For now in this blog I've already submitted most of the points that I wanted to share. For a while I'm not going to publish more articles and analyses. But I'm ready to offer my contribution as consultant expert for those who are interested and contact me.
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Hereby I submit a compilation of proposed points that in my opinion should be used to obtain more reasonable verdicts in plagiarism cases in the future. I'm not expected to submit any motions with points like these and get them any of them accepted. But I hope some day other experts will also realize the importance of these points.
1a) Do not allow to prepare comparative sheets for convincing jurors where the timing is not synhronized between the compared melodies.
Explanation: It creates false impression of rhythmic similarity. See also Accidental Similarity.
Importance : High
1b) Not to accept mere pitch sequences or up-hold-down sequences without identic or close rhythmical placement appearing in the compared songs as evidence. Can also be handled by point 3.
Explanation: Accidental similarity.
2 About allowing recorded versions of the song to be played for jurors:
Once they allow it, they should also allow for the defendant party to play counter examples for the jurors with allegedly similar prior songs.
3) As a part of the jury instructions the jurors should be taught briefly and OBJECTIVELY about what is ususal and unusual level of melodic similarity. Visual charts are proposed to use. The content of these charts and related datas have to be checked and accepted by both of the oppopsite parties as a being correct and representative for pop music generally. My tests are covering only three randomly chosen songs, and further not randomly used ones (songs of cases). These tests should be extended and validate by respected experts as well. My blog articles are still lacking the necessary level of respect for getting referred.
Explanation: Accidental similarity.
4a) Not to allow mash-up mixes to be played for jurors.
4b) If they still allow it, they also should allow defendant party to play examples of non-similar songs mashed up. But we can save this latter step with point 4a.
Explanation: Mash-Up mixes
5) Using the similarity index calculation proposed on this page.
It may sound like self-advertising, but this algorithm is considering many relevant factors with reasonable weighting. It can objectively substitute many lengthy biased arguments pro and contra. Reasonable considerations of "constellations" is built in this algorithm. Respectable validation of this algorithm is needed.
Explanation: Similarity test algorithm
6) Not to accept constellation type arguments as evidences, unless the constelling factors don't occure simultaionously or subsequently.
Explanation: constelling points of similarities can be compiled for any randomly chosen two songs. A trained expert is able to creat such a list not to be occuring (all points) in any other two songs.
Song level: see the Dancer vs. Blurred Lines example in Blurred Lines analysis (appendix).
Similarly for melodies: see the Beethoven's Fifth vs. Got To Give It Up example.
7) Not to judge sound-alike arrangement as infringement. The core of infringements should be the melodies (~idea) instead of overall sound (~expression).
Explanation: just read the related dissent of Judge Jackqueline H. Nguyen.
I propose disabling mash-up mixes in music plagiarism cases.
For now in music plagiarism trials it's a usual and accepted way of proving substantial similarity that the complaining party prepares mash-up recordings. In these mash-ups they combine the backing track and the lead vocals of the compared songs in various ways. If the mash-up "works" it certainly influences jurors to vote for the existence of substantial similarity.
The main point of this article that mash-ups should be disabled to use in courtrooms. Reason: it is able to mislead jurors by creating a false impression of similarity. The mash-up trick also works for songs that are VERY different both melody-wise and harmony-wise, for certain extent. The mash-up mixes often apply an adjustment of pitch and tempo in a smooth way. The difference of key and exact tempo (+/-30%) is not problem for mash-up producers.
For now there exists huge amount of mash-up mixes supporting this point. Just type "mashup" into YT search and check the results! There are some shocking examples for example Smells Like Teen Spirit - Final Countdown. Here we have to add that the mashup would not work with the chords of Teen Spirit combined with the melody of Countdown.
Pretty Woman - Sweet Child Of Mine:
Roy Orbison junior in 2018 shared his opinion that the intro guitar hook of Sweet Child Of Mine can be mashed up with Pretty Woman (written by his father). He added that he does not think it's a case of plagiarism together with other songs that too are allegedly similar to Pretty Woman: Day Tripper, Staisfaction, etc...
Blurred Lines vs. Got To Give It Up:
It is another example for two different songs with different chord progression and modal pitches (b3rd degree vs 3rd degree) and it still can be mashed up for certain degree. Not perfectly since some clashing notes creat painful dissonances at more points.
When do mashups work? It's easier to determinine when it does not work.
A given chord works with a melodic subphrase when the "anchoring" note(s) of this subphrase is present in the chord (there are counter examples). Mash-up mix does not work good, if an anchoring note (usually one note per subphrase, sometimes more) in Song A doesn't fit with the corresponding chord in Song B. A seventh or major seventh dissonance is still creates an "enjoyable" dissonance, but a 2nd melodic degree of an anchoring note in Song A would be clashing with the tonic chord of Song B, since that chord contains 1st and 3rd degrees neighbouring the 2nd degree. This same note (2nd degree) would not clash with either ii, iii(7) or the V chord (the latter is called "dominant" chord) in Song B. Roughly a half of the basic chords don't clash with a given scale degree (1st to 7th).
Phrase lengths also count, but these have usually "binaric" length: 4, 8, 16 or 32 bars.
Another typical clashing is caused by modal differences. For example a modal (including minor mode) flat-3rd degree of Song-A is clashing with the natural 3rd degree built in the actual chord of Song-B. This type of clashing occures in the Blurred Lines - Got To Give It Up mashup.