Every art form, including the songwriting process often involves ‘borrowing’ with only so many chords available to musicians.
However, this is no different when it comes to the lyrics as well, and some of pop’s greatest acts have acknowledged that their songs have been influenced greatly by other people’s music and writing.
With that said, there’s a distinct line between ‘being influenced’ and ‘outright plagiarism’. This fact has resurfaced, thanks to a lawsuit that was filed against performers Owl City and Carla Rae Jepsen for the latter.
So, here are 3 popular examples of pop plagiarism as we know it:
#1: Michael Jackson – Will you be there
It wasn’t once but twice that the courts tried MJ for seemingly adding a recording made by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony while also not giving the original composer credit. However, it was also an Italian songwriter who found similarities between his song ‘Swans of Balaka’ and the smash hit. While the first lawsuit was settled out of court, MJ wasn’t held responsible for the latter many years later.
#2: Lady Gaga – Born this Way
It’s not only Jessica Simpson but Lady Gaga as well who has taken a page out of Madonna’s book. In fact, the latter’s hit, Born this way, while being a smash hit, is considered by critics to sound very similar to ‘Express yourself’. Of course, while she has never sued Lady Gaga, she does perform both these songs to remind her audience who came first.
#3: Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend
When Lavigne made ‘Girlfriend’ in 2007, it turned out to be a massive hit. However, the song also resembled one made in the 70s by a band called Rubinoos who were talented but never really made it to the charts then. A confidential out-of-court settlement ensured that this matter was never heard of again with Lavigne and Dr. Luke keeping the songwriting credits.