Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.
January 8, 2018 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Radiohead are suing Lana Del Rey over her song Get Free, which they say bears similarity to their 1993 breakthrough hit Creep.

The verses of the individual songs due bear a significant similarity in chord structure and vocal melody, as demonstrated here. Radiohead were themselves sued by the Hollies for similarities to their song, "The Air That I Breathe," with the band settling for songwriting credits and percentage of royalties to Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood. Notably, Del Rey claims that Radiohead are demanding 100% of publishing royalties for Get Free.

Meanwhile, some are speculating that the settlement between Radiohead and the Hollies may be the driving force behind Radiohead's aggressive actions against Del Rey.
posted by Existential Dread (205 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
significant similarity in chord structure and vocal melody

But isn't chord structure irrelevant to song copyright infringement? If not, Bach's and Pachelbel's estates would have all the money. I guess if a sort-of-similar melody is set to the same chords as a putatively infringed on song uses, it increases the overall similarity......but is that a legal principle?

It's a wonderful progression...I iii IV iv. Can anyone think of other songs that use it?
posted by thelonius at 4:00 PM on January 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


Very odd. I usually find these things quite tenuous - I think the Hollies' case against Radiohead is pushing it a bit, as the similarity is basically the tempo and the first few chords of the verse, but the verse of the Lana Del Rey is essentially a clone of the verse - chords and melody - from Creep, which is a fairly idiosyncratic song.

I've been wondering where she ripped the chorus off from.
posted by Grangousier at 4:01 PM on January 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


Me before listening: That's ridiculous
Me after listening: Hmmm...

Oh and big chunks of that St. Vincent album everyone loves are basically just the first Garbage album.
posted by Artw at 4:02 PM on January 8, 2018 [27 favorites]


Ok, I just listened to the LDR song and I really cannot argue with Radiohead here.
posted by jeather at 4:03 PM on January 8, 2018 [28 favorites]


Sorry - the verse and the chorus of Creep, and then she adds another bit.
posted by Grangousier at 4:03 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, you can definitely hear the similarities, even with my tin ears. That said, 100% of the royalties? Thom Yorke can bite one.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:04 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'll admit to knowing next to nothing about how copyright infringement in music is handled. It definitely caught my ear, similar to the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Tom Petty lawsuit subjects.

Also in the post "due" should be "do" arggghhghgh
posted by Existential Dread at 4:04 PM on January 8, 2018


I'd heard that LdR song and couldn't put my finger on what it reminded me of.

But this clip really brings it to light.

I dunno if that counts for legal plagiarism or not, but the similarities are there.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:05 PM on January 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


Oh and big chunks of that St. Vincent album everyone loves are basically just the first Garbage album.

So, essentially St Vincent is Curve?
posted by lmfsilva at 4:06 PM on January 8, 2018 [22 favorites]


So are they going to sue Steven Universe, too?
posted by The World Famous at 4:08 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


Don't care about the litigation at all - mega zzzzz

But the composer deserves mega shame for this ripoff. Creep?! Did you think it was some obscure little ditty you poophead?
posted by tirutiru at 4:11 PM on January 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


The same producer that didn't say "Hey George - nice song, but it sounds exactly like that old Chiffons song 'He's So Fine'" was obviously doing the production for Lana del Ray on this one also.

Seriously, how can so many people go through the process of listening to and recording a song and NOT notice when the (possibly unintentional, that's what the judge said George Harrison did) musical plagiarism?
posted by yhbc at 4:12 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


With this and the boyband track recently that sounded just like The Who, I'm honestly wondering whether producers have taken to splicing together chunks of old songs they like, sticking them on the first two tracks of their DAW for 'inspiration' and then recording their own version on the other tracks.

It's all very amusing, though. Although it's presumably a legal requirement to say it wasn't an intentional rip, managing to get that much of the original song so close by accident is getting near to infinite-typing-monkeys levels of improbability.
posted by Grangousier at 4:13 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]



Me before listening: That's ridiculous
Me after listening: Hmmm...


Yeah, same here.

Oh and big chunks of that St. Vincent album everyone loves are basically just the first Garbage album.

I've never heard of St Vincent and now I have to listen to all their music (and all of Garbage, because I've only recently begun to realize they did a ton of stuff beyond that one song that was always on the radio when I was 17, stuff I might actually like) to see what this is about.
posted by bunderful at 4:14 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


But isn't chord structure irrelevant to song copyright infringement?

yes, i would think so

where radiohead got in trouble was the bridge - it's very close to the verse on the hollies song

lana del ray pretty much just adds a bunch of grace notes to it - not sure that's going to save her

this is kind of close to the chord progression - i'm positive i could find a lot more, but i'll let someone else do it
posted by pyramid termite at 4:17 PM on January 8, 2018


Wow, yeah, this is ... much more egregious than the Hollies claim (which I would call BS, frankly). I don’t know how to reconcile this with my desire for bad things to befall Radiohead and its fans.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:17 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


This is pretty damning.
posted by tantrumthecat at 4:18 PM on January 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


Isn't it possible that this both riffs on Creep, but isn't plagiarism? Like, the words are completely different, there's a lot of other things going on. All it has is the echoey treatment and a few chord progressions.

If someone paints a few melting clocks into their landscape but it's otherwise pretty distinctly their style, are they plagiarizing Dalí, or just riffing on a motif?
posted by explosion at 4:18 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


CURVE PREDATES THE FIRST GARBAGE ALBUM
posted by crush at 4:18 PM on January 8, 2018 [16 favorites]


It's in the links, but it's important to note that Lana already offered them 40%. The question is not "do they deserve something" but "do they deserve substantially more than 40%".
posted by acidic at 4:20 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


So, could LDR choose to essentially start giving away the song? Like decide to release it as copy-left, or royalty-free or some such thing like that?

In other words could she give Radiohead a pyrrhic victory?
posted by oddman at 4:21 PM on January 8, 2018


Isn't it possible that this both riffs on Creep, but isn't plagiarism?

There's only so many moving parts in pop music; three or four chords (generally), rhythm, tempo, etc, so you can run into similar motifs being used over and over. I think here (along with the RHCP/Petty matter I mentioned earlier), the tempo, chordal structure, and rhythm all combine to be much more of an infringement claim than if someone used the I III IV iv progression in a different genre or arrangement.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:22 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Four chords and a melody is nothing - *nothing* to hang this kind of claim on. I had a problem with the Hollies' claim, and I have a problem with this one. If you allow this, you're basically saying 80% of music is illegal.
posted by koeselitz at 4:22 PM on January 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


(I mean - if Van Halen got away with Jump, then...)
posted by koeselitz at 4:25 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just released my seventh album in November, and am always afraid that at least one or two of my songs didn't come purely from my imagination but in some significant part from memory.

I had long, lingering worries about a song I released in 2011, and a few years later, I realized that I think I got it from a movie. I watched the whole movie and then when the credits rolled, I heard it: fortunately, it was very different from my song, but I could immediately hear what it was about it that inspired me.

But that idea still haunts me, and my only saving grace is A) I'm not a pop star with dozens to hundreds of people who will hear it well before release and have the time to catch this sort of thing, and B) I barely get dozens to hundreds of listens of my songs in toto as I continue to toil in relative obscurity.

This example is seriously damning of everyone involved on Lana Del Rey's production team and record label.
posted by tclark at 4:27 PM on January 8, 2018 [23 favorites]


So, could LDR choose to essentially start giving away the song? Like decide to release it as copy-left, or royalty-free or some such thing like that?

Whoever controls the publishing controls the song (not the recording, the song). Which is probably why she’s set on less than half.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:30 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maybe Lana Del Rey wishes she was special?
posted by sjswitzer at 4:30 PM on January 8, 2018 [39 favorites]


I thought Radiohead didn't even like Creep anymore. Surely an exception should be made for that reason.
posted by clawsoon at 4:32 PM on January 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


My suspicion is that what happens now is a process that's evolved to deal with infringements like this at a professional level - very much like trademark infringement. How Radiohead feel about it is neither here nor there (and they've a vexed relationship with this particular song, such that as individuals they might find it amusing), but not coming down hard might act as an implied permission for all sorts of things.

It was a very silly thing for her or her producers to do, given that a plagiarism suit was settled last year over what amounted to a groove.
posted by Grangousier at 4:33 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hah. I'm pretty sure I've half-heard this song playing on the radio, thinking it was a cover of Creep.
posted by zsazsa at 4:34 PM on January 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


Listened to the LdR track, and spent the first two-or-so minutes waiting for the guitar hit and Thom Yorke to scream "But I'm a creep," so.

