Monday, December 8, 2008

Viva La (Plagiarism)?

I've just recently caught wind of the lawsuit pending against Coldplay. Famed guitar guru Joe Satriani is suing Coldplay for copyright infringement - stating that the Grammy nominated Viva La Vida is far too similar to his 2004 release If I could Fly.

Now, I must admit that I am quite ashamed. Before coming across this case I had never heard of Joe Satriani.  After a bit of research and a few downloads, I'm convinced that Joe Satriani is indeed a legend of rock. 

Most of his credit is given as a guitar instructor with names on his student list that include: David Bryson from The Counting Crows, Kevin Cadogan of Third Eye Blind, and arguably one of the greatest to ever wield a rock axe - Metallica's Kirk Hammett as well as countless others.

But Joe's own solo career has produced a dozen instrumental albums - all with names inspired by the science fiction genre and all of which have been nominated for a Grammy.  He has worked with numerous notables including Alice Cooper, Steve Vai, Joe Perry, and most recently there are talks of a band forming with former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chili Pepper's drummer Chad Smith called.. um Chickenfoot? The name could use some work, but I'm personally interested to see how it turns out.

So, here's a video I found on YouTube and it is a slightly long clip, but I thought that this guy was pretty intelligent and did a great overall analysis of the two songs as opposed to just playing both songs and going "so there ya go".

So I don't want anyone after having read this to think that I'm suddenly anti-Coldplay.  Quite the contrary.  I'm actually rather fond of them.  My music library includes Parachutes, X&Y, A Rush of Blood to the Head, and Viva La Vida And All Of His Friends.  They have accompanied me on many a long car trips, jogs, and slumbers.

If anything, I hoped to just gather some more attention to good ol' Joe Satriani - or Satch as they call him.

I do think that it is pretty undeniable that the songs have a resemblance.  I wouldn't know which way to go in this case, though. It seems that there are only so many notes and combinations possible so it shouldn't go without saying that these types of situations are bound to happen - and do happen - all the time.  How many times have you heard a song and then said "Gee. This sure does sound like the song Monstrocity Atrocity by The Lamp Situation? Or you know..any other non-fictional song by a real band.

*Monstrocity Atrocity and The Lamp Situation are fictional references. Any similarity to actual song titles and/or bands is completely coincidental.  And if you do find a similarity...well, ya know what you can do with your stupid similarity? You can take a flying [a passing jet liner mutes out most of what he says] ..till the handle breaks off and you have to get a doctor to pull it out again.

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