Monday, June 15, 2009

Coldplay Debate: Did the Band Plagiarize?

The potentially enormous plagiarism case involving Coldplay and guitarist Joe Satriani (now in the band, Chickenfoot) has taken another twist, with lawyers admitting that YouTube evidence could be used in court.

Coldplay released their new album 'Viva La Vida (Or Death And All His Friends)' last year -- and it later became the best selling album of 2008. With over 7.82 million copies sold worldwide, it has gone double-platinum here in the US. The band won three Grammy Awards for the effort, including song of the year for the album's title track. However some were not pleased by the group's success. Rock guitarist Joe Satriani claims that the title track borrows sections from his 2004 song 'If I Could Fly.' A legal battle has ensued, with Coldplay denying any wrongdoing.

Some musicologists believe that YouTube comparisons of the two songs could be Coldplay's undoing. While others think certain videos could strengthen Coldplay's claim, with some pointing out similarities between Satriani's song and even older works. Another musician who has pointed out commonality between the song and his own work is Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). In a recent interview, the singer/songwriter claims that 'Viva La Vida' bears more than a passing resemblance to his song 'Foreigner Suite' - written back in the 1970s.

Islam stated that he has no intentions of suing Coldplay. The case between Satriani and Coldplay is ongoing. And so is the debate.

As a fan of Coldplay, I find it hard to believe that Chris Martin and his bandmates purposefully stole music from others. Let's face it, many songs sound familiar. There are a limited number of chords - and just so many ways to string the music together. Similarities between songs have happened before, and they'll happen again. But what do you think?

Click here to see a recent CNN story on the matter -- which includes the YouTube comparison. And then tell me where you stand. Comment below and/or take the poll (update: results below).

Note: For a limited time, Coldplay is offering a FREE download of their live cd, "LeftRightLeftRightLeft." Click on the band's image above to link to the download.

Poll results:
Do you think the band Coldplay is guilty of plagiarism?
Yes 10 (37%)
No 17 (62%)
Total votes: 27

September 16, 2009 update:
Guitar hero Joe Satriani and British pop-rock band Coldplay have settled their legal entanglements and the guitarist's lawsuit alleging copyright infringement has been dismissed, Satriani's representative confirmed to Billboard today. While details of the case remain sealed, legal sources tell Billboard a financial settlement between the two parties may have been reached. Coldplay will not be required to admit to any wrongdoing.

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