One time in my Honors class we had a discussion about Copyright and how it sometimes limited amateurs from creating Remixes and stuff and posting them on YouTube. It was pointed out that remix has been part of music for CENTURIES.
The Death chant from the Middle Ages, Dies Irea, is in SO MANY things. It's in Berlioz' "Symphony Fantasitique"; it's in the modern piece based off of the first written story "The Epic of Gilgamesh" by Robert W. Rumbelow; it can be heard in the soundtrack of the horror movie "The Ring." This is merely scratching the surface of ONE piece.
Vanilla Ice was, well, iced for using David Bowie & Queen's bass riff from "Under Pressure". I agree this was proper punishment. What he did was wrong. This is why copyright is important, but what about the amateurs? Amateur literally means "for the love." I'm talking about people who take other people's works and mix them up and create something new, but give credit where credit is due, and don't make money off of it. They do it simply because they love it.
Videos are taken off YouTube everyday for using other people's copyrighted works. They didn't SELL the song, they aren't making a profit, they aren't making free copies for people's iPods, they aren't taking the credit for writing it. Honestly, it's free advertisement for song writers. I can't even tell you how many times I've been on YouTube and heard a remix and bought one of the original songs, or saw some homemade trailer for a movie I was never interested in, but then saw the movie because of it. I'm not saying I'm anti-copyright. It's important for artists to receive credit and the money from their creations. As a musician I am fully supportive of this. I just think that Creative Commons has a good idea. Check out this talk by Larry Lessig. He explains it better than I do.
Pretty much what I'm trying to say is there are only 12 notes total. That's it. That's all we have to work with from the dawn of time to today. There are only so many ways to mix it up. Do the math you math people. So I found this video that illustrates how the same four chords in the same order and rhythm can be traced through popular music history. Eat that copyright people! Get Creative Commons!!!