Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band also sued when his How Sweet to Be an Idiot was appropriated by Oasis for Whatever.

What fun. For of course Innes was a plagiarist satirist par excellence.

The story of Innes and the Rutles being rather fun. He wrote the songs without relistening to the albums. Sorta just remembered what, well, what were they sorta like at this stage? At that?

And he played the stuff for Lennon. Who said about Get Up And Go – “That’s a bit close”. Not angrily, rather pointing out that if there were going to be lawsuits from the rights holders then that would be the one they went for. So, it didn’t appear on the album.

My amusement about it being that it’s a markedly better guitar solo on this version of it. In fact, the rhythm guitar is better too but part of that will be that this is a studio recording rather than live as was the original.

10 thoughts on “Plagiarism”

  1. Very good The Rutles.

    “In 1966, the Rutles faced the biggest threat to their careers: Nasty, in a widely quoted interview, apparently had claimed the Rutles were bigger than God, and had gone on to say that God had never had a hit record.
    The story spread like wildfire in America. Many fans burned their albums. Many more burnt their fingers attempting to burn their albums. Album sales sky-rocketed. People were buying them just to burn them. But in fact, it was all a ghastly mistake: Nasty, talking to a slightly deaf journalist, had claimed only that the Rutles were bigger than Rod. Rod Stewart would not be big for another 8 years.”

    Paved the way for Spinal Tap

    “Well, I’m sure I’d feel much worse if I weren’t under such heavy sedation.”

  2. The song is similar in much the same way that Mitch Benn does his spoofs of songs. They are close enough to be recognisable but just different enough presumably not to be sued. That one was very close though.

  3. The great Mark Steyn always advises anyone on the wrong end of a musical copyright suit to hire an expert who would find a piece of classical music that sounded similar.

    “No your Honour, I didn’t copy it from Innes, I copied it from the Finale of Haydn’s Symphony No. 104, the London Symphony.”

    “Case dismissed!”

  4. One i discovered recently was hotel california was very close to ‘we used to know’ by jethro tull. (something like 8 out of the first 10 chord progressions). But even despite that they’re clearly different songs.

  5. Is it not the case that there is a public interest defence to breach of copyright?

    Must be the case, as a certain eminent triple Professor cites it regularly when reproducing material?

  6. “This piece of music may sound very familiar. Nothing to be ashamed of, some of the most famous music in the world sounds very familiar…” Peter Schikele.

    Bands like Mostly Autumn rehash many famous works nas tributes. Their latest album White Rainbow is a Dark Side of the Moon/Hotel California/Trespass delight. Even a Sex Pistols riff in there. The whole second half sounds like Dark Side conducted by von Karajan.

    Satire is specifically allowed for copying, and increases the fame of the original. Barbara Somebody.

  7. Spud used to copy and paste whole chunks of the FT into his blogs. FT guidelines said no more than 30 words could be used without prior agreement. So I dropped an email to the FT who obviously got in touch with Spud and it stopped.

  8. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    The original Mike Flowers Pops Wonderwall is tons better than the Oasis cover.

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