But, I'd like to sue her for stealing from one of my favorite songs of my teen years to make something so goddamned boring.
posted by General Malaise at 4:34 PM on January 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


I think the similarity is even more egregious when you listen to this arrangement of Creep from The Voice a couple of years ago. The grace notes and instrumentation aren't even LDR's.
posted by headspace at 4:36 PM on January 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


Like, say what you will about "Ice, Ice Baby," but at least that song was fun.
posted by General Malaise at 4:36 PM on January 8, 2018 [14 favorites]


Seriously, how can so many people go through the process of listening to and recording a song and NOT notice when the (possibly unintentional, that's what the judge said George Harrison did) musical plagiarism?

About four weeks ago, I wrote and recorded a song for SongFight.

A few weeks later, I was doing another one, and I had been working on it for a few hours before I suddenly realized the bridge sounded familiar...and I realized I'd duplicated the melody and chord progression from my other song *exactly*, just with different words and tempo.

Believe me, accidentally duplicating someone else's work -- or even your own -- is easier than it sounds.
posted by davejay at 4:38 PM on January 8, 2018 [10 favorites]


Hey now, Vanilla Ice was under a lot of pressure when that came out.
posted by mrgoat at 4:39 PM on January 8, 2018 [54 favorites]


But, I'd like to sue her for stealing from one of my favorite songs of my teen years to make something so goddamned boring.

How much do you want her to polish that turd? If Radiohead continued in the fashion of Pablo Honey, they'd have been a one-hit wonder.
posted by explosion at 4:39 PM on January 8, 2018


So... has anyone listened through the rest of the album with a view to ... uh ... spotting influences?
posted by Grangousier at 4:41 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


With this and the boyband track recently that sounded just like The Who, I'm honestly wondering whether producers have taken to splicing together chunks of old songs they like, sticking them on the first two tracks of their DAW for 'inspiration' and then recording their own version on the other tracks.

While we're at it, I really like Michael Kiwanuka -- but the hook in Cold Little Heart is basically Like A Hurricane. The video even seems to wink at it, right before the Neil-like guitar solo.

(And Love & Hate sounds an awful lot like Curtis Mayfield, although without any direct borrowing.)

I don't know how it's possible to get all the way through producing that layered of a song without hearing it, even if it was originally unintentional.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:55 PM on January 8, 2018


As a teen who loved Radiohead for being anti-establishment, this is like... maximum Hell Year irony / dark humor for me.
posted by codacorolla at 4:55 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


It does sound an awful lot like Radiohead, except her voice doesn't make me want to shove glass into my ears.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:59 PM on January 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm an ex-musician and someone who always says songs are different in cases like this. For example, I think "Uptown Funk" is nothing like "Oops Upside You Head" and that lawsuit was very unfair. I even think the Hollies song is sufficiently different from "Freak", despite partially the same chord sequence.

WTF though Lana Del Ray? That is "Freak" with different lyrics.
posted by w0mbat at 5:00 PM on January 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


This is just crazy. Crazy that LDR released that song and crazy that Radiohead wants 100%.

I need to cleanse myself by listening to Gnarls Barkley cover Reckoner.
posted by gwint at 5:00 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, John Mayer got away with recording a cover of People Get Ready called Waiting for the World to Change, so....I dunno.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:01 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


if I was on the jury, I'd vote for at least half that Del Ray song being a Creep ripoff. Whereas the Hollies/Radiohead thing feels more vaguely similar than a rip-off. I mean, I've had the Albert Hammond original in my playlists for years without ever really noticing the connection. And no, I'm not some uber Radiohead fanboy.
posted by philip-random at 5:04 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


and further, all that this mash proves to me is that both Creep and Air That I Breathe are "working with the same colors" as opposed to painting the same picture, which is what that Del Ray song is doing.
posted by philip-random at 5:09 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I swear my dying words on my deathbed are going to be, "What about...4 Non Blondes... ripping... off... Bobby McFerrin... (choke, sputter)..." CLONK (yes, i know it's just the verse but still that's ridiculous)
posted by queensissy at 5:14 PM on January 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


w0mbat, that's because "Uptown Funk" is basically "Come on Fhqwhgads "

(I'm only sorta joking, the chorus is pretty close)
posted by sauril at 5:15 PM on January 8, 2018 [25 favorites]


This is definitely the most dramatic example of putative musical plagiarism I've heard. Jesus!

What's fucked up is, like, how come no one in the songwriting-and-producing factory raised a red flag on this? I mean a song like this passes through like dozens of hands, right? Even if it was an accident (and it doesn't sound like one), someone must have noticed it's close resemblance to "Creep," which after all was a huge pop hit? Why didn't anyone pull the plug?

Is it possible that this litigation is only happening because there were ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations that broke down? Like, maybe during production of the album LdR's team reached out to Radiohead and tried to set up a deal for part of the rights, and they assumed they would make a deal so they went ahead with finishing up. But then they couldn't agree on the price or whatever, so LdR's team said "fuck you" and released the album, and Radiohead decided to go to court.
posted by grobstein at 5:17 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


When I first heard it I thought it was a cover. I was the 50-year-old at the cool coffee shop asking who was covering Radiohead, to be met with a sort of a blank look. Ha! Now I am vindicated.
posted by bluespark25 at 5:18 PM on January 8, 2018 [28 favorites]


When you see this youtube video of the two playing overlapped its hard to say its not at least infulenced..
Especially when you see the audio wave analysis


Radiohead & Lana Side by Side

posted by Merlin The Happy Pig at 5:23 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


For whatever reason I'm irritated that Radiohead even cares about this. I think it's because I think of all the random bands that could sell out a stadium tour, they would be the most likely to get it or not give a shit.

I'm not really deeply invested in them or anything, but I don't want to put them in my mental burn barrel with U2, which earned their place there for suing Negativland.
posted by loquacious at 5:25 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Maybe Lana Del Ray can give the money to Radiohead who can give it to The Hollies.
posted by 4ster at 5:29 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was listening to LDR today (the album is really good), and the chorus of “Get Free” sounds to me a lot like “Falling”, the theme to Twin Peaks.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:34 PM on January 8, 2018


I was half-kidding above, but I do think this sounds even more like “Creep” than “Blurred Lines” sounds like “Got to Give it Up.” Listening to LDR, I kept expecting to hear that “chunk chunk” guitar sound.
posted by 4ster at 5:39 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I usually can't hear these kind of things, but I get this one. It doesn't help that her songwriting & delivery sounds as if it's wandering around aimlessly inside the melody. From what's been said about that song in particular, I think it's likely that someone is suing on behalf of Radiohead, but I would definitely like to know.
posted by Selena777 at 5:40 PM on January 8, 2018


Speaking of "Falling", Love on the Brain hits a lot of the same notes as... something on that soundtrack, but I can't place what. I don't think it's anywhere near this level. I have to wonder if it's an intentional reference.
posted by codacorolla at 5:41 PM on January 8, 2018


I dislike the new music, but I don't understand the ethical issue in the "ripoff," or the social benefit derived from Radiohead being able to control others' expression in this way.
posted by Coventry at 5:41 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


I like her version better, maybe they should pay her for improving it.

The side by side definitely shows similarities, but I hear so much samey music all the time that I didn't know there was a legal problem with that level of "inspiration."
posted by Dip Flash at 5:47 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


when someone on Metafilter posts a comment that basically says the same thing as one 20 comments previously, what percentage of favorites do they owe?
posted by roger ackroyd at 5:51 PM on January 8, 2018 [23 favorites]


I dislike the new music, but I don't understand the ethical issue in the "ripoff," or the social benefit derived from Radiohead being able to control others' expression in this way.


The benefit is less obvious in this case, as Radiohead earns a ton of money for their music. It's probably more obvious in the cases where rich, well-known musicians rip off unknown or less successful artists, like Led Zeppelin ripping off black blues artists.
posted by Existential Dread at 5:53 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


when someone on Metafilter posts a comment that basically says the same thing as one 20 comments previously, what percentage of favorites do they owe?

I surrender. The aggrieved can MeMail me to discuss terms.
posted by Coventry at 5:54 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Potential non horrible application of big data - all copyrighted music gets dumped into a big database where it gets analyzed YouTube-style for similarity to preexisting music. Depending on just how similar it is, a portion of the royalties are distributed to original rights holders. Obviously there would be a LOT of kinks to work out, but the obvious benefit would be that we just get it settled without all the damn grr and is-it-really-copying, producers and distro have an obvious go-to to check for plagiarism, and... Side benefit of huge library of music on the public dime we can monetize to... Hey now... Pay artists.

LDR is the worst musician since music and I will fight you if you disagree, but they're not EXACTLY the same song and 40% of royalties is totally fair.
posted by saysthis at 6:12 PM on January 8, 2018


nirvana killing joke bach beatles Zzzz zzzz
posted by mwhybark at 6:30 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm not really deeply invested in them or anything, but I don't want to put them in my mental burn barrel with U2, which earned their place there for suing Negativland.

well, that Negativland thing was effectively a cover, a brilliant work of satire which emphatically used the U2 track it was mucking with -- this is a song pretending to be original. I can easily stay angry at U2 forever for A. and still nod in Radiohead's direction for B.
posted by philip-random at 6:40 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


I can definitely hear the similarities.

