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Software Could Pave the Way to End Tune Plagiarism

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A researcher from Goldsmiths, University of London, and an expert on cover versions and music re-mixes from the Institute of Musicology at the University of Hamburg have used cognitive similarity algorithms to predict the outcome of court cases involving music plagiarism. Goldsmiths' Daniel Mullensiefen developed software with Hamburg's Marc Pendzich that correctly predicted 90 percent of court decisions during tests involving 20 U.S. cases.

The software uses a number of similarity algorithms to model court decisions for cases involving allegations of melodic plagiarism. Mullensiefen and Pendzich believe the software could potentially replace a jury and expert witnesses in court. "Also, on a very popular level, you could claim that the software can detect melodic plagiarism in popular music automatically," Mullensiefen says. "Thus, in principle, we could develop this into a business where songwriters and music publishers submit songs and we test against a database whether there are any highly similar pre-existing melodies in it."

Mullensiefen and Pendzich plan to study more U.S. plagiarism lawsuits and also test the software on cases in the United Kingdom and Germany.

From Goldsmiths, University of London
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