[Smt-talk] Music Plagiarism Cases

Locke, Ralph rlocke at esm.rochester.edu
Fri Dec 18 05:37:11 PST 2009

Did Puccini really win that case?  The resemblance between the two is brief (just the opening eight melody notes--a scalar fragment up and down, followed by a ^5-^8 melodic cadence), and the mode is changed from minor to major as well!  Jolson's song then churns this little chunk for a while, sequencing it here and there, in very predictable fashion.  Puccini veers off into all kinds of new (though distantly related) developments.

If I were the judge, I'd have thrown the case out!


Ralph P. Locke
Professor of Musicology
26 Gibbs St.
Rochester NY 14604-2599 USA
Tel.: 585-274-1455
Fax: 585-274-1088 ("for R. Locke")
RLocke at esm.rochester.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: smt-talk-bounces at societymusictheory.org on behalf of kos at panix.com
Sent: Fri 12/18/2009 8:14 AM
To: smt-talk at societymusictheory.org
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Music Plagiarism Cases
On Fri, 18 Dec 2009, Richard Lewis <richardlewis at fastmail.co.uk>

> This question may be better directed at law scholars, but a colleague
> is interested in finding cases of music plagiarism which have been
> heard in court (in any country, but English or German proceedings will
> be easiest to read). Anyone know of any?

I know that Puccini won a suit against Al Jolson in 1920 for using "E lucevan 
le stelle" (from Tosca) in Jolson's song "Avalon."  I would need to research 
more to find the court proceedings.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
     blog:  http://www.nypl.org/blog/21
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-TALK ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

Smt-talk mailing list
Smt-talk at societymusictheory.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.societymusictheory.org/pipermail/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org/attachments/20091218/8bf3d56e/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list