Free Essay

Music Industry Song Copy

In: Film and Music

Submitted By boxerboy
Words 717
Pages 3
Vaughan Cohen
Musical Copyright Infringement
October 23, 2012
Prof. Hichborn

Dillinger Four's "Doublewhiskeycokenoice” vs. Green Day’s “American Idiot”
On September 21st, 2004, Green Day released their album “American Idiot,” a work that many believed to the catalyst for their comeback in the early 2000s. The album, released by Reprise Records and produced by their longtime partner Rob Cavallo, achieved huge success worldwide, charting in 27 countries and topping at number one in 19 of them, including the United States and the United Kingdom. American Idiot has sold over 14 million copies worldwide, over 6 million copies of which were in the United States alone, including 267,000 in its opening week (Gunderson, 2008). The album went on to be such a huge success, that in 2010 a Broadway musical was created based on the album, creatively entitled, “American Idiot; The Musical.”
Five of the singles on this smash-hit album reached Platinum certification by the RIAA, possibly the most popular being the song entitled “American Idiot.” Among an array of other accolades, “American Idiot” was nominated for four Grammy Awards and was a number one on the charts for an impressive thirteen weeks, and in turn, no doubt brought a huge amount of financial success to the writers and composers of the composition. According to The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), there are three original writers of this composition, being Billy Joe Armstrong (singer), Mike Pritchard (bassist) and an outside collaborator, Frank E. Wright. The publishers listed are Green Haze Music and W B Music Corp. In addition, according to the U.S. Copyright Office, the claimant of the copyright to the entire collection of songs on the “American Idiot” album is Reprise Records.
After all of the success that this song has brought Green Day and Reprise Records, in comes as a huge surprise that no lawsuit has been brought against either of them for the complete robbery of “American Idiot’s” entire composition from a band named Dillinger Four. In 1998, Dillinger Four released their album Midwestern Songs of America. The seventh track on this CD was entitled “Doublewiskeyandcokenoice,” and the similarities between this track and “American Idiot” are outstanding. According to the BMI repertoire, the writers and composers of “Doublewhiskeyandcokenoice” are Patrick Costello (singer), Erik Funk (guitarist), William Mirrisette (guitarist) and Lane Pedersen (drums) and the listed publisher is Unemployed Music.
However, after searching the U.S. Copyright database using all three alternate titles for “Doublewhiskeyandcokenoice,” no results were released; and this is how I believe Green Day was able to get away with the blatant theft of Dillinger Four’s music. Right from the opening guitar rift “Doublewiskeyandcokenoice” it is extremely obvious that Green Day ripped Dillinger Four off. As the song continues and Patrick Costello begins to sing, even the melody he is singing is almost identical to the melody Billy Joe Armstrong sings in “American Idiot.” Billy Joe claims he was inspired to write “American Idiot after hearing the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "That's How I Like It" on his car radio and said "we were like, 'Let's just go balls-out on the guitar sound—plug in the Les Pauls and Marshalls and let it rip'.” (Holiday 2004) Nowhere was Dillinger Four credited for its enormous contribution to “American Idiot” and too this day, Billy Joe and Green Day claim only their musical genius as the roots for this huge smash hit. Whether it is because Dillinger Four is a relatively unknown 90’s punk band, or because the song may not be copyrighted, a lawsuit was never brought against Green Day for the obvious copyright infringement found on this track. After looking even deeper into Green Day’s theft, there are examples splattered all over the Internet of Green Day stealing music from other artists for their album “American Idiot.” After all, the actual reason for the appearance of the album “American Idiot” was because Green Day’s work-in-progress album “Cigarettes and Valentines” had almost all of the songs stolen from them pre-release, and after the mess, the band decided not to re-record the album. Maybe they felt payback was justified, and it definitely paid off.


di Perna, Alan. "Combat Rock". Guitar World (Holiday 2004).

Gundersen, Edna (September 29, 2004). "Green Day hits No. 1". USA Today. Retrieved July 28, 2008.

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