California residents who are engaged in artistic endeavors know the importance of protecting their intellectual properties. Copyrights are a primary mode of doing just this for people who write books, produce movies, create paintings or write and produce music. The protections these copyrights grant, however, may not always be as clear as one might think. When it comes to the world of musical lyrics, for example, there is some latitude for similarity.
A well-known singer and songwriter has won awards for a song that was released in 2014. Since then two different entities have attempted lawsuits alleging copyright infringement based upon similar language used in other songs before the award-winning song ever came along. Both of the suits have proved fruitless in their efforts.
The most recent lawsuit was thrown out by a federal judge in a California. In providing the ruling, the judge explained that simply having a few words here and there that sound similar to words in another song does not constitute a copyright infringement, especially when the concepts portrayed by the terms are common in current society. In order to show copyright infringement the similaries must not only be substantial but must pertain to elements able to be identifed as able to be copyrighted.
People or companies who are concerned about their copyright protections and how to manage them effectively might find it helpful to talk with a lawyer to understand some of the details in this area of law.
Source: Forbes, "Taylor Swift Shakes Off Another Copyright Infringement Suit Over Lyrics," Michelle Fabio, February 15, 2018