Zeds.Ded wrote:i do a law class in college, you can sue someone who has a product that looks exactly like your product as long as you designed that product (have patent and all that stuff) but if the product is change a certain amount, then you cant sue, or at least wont win case (depending on which court you take it to)
referring to the case of Guinness versus John Fitzgerald - CEO of Carroll's Irish gift shop (my friends dad, this is how i know about it)
Carroll's were using the Guinness pint glass with the harp on it, on their T-shirts and key rings and all that, Guinness sued them, so Carroll's changed the design just enough to get away with it, now its just a black and white pint glass with something written on it, i cant remember what it was.
im thinking that the same sort of rules apply in music, i mean, it sounds a small bit like it for like 2 seconds of the song, but its not enough to take legal action and win a case upon! i dunno, im no expert but i severely doubt anything would stand legally.
(what do you know i do learn stuff in school!)
That bit about the Guinness is mighty interesting and the end result was they had to modify their logo to conform to the legal owner of the official Guinness logo. As you stated there is a curve that artist’s in this case Commercial art must be indistinct from an original inspiration to avoid the courts. I was looking at the Carroll’s Irish Gift Stores online portal. They must have settled out of court now or contracted with Guinness because they are selling online mugs and other merchandise with the registered trademark from Guinness.
My next door neighbor is straight from Cork county Ireland and we have many fine discussions about politics, why can’t they sell Irish ham in the U.S., and why the American potatoes are watery and tasteless (a point I agree with) not at all like the wonderful Irish variety of Potato (which I have never tried but wish too).
Now to the point of how many notes make a case.
I still theorize that if it’s a signature melody like the two famous notes Queens’s bass player played from “Under Pressure” with a distinct rhythm and timing I would state it’s not about how many actual notes in sum total.
Vanilla Ice lost that case in court partly because he sampled it verbatim and was foolish enough to state the rhythm was “different” in court.
Counsel could stipulate that the signature notes are almost alike except for Vai’s cascading down and then back up again. But there is the signature notes that start the song and repeat through the solo etcetera.
“The Best of ZZ Top
In 1973, ZZ Top recorded their classic hit "La Grange" which was featured on their third album "Tres Hombres". A signature riff tune, "La Grange" was ZZ Top's first top 40 hit, and "Tres Hombres" went on to become their first gold album.
"La Grange" subsequently appeared on "Best of ZZ Top", which was released in 1977.
"La Grange appeared again on another best-of album, "ZZ Top Six Pack" in 1987.
In testimony of its staying power, "La Grange" appeared for the fourth time on their third best-of album, "Greatest Hits" in 1992.
Deja Vu on Boogie Chillen
In 1991, Bernard Besman heard "La Grange" and got a severe case of deja vu. Then in his eighties and head of La Cienega Music, the copyright owner of "Boogie Chillen", Besman decided to take a run against ZZ Top. By 1996, the judge dismissed part of the suit stating that the 1948 single and 1950 remake were in the public domain.
Consequently, the issue of whether the ZZ Top recordings infringe on the 1970 version of "Boogie Chillen" was supposed to have been heard sometime in 1997. “
I heard about this example but didn’t follow up on the court case outcome.