Fed-up by silly copyright lawsuits plaguing the industry, two musician-programmers have written every possible MIDI melody in existence – and released it all to the commons.
Programmer, musician, and attorney Damien Riehl, along with fellow musician-programmer Noah Rubin, saved all the music in a hard drive.
The two then released the melodies into the public domain using a Creative Commons Zero license.
This means they have “no rights reserved” for the material. Anyone is free to use the melodies without fear of being sued.
The two hope their efforts discourage copyright lawsuits that stifle creativity.
There have been a number of questionable high-profile music copyright-infringement cases over the past few years.
In 2013, a federal jury decided that Katy Perry’s 2013 single “Dark Horse” infringes on a song by Christian rapper, Flame.
In a lawsuit, the rapper insisted that Perry’s song had the same beat and instrumental elements as his 2009 song “Joyful Noise.”
This was despite Perry’s assertion that – like many – she didn’t know the song and had never heard of the rapper.
Ultimately, Perry, her collaborators, and her record company were forced to pay the rapper $2.7 million for damages.
Many in the songwriting community were crushed by the obvious lack of musical knowledge involved in the jury’s decision, Riehl and Rubin included.
The two figure their commons license could protect musicians from being sued for “copying” songs they’ve never heard.
Countless songwriters hope the scheme works!