So yesterday, I posted this article on the Preston Beat facebook page since I was at a bagel shop when I found out about it and couldn't exactly post a lot - but I wanted to post something. Basically, Tom Petty and his camp claimed that Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" sounds like "Won't Back Down" and is infringing copyright. Petty is now getting 12% of writing credit for the song which means he also gets part of the royalties from the song as well (ya know, conveniently, one of the biggest songs of 2014). The chorus definitely sounds the same, however both songs sound so different, you have to really sit down and sing both songs at the same time. I can see why he won the case but my question is, is it really necessary?
The thing is, pop music only uses a handful of chords - it's definitely possible that the same chord progression will be used at some point. Yes, Smith's chorus sounds very similar but if people are going to nit-pick, there's a lot of pop music out there that sound the same. Maybe Tom Petty should sue the Red Hot Chili Peppers for "Dani California" too, since it sounds very similar to "Mary Jane's Last Dance" (I even picked that up the first time I heard it). When it's deliberately stealing (*cough* Katy Perry "Roar" *cough* Sara Bareilles "Brave",) then I could see why people would pursue legal action. When every beat, chord and melody sound exactly the same. Or even if people sample their song without permission, yes, they could and should pursue legal action. But the two songs that are in question here sound so different. Does Tom Petty have copyright of that chord progression? Because maybe his camp should get on that if they care so much.