November 18, 2005

My Life's Getting Somewhere Now.

That my suggestion for a follow-up recording for Salvatore Acquaviva:
A little-known Belgian songwriter won a plagiarism case against Madonna on Friday, leading a local court to ban the megastar's song "Frozen" from sale or broadcast in the country. Songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva's suit had alleged that Madonna's 1998 hit off the album "Ray of Light" plagiarized parts of his song, "Ma Vie Fout L'camp (My Life's Getting Nowhere)," which had been written five years earlier.

"The judge has ruled Madonna must withdraw from sales all remaining disks, and orders that TV and radio can no longer play 'Frozen,'" Acquaviva's lawyer, Victor-Vincent Dehin, said.

6 comments:

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Anne Adams said...

Sippicancottage: He's so fine.

XWL said...

This isn't the first suit of this kind she has lost.

Ingrid Chavez (a Prince protege from way back) won a court case (or a settlement I forget) against Madonna and Lenny Kravitz over a demo of hers that became a Madonna song (Justify My Love was the song, the demo is exactly the same down to the breathy delivery and drum-machine backbeat).

(Prince had some great proteges in the late 80s early 90s Taja Seville, Ingrid Chavez, Sheila E and Carmen Electra (ok maybe not great, but smoking hot and occaisonally even talented))

OK I googled 'justify my love lawsuit' and found this link showing that that was the first of many suits against Madonna.

(and an old Althouse post that has nothing to do with Madonna came up sixth amongst the list of results)

Christopher Althouse said...

xwl: That article seems quite biased.

I'm a little skeptical based on the fact that no actual recordings of songs that Madonna supposedly plagiarized have surfaced. Michael Jackson was once sued over Will You Be There (I think), and if you actually listened to the previously recorded song that was the basis of the suit, it was clear that Jackson's song was a direct ripoff.

As far as I know, there have been two successful lawsuits, one over Frozen and one over Justify My Love (let me just note that Madonna didn't write the latter either way). I'll accept that, in those cases, she probably ripped off other songs. But I'm not willing to just accept any rumor of other cases with no background given whatsoever.

I think that what does happen is that songwriters unconsciously borrow pieces of a melody from other songs, and that it isn't intentional. This probably happens to a lot of good songwriters, and it shouldn't be taken to mean that all their work must be plagiarized. Some people think that every possible melody must have been thought of at some point, given how few actual notes there are.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
XWL said...

I should have learned from my critical theory class a few years back to never speak ill of the holy one. (She's more revered than the pope in some circles)

Biased articles aren't automatically untrue articles. The relevant detail is that she has been sued before, and lost.

She has always struck me as a huckster, she's PT Barnum with dancing ability.

She frequently appropriates from better artists and repackages it for wider appeal. I'd rather seek out the artists she takes from and cut out the middle-man.

Her vanity record label (Maverick) has been accused by many artists (Me'shell NdegeOcello most prominently) of being very artist unfriendly and directly dealing with the boss was worse than dealing with the usual executives given that her rhetoric of artistic freedom was at such odds with her rapacious need for all the artists she was pimping to make plenty of bank.

Her many self-fashioned images and who she actually has been are greatly at odds. If you have real talent (a la David Bowie) then I'm cool with that, but if you are without the talent to back up the act (a la Madonna, in my opinion) then my reaction is strongly negative.

As far as lawsuits over riffs and beats, I think they have gone too far and Steve Windwood, Ray Parker, Jr., and even The Diabolical Biz Markey shouldn't have lost their lawsuits.

Music should be viewed the way dress designs are. Very specific details should be protected, but basic shapes and patterns ought to be free to appropriate by anyone.