Music Business Case Studies

Case Study 1

Does Curtis James Jackson’s aka "50 Cent" unlicensed uses of material from “It’s Your Birthday” constitute copyright infringement?

This case clearly shows that 50 Cent used the materials from “It’s Your Birthday” to prepare his song without the consent of the copyright owner. This is considered an infringement on the copyright laws. It is a case of music plagiarism which is regarded as the close imitation or use of the music of another author while representing the same as one’s original song, particularly without the consent of the copyright owner. 50 Cent used a similar tone, same melody, and same pitch and lyrics that were literally the same in most parts of the song. This is an indication of music plagiarism. Music plagiarism takes place in two different contexts – copying the musical ideas such as motif and melody or sampling (stealing a portion of one’s sound recording and reusing it in a different song without the consent of the owner). 50 Cent’s song “In Da Club” possesses bits of byting, sampling, and referencing to the original song by Campbell “It’s Your Birthday.” Under the copyright law of 1976, when a person writes a song, a copyright is automatically placed on the song. Copyright elements of a song include rhythm, melody, lyrics, and chord progression and any level of creativity that is owned by the author and protected by copyright. Music plagiarism is, therefore, an infringement on the copyrigh

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