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James Horner's plagiarism #1543779
10/26/10 08:51 AM
10/26/10 08:51 AM
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gsmonks Offline OP
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Remember the movie Willow? Here's an arrangement containing the "herioc them":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PaezvZR-YY&feature=related

Here's where the music came from- the 1st movement of Schumann's "Rhenish" symphony:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H4XJuBxjxs&feature=related

All Horner did was rewrite it in 4/4 from the original 3/4. As you can hear, he ripped off Schumann note-for-note.

Here's another example from Patriot Games:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYDGMj3xJQU

Virtually the same music from Aliens:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-jGrL7U09Y

Recognise the piece Horner plagiarised yet? Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6ZBSdjzKfk

You might know it as Adagio from the ballet Gayne. Its original name, before it was included in Gayne, was Invention.

I have no idea why so many people think this guy is a good composer. If it wasn't for the people he rips off, he'd have no material.

He's a good arranger/orchestrator, but a composer? Don't make me laugh!

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Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1543803
10/26/10 09:26 AM
10/26/10 09:26 AM
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Nikolas Offline
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He's done plenty more. For example he ripped off word to word, harmony to harmony, melody to melody, rhythm to rhytm (not orchestration though), Prokofiev.

Original somewhere around 02:00 something

and the rip off

James Horner on Red Heat (3:46). YAY for Arny naked!

He's done plenty of other things as well.

Still I reserve my right to assume that he was heavily pushed by the studios rather than ripping music just because 'he can't do any better'.

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1543838
10/26/10 10:07 AM
10/26/10 10:07 AM
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Did Horner (I think it was him) also write the score for Troy? I distinctly remember a theme taken almost or quite literally from Shostakovich's 5th symphony.


I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1543900
10/26/10 11:21 AM
10/26/10 11:21 AM
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I listened to your evidence. I agree that it sounds very plagiarised in many spots, but the nature of these score segments is heavily disputed, so nobody can say for sure (obviously James Horner himself would deny that the ideas in question were copied). Regardless of these little bits of questionable music, you can't jump to the conclusion that Horner is a terrible film composer. He's composed the scores for countless movies over the years, and many of them have been received with critical acclaim and no evident plagiarism.

Thanks to rada for noticing my stupid typo! Sorry.

Last edited by Jared Hoeft; 10/26/10 12:07 PM.
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1543917
10/26/10 11:53 AM
10/26/10 11:53 AM
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Maybe you want to edit your response and get Horner's name in there Jared....
rada

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: mrenaud] #1543921
10/26/10 11:58 AM
10/26/10 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mrenaud
Did Horner (I think it was him) also write the score for Troy? I distinctly remember a theme taken almost or quite literally from Shostakovich's 5th symphony.
Yes, he did: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332452/fullcredits#cast wink

Now this begs the question, I asked earlier: Either people know that Horner doesn't mind copying and they keep providing him with temp tracks (which is very used to in film music), or he actually is doing it, in hopes that he can escape it!

It's impossible to know if he's a good composer, or not based on what we know, and it's also impossible to directly accuse the guy! But we can certainly mention instances where this is happening (and incidently the name Horner keeps coming up... :D)

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1543929
10/26/10 12:04 PM
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No doubt some of Willow was derived from a theme from a Schumann symphony. Though the arrangement is original and beyond what Schumann has composed. It's not all that uncommon to take public domain themes and arrange, create variations, add original harmony, counterpoint, melody alterations, etc. of that theme. Many of the great composers have used folk song melodies to create some of their masterpieces (including Schumann). Totally legit.

I've done many variations and arrangements of public domain Christmas songs. When registered with my PRO, I'll be listed as an "arranger" of a public domain work, not the writer - though in some cases the new work is so far removed from the original theme it really should be registered as the "writer"

When placing "Willow" side by side with the 1st movement of Schumann's "Rhenish" symphony, it's obvious a totally different entity. Horner's job is to enhance films with great sounding music. He's done his job well with Willow.

I'm sure Horner would admit to using public domain elements in some of his music. He's still an original.

