Legal issue in similar music

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Post » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:25 pm

Dear community,

We have a lot of music that sound very similar to each other, and I think this could be ugly when it comes to legal issue. But I don't have knowledge in law in this regard, so I want someone to assist me in this.

I would like to discuss about legal issue in similarity in music. When would it be ok and not ok to have similar music? Listen to the following songs:

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In these 4 music, there are some similarities one way or another.

1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 Fleet Glide Galaxy stage and Johnny Quest Opening

Notice the similar introduction?

2. Super Mario Bros 3 Airship theme and Mars: The Bringer Of War from Holtz's "The Planets" suite

The airship theme sounds quite similar to Mars: The Bringer Of War, and even more similar in Super Mario Galaxy.

3. "U.N. Owen Was Her?" from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and "John Stump - Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"

These also sound fairly very similar.

4. Toy Contemporary from Pop'n music series and the Simpsons opening

While the melodies are all different, the structure of these two music here are similar.

5. Ice Cap Zone from Sonic 3 And Knuckles is pretty much a 16-bit version of "Hard Times" by The Jetzons

These two... sound so identical.

Here are sites that provide even more examples:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/SuspiciouslySimilarSong/VideoGames provides hundreds of similarities in video game music to other media.

http://www.soundsjustlike.com/2710/taylor-swift-sounds-like-coldplay/

Also relevant: Will We Ever Run Out of New Music? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAcjV60RnRw

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Now, given all the links above, when do we consider a piece of music to be an inspiration of another music and not a ripoff? For me, if the composer has shown that it's not a blatant ripoff, and he/she did really rearrange the components, that is good enough for me, even it sounds similar to another music. But when it comes to law, how do we do this? When will it be possible for one to accuse another if something in the music is too similar? Or perhaps a better question might be when will someone raise hell on you?

Or am I approaching this problem incorrectly? I got several music in my game, and I see that some parts of a few of them sound similar to some other songs I've heard, so this makes me feel worried. It's not a blatant ripoff, but they got some similar elements one way or another (like those links given above).

Any advise is appreciated.keroberos2013-12-28 16:59:08
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Post » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:34 pm

It's a pretty wide grey area, even in commercial music.

There is no way to determine if one song is still just inspired by or ripped off from another song. That decision is made on a case-by-case basis by the corresponding court, I'm afraid.
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Post » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:40 pm

@Eisenhans thanks for your reply. Decision is made on a case by case basis in court? That would be like everyone got a gun pointing at everyone, and we may not even know who are pointing guns at us.
I got a game that you multiply, breath fire with two heads and brawl foes to oblivion with your clones: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/660664 (use Chrome on Windows for best performance)

My sites:
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http://twinblazar.newgrounds.com
https://twitter.com/twinblazar
http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=15072448
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Post » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:57 pm

[quote]That would be like everyone got a gun pointing at everyone, and we may not even know who are pointing guns at us.[/quote]

That is an accurate description of the legal situation in all entertainment/media/patent/license-related businesses, but most especially music.
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