8 Dumbest Lawsuits In The History Of The Music Industry

6. Artist Sued For Using Silence

Numerous lawsuits are filed each year because someone infringed on someone else's work--this chord structure to this song sounds too much like that of another song, etc. But it's rare that a musician is sued for their song's lack of similar sounds. Or rather, lack of sounds at all. Mike Batt, leader of the band The Planets, was sued for infringing on a classical composition by John Cage called 4'33", which was literally four minutes and thirty-three seconds of complete silence. Batt's song, "A One Minute Silence," was considered suspect because it also happened to be a song composed of absolutely nothing. Batt was such a stand-up guy that he'd even credited Cage with co-writing his piece, giving homage to Cage's version of silence because true artists are weird as hell. The Cage Estate responded to his kind gesture by trying to sue the pants off him. Ultimately, they settled this out of court with Batt "donating" an undisclosed six figure sum to The John Cage Trust. According to Batt, the gigantic ransom donation was given in recognition of his "own personal respect for John Cage" and his "brave and sometimes outrageous approach to artistic experimentation in music." And also his stupid and outrageous approach to civil action.
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Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeTrowbridge.