A recent UPI item led me to the Music Plagiarism Project at Columbia Law School. This unique site is devoted to archiving court cases alleging infringement of music copyrights. It provides the court decision, when available, along with editorial commentary on the case. But what makes it truly unique is that it also provides audio recordings and sometimes the scores of the songs in dispute, with the works of both the complainant and the defendant.
Thus, for example, you can listen to the song, “Let it End,” which composer Ronald Selle claimed the Bee Gees infringed, and then listen to the allegedly infringing song, “How Deep Is Your Love.” The 7th Circuit said there was no infringement. The site even has cases from before 1900, using contemporary recordings and MIDI files based on the original scores.
Charles Cronin, the Columbia law librarian who maintains the site, writes in an introduction:
“The purpose of this project is to capitalize on the distributed nature of digital information systems to collect, organize and distribute graphic and audio materials associated with music copyright infringement cases in the United States from the middle of the nineteenth century on. This documentation, especially for cases over twenty-five years old, is difficult to obtain and has never before been systematically collected or published in print or electronic format. Our goal is to accumulate and publish a complete collection of music copyright infringement opinions, comments about the musical works they consider, and graphic and sound files of relevant portions of these works.”
All that, and fun too.