Best, John smile



Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Nikolas] #1543938
10/26/10 12:19 PM
10/26/10 12:19 PM
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[quote Nikolas]But we can certainly mention instances where this is happening (and incidently the name Horner keeps coming up... :D) [/quote]

Maybe some of us here should email him this thread, and see if he responds. grin
Here's another example of "stealing", although Goldstein makes no pretense of being the composer:
http://www.sibeliusblog.com/people/gil-goldstein-on-bobby-mcferrin-chopin-and-sibelius/

Incidentally, I can well imagine how the pressure/working methods of the "Dollar"wood film industry could provide Horner with a temp track that his producer would then pressure him to closely copy. sick


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Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Jared Hoeft] #1544131
10/26/10 05:33 PM
10/26/10 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jared Hoeft
I listened to your evidence. I agree that it sounds very plagiarised in many spots, but the nature of these score segments is heavily disputed, so nobody can say for sure (obviously James Horner himself would deny that the ideas in question were copied). Regardless of these little bits of questionable music, you can't jump to the conclusion that Horner is a terrible film composer. He's composed the scores for countless movies over the years, and many of them have been received with critical acclaim and no evident plagiarism.

Thanks to rada for noticing my stupid typo! Sorry.


I would agree with you, Jared, if indeed it was little bits we were talking about. But ten to twelve bars, note-for note, is not a little bit.

Horner's plagiarism has been bugging me for years, and to date I can't imagine why no one has called him out on it.

Hey, the music biz refers to musically illiterate pop divas with rhythm machines, Band in a Box pseudo-arrangements and vacuous lyrics as "arteests". "Critical acclaim" in the entertainment biz don't mean squat.

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Johnny-Boy] #1544137
10/26/10 05:49 PM
10/26/10 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
No doubt some of Willow was derived from a theme from a Schumann symphony. Though the arrangement is original and beyond what Schumann has composed. It's not all that uncommon to take public domain themes and arrange, create variations, add original harmony, counterpoint, melody alterations, etc. of that theme. Many of the great composers have used folk song melodies to create some of their masterpieces (including Schumann). Totally legit.

I've done many variations and arrangements of public domain Christmas songs. When registered with my PRO, I'll be listed as an "arranger" of a public domain work, not the writer - though in some cases the new work is so far removed from the original theme it really should be registered as the "writer"

When placing "Willow" side by side with the 1st movement of Schumann's "Rhenish" symphony, it's obvious a totally different entity. Horner's job is to enhance films with great sounding music. He's done his job well with Willow.

I'm sure Horner would admit to using public domain elements in some of his music. He's still an original.

Best, John smile


Except, John, that people in the classical world know where composers like Tchaikovsky and Bartok got their material from, plus the composers never attempted to hide where they got their material from. And pop songs based on classical music are also up-front about the original material. The songwriters want everyone to notice that they're using a piece of classical music as the basis for their ditty. It's a badge of cleverness to do so. "See? I've written a song out of Mozart's Concerto Grosso Obvioso!"

The difference with Horner is that his efforts smack of a snub to the composer. He uses their music, then takes all the bows for the end result. It's that which has always ticked me off.

There's a term for that- Noob! See definition #5:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=noob

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544144
10/26/10 06:07 PM
10/26/10 06:07 PM
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Some of these seem like plagiarism, some of them seem like coincidence to me.

But for me, Horner's sins of misattribution pale beside his greater sin: that of writing mediocre, cliched, two-dimensional music. This is music with classical trappings, but without structure or soul. And I can't tell you what a disservice that is for classical music in general. The more you hear this stuff, the harder it gets for you to really hear what Shostakovitch (e.g.) was doing. (Just as it's very hard for us to really hear how sublime and devastating the first movement of the Moonlight is. Cliches do real damage over time.)

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544161
10/26/10 06:34 PM
10/26/10 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by gsmonks
Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
No doubt some of Willow was derived from a theme from a Schumann symphony. Though the arrangement is original and beyond what Schumann has composed. It's not all that uncommon to take public domain themes and arrange, create variations, add original harmony, counterpoint, melody alterations, etc. of that theme. Many of the great composers have used folk song melodies to create some of their masterpieces (including Schumann). Totally legit.

I've done many variations and arrangements of public domain Christmas songs. When registered with my PRO, I'll be listed as an "arranger" of a public domain work, not the writer - though in some cases the new work is so far removed from the original theme it really should be registered as the "writer"

When placing "Willow" side by side with the 1st movement of Schumann's "Rhenish" symphony, it's obvious a totally different entity. Horner's job is to enhance films with great sounding music. He's done his job well with Willow.

I'm sure Horner would admit to using public domain elements in some of his music. He's still an original.

