A Note about Plagiarism

Katie Gruber

In the previous chapter, we discussed the importance of creating your own work and avoiding plagiarism. 

There are numerous cases where songs were covered or sampled without explicit permission, or plagiarized. As noted in the previous chapter, while Chuck Berry co-wrote the song with the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, he was not originally credited on the record’s release in 1963. Similarly, George Harrison was sued for lifting the melody of the Chiffon’s “He’s So Fine” in 1976 for his song “My Sweet Lord”.  The judge ruled that Harrison was guilty of “subconscious plagiarism.” Harrison was ordered to pay $587,000 (in 1976 dollars, which amounts to nearly 3 million in 2022 dollars). This case still stands as one of the longest legal battles in American history, since it lasted over 20 years. To read more about this and other copyright infringement cases, visit Songs on Trial: 12 Landmark Music Copyright Cases – Rolling Stone and George Washington University – Music Copyright Infringement Resource.

If you, too, are an audiophile, you may have already been familiar with the previous example, or Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice, Baby sampling from Queen & David Bowie’s Under Pressure. Were there any on the Rolling Stone list that you hadn’t heard of?



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Principles of Public Speaking Copyright © 2022 by Katie Gruber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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