Copyright Infringement: Satriani Vs Coldplay

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In a copyright lawsuit that settled outside of court, the question still haunts the cares of the world’s copyright geeks. Who would’ve won in the court of law? On December 4th 2008 a lawsuit was filed against British band Coldplay by guitar rock hero, Joe Satriani, who claimed that “substantial original portions” from his 2004 rock instrumental, If I Could Fly, had been stolen by Coldplay to create their 2008 hit song, Viva La Vida. Viva La Vida made the #1 spot on the US and UK’s music charts which was a first for the band, not to mention, won a Grammy Award for song of the year. If I Could Fly however never made anything and Satriani was seeking damages for “any and all profits”. The shared similarity between the two songs is during the chorus of, If I Could Fly and the verse of Viva La Vida. During Satriani’s chorus, you can hear a guitar riff of what Satriani and many devoted fans agree is the part Coldplay stole. The chord progression of the guitar riff is Em7- A- D- Bm which is played in the key of D major, while the vocally harmonic verse in Viva La Vida is played over Db- Eb7- Ab- Fm in the key of Ab. Wether you’re musically minded or not, these look to be completely different sounds, but diatonically, they do in fact share a similar melody. Although this is quite obvious, is it enough evidence to be deemed plagiarism? A chord progression cannot be copyrighted. That’s like saying that no words can contain the same letter. There is also the possibility that the sounds are completely coincidental. Does Coldplay even pay any notice to Satriani’s musical talents? How many songs nowadays sound similar? Indeed after the chord progression in question, completely different chord progressions continue to make the songs in their entireties completely different from each other. There is also the fact that Viva La Vida has lyrics while If I Could Fly is

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