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Did Coldplay rip off Satriani?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by RexNFX79, Apr 7, 2009.

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  1. RexNFX79


    Jan 12, 2009
    I ran across this article today on yahoo. Anbody have any thoughts?

    Los Angeles (E! Online) – "Viva La Vida" is turning even more loco for Coldplay.

    Having already denied in public the plagiarism claim and declared that the perceived similarities between their hit song and Joe Satriani's 2004 track "If I Could Fly" should be chalked up to nothing more than coincidence, Chris Martin and the boys have now taken their denial to federal court.

    In court papers filed in Los Angeles Monday, Coldplay responded to Satriani's copyright-infringement claim, saying the 52-year-old guitarist's song "lacks originality" and therefore was in no position to receive copyright protection.

    Furthermore, the British rockers' attorneys claimed that any similarity was so minimal that it did not warrant the legal action.

    Back in December, Satriani claimed the group, who incidentally won the Grammy for Song of the Year for the in-question tune, had repurposed "substantial" portions of his song for their hit.

    At the time of the original filing, Coldplay issued a statement on their website refuting the rocker's claims, saying he "did not write or have any influence on the song."

    "If there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental and just as surprising to us as to him."

    The band is currently in the midst of a world tour in support of the album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.
  2. braz_b2


    Mar 17, 2009
    i saw the video on youtube.. seems coincidental.. theres millions of songs out there its bound to happen
  3. cmewhinney


    Jul 11, 2008
    Concord, NH
    It's not a matter of ripping anybody off, it's just whether the songs are sufficiently similar to constitute copyright infringement. Satriani's music is is widely distributed enough that it is impossible for the Coldplay guys to prove that they never heard it, so the only thing that would keep Satch from winning is if a music theorist says that the melodies aren't sufficiently similar. IMO, they're very similar.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yes. They did.
  5. cmewhinney


    Jul 11, 2008
    Concord, NH
    It doesn't matter if it's coincidental- infringement has a negative connotation (like "ripping somebody off"), but it doesn't have to be intentional to constitute infringement.
  6. cbanker


    Jul 6, 2007
    Complete coincidence. But hey, it got Satch back in the papers!! Now he is with members of Van Halen and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. (chickenfoot). A poor choice of band name, if you ask me.
  7. markdavid


    Jun 29, 2007
    Satriani knows that Coldplay didn't rip off his song , hes just spotted a similarity in the 2 songs and hes trying to make some money out of them.
  8. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    You think Satch is hard up for cash? :smug:

    He might not have Coldplay money, but I don't feel he's at the point where he looking to make money off of anyone from this kind of standpoint.

    But like it was said earlier, it doesn't have to be intentional for it to be deemed infringement. I think the average person (or judge, in this case ;)) can hear the similarities in the main melody. I'm curious to see how this one plays out...
  9. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    Like Satriani needs any of this (money or additional reputation, especially this kind of rep)... I don't think Coldplay ripped off Satch, but in papers Satch may win this one.
  10. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Oh yeah they did.

    Listen to both tracks, there's no way that's a coincidence.
  11. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147

    There is literally thematic identity in a section of each work. Coldplay will lose this one, no doubt (IMHO :p).
  12. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    They also ripped off Kraftwerk. 'Computer World'. I don't know what they called it but it was even more blatent. Shame:scowl: They didn't even change the key.
  13. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    See also: George Harrison "My Sweet Lord".
  14. CharlieDog


    May 29, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Wait...Coldplay said that someone else's music "lacks originality?"

    Oh, man.
  15. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I'm not an entertainment attorney, but my understanding is that the complaining party not only has to demonstrate better than 90% similarity in the published work, but also must prove with certainty that the 'plagiarist' had listened to the work. There's the sticky part. Somehow I doubt Chris Martin has a "Flying in a Blue Dream" poster hanging in his bedroom, if you get my drift...

    I agree that the bulk of the melody is virtually identical, but there is a lot more for Satriani to prove. The judge isn't just going to use his own 'gut reaction' to come to a ruling. There are going to be a whole cavalcade of "experts" and attorneys making the case for each side!

    I think this type of thing is going to keep happening more & more in popular music as time goes on.
  16. The main theme in Coldplay's song is totally identical to one of the main passages in Satriani's. If Harrison lost for "My Sweet Lord", then Coldplay has to lose to Satriani.

    Did Coldplay consciously steal from Satriani???? I doubt it.

  17. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I could be wrong, but that's what the attorney on NPR said.

    Times have changed since the 70's, with the tidal-wave of music on the radio/internet/tv, there's no way you could ever hear it all!
  18. Mikio


    Feb 21, 2009
    Santiago de Chile

    anyway, If Satch's song did lack originality, theirs is in the same case or even worse

    intentional or not, they are messing with copyrights issues, so they'll definetively lose, and I'm glad :bassist:
  19. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    I read that and had to make sure it wasn't still April 1st. :D

    You just can't make stuff up like this.

  20. cmewhinney


    Jul 11, 2008
    Concord, NH
    The parts in bold are incorrect, although I do agree with much of the rest of your post. Satriani's music is distributed widely enough that there's no way for the Coldplay guys to prove that they never heard "If I Could Fly", so the only point that's left for debate is whether there is a "striking similarity" between the songs.

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