REM Copyright Suit Against Danish Band May Backfire, Since The Dane's Song Came First

from the oooooops dept

Last year, the lawsuit between Joe Satriani and Coldplay got lots of attention, as Satriani accused Coldplay of ripping off one of his songs. Of course, Satriani's claims were greatly weakened when people turned up other songs from well before Satriani's that sounded quite similar as well.

It looks like REM and Warner Music may be in a similar situation. Michael Scott points us to the news that Warner and REM are suing the Danish pop band Hej Matematik, claiming that the band's song Walkmand copies REM's 2008 song Supernatural Superserious. There's just one (somewhat major) problem. Walkmand is a cover song. The original was by another Dane, Michael Hardinger, and was called Walk, Mand!!, and was recorded in 1981... seventeen years before REM's release. In fact, Hej Matematik got permission from Michael Hardinger before doing their version. I'm guessing REM did not. Feel free to compare all three songs below:






Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    But, but...

    Are you saying that REM doesn't form ideas from nothing, like Zeus birthing Athena?! Next you'll be saying that remixers are not damn dirty thieves!

     

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  2.  
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    Man from Atlanta, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Doh!

    Something fittingly ironic at play here. I hope this ends with an apology from R.E.M. and their mgmt. Second best result would be an apology and some coin for Michael Hardinger--or whoever inspired HIS song!

     

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  3.  
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    Hulser, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Hoisted

    Too funny. Can you say "countersuit"?

     

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  4.  
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    hegemon13, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Wow

    This ought to be the fastest backpedal in the history of lawsuits. The stronger REMs case was, the stronger it is now against them.

     

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  5.  
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    Alias (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    I can't believe it!

    Those songs sound EXACTLY the same...oh wait, no they don't.

     

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  6.  
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    some old guy, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    Re: I can't believe it!

    I'm no musician, but I didn't see anything even remotely similar between the three songs...

    The fact that REM was even suing should have backfired.

     

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  7.  
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    JGM, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Gotta agree, this is doubly embarrasing for REM, because not only do the songs sound nothing alike, but the poppy Danish one is a ton better than the crap the once-great REM is putting out recently.

     

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  8.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Two Things

    1) REM is still around?

    2) A lot of these older bands that my parents played when I was a kid are all turning out to be copyright enforcement jerks. Making me lose all respect for what once sounded great during my growing years.

     

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  9.  
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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: I can't believe it!

    I am a musician; and I have trouble hearing similarities between the songs.

    If I knew the language, I'm sure that it would be easier to compare the original the remake.

    But, I doubt anyone will be confusing these songs anytime soon.

     

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  10.  
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    john, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    REM's song song sounds closer the 1981 song than the recent one.

     

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  11.  
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    Bilbo, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Its all lame

    Al three have SOMETHING in common, they all sound like generic jangly guitar pop following a similar chord progression. I'm betting you could probably find a dozen or more other songs that sound a lot like this, which isn't remarkable since there's no riff or hook to be heard in any of them.

     

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  12.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Thats right REM! Dont let them get away with this!!! I sure hope REM wins....

     

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  13.  
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    Claes, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    I'm a musician too, and I cannot hear any more likeness than some similar chord progressions, but I have never heard of chord progressions being copyrightable. I cannot understand how they would get the idea to sue anyone over this.

     

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  14.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    WTF??

    Ok....

    1) Not only do each of the three songs sound NOTHING alike, but...

    2) The true original sounds like a prototype for the early REM sound!

    I think Stipe and Co. are pissed that someone is building off the artist THEY built off!

    Frank Zappa once pointed out quite well, that there is no new chord arrangement under the sun, and there hasn't been for like, hundreds of years; they've ALL been done by someone before. So this suit, and any like it are PURE RUBBISH.

    Given that, this is laughable. Made even more so by the fact that NO ONE in their right mind would have even dreamed that these songs were even REMOTELY similar.

    What the fuck are you assholes smoking, Stipe? I don't want any... It's totally fucking up your sense of perception. (and not in a good way)

    REM = NEIL YOUNG

    Flabby Has-Beens with chips on their shoulders...

     

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  15.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    Oh Yeah, and...

    ...I masturbate. A LOT!

     

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  16.  
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    Eric, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Oh Yeah, and...

    You too?

     

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  17.  
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    SpacePirate, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Sue You!

    I'm sure given the extremely confused nature of anyone involved in the legalities of music and law you're take-down notice / copyright infringement suite will be on its way for this post...

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Oh Yeah, and...

    LOL, we all knew Weird Harold masturbates a lot, didn't need an impostor to inform us of that.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: I can't believe it!

    There is a distinct similarity in the chord progressions between all three songs. Some people have difficulty noticing it because of the different instruments being used in each song, but it is most certainly there. Still, there isn't enough similarity outside of that to even support a lawsuit unless the translations for the lyrics match up.

     

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  20.  
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    Philip (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Hum, I'm liking Hej Matematik.

    I don't know a spit of Danish (although, caught some of the German root); But, I totally digging Hej Matematik's version of the song. Is it available for download? I need to find it.

    As for the similarities? I actually had to listen for it. Straight out of the box, I didn't even notice. After listening (to the chorus), I noticed it.

    On Warner Bro's part? I just got one word to say: "Whoops!"

     

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  21.  
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    Philip (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Hum, I'm liking Hej Matematik.

    It's worth noting; I had to listen for the similarities before I ever herd it. No different than "white noise" here, just because I heard it, it doesn't mean there are similarities. It just means I heard it, after *trying to hear it.* No different (imho) than hearing "Satan is coming" listening to 90s rock backwards...

     

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  22.  
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    Vic, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 4:14pm

    To all musicians leaving comments.

    Like Jeffrey Houser:
    "I am a musician; and I have trouble hearing similarities between the songs. "

    or Claes:
    "I'm a musician too, and I cannot hear any more likeness than..."

    See guys, here is your problem exactly - you are just musicians, not lawyers! Any lawyer will hear that those songs are exactly the same! From first two-three sounds they'll know it for sure! So, you actually cannot be experts here, sorry...

     

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  23.  
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    Mischa, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 5:47pm

    Re:

    "the poppy Danish one is a ton better than the crap the once-great REM is putting out recently"

    That must be why they are suing.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2009 @ 1:54am

    Good Grief REM! If I have to keep adding artists to my boycott list for filing BS lawsuits I wont have anything to listen to anymore.

    FUCKING MORONS, STOP SUEING AND GO BACK TO MAKING MUSIC, NOT ENEMIES!

    Fawkheads!

     

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  25.  
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    Techflaws.org, Mar 8th, 2009 @ 5:11am

    Anyone else having quite a few blank lines between article and comments? I don't see any videos, not in FF nor Opera...

     

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  26.  
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    Michael Campbell, Mar 8th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Oh man

    JUST when you thought REM couldn't get any more whiny and bitchy.

    Honestly, I didn't realize they were even still around. Stipes' histrionics stopped being relevant around 1989 or so.

     

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  27.  
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    MC, Mar 8th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Re:

    Vids show for me on FF 3.0.x ok.

     

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  28.  
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    Man from Atlanta, Mar 8th, 2009 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: I can't believe it!

    Well, this could be strategic. Y'know, I hadn't bothered to seek out any new REM, and along comes this suit so I watch the video . . . and I actually kinda liked it!

     

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  29.  
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    MaikUniversum, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:24am

    R.E.M has lost my respect.

     

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