The world wide web is all abuzz this week with tales of high-profile plagiarism. First, actor Shira LeBoof was outed for stealing his short film from a comic book, and then he lifted an apology right off Yahoo Answers. Now, the music lawyers are at it again—accusing the sweetest most innocent boy band One Direction of plagiarizing a Def Leppard song.
Most likely, the bands’ respective publishers will have a protracted legal battle, with Mp3′s and score sheets submitted as evidence, a back-to-back listening party, and maybe even testimony from Def themselves.
The similarities between One Direction’s recent release “Midnight Memories” and Def Leppard’s 80s hit “Pour Some Sugar on Me” are numerous and obvious. They are in the same key, use the same I IV V chord progression, have the same attitude, melodies, rhythm, feel, instrumentation, and the hook is almost exact. Click on the two clips below to compare.
If Ray Parker Jr. had to pay Huey Lewis and the News for merely stealing the bassline to “I Want a New Drug” and using it in “Ghostbusters” (a superior song in every way), then surely the case of One Direction vs. Def Leppard will be settled in favor of the plaintiff.
In the old days, what One Direction did would be called “Variations on a Theme by Def Leppard” and that would be that—one composer paying tribute to another by appropriating their melodies. But any successful band is a business, and international bands like 1D are used to endless litigation. That’s why we have music lawyers in the first place—to squeeze a little more money out of our crappy music.
Picasso didn’t copy, he stole. So too, Shia.
And hey, even Weird Al Einstein stole. He didn’t even footnote!
One Direction “Midnight Memories”
Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
Huey Lewis and the News “I Want a New Drug”
Ray Parker Jr. “Ghostbusters”