The Sanremo Festival 2022 is about to start and, if you are a fan or one of those who says “no, I do not follow Sanremo”, it is undeniable that it is one of the most important events in Italian music, broadcast live on television, in Eurovision, and live on radio.
In the history of the 71 editions of the Italian Song Festival there have been many songwriters who have found inspiration from previous songs… there are about 200 plagiarisms! And these are pieces that have made the history of music, not only Italian but also international.
During the editions some plagiarism has been confirmed, others, however, have remained only a simple accusation of the moment.
After all, it is known to everyone that one of the most difficult things to prove from a legal point of view is the plagiarism of a song. In fact, the real problem is the lack of general criteria to identify a case of plagiarism!
There are no precise rules that indicate the threshold of recognizability of a plagiarized musical composition and each circumstance is different from the other.
And the notes are 7, not few…
Waiting for the next complaints and debates, we list the most controversial cases of plagiarism – or supposed cases – of the Festival of the last years, even the most unexpected!
Marco Masini and Laura Pausini
Among the most embarrassing situations of these years we cannot fail to mention there is the case of Marco Masini. His “L’uomo volante”, winner of the 2004 edition of the Sanremo Festival, had been accused of plagiarism for a similarity in the chorus of the song “E ritorno da te” (2001) by Laura Pausini.
In 2019, then, Marco Masini was the protagonist of another scandal, but this time he was the target. In fact, Ultimo, competing at the Festival with the song “I tuoi particolari”, which was already enjoying great success on the radio and on iTunes, had been accused of having copied Masini.
The song, in the chorus part, seemed to look like one of his lyrics, “Che giorno è”, presented on the Ariston stage in 2015! Masini had “exonerated” Ultimo declaring: “There is a melodic similarity as with a hundred other songs but harmonically it has nothing to do with it, I did not even notice the similarity. I support him and his beautiful lyric.”
Noemi and Giorgio Faletti
A particular case in which the text of one song were inspired in ambiguous way by another artist took place at the Sanremo Festival 2016.
In that year Noemi had been given a “Tapiro” by those of “Striscia la notizia” because her lyric “La borsa di una donna” looked very similar not only in the title – “Nella borsa di una donna” – but also in various passages of the text to a song published by the writer and actor Giorgio Faletti in 2013.
Both pieces, in fact, start from the assumption that women carry in their bags all their lives – from lipstick to the house keys that recall a love, a memory or a hope – in a fascinating confusion that only they can understand.
Many passages seem inspired by Faletti’s song, so much that in the first press conference of the Sanremo Festival 2016 some journalists had requested information to the artistic director Carlo Conti, who had been very elusive: “I will look into it. We’ll let you know…”.
Enrico Ruggeri and “’O sarracino”
Not even Enrico Ruggeri, one of the most important names in the Italian music scene – singer, songwriter, writer, television and radio host – with a wealth of experience and a career that dates back to the 70s, was spared from accusations of plagiarism!
During the Sanremo Festival 2014, in fact, immediately after his first verse “La balalajka, la balalajka…”, many had continued to sing the verse with the words “Bellu guaglione!”, a phrase of the song “‘O sarracino” by the great Renato Carosone.
A truly evident similarity!
Fabrizio Moro and Ermal Meta
Among the most famous supposed plagiarism of the Sanremo Festival we also mention a “self-plagiarism“. What is it exactly?
There is no need to go too far back in time. Surely you remember the controversy of the 2016 edition on the winning couple of the Festival, Fabrizio Moro and Ermal Meta.
For the refrain of their “Non mi hai fatto niente” sung during the selections of Sanremo Giovani 2016 similar to “Silenzio”(by Ambra Calvani and Gabriele De Pascali), the two winners had been suspended for one evening, waiting a final decision.
At the end their case had not been identified as plagiarism and the Festival commission had decided not to exclude them from the competition, even if the song was not entirely unpublished. The two songs were in fact signed by the same author!
Achille Lauro and “Rolls Royce”
A few hours before the final evening of the event, “Rolls Royce” by Achille Lauro, one of the most controversial characters of the Sanremo Festival 2019, was immediately compared to “1979”, a poignant ballad by the Smashing Pumpkins, published in ’95.
Achille Lauro himself replied to the provocation, who did not seem to have taken it too much: “I have recently learned about these rumors. I’m honored, maybe! I thank you for the juxtaposition, but my song has nothing to do with that, musically, and its melodic line is quite different».
But it didn’t end there and a second chapter opened shortly after.
Co-protagonist of the story this time was a Roman band, Enter, which had appealed to the Court of Imperia, asking for the exclusion of Achille Lauro’s song from the competition or suspension from the Festival, because according to them “Rolls Royce” was a plagiarism of a song by the same group.
According to the band’s lawyer, the guitar part of Achille Lauro’s song that begins at minute 1 was perfectly superimposable to the Enter piece.
That year Mahmood won with “Soldi”, while Achille Lauro finished in ninth place.
Tecla and her “8 marzo”
“Only for me the intro is very reminiscent of Vasco? ‘I want to make sense of this story‘ …” had commented on a user. Some second later, another Twitter user wrote: “March 8 begins as a sense of Vasco Rossi!!!“.
During the Sanremo Festival 2020 Tecla, the young winner of Sanremo Giovani, had been accused on social media for her “May 8” because, according to some, it looked too much like “Un senso” by Vasco Rossi (2004)
The song sparked further controversy for the fact that it is about women but is written by five men. The authors are in fact Pietro Romitelli, Rory Di Benedetto, Emilio Munda, Rosario Canale and Marco Vito. Someone on social media had even thundered “You are clowns!“.
Colapesce, Dimartino and “Musica leggerissima”
“Musica leggerissima” is one of the examples that the success of a song is not decided by the Festival. In fact, despite being ranked fourth at the San Remo Festival 2021, it soon became a great summer hit so much so that it won the SIAE award of RTL 102.5!
Perhaps, however, not everyone knows that since their first performance among the 13 Big, for the Sicilian singer-songwriter Lorenzo Urciullo, aka Colapesce, and for Antonio Di Martino, known simply as Dimartino, the first accusations of plagiarism have arrived.
According to what was read on social media, the song brought by the two artists had a familiar sound, similar to “We are the people” by Empire of the Sun.
Someone else, however, claimed that the intro of “Musica leggerissima” was almost identical to “Son of a king” by Cesare Cremonini.
Maneskin and “Zitti e buoni”
Last and memorable, always in 2021, the case that concerned the Maneskin, the winners of the Sanremo Festival 2021 and the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 for their hit “Zitti e buoni”.
Even their band has not been spared from the accusations and has been compared to “F.D.T.” by Anthony Laszlo, in particular for a similarity in the refrain, where both songs repeat the phrase “fuori di testa” several times.
Sony Music Italy, Måneskin’s record company, had taken it upon itself to make public an official report to reject suspicions of plagiarism for “Zitti e buoni”.
In fact, they stated that the mere coincidence of the words “fuori di testa” is an insufficient element as it itself is used in different notes and metrics.
But the Roman band will not be the last… Who knows what we should expect from the stage of the Ariston this year, we’ll see! Learn more about Tutelio and its battles against plagiarism in defense of copyright here.