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:

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: warner music group

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

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

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:



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)


Flabby Has-Beens with chips on their shoulders…

Philip (profile) says:

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!”

Philip (profile) says:

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…

Vic says:

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…

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...