On the flip side, an ObSF link to Melancholy Elephants seems appropriate here.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:43 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I like her version better, maybe they should pay her for improving it.

This is what I was going to write only I was going to rephrase it a little.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:50 PM on January 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


Also similar, though with a I, iii, IV, iv instead of I, III, IV, iv: Midnight Train
posted by klausman at 6:54 PM on January 8, 2018


Does anyone know -- if she had just wanted to cover Creep, what kind of deal would she have gotten? That is, is what Radiohead are asking for more or less than they might demand for a straight up cover tune?
posted by klausman at 6:57 PM on January 8, 2018


Also similar, though with a I, iii, IV, iv instead of I, III, IV, iv: Midnight Train

Is the second chord in "Creep" major? I guess I remember it wrong, if so
posted by thelonius at 6:58 PM on January 8, 2018


yeah I think you are right
posted by thelonius at 7:02 PM on January 8, 2018


Listening to LDR, I kept expecting to hear that “chunk chunk” guitar sound.

Me too, i actually think the application of the chunk chunk sound would pep up the song a bit. Maybe if they lose they can?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:15 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know -- if she had just wanted to cover Creep, what kind of deal would she have gotten? That is, is what Radiohead are asking for more or less than they might demand for a straight up cover tune?

You just pay mechanical royalties for covers, a modest percentage of the overall profits (is my understanding).
posted by Sebmojo at 7:22 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


I thought Lana del Rey was a character from Riverdale
posted by Automocar at 7:27 PM on January 8, 2018 [10 favorites]


I suspect something is motivating Radiohead other than money (mostly I'm just basing this on the supposition that they are all quite wealthy, and because they basically gave away In Rainbows). It's not love for Creep either. I don't think the difference between 40% of LDR money and 100% of LDR money even makes a dent in their bank balance.
posted by axiom at 7:45 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maybe Radiohead is just bored. They set up a new company for each new album, which tells me that they enjoying mucking in the legalese. Maybe that got old after a while and they needed a new legal challenge.

I'm still waiting for Nickelback to sue itself.
posted by clawsoon at 7:57 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


These days, 100% of the royalties will be a check for $23.17 from Spotify every 4 months... maybe they should go after 100% of her t-shirt sales.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:20 PM on January 8, 2018


As an old, having read this thread I am now anxious for David Lee Roth to sue Lana del Ray for the whole LDR/DLR thing.

The SAME initials, just switched around a smidge!
posted by dirtdirt at 8:21 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


> roger ackroyd:
"when someone on Metafilter posts a comment that basically says the same thing as one 20 comments previously, what percentage of favorites do they owe?"

Seriously, man, that HAS happened to me so many times that if I ever GOT all the back favorites, I could be Cortex. But I am chill, so no legal cattawumpus...
posted by Samizdata at 8:30 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


> steady-state strawberry:
"I can definitely hear the similarities.

On the flip side, an ObSF link to Melancholy Elephants seems appropriate here."


F;b. My legal staff will be contacting you at sunrise.
posted by Samizdata at 8:31 PM on January 8, 2018


I like to believe that OK Computer-era Radiohead would hate their future selves for this. My 16 year old self would be crushed.
posted by scose at 8:34 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


how can so many people go through the process of listening to and recording a song and NOT notice

Pretty easy, given the many thousands of songs that have been on the radio. "He's So Fine", for example, made it to #16 in the U.K., so it's not unlikely that Harrison heard it--but he has a pretty good excuse for not having paid much attention to it, since "Please Please Me" had just hit the charts. Certainly, if he'd meant to deliberately use the song with reworked lyrics, he could have bought the rights in 1970 with pocket change from Beatles money.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:01 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I suspect something is motivating Radiohead other than money (mostly I'm just basing this on the supposition that they are all quite wealthy, and because they basically gave away In Rainbows).

I was thinking this, too, and it may stop me from feeling irritated about it. Somewhere behind the scenes I can only assume Lana del Rey stole Thom Yorke's kale smoothie and refused to apologize for it.
posted by loquacious at 9:30 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


This is really, really, really blatant plagiarism. Even more blatant than Sam Smith’s ripoff of “I Won’t Back Down.” Tom Petty was cool about that, but I wouldn’t have blamed him if he sued, and I certainly don’t blame Radiohead.

I'm still waiting for Nickelback to sue itself.

There is of course the famous case of Fantasy v. Fogerty, where Fantasy Records — who famously massively screwed him out of his rights to all his CCR songs and made a mint licensing them to every commercial and movie under the sun — sued John Fogerty for plagiarizing himself. (He won.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:05 PM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


A singer who called her album "Lust for Life" would never rip off another artist.
posted by vverse23 at 10:16 PM on January 8, 2018 [20 favorites]




If I (half)heard Del Ray's song in a bar or other background-y kind of context, I would think it was a cover of Creep.

(I have a particular fondness for the Haley Reinhart/Postmodern Jukebox cover of Creep. It's a great, great version to drive and belt to.)
posted by rtha at 10:41 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


Potential non horrible application of big data - all copyrighted music gets dumped into a big database where it gets analyzed YouTube-style for similarity to preexisting music.

The non-horror is debatable, in my opinion.
posted by atoxyl at 11:11 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's a pretty common chord progression. This is a bullshit suit.

The non-horror is debatable, in my opinion.

Indeed. If you can own a chord progression, then pop music essentially ceases to exist. For example.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:18 PM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


Why does anyone care if it sounds like Creep? Why does anyone care if some song sounds like another unless that's somehow robbed you, as a songwriter, of recognition or money? Does Radiohead really think they've lost revenue because of this? It doesn't strike me as anything other than petty, greedy, and vindictive. If they think she's stolen some riffs and a mood or sound, I have no problem with them calling her out on it. But a lawsuit? They don't have better stuff to do with their time/money/talent/fame?
posted by treepour at 11:23 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


So fascinating that people are judging Radiohead for suing Lana Del Ray. This is a really pretty blatant example of plagiarism. And Lana Del Ray is younger, etc. but not exactly a starving indie artist. This is like if a young novelist who'd had a book on the NYT bestseller list released a novel about a woman named Offred who lived in a dystopian future, and it just happened to lift whole passages from the Handmaid's Tale. Wouldn't Margaret Atwood be entitled to royalties there?
posted by lunasol at 11:37 PM on January 8, 2018 [12 favorites]


Indeed. If you can own a chord progression, then pop music essentially ceases to exist.

After decades of increasingly automated lawsuits as AI takes over litigation and judgment, for fear of plagiarism pop music is driven to extinction by 2040 and atonal instrumentals, electroacoustic improvisation and electronic noise become the music of the land. Merzbow is revered as a god. Cecil Taylor becomes the go-to for car commercials.

It's the dawn of a glorious age.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 11:51 PM on January 8, 2018 [17 favorites]


It makes me queasy that so many people think suing over something like this is all right. It goes to show how successful the RIAA, etc. have been at controlling the discourse. Society gives artists exclusive rights, for a very long time, to profit from their own music. That is not a god-given right, it is something we do, at a certain cost to all of us, for a specific benefit. The idea that an individual or a small group of people should be able to control the use of a couple of notes and chords everywhere in the world for well over a human lifetime is outrageous. If a musical idea is good, human beings should be as free as possible to explore it; more good music should exist.

Also, consider how limited the opportunities to create music and have it recorded and distributed have been until very, very recently. Even apart from their supposedly "ripping off" The Hollies (also bullshit, I hate all this shit), I don't believe a bunch of white Englishman who met at a fancy boarding school (with access to a well-equipped music room among all their other privileges) are really the only people who could have come up with the musical ideas in Creep. But I'm not surprised that they were able to get loads of attention from the record industry as very young men, and help sharing their music with the world, and that they are the ones in a position to bring this greedy lawsuit today instead of anyone else. Artists having this much power over other people's use of the limited ingredients of popular music does nothing for society and shouldn't be tolerated.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:58 PM on January 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


My first reaction was definitely surprise and mild disappointment that radiohead of all people were choosing to do this, given their politics, giveaway of In Rainbows, etc. But it's not Lana The Struggling Artist Holding A Bake Sale they're suing, this is an industry behemoth in its own right which has shrugged and said "fuck it, we're going to take your shit and plug it into our songwriting factory".

