How Much Of Media Is Really Copycat These Days?

Led Zeppelin did not steal the beginning riff of “Stairway to Heaven,” a jury says -- but copycat media will continue to go on. Don’t worry; this story has a happy ending.

Music historians have noted that musical themes have been borrowed, modified, or yes, even stolen, for centuries. In a much shorter business life span, TV, movies, and other media have not been immune to this activity, either.

TV producers continue to develop shows borrowing formats and ideas from each other.

You can see why music always seems to come under the tougher microscope. Key elements such as a short melody line can speak volumes about an entire song, the main issue for “Stairway to Heaven.”

In the case of "Stairway," the jury decided it did not contain “enough” similarities to “Taurus” to decide in favor of the estate of Randy Wolfe, who wrote the second song. That word “enough” seems key -- similarities did exist.



Looking at TV and other media, especially in recent years with the explosive growth digital media and platforms, it seems as if more of these problems should work their way into TV-video production.

For years, TV advertisers complained about “copycat” programming -- and for sure, some TV producers have started up lawsuits from time to time.  

Did you worry “The Voice” might have been stealing from “American Idol”? Only one show had judges’ chairs that turned around, and teamed up singers together.  You can add any other  reality competition show to the mix here.

Will Harry Connick Jr.’s new syndicated talk show be really different? Maybe a regular musical segment might offer up some new daytime talk flavor.

TV producers claim they are breaking new ground. But that may not be what people want.  Here's the good news: Consumers are happy with stuff that sounds and looks familiar, but is slightly different.

Not comfort food; comfort media.

It’s all in the song: “And if you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last... Ooh, it makes me wonder.”

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