Most people know the theme song used in the movie "Ghostbuster's" - written by Ray Parker Jr, features a ripp-off of the bass line from "I Want A New Drug" by Huey Lewis and the News, (both of which are excellent songs IMO) and that it provoked an out of court settlement.
So what other specific songs can you think of that - in your opinion, feature riffs or melodies that seem to be direct ripp-offs or bear a striking resemblance to music created by other artists? (This excludes many hip-hop tracks or songs like "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice which clearly uses a direct cut of the bassline from "Under Pressure" by Queen w/David Bowie). You can't really patent say a three-note melody like the NBC chimes - I don't think. I'm certain you can't patent the 2-note octave melody that opens "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Most good musicians borrow from others to some extent - but find a way to make it their own in an original way. Here's just a few I can think of:
-The main four-chord guitar riff in "Long Division" by Fugazi is a simplified version of the first five notes from "Pomp and Circumstance" by Edward Elgar.
-"Pearl Necklace" by ZZ Top has a bass line that is almost exactly the same as the bass line in "Shattered" by The Rolling Stones which preceded ZZ's song by two years.
-"Hello, I Love You", by the Doors, is a well known ripp-off of "All Day and All of the Night" by the Kinks.
-"In Time" by Robbie Robb, from the "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" soundtrack has the same four note bass line as "With or Without You" by U2, although it kinda falls into the category of something too generic to have any grounds on which to consider it a ripp-off.
-"Drown" by Smashing Pumpkins from the "Singles" soundtrack features a dreamy interlude part that is very reminiscent of parts from "Us and Them" by Pink Floyd.