It would be something for a judge or equivalent arbiter to decide. It’s a gray line because we aren’t talking about music with very specific melodic content…I’d say the majority of music on this site doesn’t have very specific melodic content, because of the nature of what it is (stock/background music.) But legally it’s not just about the chord progression, it’s about the chord progression, rhythm, instrumentation, and whatever little melody there is taken as a whole. It’s a lot easier to prove copyright infringement when there is a specific melody over a specific set of chords or harmonic information, but it’s not impossible to prove if these these things are absent, and I’d further argue that as a society we might have to start getting extremely good at picking out the minor differences between pieces of music, as everything becomes more homogenized and similar. This site is sort of a microcosm of what happens in the larger music world, that being many people trying to copy what has been successfully done by a few, so you wind up with a lot of very similar content. In the case of both Zimmer and Williams, I consider both cases to be more homage than theft.
Right, I am just speculating.
It will be difficult to prove infringement when there is lack of melody. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.
Mainstream music is becoming increasingly more homogenized and similar. Part of me finds that funny because with the advent of music technology and education reaching more people than ever, you might think that there would be a wide variety of new things happening in music, but it seems to be the opposite. The other part of me understands why that is though.
I don’t think as a society we will be able to become extremely good at picking out minor differences in music as a way of determining what infringes on copyright and what doesn’t. It will probably come down to money and power, like most things in the legal world.
Composer Christopher Young considered the idea of suing Danny Elfman for copyright infringement back in the 80’s over Elfman’s Batman theme sounding similar to his theme to Hellraiser. He didn’t follow through because he would have to take on Warner Bros. legal team. That would have been a hard and expensive case to fight so he didn’t. Both great scores though!
You bring up an interesting point though of homage compared to theft. I guess that’s another grey area though. I feel like Williams and Zimmer both stole the material rather paying any sort homage to things. If the material they borrowed from was out of copyright, that would obviously be different.
King’s Row is relatively recent though with only 35 years between it and Star Wars. That’s like heavily borrowing the actual melody from Star Wars (released in 1977, 35 years ago) and passing a version of it off as your own today. I’m certain that’s happened too! But is that homage or theft? And, what clarifies that? I know I’m not sure.
Sorry for droning on about this but this whole thing is an interesting topic.
I admit that at first I gave a pretty swift listen to both tracks, so I thought that modified “Elegance” was used in that Aftereffects template. Now, that I compare again between the tracks, I see that these are two different versions. Call it a cover if you’d like. So anyway, what I said earlier about extended license is not relevant here.
Now, Webarteo, what are you trying to gain by sending a DMCA claim? As Lmz said, chord progressions are not copyrightable, especially one of just 3 chords. You’re going to have a hell of a hard time proving that Fantazo intentionally plagiarized your track. Let’s say you do manage to prove that this is a cover of your track. According to the Copyright law, any copyrighted song can be covered, without prior consent from the original author. One just has to purchase mechanical license through an organization such as the Harry Fox Agency, and pay royalties to the original author per each use. The current royalties rate for songs five minutes or less in length is $.08. Considering that the AE template was downloaded 1 time, your gain from the entire enterprise would be 8 cents.
As you can see, the game’s not worth the candle. I agree with SonicCube:
While i can hear the obvious similarity, i’m not sure if it is worth spending all the energy on sending out a dmca. The problem is, that the chords and progression are probably not “unique” enough to proof it is your song/creation. I would focus on new tracks (your stuff is really great) and forgett about that track on RS