Best, John smile


Except, John, that people in the classical world know where composers like Tchaikovsky and Bartok got their material from, plus the composers never attempted to hide where they got their material from. And pop songs based on classical music are also up-front about the original material. The songwriters want everyone to notice that they're using a piece of classical music as the basis for their ditty. It's a badge of cleverness to do so. "See? I've written a song out of Mozart's Concerto Grosso Obvioso!"

The difference with Horner is that his efforts smack of a snub to the composer. He uses their music, then takes all the bows for the end result. It's that which has always ticked me off.

There's a term for that- Noob! See definition #5:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=noob


I'm not sure about that gsmonks. I'll have to watch the credits for Willow. Maybe Horner and associates do give credit to the origin of the music. Have you seen the credits to the movie?

John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: beet31425] #1544165
10/26/10 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Some of these seem like plagiarism, some of them seem like coincidence to me.

But for me, Horner's sins of misattribution pale beside his greater sin: that of writing mediocre, cliched, two-dimensional music. This is music with classical trappings, but without structure or soul. And I can't tell you what a disservice that is for classical music in general. The more you hear this stuff, the harder it gets for you to really hear what Shostakovitch (e.g.) was doing. (Just as it's very hard for us to really hear how sublime and devastating the first movement of the Moonlight is. Cliches do real damage over time.)

-Jason

Keep in mind Horner's music is created for film, not the concert stage. Completely different animal. And his film music is far from mediocre IMO.

John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544172
10/26/10 06:43 PM
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We need to remember that when Red Heat was released, Prokofiev's music was not yet in public domain! wink Not even in the US I believe! So it's not just a matter of ripping of material. Especially in the mentioned case, it's clear as crystal that he copy pasted the score and changed a little bit the orchestration!

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Nikolas] #1544191
10/26/10 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
We need to remember that when Red Heat was released, Prokofiev's music was not yet in public domain! wink Not even in the US I believe! So it's not just a matter of ripping of material. Especially in the mentioned case, it's clear as crystal that he copy pasted the score and changed a little bit the orchestration!


Not necessarily Nikolas. For all we know, Horner has a mechanical license to use Prokofiev's music in this manner.

John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Johnny-Boy] #1544209
10/26/10 07:25 PM
10/26/10 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
Originally Posted by beet31425
Some of these seem like plagiarism, some of them seem like coincidence to me.

But for me, Horner's sins of misattribution pale beside his greater sin: that of writing mediocre, cliched, two-dimensional music. This is music with classical trappings, but without structure or soul. And I can't tell you what a disservice that is for classical music in general. The more you hear this stuff, the harder it gets for you to really hear what Shostakovitch (e.g.) was doing. (Just as it's very hard for us to really hear how sublime and devastating the first movement of the Moonlight is. Cliches do real damage over time.)

-Jason

Keep in mind Horner's music is created for film, not the concert stage. Completely different animal. And his film music is far from mediocre IMO.

John smile


Fair points. I must have been in a particularly ungenerous mood when I posted. smile

-J


Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: beet31425] #1544212
10/26/10 07:32 PM
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Yeah, I've been there Jason. I reckon we should give Horner the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

Best, John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544215
10/26/10 07:37 PM
10/26/10 07:37 PM
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gsmonks - he has been called out on it. A LOT. 10 to 12 bars really isn't that much in relation to all of the copious amounts of music he has composed for films. "Critical Acclaim" means more than you think. I do agree with you in regards to the lack of originality and honesty behind much of pop music, but don't be so swift to lump all popular music together. Don't assume that Lady Gaga doesn't enjoy the music she creates. It isn't all just a brainless monolithic entity.

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Jared Hoeft] #1544224
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Originally Posted by Jared Hoeft
gsmonks - he has been called out on it. A LOT. 10 to 12 bars really isn't that much in relation to all of the copious amounts of music he has composed for films. "Critical Acclaim" means more than you think. I do agree with you in regards to the lack of originality and honesty behind much of pop music, but don't be so swift to lump all popular music together. Don't assume that Lady Gaga doesn't enjoy the music she creates. It isn't all just a brainless monolithic entity.


Also keep in mind that we're all (well, most of us) working from the same raw materials (12 half-tones and their octaves). It's very easy to unintentionally compose similar melodies that have already been used (especially in popular music).

John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Johnny-Boy] #1544296
10/26/10 10:42 PM
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First off, John, the legal definition of plagiarism falls under the "five note rule". That's the guideline used in court cases. Ten to twelve bars goes far beyond the legal guidelines.