It surely cannot be about the money; my feeling is that Radiohead, er, just wanna have control.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:05 AM on January 9, 2018 [6 favorites]




I hear "Air That I Breathe" way more than "Creep".
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:29 AM on January 9, 2018


I doubt the Lana del Ray copy was intentional. Pop music is all so similar. Radiohead accidentally recreated a Hollies song, and then Lana del Ray accidentally recreated the Radiohead recreation of the Hollies song. And were the Hollies even the first to ride that chord progression? Probably not.
posted by pracowity at 12:31 AM on January 9, 2018


This is like if a young novelist who'd had a book on the NYT bestseller list released a novel about a woman named Offred who lived in a dystopian future, and it just happened to lift whole passages from the Handmaid's Tale. Wouldn't Margaret Atwood be entitled to royalties there?

Yes, but Atwood wouldn't be entitled to royalties for every female-oriented dystopian novel that used the words 'and', 'the', and the concept of syntax. Del Ray's lackluster song uses the same chord progression to Creep, but Radiohead didn't invent that chord progression (as the Hollies aptly demonstrate). They also didn't invent disinterestedly droning in a monotone.

Songs share chord progressions all the time. Relationships between chords are the fundamental building blocks of music. There are only so many chords. There are only so many ways you can put them in order. Unlike a novel with 100,000 words, in a pop song with 5 or 6 chords repetition and similarities are inevitable. This is next door to suing because both songs are in 4/4 time.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:33 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


So what prior case law and successes have there been in the field? Acknowledging that, as has been pointed out several times upthread, that there are a small and finite number of chord progressions - why aren't we seeing a lawsuit every time a song is released? What's the difference here?
posted by ominous_paws at 12:59 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


I always thought Swans - In My Garden got brutally jacked by NIN - Something I Can Never Have and that NIN - Down In It was a pretty obvious take on Skinny Puppy - Dig It, especially given that the songs both came out very shortly after the originals and all 3 artists shared fanbases, but maybe people were more chill back then or something. Swans and SP certainly could have used the money, I imagine.
posted by bootlegpop at 1:38 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's the dawn of a glorious age

White noise video on YouTube hit by five copyright claims
posted by mwhybark at 1:56 AM on January 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


> loquacious:
"Moltar, can you make me a hundred copies of this?"

I couldn't watch that. I am getting over a chest thing, and given how SG:C2C will, ahem, negatively impact my respiratory abilities by way of uncontrollable laughter...

(I do still have framed autographed pictures from the cast in my bedroom...)
posted by Samizdata at 2:23 AM on January 9, 2018


> rtha:
"If I (half)heard Del Ray's song in a bar or other background-y kind of context, I would think it was a cover of Creep.

(I have a particular fondness for the Haley Reinhart/Postmodern Jukebox cover of Creep . It's a great, great version to drive and belt to.)"


Hot DIGGITY DAMN! That was AWESOME! She's got a mad decent voice for that type of arrangement...
posted by Samizdata at 2:25 AM on January 9, 2018




All I need is the air that I breathe and 100% of your royalties
posted by farlukar at 4:32 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ridiculous. If anything, they should pay her for recording a song that creates an association in people's minds between an exciting young artist and a sad old bunch of wankers no one's cared about in 20 years. They have enough money to laugh this off. It just seems like an angry, petty move from a band that's mad they aren't relevant anymore.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:17 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


I couldn't watch that. I am getting over a chest thing

cutcutcutcutcutcutcutcut
posted by loquacious at 5:23 AM on January 9, 2018


Something something Exit Music (For A Film) something
posted by capricorn at 5:35 AM on January 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


If anything, they should pay her for recording a song that creates an association in people's minds between an exciting young artist and a sad old bunch of wankers no one's cared about in 20 years.

good one! tip yer waitresses and bartenders
posted by thelonius at 5:50 AM on January 9, 2018


when someone on Metafilter posts a comment that basically says the same thing as one 20 comments previously, what percentage of favorites do they owe?

The service charge for cashing out Metafilter favorites is a really disturbing amount of eyerolls.
posted by srboisvert at 6:31 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should declare a moratorium on new music being recorded or performed until everyone who has recorded or performed music has been dead for 75 years.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:32 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's not just the chord progression. The verse melody over the III and IV chords especially is identical to Creep.
My sense is this is more about control of the song than the money. If RH don't get control then they're powerless if LDR decides to sell it for a beer commercial.
posted by rocket88 at 6:37 AM on January 9, 2018 [12 favorites]


I am out of it in terms of contemporary music but am very glad I read this thread because it introduced me to Albert Hammond singing The Air That I Breathe which somehow I have never run across before, so thank you very much philip-random.
posted by JanetLand at 6:40 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


after dead prez sue her for the song title and that old skinny guy sues her for the album title, there will be nothing left of the del rey estate.
posted by Zerowensboring at 6:51 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


I like to believe that OK Computer-era Radiohead would hate their future selves for this. My 16 year old self would be crushed.

This is such a weird take-- it was probably barely up to them. If your legal team & record label inform you that they have an actionable case, do artists even have the leverage to stop a lawsuit from going forward? It isn’t like Thom Yorke is writing affidavits over his music stand.

Also, Lana del Rey is the antithesis of everything Radiohead stood for back in the nineties. She had a recording career under the name Lizzy Grant, and it didn’t work out, so she rebranded as Sparkle Jump Rope Queen, and that didn’t work out, so she rebranded under the name May Jailer, and that didn’t work out, and then she had some plastic surgery and then rebranded as Lana Del Rey and packaged herself as an “authentic instant success out of nowhere”.

Per The Guardian: “Of course, Lana Del Rey and Lizzy Grant are the same person. That revelation has made Grant/Del Rey one of the most controversial figures to emerge in US music for years. Some people feel victims of an immense confidence trick. When Video Games first went viral it became an underground sensation praised for its authentic feel. Del Rey's amazing voice crooned the haunting song against a backdrop of grainy out-takes of home movies and Hollywood scenes. It currently has a staggering 20 million views on YouTube. The follow-up, Blue Jeans, with a similar feel, netted 6 million views. Del Rey's few live gigs suddenly sold out. She won the Next Big Thing prize at the Q awards. She seemed set for the big time. But then questions were asked. A few critics began to wonder if, far from being some organic wunderkind, the transformation from Grant to Del Rey had been planned all along. Her stage name was chosen by her management. Rather than being an outsider struggling for recognition, Del Rey is in fact the daughter of a millionaire father who has backed her career. People were suspicious of the way Grant's failed album, and all her social media websites, appeared to have been scrubbed from the internet just before Del Rey appeared. There has been much speculation as to exactly when Del Rey teamed up with her current label Interscope and how much influence their savvy marketers might have put into her original emergence.”

I mean, I enjoy some of Del Rey's music in her current incarnation, and I don't have a problem with shameless reinvention per se. But it doesn't surprise me that someone coming out of a very cold and clinical fame factory machine with unlimited funds would be especially annoying to Radiohead.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:56 AM on January 9, 2018 [18 favorites]


her current label Interscope

Ahh, summoning The Dark Lords by name! Very dangerous!
posted by Chitownfats at 7:07 AM on January 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


when someone on Metafilter posts a comment that basically says the same thing as one 20 comments previously, what percentage of favorites do they owe?
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 7:19 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


20 percent, same as in reddit.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:22 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


20%, SAIT.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 7:22 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Goddamn it.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 7:22 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Jinx, sorry.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:23 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just cross-license your comments and you'll be fine.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:25 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oh, my god! I'm caught in a Metafilter Chronosynclastic Infidibulum!
posted by Chitownfats at 7:39 AM on January 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


a fiendish thingy: “This is such a weird take-- it was probably barely up to them. If your legal team & record label inform you that they have an actionable case, do artists even have the leverage to stop a lawsuit from going forward? It isn’t like Thom Yorke is writing affidavits over his music stand.”

Er – this might be true with just about any other band, but Radiohead has specifically and forcefully made a point over their whole career of insisting on autonomy in these respects. And given the incredible complexity of Radiohead's business arrangements – they form a new separate company for every project – Thom Yorke may not be writing affidavits over his music stand, but he's probably signing them. They are most emphatically not a band that hands everything over to record company flacks.
posted by koeselitz at 7:55 AM on January 9, 2018


It's not just the chord progression. The verse melody over the III and IV chords especially is identical to Creep.

Agreed. I don’t listen to either artist. Creep is the only Radiohead song I can name and I can’t tell you anything at all about Lana del Rey, but she is singing Creep with different words. I don’t blame Radiohead for calling foul on that just on principle. Being rich and famous doesn’t mean someone gets free rein to reuse your work for their own profit.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:07 AM on January 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


20 percent, same as in reddit.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:22 AM on January 9
20%, SAIT.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 7:22 AM on January 9


Your honor, no favorites infringement has been committed by Spathe Cadet against Chitownfats, as we will show.

Firstly, the two comments are clearly entirely different in structure, presentation and syntax, and secondly, Spathe Cadet's innovative use of rhetorical compression via the use of the percentage character and the use of a newly-coined acronym qualifies Spathe Cadet's comment as a new, non-derivative work.

