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Hey. This may be an awful thing for me to say, so forgive first.
I guess what I would say is if you think it is questionable, then it probably is too close. Laws such as copyrights and so on can be bent and shaped beyond their intent. that doesn't make it right. I think as Christian writers, we need to go above and beyond. Not walk the same lines as the world, but really rise above the questionable things. If I am professing to be a Christian and walking the best that I can in the ways of Christ, then for me, I have to try and stay away from grey areas. Key word is "try".
The same chord progressions are found in almost every popular worship song of the day, maybe just in different keys. I'm not sure how many ideas are original when it comes to worship. I think it is the manner in which we communicate the idea that is original.
Pretty scattered thought process eh?
I'll be curious to see what others have to say on this topic. Great question. I posted a song on the Song Writers page and one person said the beginning sounds familiar. I'v not heard anything myself that goes there. The idea that God is amazing is nothing new. Maybe the ways we say He is amazing can be different though.
What do you think?

Good luck with this.
GB
Hey. I have a mac and can listen to the files. Windows media player opens up on it and away I go. I have a windows based com in my office where I do my recording, so thus the .wma file???? Problem for me is that I'm no computer wizard, so I don't know how to make it an mp3.
i have only ever loaded a song to this site, so as for going somewhere else, don't know how.
You're welcome to come to our church if you are ever in Halifax, NS, Canada.
Love to have you worship with us brother!
"questionable as a guideline" is not clear. No doubt about it, but it may be the safe thing to do...or just go where God leads you. If someone slaps you for that, then we've all got bigger problems. I don't know...maybe there is no clear answer.
Anyhow, keep writing and God will use it if it's right.
GB
You're not a thief. Melodies and chord progressions work their way into our subconsciousness all the time. The way we hear music influences the way we play music. You didn't deliberately set out to copy that part, so you are not a thief. However, now that you know how close the melody is, you should change it.
Here's my two cents worth...I'd say it depends on how much of the song sounds like the other one. For example, a bar or so of notes that are smiliar does not constitute copying someone if the rest of the verse/chorus is different. If it really sounds too much the same, then change a note or two or three.

I'd say you're getting into trouble if your entire verse or chorus mimicked another song note for note, style for style. But there are only so many chord progressions and scales in the world of music, so it's hard to be completely original (if it's even possible).

In his autobiography, Randy Bachmann (lead guitarist from BTO and The Guess Who) wrote that the reason his songs became popular so quick was because he would think of a song that he really liked, figure out what made it unforgettable, and then write something that sounded close to it for part of his new song. He reasoned that people would catch onto the song quickly because part of their brain already knew and liked it.

What I'm trying to say is, don't become paranoid. Do some A/B trials with objective poeple and see if they think the two songs are too much alike.
Obviously this is something of a concern to more than just yourself, Andy. We all get involved in writing music, and it's easy to cross the lines, even unconciously. Copyright infringement seems to come down to two main issues: 1) access to the original work; and 2) "substantial similarity"

1) If two people who never met and never heard each others work come up with the same thing, it's not copyright infringement.
2)"substantial similarity" means you've captured the 'heart' of the song you're alleged to have copied.

Here is a link to a good short article on musical copyright: http://www.alankorn.com/articles/copyright_infringe.html
-Whether a work infringes another usually turns on the issue of substantial similarity. In the case of music, courts have ruled that infringement may occur where the "whole meritorious part of the song" is incorporated into another song, without any substantial alteration.-
And this:
-There is no simple rule concerning how much of a work may be taken before it rises to the level of infringement. Obviously, the more a work is copied, the easier it is to show substantial similarity. Ultimately the test for infringement turns on the issue of quality, rather than quantity. For instance, in determining whether one song infringes on another, it is common for courts to look to whether the "heart" of the song was taken. The heart of a song may be a memorable melody, or an identifiable 2-chord guitar riff or just a few words taken from the chorus. As a result, there is NO truth to the rumor that sampling less than 4 bars is OK.-

What that says to me is that if some key part of someone's song is what made it popular or memorable, and you've done the exact same thing, then you're on shaky ground. If it's just some "meat and potatoes" part of the song that bears no more resemblance than two ships passing in the night, then I wouldn't worry about it. Sure, they're both ships (i.e. notes, runs, scales), but that's about it.

Hope this helps!
Andy, that correlation between those two songs came immediately to mind when I first heard that album. I still can't stop singing the words, "is it any wonder" whenever the lead played that submelody.

I think you'd be OK as long as you're not intentionally borrowing something from another song (or songs). As long as the surrounding landscape of the song (chord structure, lyrics, tempo) strays noticeably from these other works, I think you're fine.
I believe you can use 7 or 8 consecutive notes from another song and still be original and not be breaking copyright...you'd have to check the website to be sure, but I remember it being either 7 or 8.
Careful on this one. "Fair use" is referring to quoting something in order to teach or instruct or inform.

"...for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports."

In other words, if you were teaching a course on worship leading, and played a clip from Paul Balouche as an example, then you're fine. They're not talking about writing songs for recording or group singing.

Sorry; just had to clarify that. :)
I think if M.C. Hammer can rip off a hook as blatently as he did in "You can't touch this" and be found legally in the clear, you're totally safe from any legal repercussions. But I agree with some of the other comments that we should shoot for a little more originality than that.

The issue that I have with your song is the theology. After all He's given us--life, breath, salvation, spiritual blessings, to name a few--what more are you asking for? I think what we need to do is give ourselves more wholly to Him. Worship is a grateful response to what God has done, and who He is. Actually, most of your lyrics are about surrendering to God and then you flip and have a line like "just give me more."

My intent is not to be overly critical, and a big downer on your song. I just think there are plenty of worship songs out there that feel good, and have no real substance. If there's a real solid base for where your coming from please enlighten me, but to be honest, the lyrics sound less original then the music.
From what I'm hearing, I'm with Rick on this one. You shouldn't have anything to worry about. Unless you've completely copied the whole chorus or verse, then you're OK. I know of one song I wrote that the bass lick is identical to "Brick In The Wall" by Pink Floyd and it almost erks me when I keep think about it but the song in no way sounds like.
I once wrote a song that sounded like a song I wrote. Can I sue myself for that?
"I once wrote a song that sounded like a song I wrote. Can I sue myself for that?"
I don't know...how deep are your pockets? :) I suspect by the time both of "you" paid the lawyer's fees, it wouldn't be worth it!
"I once wrote a song that sounded like a song I wrote..."

I've done that before ~ LOL! I call it "revising" :-)

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