While this story original broke in December of 2008, much of the drama surrounding it took place during 2009. It all started when Joe Satriani sued Coldplay, accusing them of plagiarising one of his songs, writes AntiMusic this week. Here is the full article with links:
Satriani's copyright infringement suit claimed that the Coldplay song "Viva La Vida" incorporated "substantial original portions" of his 2004 instrumental "If I Could Fly." The first response from the Coldplay camp was footage of Chris Martin joking about "Moe Batriani" and insisting Coldplay didn't steal the song. What's interesting is that Martin made the quip long before the Satch suing went public. The clip is from the Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo! Music concert that Coldplay taped in October 2008. Watch the video here (see fan Q&A part two)...
A week later: Coldplay's record label, EMI / Parlophone, had forced YouTube to take down the original video that mashes-up Coldplay's Viva La Vida and Joe Satriani's If I Could Fly.
In April, Coldplay denied in Federal Court that it copied parts of Joe Satriani's music for its hit song, "Viva La Vida ." Attorneys for Coldplay's band members also argued that any similarities between "Viva La Vida" and Satriani's "If I Could Fly" weren't enough to warrant damages. Satriani's song "lacks originality," Coldplay's response claims, and shouldn't receive copyright protection. [in your face, Satriani!]
Then another singer jumped into the fight: Singer-songwriter Cat Stevens agreed that the Coldplay song, "Viva La Vida," sounds like one of his 1973 songs, but he stopped short of saying he would sue for plagiarism. "My son brought it to my attention and said: 'Doesn't that sound like 'Foreigner Suite?'" the musician, now known as Yusuf Islam, told Reuters. "The song definitely sounds like it," he said of his song. "It has such logical chords and the melody has to be what it is..."
Did something good come out of this mess? Coldplay frontman Chris Martin said that being sued for alleged plagiarism has inspired him to become a better songwriter. Martin said that he has tried to turn a negative experience into a positive: "Some people are suing us at the moment and although it was initially a bit depressing, now it's become really inspiring," he said in an interview for Coldplay's official website.
But it all came to an end in September with the news that Joe Satriani and Coldplay had settled their legal entanglements and the guitarist's lawsuit alleging copyright infringement had been dismissed, Satriani's representative confirmed to Billboard online.
Pictures of Coldplay at Mencap's Big Noise Sessions, Exeter Castle, Exeter, UK (19 December 2009):
Pictures by beckyxrx @ Flickr