Additionally, discovery has raised the matter of the question of the derivational nature of Chitownfats' cited comment, which is outside the scope of this brief.
posted by mwhybark at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


But as I said, it might be like protecting a trademark. If someone is allowed to get away with creating something that's as blatant a recreation as this without being called out - and legally "called out" involves sanctions as severe as 100% of royalties simply as a punishment - it could create a very complicated legal precedent. There are plenty of country and singer-songwriter songs that seem to be functionally identical to each other, but so many that it would be difficult to say which is a copy of which (it seems to be rather a catastrophic, industry-wide failure of imagination). That isn't the case here. The one song could only be a copy of the other, and contains enough detail from the other that it has to be a deliberate copy. It's as if they've gone out of their way to induce a test case.

And it's not as if it's an autonomous artist who's done this. Elizabeth Grant is an employee of Interscope who lends a voice and face to tracks that are created by favoured producers and marketed as Lana Del Rey product. If she just turned up and sang along to the guide vocal, it's entirely possible she had no idea what was going on (according to reviews, the album's full of quotes of old songs, and this is one that got entirely out of hand) and was genuinely shocked by the actions of lawyers on behalf of Radiohead.

So they're not protecting their song against other artists' "freedom of expression", whatever that means, they are protecting it against the potential predations of UMG (and by extension the other corporations) - the Lana Del Rey product is as much an expression of the business plan of UMG as it is of the artistic intentions of any of the people involved in its creation.

(I have no problem with this from an entertainment point of view - I enjoy early Monkees as much as if not more than late Monkees and would much rather listen to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu than, say, Madonna. Legality, though, has very little to do with like and dislike.)
posted by Grangousier at 8:34 AM on January 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


But isn't chord structure irrelevant to song copyright infringement?

Not at all. It's super relevant. Chords and the way they're put together to create melodies and arrangements and sections is arguably THE primary basis for musical copyright. Harmony, rhythm, orchestration, timbre, and other elements of music have historically taken a backseat or haven't been mentioned at all. For better or for worse. Although the troubling 2015 "Blurred Lines" case arguably has brought on a new paradigm, in which a "constellation" of similar stylistic, melodic, timbral, etc. factors can constitute the "heartbeat" of the songs, a "pulse that runs through the song and drives each song", even when melody isn't identical or similar. This throws a lot of stuff into question about musical copyright. The "Blurred Lines" case opened the door for hundreds of music lawsuits in the years since, and unquestionably this Radiohead suit is hinging on that case as precedent for its claims.

If not, Bach's and Pachelbel's estates would have all the money.

Those compositions are in the public domain. Specific arrangements based on Bach or Pachelbel compositions that were made by a recently deceased or still living writer can still be subject to royalties, however. So don't anyone think about ripping off Spiritualized's "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space" or Vitamin C's "Graduation" anytime soon.

I guess if a sort-of-similar melody is set to the same chords as a putatively infringed on song uses, it increases the overall similarity......but is that a legal principle?

It is, and that exact factor constitutes most of the basis of copyright law for musical arrangements (excepting "Blurred Lines" and suits inspired by it as mentioned above).
posted by naju at 8:36 AM on January 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


But as I said, it might be like protecting a trademark.

It's not. Trademark holders have a continuing duty to enforce and protect their trademarks and how they're used, or they risk those marks lapsing or becoming so diluted that they enter general usage. Copyright has no similar requirement. You can decide to enforce your copyright, or decide to ignore it entirely, and your copyright is still 100% intact.
posted by naju at 8:42 AM on January 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


I don't know what to think. On the one hand, there were a couple of instrumental tunes off an album I produced years ago that I'm virtually positive got knocked off for incidental music used during a football game broadcast I caught once, where for a minute or so I literally thought they were just using our recording without permission because the arrangement was so similar, and considering I've been working unsucessfully for over 30 years to try to find a way to make music more than an expensive, self-indulgent hobby in my own life to justify the hassles and expenses of making it to myself when I've got an adult life with adult responsibilities bigger than my own "artistic vision" or therapeutic needs or whatever now. On the other hand, from her public persona I don't much like LDR (but that's just taste and cultural criticism, so no moral guidance to be found in that fact where this issue's concerned). All the parties to the dispute are probably more comfortably well off than I am or have ever been, and I hate to see creativity stifled over worries about ownership. On the other hand, these kinds of royalty deals are sometimes used to help artists through tough times, when they're not being used to screw 'em, and it seems pretty obvious the two songs are strikingly similar.

I mean, many, many public careers have been destroyed in journalism, academics, politics, and other fields over plagiarism charges over the last couple decades. Doesn't there seem to be something hypocritical and dissonant about the uniform cries of outrage over those claims if these kinds of claims don't even matter? But then again, I've realized after the fact I was unconsciously inspired by someone else's song (accidentally sort of ripped off The Gorillaz, a little, on a tune I produced for one album I made a while back; luckily that album was a complete commercial and artistic failure, so it never made a dime anyway, but it can be easier than you might think to accidentally rip off another tune.) All that said, why didn't anybody else involved point it out and stop it, as others have asked?

The social benefits aren't super clear in this case, I'd agree, but then, if LDR was ripping off some homeless blues singers' song and making a mint knowingly or negligently passing it off as her own work of earth shattering tragic beauty, I'd see some justice in a suit like this to make her share the wealth.

Conclusion: Puzzling this out requires too many hands; best leave problems like this for the octopus-folk to solve.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:43 AM on January 9, 2018


on the one hand, when capitalism intersects with creativity, you have basically a really shitty thing going on. on the other hand, this LDR song sucks except for the part that is Creep in a nutshell. on the other other hand, Radiohead is great and their music is amazing. but on the other other other hand, Thom's a major asshole and about 15 years out-of-touch on his 'edgy' politics

in conclusion, 🖕🖕🖕🖕 to LDR
posted by runt at 8:57 AM on January 9, 2018


This song is *instantly* recognizable as Creep. It's the melody + chord progression + mood + style of guitar playing... She can't not have heard the song, even ambiently. If she unconsciously channelled the song on a Monday, a cold listen on a Thursday should have clarified things, if not to her (via who knows what kind of defensive mechanism) to the engineer, producer - someone in there heard it, they had to. They just didn't care.

(All pop songs are not the same - that's offensive to people bothering to make ditties for you to dance and heal to... That's like saying there are only so many stories in the world, who cares about fiction, let's not trouble ourselves too much about paying writers. Disappointing to see that view here.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:58 AM on January 9, 2018 [12 favorites]


if not to her (via who knows what kind of defensive mechanism) to the engineer, producer - someone in there heard it, they had to. They just didn't care

In the industry, it's very very common to approach producers and arrangers and say "I want a song that sounds like 'Creep'", for example, and the entire process from the beginning is done with that song in mind. So I think it's not that they didn't care, imho, it's that they explicitly cared about aping the song without outright copying it note for note. And that doesn't cut it any more with the new legal paradigm post-"Blurred Lines".
posted by naju at 9:08 AM on January 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


What does it take to be infringement? I've always been a fan of songs that appropriate large chunks of other songs, like The Blow's Come On Petunia or Coyote Shiver's Secretly Jealous. Do you just have to admit it? Do you need to get The Police or Lou Reed to allow it beforehand? Couldn't LDR just say it was a homage?
posted by rtimmel at 9:12 AM on January 9, 2018


Is this where I can bitch about Last Nite being American Girl with new lyrics?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:22 AM on January 9, 2018


Society gives artists exclusive rights, for a very long time, to profit from their own music. That is not a god-given right, it is something we do, at a certain cost to all of us, for a specific benefit. The idea that an individual or a small group of people should be able to control the use of a couple of notes and chords everywhere in the world for well over a human lifetime is outrageous. If a musical idea is good, human beings should be as free as possible to explore it; more good music should exist.

I agree with this 100%, but the issue here is whether Lana Del Rey should be able to use that same social contract to demand that people pay her money for a song that (arguably) someone else wrote. The law doesn't prevent her from writing and performing her version of the song, just from charging people to hear it.

Should Disney be allowed be allowed to take LDR's "Creep"-alike, put different words to it or change the rhythm track, and sell it themselves? How much does someone have to transform your art before they're allowed to compete with you for selling it in the marketplace?
posted by straight at 10:15 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


after dead prez sue her for the song title and that old skinny guy sues her for the album title, there will be nothing left of the del rey estate

You probably already know this, but titles can't be copyrighted, otherwise it would be Iggy Pop getting sued by MGM for illicit use of Lust for Life.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:20 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


So I think it's not that they didn't care, imho, it's that they explicitly cared about aping the song without outright copying it note for note. And that doesn't cut it any more with the new legal paradigm post-"Blurred Lines".

