Coldplay, Satriani, and...Gunther?

Guitar shredder Joe Satriani has sued beige popsters Coldplay for plagiarism, and the evidence sounds pretty damning. But wait--perhaps there's a precedent for both?

Correction: "He's So Fine" was by The Chiffons, not The Supremes as I originally wrote.


I hate audio plagiarism lawsuits--there are only 12 notes, and only so many ways to combine them--but the law has come down time and time again on the side of the plaintiffs. George Harrison was forced to pay damages for "unintentionally" ripping off "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons. Ironically, Harrison's manager at that time, Allen Klein, later sued The Verve when "Bittersweet Symphony" oversampled an orchestral arrangement of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time." (Although it wasn't just the sample--Verve singer Richard Ashcroft also lifted the vocal melody more or less directly from that arrangement, as you can hear on this YouTube video. Weirdly, the orchestral arrangement resembles the original song.)

The latest round was fired by Joe Satriani, who's accusing Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" of ripping off his guitar instrumental "If I Could Fly." Again, YouTube has the evidence, and it doesn't sound too good for Coldplay.

But wait? Is it possible that both Satriani and Coldplay got their inspiration from a third source? Ooh la la!

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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.


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