To begin: Musicians Algorithmically Generate Every Possible Melody, Release Them to Public Domain
Two programmer-musicians wrote every possible MIDI melody in existence to a hard drive, copyrighted the whole thing, and then released it all to the public in an attempt to stop musicians from getting sued.
Programmer, musician, and copyright attorney Damien Riehl, along with fellow musician/programmer Noah Rubin, sought to stop copyright lawsuits that they believe stifle the creative freedom of artists.
It will be interesting to see the outcome if and when this archive is cited as evidence in court.Often in copyright cases for song melodies, if the artist being sued for infringement could have possibly had access to the music they're accused of copying—even if it was something they listened to once—they can be accused of "subconsciously" infringing on the original content. One of the most notorious examples of this is Tom Petty's claim that Sam Smith's “Stay With Me” sounded too close to Petty's “I Won’t Back Down." Smith eventually had to give Petty co-writing credits on their own chart-topping song, which entitled Petty to royalties.
Defending a case like that in court can cost millions of dollars in legal fees, and the outcome is never assured. Riehl and Rubin hope that by releasing the melodies publicly, they'll prevent a lot of these cases from standing a chance in court.