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27 February 2007 @ 08:39 pm
Yoko Kanno = Plagiarism?  
So I was going to play some Civ 4 with Nico and the gang today and I heard a familiar song coming from his room. I was like "oh hey, you're playing Hooverphonic." and Nico was like "zuh."

Turns out the song he was listening to was Cyberbird from Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex (2002). I listened for a little bit and I was pretty freaking astounded. This was exactly like Battersea, from Blue Wonder Power Milk (1998). It had the same instruments, same tempo, same drum beat, same key, same kind of singing... so after I listened to THAT SONG, I connected to my library through iTunes and played Battersea. Everyone was like "you are totally playing the same song Jeffrey you must be joking."

But man. I mean, the songs are different enough... but in terms of style, Yoko Kanno's got some serious steeeeeaaaaling going on. Take a look for yourself:

Battersea

Cyberbird

edit I was totally beaten by a lot.
 
 
Matt: Mayo Sad.whitenoise on February 28th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
Oh man. This is depressing. :(
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on February 28th, 2007 05:18 am (UTC)
Check out the sample comparisons on that thread. She must copy like all of her music.

I wouldn't call it plagiarism. She does compose her own stuff. It's just, the style is SO amazingly similar that it tests the limits of intellectual property. Makes me lose a lot of respect for her.
Psycho Joe: Rockpsyjoe_dilandau on February 28th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
I always thought her Cowboy Bebop work was more inspired by other works that sounded alike, but this is really sad considering her diverse styles.
Things could always be worse.lildogg on February 28th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
i don't know why but that really really scares me a lot...
steakhouse3 on March 19th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
Your not the only one, was pretty freaky. You still play civ 4 jeff? Probally one of my top 3 games. Perhaps we can have a game if u still play? Battersea Glaziers
James: !captaincanada on February 28th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
Wow, awesome find. Not exactly DEPRESSING, but yikes...sad that she completely jacked Hyperballad.

Interesting this should come up today, too...Felix sent me this earlier (not quite the same, but some of the reactions are pretty similar).
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on February 28th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, but that's SAMPLING, not copping the groove. It's really obvious that Daft Punk remixed things like for HBFS... that's why the album's called "Discovery," anyway. It's a discovery of stuff they listened to as kids.
James: hall and oates - radiocaptaincanada on February 28th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC)
Oh I knows, huge difference music-wise...I just thought it was funny the way some guys were like I CAN NEVER LISTEN TO HARDER BETTER NOW:O~^~%@~% a la the other thread.
こんとんkay0ss on February 28th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
UH OHHH
Elliott Kelleyhastis_epigeios on February 28th, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)
even though they're the same, they're still very different.
the only 2 things that are really the same are the drum beat and the key. the tempo, instruments, chords, melodies, voices, words, and moods, are all different.
and they're not different in the sense that they're exactly the same with one minor difference. it's like Yoko Kanno created everything from scratch using Battersea as a guide, rather than using battersea as a template; and so while everything is very similar, everything is still very different.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on February 28th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
Dude I can safely say that the tempo, instruments, chords, melodies, voice, and mood are very similar. They were made to sound like Battersea. I don't really know what you're talking about otherwise.
Elliott Kelleyhastis_epigeios on February 28th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
the point i'm making is that they're very similar, but not the same. they are different enough to be called different songs.
Cyberbird's tempo is 5-10 bpm faster. Cyberbird's chords and melodies go up when Battersea's go down. Battersea's vocals are highlighted sad, while Cyberbird's are highlighted energetic. a couple of cyberbird's instruments are completely different from Battersea's, while the rest are mildly different. Cyberbird even has a couple minutes of stuff that has nothing to do with Battersea, other than the placement of those couple minutes (when there's no vocals)

meaning, it's not copying, and it's not plagiarism, but you're definitely right that it's stealing (since she doesn't credit the original songs).

but also, by simply being aware of the fact that her songs are based off of other people's songs, you can see that she still has her own style.


basically, if she credited the original songs, there would be nothing wrong with it, and she would still be considered a good composer.
but... she doesn't. so... yeah.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on February 28th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I guess that's what I'm getting at. I just remembered while walking to class today that I still mentioned "plagiarism" in this blog, and yeah, it's not that. Later in my vlog I just mentioned it's unoriginality and that's sort of sad.
Yidnethyidneth on July 13th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
in escaflowne there's a song with the same chords bed that HOtel california the super well knwon song, i mean is as if a girl is singing another thing over the backing tracks of Hotel california
in Arjuna we can find Edward Scissorhands
in Loddoss war, Adieums
and so forth
i actually like some of her staff quite a lot, but i agree she should credit better her sources
Meredith Grangranulac on February 28th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
haha that sucks. :(
placidian on May 28th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
This thread is ancient, but I just found it.
It's little depressing, similar to when I became aware that Led Zeppelin did a lot of uncredited borrowing.

I've read in interviews with film music composers that many times they're given (by the director?) a 'temp' score of other composers' music, and asked to do something similar.
But wow, the examples (from the forum link, and youtube) are way beyond similar. Maybe her workload is too much!

Now that I think of it, I also recall a web page devoted to listing all of the times Keith Emerson had borrowed/riffed on classical melodies, etc. A VERY long list, ha! Many his influences are in the public domain, tho.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous) on February 10th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Re: ...
I agree that it's disappointing. But I don't agree that it's shocking and actually "stealing". It is moral hypocrisy to be so nitpicking about it, or else you wouldn't link to Youtube for legally uncovered samples or offer whole mp3s for download to compare. That's just pathetic, but this bigotry can be found all over the net. A mob has found a victim for accusations and because the accused one is talented, everything is made more shocking and terrible than it usually would be.

