"pop music in the UK has been utter shite for a considerable period of time. The top of the chart last week was a group clearly ripping off Elvis with a remix track. (Wonk alert: yes I know Elvis spent most of his career ripping off black musicians, but does that it make right, either?) "
Wait a minute. This just underscores the point that Lawrence Lessig maks, and Glenn Reynolds agrees with, that art is normally derivative, and necessarily so. The law is too harsh, and allows too much protection to the established music industry, because it enforces too much protection over artistic intellectual property---it protects too well against "ripping off" by other artists.
A derivative work can still be shite, and deserves to be dissed if it's shite. Don't diss it merely because it's derived or ripped off.
If derivation-as-art gets a little more respect, and legal protection, it will disrupt the cash flow to the record companies who market and distribute the shite, making room in the ecosystem for labels that make less shite---and more original music.