Theft! A History of Music
September 25, 2017 4:22 AM   Subscribe

From the team behind the 2006 fair use comic Bound by Law (pdf) comes a new fair use comic, Theft! A History of Music (read online, pdf). Created by James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, two law school profs from Duke University, Theft! A History of Music is "a graphic novel laying out a 2000-year long history of musical borrowing from Plato to rap." (via Open Culture)
posted by sapagan (5 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
They had me at "Super Berio Brothers."
posted by Perodicticus potto at 5:24 AM on September 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

There have been some interesting effects from copyright law, the most obvious of which that I can think of is, since you can't copyright a chord sequence, the bebop era jazz musicians started writing melodies on top of the changes to "I Got Rhythm" and they could then copyright those as new songs, which has led to those chord changes becoming a major musical form in that kind of music. Sometimes they'd use other songs, like "Donna Lee" uses the chords to "Back Home Again In Indiana". So if someone demands that you connect Jim Nabors to Jaco Pastorius, there you go.
posted by thelonius at 5:27 AM on September 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

One year at the Wichita Jazz Festival, two groups in a row on the main stage played songs that were based on the changes to "Avalon." When the second band announced its number, a good chunk of the crowd laughed.
posted by fedward at 7:30 AM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's some dense notation and in-joking, I wonder if anyone has tried to annotate the whole thing?

And I only got a few pages in, but I didn't see any references to melancholy elephants, though perhaps that's in there somewhere.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:18 AM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

More on Avalon: "The opening melody of the tune is actually a lift from Giacomo Puccini’s aria “E Lucevan Le Stelle,” from the opera Tosca. Rose merely changed the melody from minor to major and added some melody bits of his own. But it was an obvious enough lift that Puccini’s publishers, G. Rocordi, sued the composers and the publisher in 1921 and were awarded $25,000 in punitive damages and all future royalties."
posted by larrybob at 3:11 PM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

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