Listen to the song. She did outright copy it note for note. If this were a post-“Blurred Lines” style-aping lawsuit, she’d be getting sued by Mazzy Star.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:24 AM on January 9, 2018


I haven't picked up a guitar to confirm, but aren't all three of these songs in question in the same key?

Also, an interesting exercise would be to figure out how many notes or chords need to be changed to make them appear different, even if the overall track still sounds similar. I suspect one or two.
posted by dubwisened at 10:37 AM on January 9, 2018


Not at all. It's super relevant. Chords and the way they're put together to create melodies and arrangements and sections is arguably THE primary basis for musical copyright.

Well, no. The melody, for purposes of copyright law, is what's on top of the chords.
posted by thelonius at 10:41 AM on January 9, 2018 [3 favorites]






......which is, I concede, not the same thing as chord progressions being "irrelevant". But you can't make a successful infringement claim just because a song uses the same chord progression as your copyrighted work.
posted by thelonius at 10:55 AM on January 9, 2018


I only listened to the first chunk of the Lana Del Ray song, so I perhaps only heard the most Creep-like part, but I would totally have thought it was something she was deliberately doing to the melody and in the style of Creep.

Some of the arguments being made in this thread--about whether it can possibly hurt Radiohead financially for her to have released this song, and so on--remind me of Neal Bowers' book Words for the Taking: The Hunt for a Plagiarist. Bowers is a poet who discovered that a bunch of his poems had been plagiarized and published under someone else's name. The plagiarist changed the title and first line (since those are the two things poems are indexed by). He found it was very difficult to get anyone, even some of his closest friends and associates, to care, in part because there's no money in poetry published in quarterlies and literary journals. His own feeling was that his words had value, and that it was hurtful to have them published under someone else's name, was hard to convey. It's really difficult to sort out what harm is being done when creative works are plagiarized--it's not like the original work no longer exists, and, in many cases, it's difficult to figure out what financial harm, if any, has been done, and yet an artist may well feel that something has been taking from them.

Anyway, Bowers' book is a very good read on the subject.
posted by Orlop at 11:02 AM on January 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


if just the harmony (i.e. chord progression) was ripped it wouldn't count as plagiarism but melody is treated differently, for example "Happy Birthday" is a melody under copyright. Just the melodic line in the verse of LDR's song is by itself is a perfect match of "Creep." The harmony being the same is just icing on the plagiarism cake here.
posted by Taft at 11:04 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Radiohead Haven’t Sued Lana Del Rey, Publishers Say

So basically it was a bullshit claim to get the internet on her side and it backfired becuase, let's face it, claiming her song is not a rip off majorly takes the piss.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on January 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


Radiohead Haven’t Sued Lana Del Rey, Publishers Say

I don't see why she wouldn't concede on this one when they apparently only wanted their credit attached to the song.
posted by Taft at 11:10 AM on January 9, 2018


Is she a known nutcase and horrible person? because I am getting a vibe.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


they apparently only wanted their credit attached to the song

Songwriting "credit" comes with a share of the performance royalties: 50%; the other 50% is publishing, which is by default owned by the songwriter, but can be, and is often, sold. Those percentages are often split many ways.

Curiously, in the US this is a "200%" pie, where the songwriting and publishing are each considered "100%". LdR may be suggesting that Radiohead is asking for 50% of everything ("100%"). Or somebody is fibbing. Flip a coin.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:23 AM on January 9, 2018


The implications for not protecting copyright are significant. What would happen if Radiohead let this slide and then ten years down the line someone else releases a song with the same melody? Would LDR then be able to sue them for copying "her" song?
posted by rocket88 at 11:23 AM on January 9, 2018


"Happy Birthday" is a melody under copyright.

I think it recently came to light that this was not valid, and it has actually been in the public domain for some years
posted by thelonius at 11:49 AM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


The implications for not protecting copyright are significant. What would happen if Radiohead let this slide and then ten years down the line someone else releases a song with the same melody? Would LDR then be able to sue them for copying "her" song?


No. That is not how copyright works. The validity of copyright is not dependent on active enforcement. That is how trademarks work. The precedence of copyright claims are based on time of filing.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:10 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Trademark is a signature. If other people start using your signature for other things, you can't use it to sign stuff anymore. You've gotta stop trademark infringement before your trademark stops being an effective trade mark.

Copyright is a monopoly on making money from copies of stuff. It doesn't become useless if you are slow or inconsistent in demanding money people owe you for making copies of stuff you have the rights to. They still owe you that money.
posted by straight at 1:29 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Artw: “So basically it was a bullshit claim to get the internet on her side and it backfired...”

Or – it started with a very strongly-worded legal letter making demands and stopping just short of saying that they had actually filed an honest-to-god lawsuit, but not before blowing all kinds of smoke and fire and brimstone and making it seem like the world would end if she didn't capitulate immediately?

Which is... let's be fair... a pretty standard legal move. I don't really think anybody's to blame if she got hoodooed by the flim-flam of a lawyer's scary letter promising death and destruction. "Oh, suing? Of course not! We would never!" I've heard that before.
posted by koeselitz at 1:47 PM on January 9, 2018


Radiohead Haven’t Sued Lana Del Rey, Publishers Say

So basically it was a bullshit claim to get the internet on her side and it backfired becuase, let's face it, claiming her song is not a rip off majorly takes the piss.


If only there was some kind of term, or effect, that we could use to refer to this behavior.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:50 PM on January 9, 2018


Sys Rq: Listen to the song. She did outright copy it note for note.

Seven notes and four chords. Repeated over and over. Which is not the structure of Creep – Creep has a different chorus, a different bridge, different instrumentation, different lyrics, etc.

I think people here are overestimating vastly what constitutes a "ripoff" and what doesn't. "Sounds the same" does not constitute a ripoff. "Evokes the same atmosphere" does not constitute a ripoff. Do you realize how many songs have used the same chords over and over? How many songs have the same melody and chord structure as, say, Louie Louie? What differentiates Louie Louie from Creep – that the latter was performed by a band we're more familiar with, whose members we can name, and who we find vaguely relatable? Dizzy Gillespie ripped off a swing tune and used it as the intro to Roger Hammerstein's All The Things You Are when he played it live; Charlie Parker played this conglomeration that Dizzy had created, with the exact same chords as All The Things You Are, only didn't play the melody except for some quotations he threw in during the solos, and released it as Bird of Paradise in order to avoid copyright fees. And you know what? He had every right. He made it his own - with the same chords, and even part of the same melody, he still had his own song there.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just on the liberal side here, but it really seems like a stretch to call this a ripoff because it has the same general vibe. And even if we want to say it's a ripoff, that doesn't make it a legally actionable one.
posted by koeselitz at 2:04 PM on January 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


Trust me, i am predisposed to being very lenient when it comes to creative coincidence, and this is so, so not a stretch to call this a ripoff.

Legal action is some other thing.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


codacorolla, the beginning of "Love on the Brain" reminds me of James Hurley's song in Twin Peaks.
posted by cp311 at 2:10 PM on January 9, 2018


I'm also predisposed towards leniency in creativity, but I take a dimmer view when it's Large Industrial Hitmaking Conglomerate working on revenue generation, as opposed to an independent artist working on scraping out a living or a passion project. I suspect were Large Industrial Hitmaking Conglomerate not involved in this, there wouldn't be legal actions to comment on.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:15 PM on January 9, 2018


Seven notes and four chords. Repeated over and over. Which is not the structure of Creep – Creep has a different chorus, a different bridge, different instrumentation, different lyrics, etc.

Are you sure Creep doesn't just have the same four-chord progression for the entire song? I'm pretty sure it does.
posted by The World Famous at 2:23 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


In my opinion the chord progression is the only interesting thing about either of the tunes. The melody in both of them is just taking the obvious route of outlining the triads and hanging out on common tones. To my ears nothing these tunes have in common other than the chords is musically distinct enough to be meaningful. Pretty much any simple melody supported by a I III IV iv progression is going to have the same general character because the relative weirdness of the III and the IV to iv is what makes it memorable. The Steven universe theme song uses the same chord progression and its melody also has the same vibe
posted by Television Name at 2:26 PM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


So this whole fracas is BS? And I wasted good time and pixels on it?

What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here.
posted by gwint at 2:55 PM on January 9, 2018 [12 favorites]


> I'm not really deeply invested in them or anything, but I don't want to put them in my mental burn barrel with U2, which earned their place there for suing Negativland

It was Island that sued Negativland, not U2; the band members weren't happy about the lawsuit.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:14 PM on January 9, 2018


The World Famous: “Are you sure Creep doesn't just have the same four-chord progression for the entire song? I'm pretty sure it does.”

