Olivia Rodrigo is surely leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many popular artists in the music industry.
Rodrigo is facing another copyright infringement allegations following the release of her latest album GUTS. Fans noticed the catchy pop-rock bridge of “all-american bitch,” one of the most popular songs off the album, shows an uncanny resemblance to the chorus of Miley Cyrus’ “Start All Over.”
This isn’t the first instance of Rodrigo allegedly ripping off another artist.
In 2021, a distinct similarity between the bridge of Rodrigo’s hit “déjà vu” and Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” bridge was noticed by fans.
Rodrigo couldn’t have been ignorant to knowing Swift’s hit, as Swift remains one of the largest names in the music industry to date. The similarities were even obvious to Swift, which resulted in 50 per cent of publishing royalties for “déjà vu” being awarded to Swift, along with “Cruel Summer” collaborators Jack Antonoff and Annie Clark.
Swift and co-writers were given credits on Rodrigo’s “1 step forward, 3 steps back” after interpolating the melody of Swift’s “New Year’s Day.”
Rodrigo’s inability to create her own sound continued with GUTS, as “all american bitch,” one of the most popular songs off Rodrigo’s recent album is facing accusations of ripping off pop-rock artist Miley Cyrus’ 2007 song “Start All Over.”
In an interview with The Journal, Dan School of Drama and Music Professor Kip Pegley spoke about copyright infringement in the context of sampling.
Pegley explained the sampling of a song involves taking a snippet of a recording and using it in another song. James Brown’s voice is one example of an element commonly sampled in the early years of rap music.
Sampling a song requires the artist asks for permission.
“You might need permission for the song itself, for that you may need to go to the person who wrote the song. You might need it from the owner of the song. The songwriter doesn’t necessarily hold the copyright for the recording. That could be the record label,” Pegley said.
Infringing on copyright, which differs from sampling, occurs when enough resemblance is heard to attribute it to someone else’s work, Pegley said. However, Pegley explained that it’s not a black-and-white situation as there are a variety of musical components that could be involved in copyright infringements.
According to Pegley, there isn’t a requirement of how much of a song needs to sound similar to deem a song as copied.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Rodrigo said nothing in music is ever new in reference to the commonly used four-chord progression.
Pegley disagreed, arguing there are more than four chords, and more goes into copyright infringement than chord progression.
“In the case of Rodrigo and Swift, it was that piano line that she copied from ‘New Years Day.’ So, you hear that, and I remember when I first listened to it going ‘Yeah that’s pretty similar.’ It might be using different notes, it might be in a higher key, it might be in a lower key, but even their rhythm is pretty similar,” Pegley said.
“It’s not just about chords, it’s about rhythm, it’s about pitch, it’s about key, it’s about intonation, it’s about blue notes, I could name 20 things.”
While offering the benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to understand when this is the fourth instance of copyright infringement; two of which were from one of Rodrigo’s biggest influences, Swift.
Hot takes argue the tracks really don’t resemble one another but rather the internet enjoys pitting women against each other—especially when they reside in the same genre of music.
Even still, many fans believe the bridge for “all-american bitch” to be incontestably similar to the chorus of Cyrus’ “Start All Over.” If copyright infringement comes down to hearing a resemblance to another artist’s work, perhaps Rodrigo will be dealing with a copyright issue once more.
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