Instead of researching a normal plagiarism case I decided to read about one for song writing. I never really thought that this happened. But I can see how easy it would be to do. I always have a catchy tune stuck in my head and copying it would be fairly simple. I read about a case in 1976 where George Harrison’s song “My Sweet Lord” was said to be copied from the Chiffon’s song “He’s so Fine”. Unlike “He’s so Fine”, George’s song hit the charts making it the number one song for five weeks and later in 2002 it came back and remained in number one for a week. Overall the song was very successful and was on the charts for a total of 27 weeks. Because of the similar tune they filed a lawsuit against it. It didn’t go to court for around four years, they wanted to settle it outside of court but couldn’t find common ground to agree on. The accusing side wanted $148,000.00 and 75% of royalties made on the song. They declined the offer which later lead to it going to court. When the judge heard it he quickly decided they were identical. George was fined with “subconscious plagiarism” and had to pay $587,000.00. The full amount was later paid in 1981 and the judgement was dismissed.
Even cases like this should be looked at carefully. Just like when you hear a catchy song, when you read something that sounds good it can stick in your mind. Which then makes it easy to rewrite the same idea later and take it for your own. An easy mistake that can obviously cost you a lot of time and money.