Jump to content

Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Gwen Stefani, Copyright Violator?

Recommended Posts



Something I've been a little curious about for awhile: on Gwen Stefani's latest album there is a direct use of a song from the musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," "If I were a Rich Man."


Yet there is not any attribution, anywhere, on the CD, indicating license of use of this song.


Is this an outright copyright violation? And if not, why not? And if a major record label can record and sell re-use of a song without any attribution to the original copyright owner, what is to prevent anyone else from doing same, with this precedent established?





Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 7
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Heya rt,


Yeah, my wife has that cd, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. You're talking about track #2, Rich Girl.


So, yeah, it's pretty obvious that she's borrowed from If I Were A Rich Man from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. Now, did she borrow a copyrighted recording? No, she made her own recording. Did she borrow a copyrighted composition?


Well, who holds the songwriter copyright for Fiddler?


But wait, this may all be moot, as you have to ask how much did she borrow? Is there a limit to how much you can borrow before it is truly stealing?


Well, I'm not up on copyright law myself, but the friendly people over in the Biz forum may know better. In fact, a search there may turn up something interesting. (Even a search here turns up some good reads.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, looking at The Amazon listing for a 1971 recording of Fiddler, it lists the composers as Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. If you search for Rich Girl on the US copyright site , you find 3 registration numbers, one of which (PA-1-277-433) lists Bock and Sheldon as authors. Thus she has properly included them in her derivative work.


Now, does that excuse her for not mentioning anything on the cd liner?


(Er, the link is to a 2001 rerelease of the 71 soundtrack.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by RicBassGuy:

Now, does that excuse her for not mentioning anything on the cd liner?)

Ok, so I took a look at the cd liner. Since this is a derivative work, the original authors hold the copyright and they are appropriately acknowledged as authors. Evidently this is all that is necessary. (Well, I'm sure she had to get permission before she even started.) I think this is what David was getting at: she didn't have to include the original copyright notice. That kind of thing is a "nicety". (Of course, maybe I missed it in all the tiny print for the credits of the song?)


I found the "copyright myths" link in this thread helpful, along with the links from that link. :freak:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...