Fair Use or Plaigarism?

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s no secret that in today’s musical world if anything will sell, it will likewise get ripped off. It’s also no secret that this practice isn’t exactly new. In fact, the act of “ripping off,” as it is not-so-affectionately known in the music industry, has been used for decades, encompassing the music of industry legends like Michael Jackson, Journey, Def Leppard and the Beatles.

Here’s a nifty little video I found that exposes the great many songs who have ripped off the opening piano chords from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” The crazy thing is that most of us wouldn’t have even recognized the stolen chords without them being waved in our faces.


I feel like the fact that the ripping in this video occurs only over a few simple chords, make these songs okay. I’m sure people would like to split hairs what is and is not okay to do. However, I believe that had journey never came out with “Don’t Stop Believing,” these songs would still probably exist as they are because the progression of the borrowed material is so simple that it’s almost generic in a way.

However, Vanilla Ice’s smash hit “Ice, Ice Baby” is a completely different story. He overtly ripped off another famous song, “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie. Listen for yourself.

Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure”


Vanilla Ice – “Ice, Ice Baby”

Seriously? He stole the whole identity of that song. That should be a crime.

  1. stroltz35 says:

    I think the version of “Ice Ice Baby” is a example of sampling. the definition of sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece. This time of music was wide spread starting in the early 80’s to the early 90’s. But Hip Hop is not the only example that would sample bass lines. Recently Weezer’s song Beverly Hills is sampled from The Joker by the Steve Miller Band. I feel all Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice) was hear a catchy tune and was able to see a brand new spectrum it could go in. There are far more other examples that take almost the whole song such as The Offspring’s song “Why don’t you get a job is a direct copy of The Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. But if you ask me I believe that there is nothing wrong with these either. We would not have the music that we do today if copying from Beethoven or Bach was something to look down upon. We are human. We emulate that which we like and transform it to our own. That is human nature. Here is a great video that talks about Copyrights and patents from the intent of the original creators of them.

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