A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Progress Is Derivative – What The!! – It’s Not Okay To Show Your Influences

Led Zeppelin became the biggest rock act in the world. They wrote songs based on their influences and some songs even sounded like the songs they were influenced by. From traveling the world, they were also exposed to exotic sounds and as technology got better, to new sounds.

Suddenly, thousands of wannabe guitarists and singers and drummers and bass players started to copy the licks and melodies and beats of the mighty Zep, forming an influential bond with the music, much in the same way, the members of Zep allowed other artists and songs to influence their music and melodies.

And Zeppelin wasn’t just an act with a geographical location. Their music was everywhere and there was no way that any teenager in the 70’s could escape the sounds of the Zep. Fast forward into the mid 80’s and suddenly a lot of bands on record deals had a lot of musical passages in their songs which paid homage to Zeppelin and in some cases too much homage. But Zeppelin never sued. These derivative versions of songs based on Zep cuts actually increased the value of the Zep cuts.

I’ve been listening to some songs recently, and the resemblance to other songs is a beautiful thing to hear. I know that these kinds of similarities are bringing forth a lot of court cases in pop music where a jury is asked to decide what is plagiarism and what isn’t.

In the Cult’s song “Peace Dog”, the middle part section has a similarity which comes from the “Stairway to Heaven” section before the solo section kicks in.

And on the topic of Led Zep, no one can forget Kingdom Come. “Get It On” basically lifted the whole “Kashmir” chord progression, and “What Love Can Be” is similar to “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “The Rain Song”. Regardless, Kingdom Come made me want to listen to Led Zeppelin.

Whitesnake broke through in the 80’s on the backs of MTV and a sound that rivalled the Sunset Strip, but when they started off on the blues rock journey, David Coverdale was channelling Led Zeppelin in “Trouble”. Coverdale even looked like Plant and sounded a lot like him on this cut and along with Sykes they brought the Led Zep sound, filling the void for a lot of fans of that music.

And this was okay, to show your influences and pay homage to styles.

But Copyright kept changing and evolving, because the corporations kept pushing for perpetual laws, as they knew that if they lost the copyrights to valuable recordings and songs, they would be losing money.

And by pushing for laws that lasted 70 years after the death of the creator, it also meant that the heirs of the creator would also benefit as a by-product. And the heirs are now taking from the hand that gave them the right, because if copyright terms stayed the same (28 year term (14 years with the option to renew for another 14) or if the artist died before the 28 years, on death), the majority of these court cases would not even exist, because the songs would be in the public domain.

But it was still okay to show your influences and pay homage, because the record labels and publishers still paid the heirs and the artists for their rights, as the labels made 300% more profit due to CD sales. But when the record labels stopped paying, as mp3 ripping and then digital downloads and then streaming took over, suddenly, there was a problem for the artists or the heirs/organisations who owned the copyrights. The payments ceased or became dramatically less.

So with a combination of Copyright law changes and a change to the distribution model, a new situation was created with lawsuit after lawsuit, because every artist or heirs of the artist feels that their work is so original and free from influence, that they must be compensated.

And suddenly it wasn’t okay to show your influences or pay homage. But all progress made in music was to build on what came before.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Living Under The Laws That Corporations Wrote And A Bit Of Metallica For Old Times Sake

“Alice In Wonderland” turned 150 years old recently and it is still in the public imagination.

Hell, it has been in the public domain since 1907 (42 years from when it was originally published) and that still hasn’t stopped the story from making money. By having the work in the public domain it has allowed other people to create derivative versions of the story and the characters. “Alice In Wonderland” is a perfect example of how adaptions of the original story has ensured that the story gets passed on to multiple generations.

So next time you hear of someone calling for longer copyright terms, tell them about “Alice In Wonderland”.  The incentive of a 42 year copyright monopoly was a sufficient motivator for Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) to create more works.

Alice In Wonderland Article

Carroll didn’t need a copyright to last 70 to 90 years after his death as an incentive to write stories. Sort of like the heirs of Marvin Gaye. Seriously, what the hell have they contributed to the arts. Copyright was never about being a lifetime pension that carries over to the children or the next of kin. The rule is simply, if the artist passes away, their music falls into the public domain.

As much as I love Hendrix, I don’t agree with his relatives holding a copyright monopoly on his works.

However a lot of people (with a large corporation or corporations attached) stand to profit from long-term copyrights.

Anyone heard of Wu-Tang-Clans single album that has an 88 year copyright caveat. What this means is that the person who paid something like $5 million dollars for has to wait 88 years to hear it. This is what happens when music is turned into something that is not music. The fans that made the group popular are not able to hear it, because greedy people attached to the group want to profit from it.

For those that do read my posts, you will note that I have mentioned a lot of times that fans of artists are not purchasing music anymore. They are purchasing art packaged as a must have for collectors. I always use Machine Head’s “Killers and Kings” Record Store Day single release with four different covers. Yep, I purchased all four singles and guess what, they are still in the shrink-wrap.

So if you need anymore proof that sales of music is all about collectables then look no further than Metallica’s “No Life Til Leather” cassette release for Record Store Day.

You see, releasing music should never be about the new album only. Music was never designed to be about locking yourself away for a year or for months in a studio while you record your new master opus. Music was never designed to be about spending months and months on promotion and marketing. Music was never designed to give rise to large copyright monopolistic corporations. However that is where music has come to.

Because it is these large copyright monopolies that have lobbied hard for internet service providers (ISP’s) around the world to store and then hand out the personal information of their users to these greedy corporations.

All in the name of copyright infringement.

What the large copyright groups have done, via their cashed up lobby groups is bypass legal process. If an internet user has been falsely accused, well, too bad. The burden (and a costly one at that) to prove that you are innocent is on the user, as the way the anti-piracy laws are written, there are basically no consequences for a copyright monopoly business from making false accusations.

I guess this is what it means to live under the laws written by corporations.

 

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