One of the most striking examples is John Fogarty getting sued by his own publishing company because "The Old Man Down the Road" resembled "Run Through The Jungle"
This is a case of being sued for copying YOURSELF. Yes, Fogerty’s former publishing company sued him because “This Old Man Down The Road” and “Run Through The Jungle” (which he released with CCR 15 years prior) sounded so similar.
The tongue-in-cheek summation of the litany is as follows:
The moral of the story is, if you’re going to steal, steal from Tom Petty.
The floodgates of copyright litigation aren’t going to suddenly open because of this case,12 for two reasons. First, access, access, access, access, access, access. Access is usually very hard to prove. Remember, most of the proof of access rests with the alleged infringer, who has little incentive to remember any exposure he or she may have had to the underlying work. Usually, people won’t bring a case for copyright infringement unless they feel very confident about proving access. - See more at: http://ipbreakdown.com/blog/the-lines-of-copyright-infringement-have-always-been-blurred/#sthash.pbQjOtI3.dpuf
Kind of gets back (indirectly) to a quote from Dan Deacon featured at this blog about how you either want to be so wealthy you can pay licensing fees upfront to sample something well-known or you go so esoteric with brevity and manipulation of sound samples nobody has any idea who you sampled from.
If someone were to build a song entirely out of samples of pop songs but all the hooks were fiddled into their respective retrograde inversions the hooks would probably lose all their catchiness and since nobody would recognize the hooks for what they were ... maybe somebody could test that out?
Not planning to, personally, just pointing out that there's a long history of appropriation and mutation. T. S. Eliot may have opined that good poets imitate and great poets steal but ,well, it's the weekend so we're not gonna try to get too detailed about that. :)
Besides, had Dean not decided to talk in front of a camera this week was originally slated to be a discussion of sonata form in early 19th century guitar literature. It's too bad, Justin Dean, had you not opted to talk in front of a camera around the anniversary of World Magazine breaking that story about RSI and Driscoll's book ... this blog could have provided a possibly helpful break-down of the use of thematic delineation and development in an early 19th century guitar sonata.