Secondly, there are simple tools to use to avoid copying the work of others. The first is to have a broad knowledge of music in general, which is what works for pop writers. The second, which classical composers use, is to alter the structure of music itself in fundamental ways which force the parts, especially melodic structures, into new avenues.

This is why the cantus firmus technique used by Purcell in Dido and Aeneas (Dido's lament) has such historical importance; is why the introduction of serialism is important; is why the introduction of bi-tonality is important. These are the very tools which allow composers to write freely without having to worry whether they're copying the works of earlier composers.

Any of us is capable of creating a system which forces composition, especially melody, in directions which avoid the chance of duplication. In my own serious work I often use serialised tone-rows, not after the fashion of Schoenburg, but after a system I devised for my own use. I've also devised a system of writing intervalic music, which literally turns the process of writing melody and harmony inside-out.

My tone-row system got developed because I find 12-tone tone-rows cumbersome to work with. I wanted something more flexible to work with.

You've got to learn to build your own tools in the world of composition. That's how you avoid copying the work of others.

That's all for now- Arthur (one of my cats) is clawing my leg for attention.

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Johnny-Boy] #1544345
10/27/10 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
Originally Posted by Nikolas
We need to remember that when Red Heat was released, Prokofiev's music was not yet in public domain! wink Not even in the US I believe! So it's not just a matter of ripping of material. Especially in the mentioned case, it's clear as crystal that he copy pasted the score and changed a little bit the orchestration!


Not necessarily Nikolas. For all we know, Horner has a mechanical license to use Prokofiev's music in this manner.

John smile
This is what I can't prove: When I first saw the film, I already knew of Prokofiev's cantata (had found a Melodvia record for sale and loving Prokofiev, I bought the obscure work). There was NO mention of Prokofiev's name in the first release of the film. Now, of course, DVDs and youtube vids have the reference, but back then there wasn't any!

And of course this is direct copying not "just" plagiarism: http://www.filmtracks.com/titles/red_heat.html

For the purpose of the discussion with gmonks: I largely agree. If you want to be clear you are original, use new techniques!

On the subject of unintentional copyright infrigment, here's a few links to enjoy my own fault:
"My" work: www.nikolas-sideris.com/ads/dragon_orchestral_epic.mp3
and here's John Powells score for Shrek 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzStDHlZDyM (around 1:03).

I had absolutely no idea I was directly copying the theme, and rather closely the orchestration, but needless to say I pulled out of the contect (and I was winning...), and keep using the track to examplify what could've happened to anyone, without much effort...

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544382
10/27/10 01:51 AM
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"Secondly, there are simple tools to use to avoid copying the work of others. The first is to have a broad knowledge of music in general, which is what works for pop writers" - gsmonks

That would be quite a broad knowledge of music considering there's an estimated 40-50 million songs on iTunes, Limewire, etc... alone. Then add to that millions of other songs that aren't available for public listening (I have a couple hundred of those myself).

I agree that there are ways to lessen the chances of unintentionally copying someone else's work (though much more difficult with the limitations given to popular music). Also, one can never be sure that the melody buzzing through one's creative mind isn't a remnant from earlier listening days.

John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Johnny-Boy] #1544396
10/27/10 02:29 AM
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Why worry about it? If somebody honestly and accidently wrote something that sounded strikingly similar to something of mine, I would not flip out over it. We all just need to chill out a bit. Are there people out there who would use our hard work to their advantage? Yes, of course, so still keep a guard up, but give people the benefit of the doubt. As for melodies/harmonies... I want to come up with original material, but I also want it to please my ear. I don't have a thought-out tone system to lower the chances of accidental copying. I write what comes out of my brain.

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544406
10/27/10 02:53 AM
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Why worry about the theft of someone's intellectual property, Jared? Because it's their property. It belongs to them. If this wasn't the case, there'd be no element of criminality. If there was a Schumann famiily estate that still owned the rights to Schumann's music, Horner would be in deep doo-doo right now.

Regardless, this matter raises the question, Does Horner have the right to profit from music he plagiarised? I would say that he owes royalties on the music he appropriated.

Otherwise, what's to stop people from using classical music as is and stamping their own name on it?

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544485
10/27/10 06:25 AM
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"If there was a Schumann famiily estate that still owned the rights to music, Horner would be in deep doo-doo right now" - gsmonks

Deep doo-doo? I doubt it. Do you really think 20th Century Fox and Horner's lawyers wouldn't obtain the nescessary licensing if needed?

