Stealing Greatness

Did Irving Berlin plagiarize “God Bless America”?

As Jody Rosen says in the liner notes from a recent re-release of “When Mose with his Nose Leads the Band” (Reboot Stereophonic): “A decade later, Baline had a new name, Irving Berlin, an exalted place among popular songwriters, and a habit of interpolating bits of half-remembered songs into his own numbers,” which is exactly what he did when he wrote “God Bless America” in 1918.

Or did he remix small elements of other popular music to create something new?

Something to think about as media companies press Congress for changes to copyright laws giving them absolute and total control over every note of music, every frame of video.

plagiarism, copyright, fair use