If Coldplay Could Rule The World, They Wouldn't Be In Court

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If Coldplay Could Rule The World, They Wouldn't Be In Court

Tue Dec 16, 2008 @ 01:25AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Coldplay_1_2Progressive rock guitarist Joe Satriani has evidently heard the Internet cattle-chatter about whether the new Coldplay song "Viva La Vida" is a rip-off of his 2004 instrumental tune, "If I Could Fly."

Satriani recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles alleging that Coldplay incorporates "substantial original portions" of the songs melody.

Many people have had fun comparing the two songs. Here's a song comparison put together by a YouTube user that asks whether Coldplay is a tune-thief.

Satriani will need to prove both substantial similarity and that the band had access to his song to win in court. It's much easier for a musician to win a case that involves song lyrics, for obvious reasons, but copyright claims on melodies have been successful on rare occasions too. In one of the most famous, the Shirelles prevailed over George Harrison when the late Beatle took "He's So Fine" to make "My Sweet Lord." Here's the detailed history of that case.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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