So…I recently composed a song. Distributed the sheet music, let people have recordings of my song. I was quite proud of it.
Except, now there’s a problem. I have discovered, too late, after the fact, that part of my song rather closely - unintentionally - resembles part of another song already produced, copyrighted and published by another author. (Similarity in music only, not lyrics.)
I realize this question is almost impossible to answer without providing a recording of my song so that people can listen to it and listen to this other author’s song (which I don’t want to do,) but…just how much accidental, unintentional similarity is OK? I don’t want to get sued for “plagiarism” over what is completely unintentional similarity.
Is “50% similarity” OK? 65%?
Also, just out of sheer curiosity, how exactly would such a legal suit work, anyway? Does a court judge sit down, put on headphones, listen to two pieces of music, and then say, “Too similar! Rule in favor of plaintiff?”