I think she is still a great composer who has done dozens of pieces and songs by herself and I also think that this plagiarism is actually covered either by some agreements or "rules".
xomilkylovexoxomilkylovexo on July 7th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Cyber Bird
I believe that everyone regardless of what arts industry they are in has to have some inspiration or influences. Although I was surprised by the very similar tunes Kanno's being the faster of the 2 songs, maybe it was just her take on the song.

Either way if it was outright plagerism that would be very sad. I did like both songs though.

Do you offer opinions on Bjork's Hyper Ballad and Where does the Ocean go? Also another Kanno track.

exirehg: Words We Could Never Sayexirehg on August 14th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
Gah, I love Yoko Kanno, this is somewhat depressing. I don't think anything groundbreakingly bad will happen to her though. Watch some of Kill Bill, especially the inside looks Quentin says in the DVD. He obviously just sort of took stuff from things he was influenced by. Well, he stole them and used them in his movie frankly. But he's not being sued and nobody really seems to care all that much. If Quentin Tarantino is unfazed, then I doubt Kanno would be either.

Different songs, but you can tell she was influenced. Hopefully she doesn't do that sort of thing too often...
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on August 14th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
It does happen often. Take a look at what I linked in my edit.
(Anonymous) on May 31st, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
check this

http://www.whosampled.com/sample/view/9493/Yoko%20Kanno-Cyberbird_Hooverphonic-Battersea/
(Deleted comment)
dewaasheid on April 25th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
In this case 0952 is actually newer than Rakuen. And I wouldn't call this case plagiarism either, and I don't think Rakuen was even an inspirational source for 0952
sonedo on April 26th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
So it is, sorry and thanks for the correction. Won't happen again.
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)
...
hey, Im a Yoko kanno fan since I can remember... ive been researching about YK and came across this thread. I always had a kind of expectation towards YK, but when I think about it, most of the songs I heard from her gave me this feeling of familiarity,,, as if I heard it from somewhere else, I thought one time that that must be the reason why I like her so much because I heard her songs somewhere before or the structure of the melody is somewhat universal..... acutally the hyperballad from Bjork (not a fan) VS where does this ocean go?, gave me the creeps, like, ughh, what is this?.. Guess I should be careful when listening i guess. True enough YKs style and feel is unique,, but I dont know, something is just wrong, I dont know if its with her or with people not liking her, Im just saying maybe theres something that I dont know.
(Anonymous) on August 26th, 2010 03:29 am (UTC)
Re: ...
Old thread, but not a dead thread ;-).

I have no problem with any of this. I'm a huge YK fan. I think I had already read somewhere when I first discovered her that she sometimes mimics genres and specific songs, and since she's a soundtrack artist primarily I don't find that surprising at all. In many cases I would assume someone says, "we want music that sounds like _this_ for our movie, only different enough we don't get sued".

I like her stuff, basically, I don't really care if she listens to Bolero 80 times then rights a cool song based on it. Now if every single one of her works were reinterpretations of an existing tune, that would bum me out a bit, but I don't think that's the case.
(Anonymous) on October 28th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Certainly not a dead thread :) I came across the similarities just this week, although I have been a huge YK-fan because of her 'diversity'.

Like someone else put it on another site, I still am a fan, but because of her lack of originality I can't just openly listen to her music anymore.

And that's a shame, because it's like all the popmusic these days, you don't do something REALLY different with the song (like sampling or covering), it just won't be fun to listen to. I admired her immense range as a composer, but it's just a wide range of musical interest.

It's not cool to find out her her major hits are blatent ripoffs of older material. Then again, it does solve the mystery of how she can switch styles so easily no?

Suprised I don't see any fanboy reacting on this thread..
Aaron WeissAaron Weiss on February 10th, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
reality
as a pianist and a composer/arranger (and a fan of kanno's work) i have to say many of you are overreacting big time. 'cyberbird' is obviously heavily influenced by 'battersea' just as 'where does this ocean go' is moderately influenced by 'hyperballad.' songs can have the same beats, keys, chord changes, everything except the main hook/melody can be the same before it becomes actual theft.

there are dozens of old blues songs that use nothing but I, IV, and V chords (many of which are in the same key) but no one will ever accuse any of their writers of copying each other. and i find it unfair to say this case is different because the pieces are much more intricate in their composition than a simple 12 bar blues tune. it would be mildly disappointing if kanno denies the similarity but i highly doubt she would do so if asked. does anyone happen to know if she has ever been confronted by any of these accusations? i'd be curious to know.

i compose for video games and of course i become influenced by veteran composers all the time (the great nobuo uematsu, for example.) maybe it would be better if all composers (especially ones who are very successful/well-known, as kanno is) would always give credit to any/all pieces that influence their new works but ultimately i just don't think it's worth throwing a fit when something like this comes to light. and even though it's beside the point...in my honest opinion any piece of kanno's that has been compared to an existing work is VASTLY superior in terms of depth, production, and overall quality.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on February 12th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
Re: reality
The forum I linked to in the post seems dead now, but you should be aware that I linked to a list of about 50 songs that Kanno seemed to play off of entirely. Sure, the songs might be in a different key and have different lyrics, but in many cases the instrumentation, production, and section-to-section flow of the songs is near-identical.
mikeakaspike on February 12th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
I liked battersea...
But as alike as they are, I love yoko kanno to a fault, she's a musical genius and in my eyes she can do no wrong. I give her a pass on this one. Whether she was "inspired" by the song I can't say. But I admit there are incredible similarities.
pinkygirl97pinkygirl97 on July 29th, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC)
If Yoko Kanno plagiarizes so much and Hooverphonic (not to mention others) really could have won a lawsuit, I wonder why they didn't do it by now...