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There is a keyboard accompaniment that I heard once on a Wurlitzer home spinet organ that sounded beautiful. I want to create variations on that accompaniment and turn it into a song. If I publish such a song, can Wurlitzer do anything?

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  • I bet if they’ll be grateful if you write a reference to Wurlitzer marking the model of the organ as source of your arrangement. Jun 8, 2020 at 10:52
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    I’m voting to close this question because legal issues are off topic.
    – Aaron
    Aug 21 at 4:26
  • Copyright and legal issues are off topic here. Closing.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Aug 21 at 22:16

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I’m far from an expert on copyright law but organ and keyboard accompaniments are usually fairly generic chords or arpeggios, bass lines and drum beats. Music copyright cases are almost always based on copying a melody although copying a portion of a recording or a very distinct groove can lead to a lawsuit too (1,000,000 rappers vs James Brown or I Want a New Drug vs Ghostbusters).

In your case ask yourself how similar your piece is to the Wurlitzer accompaniment and if there is any melodic content there that you are using exactly as is. You mentioned variations, that would probably be enough to not draw a direct comparison.

The other thing to consider is what motivation would Wurlitzer have in pursuing a case against you when these accompaniment styles are not songs.

Here is an article about Yamaha suing 4 other keyboard manufacturers for using their accompaniments, called “style data”. However this is a case of a direct competitor stealing information to use in their own products.

https://archive.yamaha.com/en/news_release/2008/20080508.html

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