John


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Johnny-Boy] #1544534
10/27/10 08:08 AM
10/27/10 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
"If there was a Schumann famiily estate that still owned the rights to music, Horner would be in deep doo-doo right now" - gsmonks

Deep doo-doo? I doubt it. Do you really think 20th Century Fox and Horner's lawyers wouldn't obtain the nescessary licensing if needed?

John


Since he hasn't been challenged (so far), there's no way of knowing.

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544558
10/27/10 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by gsmonks
Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
"If there was a Schumann famiily estate that still owned the rights to music, Horner would be in deep doo-doo right now" - gsmonks

Deep doo-doo? I doubt it. Do you really think 20th Century Fox and Horner's lawyers wouldn't obtain the nescessary licensing if needed?

John


Since he hasn't been challenged (so far), there's no way of knowing.


I did find Schumann's music (including his 3rd Symphony) on several public domain lists.

As long as a composer works from a published copy with a copyright date old enough to qualify for public domain status (the original is), there would be no legal issues in making new arrangements.

However there may be newer arrangements still under copyright.


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Nikolas] #1544631
10/27/10 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
Originally Posted by Nikolas
We need to remember that when Red Heat was released, Prokofiev's music was not yet in public domain! wink Not even in the US I believe! So it's not just a matter of ripping of material. Especially in the mentioned case, it's clear as crystal that he copy pasted the score and changed a little bit the orchestration!


Not necessarily Nikolas. For all we know, Horner has a mechanical license to use Prokofiev's music in this manner.

John smile
This is what I can't prove: When I first saw the film, I already knew of Prokofiev's cantata (had found a Melodvia record for sale and loving Prokofiev, I bought the obscure work). There was NO mention of Prokofiev's name in the first release of the film. Now, of course, DVDs and youtube vids have the reference, but back then there wasn't any!

And of course this is direct copying not "just" plagiarism: http://www.filmtracks.com/titles/red_heat.html

For the purpose of the discussion with gmonks: I largely agree. If you want to be clear you are original, use new techniques!

On the subject of unintentional copyright infrigment, here's a few links to enjoy my own fault:
"My" work: www.nikolas-sideris.com/ads/dragon_orchestral_epic.mp3
and here's John Powells score for Shrek 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzStDHlZDyM (around 1:03).

I had absolutely no idea I was directly copying the theme, and rather closely the orchestration, but needless to say I pulled out of the contect (and I was winning...), and keep using the track to examplify what could've happened to anyone, without much effort...


Yes, I can see this unintentionally happening Nikolas. BTW, your orchestrated version sounds great. You can orchestrate any of my tracks anytime. laugh

Best, John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: gsmonks] #1544707
10/27/10 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by gsmonks
I would say that he owes royalties on the music he appropriated. Otherwise, what's to stop people from using classical music as is and stamping their own name on it?


I agree with you here. There has to be rules in place to protect this type of stuff. But I still think that relaxing a bit about intellectual property would do everybody some good. Of course, in an ideal world, nobody would copy music "on purpose." But of course intentional plagiarism does happen...

Re: James Horner's plagiarism [Re: Jared Hoeft] #1544743
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Originally Posted by Jared Hoeft
Originally Posted by gsmonks
I would say that he owes royalties on the music he appropriated. Otherwise, what's to stop people from using classical music as is and stamping their own name on it?


I agree with you here. There has to be rules in place to protect this type of stuff. But I still think that relaxing a bit about intellectual property would do everybody some good. Of course, in an ideal world, nobody would copy music "on purpose." But of course intentional plagiarism does happen...


There are laws regarding copyrights Jared. Since Jan, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years, after which the original becomes Public Domain. Prior to 1978, the protection of copyright was much shorter, though there was an option for renewal.

Schumann's music definitely fits into Public Domain. However, when applying for a copyright with a new arrangement of a public domain work, the author of the arrangement should be listed as an "arranger", and the original composer (if known) should be listed.

Also, when registering such work with a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC), the author of the arrangement should be listed as an "arranger", and the original composer (if known) as the writer.

In such a case, the arranger would be entitled to a 100% share of writer's royalties (also 100% share of publisher's royalties if he/she owns the publishing), while the public domain author would be listed at 0% share. Since Shumann's now residing in the Heavens, I don't think he'll mind.

John smile


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
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