identical except for one phrase.
Upon a detailed review of the case, I don’t know that a necessarily agree with Gutmann’s characterization. I do agree that the court probably got the case wrong by not taking into account how the works were created and failing to address the fact that the music transcription may not be the ultimate expression of modern music. Additionally, the concept of "subconscious infringement" is quite bothersome, because it bypasses the traditional requirement to showing either through direct or indirect evidence that the author intended to copy the work. However, given the evidence presented, I can certainly see how the court reached its conclusion. I think the implications of the case are much narrower then Gutmann makes them out to be. From reading the opinion it is not just the similarity of the chord motifs that the court cared about, it was also the extreme similarity in the arrangement of both motifs. The case would most likely have been decided drastically different if Harrison’s song had a more traditional call and response such as A/A/B as seen in the blues. The fact that Harrison’s song not only contained the same notes, but also had the nearly identical, fairly rare arrangement allowed the court to conclude that the songs were identical.
Gutmann continues his analysis by examining the role of influences in music in general. I think most artists have influences that in part help define them as artists. Musicians are no exception. Gutmann points out several examples from classical music in which composers did pieces whose origins could be seen in another composers work. While I am a fan of classical music (Mozart being my personal favorite), I do not share Mr. Gutmann’s in depth knowledge to be able to offer counter examples. Therefore I am going to transpose the discussion to something that is closer to my home turf the blues. The blues is also a convenient medium because it has been a huge influence on American rock and popular music. Blues is often grouped with bluegrass, country and folk music in a category known as "American Roots" music. In general "American Roots" music finds its origins in the music of the African American population in the south. The music was performed generally by self taught musicians and was passed down through an oral tradition. The earliest blues we have record of is known as delta blues. Delta blues recordings sprung up in the 1920’s and 30’s and is in general characterized by a vocalist and unaccompanied guitar or a rather sparse arrangement of guitar, piano and harmonica. Delta Blues stars include Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Lead Belly. With the advent of the electric/ amplified guitar and the migration of southern blacks to northern cities such as Chicago in the 1940’s, a new form of blues evolved - known as Chicago Blues. Chicago Blues is generally seen as grittier, employing over driven guitar sounds and gritty over driven harmonicas. The chord progressions and arrangements are similar to Delta Blues, however the music reflects the influence of the artists’ new urban setting, and is characterized by a faster
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