In 1970, my baby brother Jim wrote a letter to the now defunct Circus Magazine decrying the Led Zepplin song How Many More Times as being a blatant rip off of Howlin' Wolf's How Many More Years. Credit was not given. They claimed it was their own. Circus published his letter because he was right.
No one took notice. Ho hum.
George Harrison was successfully sued for stealing the melody of the 1960's hit song, He's So Fine. George's version was called My Sweet Lord and he made millions from it I'm sure. His reputations didn't suffer one iota.
In bluegrass music, I sometimes sarcastically suggest there are only 5 melodies and they get recycled endlessly. Song writers simply change keys and the lyrics and call them their own. It is true that many bluegrass songs sound the same, BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME.
The point is that there is a double standard. Journalists lose everything when they're caught stealing a sentence. Musicians make money when they're caught stealing melodies.
I'm not suggesting journalists should not suffer anything less than they do. Plagiarism is unacceptable. I'm suggesting that musicians should be held accountable for stealing as in any other art form.
This won't happen of course. Just saying.