After so much history, the music world is getting old. And that makes it tough for any musician to have a completely new idea. In the pop world at this stage, it seems that maybe the best solution is to take influence from the past eras of music, from the musicians who have inspired today’s artists and shaped their music career.

But where is the line drawn when it comes to originality? What is the difference between artistic inspiration or coincidental similarity versus plain old plagiarism? These questions will only continue to pop up as the music world continues to evolve.

Lady Gaga has been sued for alleged plagiarism by a woman named Rebecca Francescatti, whose 1999 tune “Juda” sounds similar to Gaga’s hit “Judas.” The hook of both songs is somewhat identical. But Gaga’s not the only Top 40 diva being accused of being a copycat. Beyoncé’s heralded performance at the Billboard Awards was also called out not too long ago for being extraordinarily similar to that of another an Italian artist named Lorella Cuccarini who gave almost the same performance a while back. Both artists used a video as their background while they danced, and Beyoncé’s performance even included some of the same graphics as that of Cuccarini.

Beyoncé recognized that the Cuccarini was a great inspiration for her show, as her makeup artist told her about the performance which she watched on YouTube. She then met with the creative team behind it. And one of Gaga’s writers for Born This Way was a bassist who worked with Francescatti.

What this means is that now the music fan him/herself can’t expect that everything the artist does is original. Is Beyoncé’s performance perhaps less impressive now that we see it has been done before? And is “Judas” now less inventive since there is a similar track that was released years ago?

Beyoncé stated that she had never “worked so hard on anything” than on that performance and despite the comparisons of the two videos, no one took away her Billboard Millenium Award and her popularity in the music world is still going strong.

There are plenty of artists, from Bruno Mars to Adele, in the current mainstream that are taking influence from older styles of music, but their writing is completely theirs. If any music lover were to pinpoint all the influences ever infused into modern music, he/she would grow dizzy from the long list of artists who create music inspired by another era, sound or musician. There is nothing wrong with sounds influencing a music creation, it’s when the ideas as a whole are taken that the waters get a little murky.

With so much history, there is no doubt that there will be some overlap. One can only hope that the next big artist can come up with new ideas all of their own, but the only plausible solution in this Internet-driven era is to give credit where it is due. There is nothing wrong with artistic inspiration, but that inspiration becomes plagiarism when the artist claims it was completely, utterly their idea.

If perhaps Beyoncé first explained that her performance was inspired by that of another artist, she would not have received so much criticism when the truth was unearthed. Beyoncé’s talent is undeniable, but if Cuccarini was such a huge inspiration for her, there was no reason to keep her under wraps from her fans. The video would have been found sooner or later.

As for Gaga, it is doubtful the lawsuit will affect her sales; even if the two tracks are similar, Gaga’s version will most likely be the more famous one.

What this means is the music fan cannot always trust that what they see and hear is completely original. It seems the pop world is stuck in a bit of a rut in terms of originality, and it’s up to the next Nirvana or Madonna to create something completely new that will inspire the next line of famous musicians.