Hey, that’s my idea

Tommy Lee has claimed Travis Scott “ripped off” his roller coaster set design.

The drummer used roller coaster set while on tour in 2011 when he did a 360-degree loop whilst strapped to his drum set, and has now claimed that rapper Travis Scott – who is currently on his ‘Astroworld’ tour – has stolen his design as his amusement park staging comes complete with a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel.

The Motley Crue rocker then took to Twitter to continue his rant, even telling Travis to “lawyer up” among other rants that you can only imagine if you know anything about Tommy

Travis’ attorney Laurie L. Soriano has already fired back at Tommy with a statement claiming there’s “no legal basis” for his claims, as Travis already acquired “all rights” to the equipment from the owner of the system, SGPS in Las Vegas. “Tommy didn’t invent the concept of a roller coaster on stage and there’s no legal basis for his accusatory outburst. The actual creator and owner of the system has granted Travis all rights to use that equipment to complement his original stage design.”

Back in April 2010, the blogospheres went amok after folksinger Joni Mitchell slandered Bob Dylan in the LA Times with a couple of kidney shots, accusing him—touché—of plagiarism. The debate over why Mitchell delivered the ultimate insult varied. “Envy” some proclaimed, while others chalked it up to interviewer Matt Diehl’s ill-advised attempt to compare Mitchell with Bob Dylan: “The folk scene you came out of had fun creating personas.

You were born Roberta Joan Anderson, and someone named Bobby Zimmerman became Bob Dylan.” And an inflamed Mitchell fired back: “Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.” Ouch. Especially coming from a one-time stage mate and friend. Regardless, “plagiarist” is a really bold word to be flicking at anyone.

While Bobby Z’s outright theft of Snow’s lyrics is indeed plagiarism, whether his later work falls under that category is a matter of debate. There’s a very fine line between what constitutes plagiarism and the thing called “pastiche” which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as, “a literary, artistic, musical, or architectural work that imitates the style of previous work,” or, “a musical, literary, or musical composition made up of selections of different works.” A good portion of Dylan’s canon falls under both of those definitions and accounts for much of his genius.

In American folk music, it’s been a long-standing tradition to cut and paste from the songs of preceding generations. It’s not only encouraged, but expected, and upon his 1961 arrival in New York, Dylan quickly proved his mastery at the form, borrowing left and right not only from his musical idol, Woody Guthrie, but from old folk songs and American blues in the public domain.

“Modern Times” (2006) became Dylan’s most controversial record in regards to blatantly lifting lyrics and melodies—without crediting the original authors. While it was nothing new for Dylan, some fans were unfamiliar with the idea of pastiche and how largely it figured into Dylan’s songwriting style. After the album’s release, scholars noted that lyrics in several songs were strikingly similar to the work of Civil War-era Confederate poet, Henry Timrod:

While Dylan borrowed fragments of Timrod’s poetry for “When the Deal Goes Down,” the melody is based on Bing Crosby’s staple hit, “Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day).” On another note, Dylan used Muddy Waters’ blues arrangement practically note for note in “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” changing most of the lyrics but keeping the title. Dozens of these instances pepper the entire album. However, the album liner notes state, “All songs written by Bob Dylan.”

Many contemporary music critics and professors argue that pastiche is the most culturally advanced form of creative expression today, which would partly account for Dylan’s massive success as a songwriter. Likewise, hip hop and DJ electronica explore pastiche with the use of samples from other songs. As far as borrowing melodies, Beck’s song “Loser” sounds frighteningly close to the Allman Brother Band’s hit “Midnight Rider,” while Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” blatantly borrowed the bass line from Queen/David Bowie’s hit “Under Pressure.”

Whether Dylan’s controversial use of other artist’s lines and melodies is ethical is the decision of the listener. But Dylan has always seen songs in the public domain as templates to build upon, and his borrowing of others’ material is more likely his way of paying tribute to those who have had a major influence on him.

And in their song “Finger Lickin’ Good,” the Beastie Boys used a sample—“I’m going back to New York City, I do believe I’ve had enough”—lifted from Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” How’s that for irony?

I remember reading a quote sometime back from Charles Colton: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

I am not sure there is anything original about any of us. “And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” – 1st Cor. 4:7

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