Steve Jobs often said, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal,” which he ascribed to Pablo Picasso. Jobs’ choice of philosophy seems rather peculiar, considering that he spent his career accusing Bill Gates of stealing off of his work and wasn't exactly understanding about it. But the concept that artists learn their craft through imitating those who influence them is nothing new.
Bruno Mars says that he wouldn't be the musician he is today without spending his childhood impersonating the likes of Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Little Richard. Taylor Swift admits that her childhood admiration for Faith Hill was so strong, she copied everything about her down to what she did, said, and wore. The difference between influence and theft, however, is one that can land a lawsuit right in your lap. The problem is that it can sometimes be a very fine line between what separates the two. In the following ten cases of alleged music plagiarism, some artists concur that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, while others firmly disagree. Find out who took it all the way to the courts.
10 Def Leppard vs. One Direction
9 Jason Mraz vs. The Jonas Brothers
8 Tom Petty vs. The Red Hot Chili Peppers
7 Chuck Berry’s Producer vs. John Lennon
6 Gordon Jenkins vs. Johnny Cash
5 Madonna vs. Lady Gaga
4 The Rolling Stones vs. The Verve
3 Robin Thicke vs. Marvin Gaye’s Family
2 Queen/David Bowie vs. Vanilla Ice
1 Led Zeppelin vs. The World
Okay, “the whole world” is a bit of a stretch, but only by a bit. Led Zeppelin is known as one of the most influential rock bands ever, but what many don’t know is that they had multiple lawsuits and allegations of music plagiarism brought against them and some of their most popular tracks. The band was sued in 2010 by Jake Holmes who used to play with Page, in the 1960's and claims that he wrote Dazed and Confused in 1967. Zeppelin’s reputation is littered with many more claims of copyright infringement, from lifting lyrics from Willie Dixon’s You Need Love for their hit Whole Lotta Love down to stealing the intro to the legendary, Stairway To Heaven. Sorry, Page and Plant fans, but when it comes to giving credit where it's due, Led Zeppelin suffers from the ultimate Communication Breakdown.
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