiarism detector be sufficient to curb this scourge of pop music? Not essentially.

In truth, Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin developed in 2020 an algorithm exploring all attainable melodic mixtures throughout one octave and 12 beats. That is 68.7 billion pop-sounding melodies. Once recorded on a bodily medium, comparable to a tough disk, these sequences of notes are thought of protected by copyright.

In order to guard artists who would possibly unknowingly compose a tune much like one in every of these 68.7 billion melodies, Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin have posted them on the Internet Archive web site, together with the code of the algorithm that composed them. They additionally used a Creative Commons Zero license, by which they waive their copyright. This will save many artists from lengthy lawsuits, doubtlessly with hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in damages. DC


Dua Lipa sued by reggae band for allegedly stealing hit track ‘Levitating’

Ed Sheeran in ‘Shape of You’ copyright dispute

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