Human beings have been in existence for thousands of years, over time we have managed to investigate and crack open anything and everything possible. Something could have been “original” when we first started being. But now, originality is merely a concept, authenticity is what we mean.
Nothing is original, everything is influenced by one thing or the other be it art, design, music, writing, whatnot.
Even a thought you get is influenced by an activity or a situation or something that has happened. Can you tag that thought as ‘original’? Try to imagine a new color, you cannot! You will have to take existing colors and mix them up or change their characteristics if you want to come up with a new color. But, you cannot say that the color is original because it is not. It is authentic, though. However, you cannot pass this as plagiarism because you have merely taken help from something that already exists to work from.
Even great minds and creative artists seem to have problems coming up with authentic materials. Who is to say students don’t? If you ask us, students have it pretty hard. Students have tons of assignments, papers to write and have to worry about plagiarism. Plagiarism checker is a student’s best friend (apart from Google) while writing a paper. Looking for one best free plagiarism checker can be a bit of a task in the beginning.
But, after you get hold of one, you latch onto it. Handing in an assignment without doing a plagiarism check is a nightmare! You work on your essay, you proofread it, and you scan you essay for plagiarism; that is how it goes.
Music is no different. Is it even possible to make original music anymore? Or was it ever possible? Plagiarism in music and plagiarized songs are no news, it occurs more often than we realize. We have been hearing and promoting plagiarized songs forever. While some songs can sound similar and that can be pure coincidence, but some have definitely been influenced by another song(s). Artists often take inspirations from other artists and often their work ends up similar to the work they were inspired from.
Music is creativity, and creativity itself isn’t something that boasts originality. Creativity is something that is influenced by another thing. Many many well-known musicians we all love and adore have been accused of plagiarism and slapped with lawsuits over plagiarized songs and scandals songs over time.
Who hasn’t heard of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”? You’ve probably started humming this song now that you’re reminded of it. Known as the greatest bands of all time and a pioneer in rock music, Led Zeppelin was popularly branded as rip-offs as their music had allegedly been taken from artists like Taurus, Jake Holmes, Bert Jansch, and many more. Along with their popularity, Zeppelin faced many lawsuits for plagiarism in music. Later on, from the late 70s to the early 2000s, many artists went on to remix and sample Zeppelin‘s beats from “When the Levee Breaks”.
You surely remember Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams’ “Blurred Lines” that made striped pants oh so popular. That song was a massive hit in 2013. Many noticed that the song sounded a lot like Marvin Gayes’ “Got to Give it Up”. Gayes’ family had filed a lawsuit against Thicke and Williams. They lost the lawsuit and had to pay approximately $7.4 million to the Gayes.
Have you heard Childish Gambino’s popular and impactful song “This Is America”? This is America went viral in May 2018. The song portrays the sad reality of inequality present in America. Gambino was accused of copying “American Pharoah” by Jase Harley.
Talking of scandals songs and artists accused of plagiarism, Ed Sheeran has made it to the list. Yes, we are equally scandalized. Sheeran was accused of plagiarizing his 2016 hit “Photograph”. Matt Cardle filed a lawsuit against Sheeran on the grounds that “Photograph” sounded similar to his song “Amazing”. The lawsuit was settled with Ed Sheeran paying $20 million.
Nothing is original, really. Even this article isn’t an original piece, it’s authentic. There are many articles similar to this particular one on the internet. If you read them all, you will see that most of them are similar to each other, but not the same. Who is to say one article did not influence and inspire the other? It is always a good idea to be influenced by something and takes inspiration, however, if you are using somebody else’s work, you have to give credit to that person. Otherwise, it is stealing.
People are comfortable with what is familiar to them. Over time, most movies and songs that have been hit are either remakes, sequels, or derived from existing materials. Original content has seldom been preferred by most audiences. Might that be the reason why plagiarism in music is rampant?