Ten Famous Cases of Plagiarism in Music

plagiarism in musicPlagiarism in music is a contradictory phenomenon. Taking into account a great number of performers in the world and  an even bigger number of songs, it is virtually possible to create something unique. All the more it refers to certain styles in which a limited set of musical actions is used. A good example of this is a way of making Indian clips. It is just impossible to invent something new, thus certain adoptions are inevitable. On the other hand, creative adoption won’t be treated as a crime unlike full-fledged plagiarism.

Below you can find the most famous examples of stealing someone else’s ideas.

Coldplay and Joe Satriani

Coldplay became famous worldwide in 2008 when they presented their hit song “Viva la Vida” (in spite of the title, the song doesn’t look like Latin music). This event didn’t go unnoticed by Joe Satriani. The guitarist claimed that musicians illegally used significant parts of his “If I Could Fly” track that he created four years earlier. It’s sure that Coldplay denied Satriani’s charges and claimed that this abovementioned similarity was actually an unexpected coincidence. The parties eventually settled the matter without court proceedings. However, exact terms of settlement were kept in secret.

Beatles and Chuck Berry

Believe it or not, but even classical performers were engaged in plagiarism debates. Mainly the disputes escalated not because of musicians themselves. F lot of music publishers became the main originators of discussion, when they had found texts similarity in Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me” and Beatles’ “Come Together” songs. Just like in previous case, there was no need in court settlement. However, John Lennon actually admitted his guilt.

Bee Gees and Ronald Steele

Plagiarism was not revealed immediately. Six years had passed since “How Deep is Your Love” went public. And only at that moment Ronald Steele put on a charge. The matter came to trial, but ended in favor of famous music band.

Tom Petty and Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is an example of situation when problem was solved without any conflict. Petty just made an assumption that some elements of “Dani California” are similar to his “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” track.

Mitsou and Beyonce

A singer from Hungary decided to sue Beyonce because of “Drunk in Love” song, which supposedly contained excerpts from Mitsou’s performance. The outcome of this case is still unknown.

Jacques Loussier and Eminem

News related to musical plagiarism don’t come too often from France, because French clips and their authors are quite original in most cases. But this doesn’t refer to American performers. Composer Jacques Loussier sued Eminem for using his melody in “Kill You” song. In the end of the story, parties solved the problem in a friendly way.


Among other infamous scandals the following can be mentioned:

  • Famous proceedings betwen The Verve and The Rolling Stones.
  • Radiohead, who stole “The Air That I Breathe” from The Hollies band.
  • The Beach Boys, who rehashed Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen”.

Plagiarism happens even in children clips. For instance, Yahor Zheshka, participant of the Junior Eurovision, was suspected in plagiarism. It was likely that he used famous “Jamaica” song by Loreti as a base for his own song. However, this story didn’t evolve seriously.




08.28.2018 12:31,PetMac:

Its been going on for years. Beethoven copied a large chunk from Mozart to create the 'Moonlight Sonata'. Simon and Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is a straight lift from Chopin Prelude No 14. Lloyd Weber's 'Jesus Christ' theme is lifted from Strauss 'Letzter Lieder'. and so on.

01.19.2022 19:21,leah_07:

plagarism sucks

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