Mmm, yes, listening again it does use the same chord progression for the chorus. But the melody is different. And there is a chorus, which doesn't seem to be true with the Lana del Ray song. I think my point stands. (And in fact it's really just three chords with an alteration, if you think about it.)
posted by koeselitz at 3:17 PM on January 9, 2018


Thinking about it (way too much and with a decidedly non-pop/rock set of theoretical tools) I see the IV acting a standard structural chord but the iv functioning more like a somewhat removed dominant sub. It could somewhat easily be replaced with a straight up V but that would be suuuuuuuper boring.
posted by Television Name at 3:29 PM on January 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


a decidedly non-pop/rock set of theoretical tools

apropos of that - yesterday, I followed a link to a Youtube lecture on tonality in pop and rock music and...."audio track removed due to copyright claim". So you cannot hear the guy speaking, because of snippets of music used in what seems to me a paradigm case of "fair use".

A better target there for anti-copyright ire than is this Creep business.....
posted by thelonius at 3:42 PM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Am genuinely unsure which one of these entities we are labeling " Large Industrial Hitmaking Conglomerate", TBH. Unless it's both.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


So this whole fracas is BS? And I wasted good time and pixels on it?

GIVE US THE REAL FRACAS, THE AUTHENTIC ONE! THE ORIGINAL, NO SUBSTITUTES IMITATIONS OR DERIVIATIVE WORKS!
posted by mwhybark at 5:59 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


It was Island that sued Negativland, not U2; the band members weren't happy about the lawsuit.

Quiet, you, and let me have my hipster nostalgia!

Anyway, apparently that's not the entire truth to the story.

The only real evidence I've seen that U2 wasn't happy about it is the Mondo 2000 interview when R.U. Sirius sprung Negativland on The Edge, which can be viewed in its entirety, here.

Apparently U2 and/or U2's management was more directly involved in initiating the lawsuit and it wasn't just Island's legal department in charge of the whole debacle. Further, apparently REM's manager was the initial vector.

From the update at the bottom of the page:
Years later, in 2003, Negativland learned something new: that it was R.E.M.s manager, Bertis Downs, who first found the U2 single in a record store (Wuxtry Records) in Athens Georgia the day it came out. Downs was on the phone that night with his good friend Paul McGuinness, U2’s manager, wondering what the record really was. McGuinness asked Downs to over-night the single to U2 in Ireland the next day. U2 and their manager always maintained to Negativland and to the media that they nothing to do with instigating the lawsuit, but this was a lie. It was, in fact, U2’s manager who sent it along to the business affairs department of Island Records ( U2’s record label at the time) for them to sue Negativland and stop the record. Downs maintains that he feels quite bad about what happened after he found our little record.
So it's likely that U2 and/or Bertis Downs were both aware of the lawsuit from the very beginning, and were instrumental in pushing Island to sue and reach for the legal sledgehammers right out of the gate.
posted by loquacious at 6:32 PM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


The Steven universe theme song uses the same chord progression and its melody also has the same vibe

And now I can play TWO songs on the ukulele!
posted by Sparx at 7:33 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


You can actually watch Mark Hosler of Negativland confirming Bertis Downs’ involvement right here.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 PM on January 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


They sound pretty similar to me, but it's not just the chord progression, it's tempo, singing style, drums, everything. Here's a song that shares the same basic chord progression (G, B, C) (and many other similarities - written about the same time as Creep, droning electric guitars, even the same yellow video) but mostly sounds nothing alike. Chord progressions are one thing, but instrumentation & tempo carries just as much weight.

Giant Sand - Yer Ropes


G, B, C is a great chord progression, and it implies the feeling of longing. That move to B instead of going straight to C (G,C is probably the most common chord progression) darkens songs nicely.
posted by The_Vegetables at 6:43 AM on January 10, 2018 [5 favorites]


The recently-published Elvis Costello autobiography is rather enjoyable and EC makes much of his influences, where he stole ideas and riffs and music and whatever else from. He's a little magpie and extremely, er, well-listened. And boy rather than making anyone want to sue him it makes you want to go and also listen to those other artists, many of whom are forgotten or at least no longer in the public ear. EC really makes it out to be a standing on the shoulders of giants activity.

Also, Lana should have gone all in and called her song "Get Freep"
posted by chavenet at 8:14 AM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


> Quiet, you, and let me have my hipster nostalgia

Eh, my version is based on hipster nostalgia too. I was friends with Hosler at the time; it sounds like there's been new information discovered in the intervening decades.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:55 AM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Giant Sand - Yer Ropes

What this place needs is a Giant Sand FPP. Somebody get on that.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:00 AM on January 10, 2018 [5 favorites]


Giant Sand - Yer Ropes

another song that's long been on my playlist, which it would never have occurred to me to liken to Creep. So I hope that what we mean when we're discussing plagiarism in a song is, as The_Vegetables just put it:

it's not just the chord progression, it's tempo, singing style, drums, everything.

Otherwise, I foresee a deep dark hole full of musicologists (or whatever) mucking around, chasing "similarities" the way lawyers chase ambulances, doing nothing good for the culture.
posted by philip-random at 10:13 AM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Otherwise, I foresee a deep dark hole full of musicologists (or whatever) mucking around, chasing "similarities" the way lawyers chase ambulances, doing nothing good for the culture.

I agree this would be a nightmare, but it's kind of a hilarious notion at the same time - finally, something profitable you can do with that musicology degree!
posted by naju at 12:23 PM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Radiohead are fairly talented people with occasional moments of brilliance, but it's still pop music, pretty derivative in general (and Thom Yorke is a dick).

OTOH this is a clear ripoff of that specific song, however derivative that song and its affect also are, and LDR really should have just released this as Creep and been done with it, arguing that her version is transformative.

On the third hand I like Lana Del Rey's vapid drivel even less than Radiohead.

On the fourth hand--halfway there saulgoodman--can someone sue Coldplay for sounding like a lamer version of Radiohead fucked Bono? Like, not for copyright, just general suckiness? Also Darius Rucker, for whom I can't come up with a coherent idiom.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:50 PM on January 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also Darius Rucker, for whom I can't come up with a coherent idiom.

Adult contemporary yarling, perhaps?
posted by Existential Dread at 1:05 PM on January 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


He’s like if a hootie fucked a blowfish.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:25 PM on January 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


Do we really need a "bands I can't stand" thread?

No? Didn't think so.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:52 PM on January 10, 2018


It always boils down to a "It's not the band I hate; it's their fans" situation.
posted by rocket88 at 2:39 PM on January 10, 2018


I think Consolidated’s okay.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:10 PM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


But do you drink concentrated OJ? ;)
posted by retronic at 3:20 PM on January 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


Now I can't remember how the Negativland case shook out; could LDR's legal just claim that this is a transformative citation/reference or something?
posted by aspersioncast at 4:00 PM on January 10, 2018


Now I can't remember how the Negativland case shook out;

Off the top of my head and quick search, so take this all with a grain of salt. But I'm pretty sure I have most of this right at this point.

The case was eventually withdrawn and settled out of court, and no legal precedent was set regarding copyright law or fair use and it was all a big expensive nothing burger.

The settlement was, I believe, recall/destruction of the copies of the original EP, turning over the master tapes to Island or Island's lawyers and paying some or all of Island's legal fees, which from the video link above was $45,000 and took them 4 years to pay it off. Which may have been part of the deal to get the master tapes back, come to think of it, because the timing would make sense.

But as far as I know, no actual judgement ever happened and no damages were awarded and Island essentially made them an offer they couldn't refuse, which seems to have been: give us the tapes and records, pay SST to destroy them, and pay our legal fees to finish making us whole and we'll call it good.

Tangential shower thought: I wonder if Island's legal team were counseled to avoid pressing the suit through because someone at Island or in the recording industry itself worried that Negativland had a fair use case. A good attorney and industry friendly judge would certainly know and weigh these ramifications. It wouldn't be beyond imagination for the RIAA or other association to take notice of the case and become alarmed and maybe send a back channel message to not let it actually get to trial and set an unsavory pro fair use precedent.

Anyway

The fallout included the U2 EP being tied up and out of Negativland's control for four years, and a secondary lawsuit between SST and Negativland that terminated their relationship, but I can't remember who filed. I'm assuming SST because it's not like Negativland had any money for it. Anyway, this was a breach of contract case, not a copyright infringement case.

Some other fallout seems to include a lot of well meaning music nerds still fascinated and/or upset about the case, and still not able to really get the whole story. And we likely never will.
posted by loquacious at 6:01 PM on January 10, 2018


It's a wonderful progression...I iii IV iv. Can anyone think of other songs that use it?

