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Bright Tunes Musi Corp. v. Harrisongs Music, Ltd., 420 F.Supp. 177 (1976) p.426


copyright infringment: musical composition


Similarities between two musical compositions. Action was brought claiming that song My Sweet Lord was plagiarized from He's So Fine.


Whether the defendant copied plaintiff's song.


Copyright violation can occurr subconsciously.


The District Court, Owen, J., held that inasmuch as My Sweet Lord is the same song as He's So Fine with different words, and composer of My Sweet Lord had access to He's So Fine, copyright was infringed even though subconsciously accomplished.


Although the defendant did not intentionally copy plaintiff's song, he had heard it before (satisfying access element), and it appears that there was subconscious infringement. Inasmuch as composer of song My Sweet Lord had access to an earlier successful song He's So Fine, and the songs were the same with different words, copyright was infringed even though composer of My Sweet Lord did not deliberately use the music of He's So Fine.


Do not get inference of access when the work is not widely disseminated

Created on: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 at 18:55:30 (PDT)

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