Ooh, I love this game. I III IV iv occurs in the second verse of “Space Oddity”. It is nice: I’m always a sucker for the deceptive-ish III#-IV move, and then you get the nice little chromatic breathe-in-breathe-out gesture in the voice leading, with 5-5#-6-b6. Its components are pretty intuitive, with both III#-IV and IV-iv being common turns, so I kind of imagine it occurs pretty often, but of course setting is everything; that progression sounds completely different in the two songs.
posted by invitapriore at 7:52 PM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Trust me, i am predisposed to being very lenient when it comes to creative coincidence, and this is so, so not a stretch to call this a ripoff.

Yep. Koeselitz are you a musician? I am, and as a musician, this is a quote. And at the very least it is extremely rude to quote another musician for money without attribution.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:53 AM on January 11, 2018




Sebmojo: “Yep. Koeselitz are you a musician? I am, and as a musician, this is a quote. And at the very least it is extremely rude to quote another musician for money without attribution.”

I play piano, guitar, trumpet, concertina, and a few other things. I play with a rockish sort of bar band, I run the Rio Grande Jazz Society here in Albuquerque, and I have friends in the New Mexico Jazz Workshop as well. I'm not only a musician, I'm a musician very involved in my musical community.

I'm also a musician who likes music from a time when it was more or less understood that artists borrow from each other and that the government isn't exactly a force for good when it comes to copyright.
posted by koeselitz at 8:52 AM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


And I have to say, something very real is lost when everyone for all time from now on is utterly banned from using these three or four chords in a song again. Seriously? Those three or four chords belong to Radiohead, and nobody can do that thing again? What a grim future.
posted by koeselitz at 8:59 AM on January 11, 2018


It's not the chords, though. It's the chords, the melody, the tempo, the feel, the instrumentation, the gestalt. Nobody is saying that you can't do it, just that you'd be obligated to share the proceeds. (Although I guess in the post-"Blurred Lines" world, just the chords might be enough, unfortunately.)

I write production music. If I turned in a piece that was even halfway as close to "Creep" as this is, I'd be crucified.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:13 AM on January 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


when everyone for all time from now on is utterly banned from using these three or four chords in a song again

Oh for the love of Pete - that's not the point of this suit, and it's not going to be the outcome, and you damn well know it.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:17 AM on January 11, 2018


uncleozzy: uncleozzy: “It's not the chords, though. It's the chords, the melody, the tempo, the feel, the instrumentation, the gestalt.”

A snippet of the melody, you mean. Remember that even the chorus of the Lana Del Ray song has different chords. And the tempo is clearly not subject to copyright, but the rhythm of the Lana Del Ray song is not the same, it's a sort of shuffle, whereas the Radiohead song is a straight four rock beat. The instrumentation is different, too, and the most distinctive part of the Radiohead song – the bassline – isn't there on the Lana Del Ray song.

I gather people haven't listened to the Lana Del Ray song past the first twenty seconds or something. The intro sounds somewhat similar, though it only has a guitar and a voice, and though it's slowed down a bit. The verse is similar to the intro. But everything else about the song is different. It's the "feel" that's most similar, the "gestalt" as you put it, but "gestalt" isn't and shouldn't be something you can put a copyright on.

uncleozzy: Nobody is saying that you can't do it, just that you'd be obligated to share the proceeds.”

That is not how copyright licensure works anymore. If it were, I would have less of a problem here.
posted by koeselitz at 9:25 AM on January 11, 2018


soundguy99: “Oh for the love of Pete - that's not the point of this suit, and it's not going to be the outcome, and you damn well know it.”

I don't think it's insane to be concerned about the increasing strictness of copyright interpretation given the way the world is moving.
posted by koeselitz at 9:28 AM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


That is not how copyright licensure works anymore.

Says who? You get permission to create a derivative work, work out the splits, and release your song. If you're complaining about the "permission," okay, fine, but publishers generally want to make more money, so it's a win-win situation.

And I did listen. The A (and A' I guess if you want to call it that) hew too closely to the verse and chorus melodies of Creep, to my ears. Even in a reasonably strict lead-sheet interpretation of copyright I'm not sure you'd be clear there.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:35 AM on January 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


The thing about copyright is that it's a law that applies to all kinds of music, so it has to be broad enough to cover all those kinds of music. There are whole regions of jazz music that are founded on making songs that borrow the harmonic and even melodic structure from other songs.

I don't think there's huge disagreement here; I probably have a higher threshold for things sounding different than other people, but that's neither here nor there. I'm mostly thinking about all the songs I love that are easily this close to each other, yet seem very different to me, and that I believe should not be subject to legal strictures because of similarities that seem vague to my ear.
posted by koeselitz at 9:54 AM on January 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


There are whole regions of jazz music that are founded on making songs that borrow the harmonic and even melodic structure from other songs.

Yes. Luckily for them, a copyright owner can ignore or enforce at their discretion without losing their copyright. Unlike trademark, copyright doesn't have to be actively defended. So Herbie Hancock could do a jazz-funk version of Creep and Radiohead can say, "whoa, cool, Herbie Hancock covered one of our tunes. Let's not sue." and lose not one iota of their right to sue Lana Del Ray.

Also, you do get that this is a civil suit, yeah? Not the FBI busting down Del Ray's door at gunpoint. Because you seem awfully concerned about government involvement in a way that doesn't really make sense for this kind of case.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:27 AM on January 11, 2018


I gather people haven't listened to the Lana Del Ray song past the first twenty seconds or something.

I think it's worth noting that a lot of this comes down to interpretation (as with much of law and music), and people can disagree about the relative merits of an infringement claim. But Lana Del Rey and her team have already agreed that the infringement claim has merit (up to 40%!) and the apparent dispute is whether that is sufficient.

Also worth noting that the actual fact of a suit being filed is also in question.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:53 AM on January 11, 2018


I don't think that's in question, actually. If there was a suit, it would be a matter of public record and easily verified, right?
posted by Coventry at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2018


So Herbie Hancock could do a jazz-funk version of Creep and Radiohead can say, "whoa, cool, Herbie Hancock covered one of our tunes. Let's not sue." and lose not one iota of their right to sue Lana Del Ray.

Note, though, that doing a cover is not the same as using a composition without attribution. If Herbie Hancock covered a Radiohead tune, he'd pay the royalties associated with covering the song.

If there was a suit, it would be a matter of public record and easily verified, right?

Maybe not super easily, but yes, verifiable. The sort of thing I'd ask a law librarian for help searching and that wouldn't turn up in any simple search, since there are lots of courts and jurisdictions. But the fact that nobody seems to be pointing to an actual legal filing or identifying the court in which it was supposedly filed tells me that "Radiohead is suing" is being used here to indicate that demands have been made, and not that any actual legal filing has been made yet.
posted by The World Famous at 12:48 PM on January 11, 2018


There are whole regions of jazz music that are founded on making songs that borrow the harmonic and even melodic structure from other songs.

koeselitz, between this and a few of your related comments I am now imagining a very silly jazz "opera" in which an accomplished improv jazz ensemble is on stage surrounded by a much larger plurality of music/copyright lawyers who have to legally negotiate every call and repeat. Also on stage is an alarming amount of printer paper, printers, desks and office computers, mostly obscuring the musicians.

I'm still trying to decide if the lawyers should interrupt each phrase or vamp with an extended flurry of paperwork and signing things before the next is repeated back, slightly changed, resulting in another pause and a flurry of paperwork.

Or if the lawyers should have to try to keep up in real time and there's just a hurricane of legal paperwork flying around.

I'm thinking both.

The performance starts off with an annoyingly long pause for paperwork between solos, phrases or even minor vamps, and then it slowly builds into a real time improv session, sending the lawyers into ever increasing flurry of frenetic activity as they all try to negotiate with each artist's legal team and try to get artists to sign releases and contracts in the middle of improvisation, eventually never catching up as the artists just huddle together in a hurricane of flying paper.

Eventually, one by one, each of the frenzied lawyers dramatically clutch their chest and dramatically keel over, collapsing in mountains of paper until only the musicians are left.
posted by loquacious at 12:57 PM on January 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


The sort of thing I'd ask a law librarian for help searching and that wouldn't turn up in any simple search

Sure, but Del Rey has an interest in rebutting the claim, and presumably has the complaint in hand.
posted by Coventry at 1:45 PM on January 11, 2018


(Or would presumably have the complaint in hand, if it existed.)
posted by Coventry at 1:47 PM on January 11, 2018


A guess: what she probably has in hand is a strongly but carefully worded letter that heavily implies that Radiohead is about to sue her while avoiding actually saying that Radiohead is about to sue her.
posted by koeselitz at 8:38 AM on January 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Sure, but Del Rey has an interest in rebutting the claim, and presumably has the complaint in hand.

If she said "Radiohead has filed a lawsuit against me," sure. But "Radiohead is suing me" can just as easily mean "Radiohead's lawyers sent me a nasty letter."
posted by The World Famous at 11:31 AM on January 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


« Older Better Health Through Housing   |   Google sued over 'male discrimination' Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments