Thursday, December 11, 2008

Satriani v. Coldplay: the YouTube case

Among the many interesting effects of the Net 2.0 environment, add this -- it just got that much harder to defend yourself from a plagiarism suit.

Sure, I read about Joe Satriani suing Coldplay, saying the 2008 Coldplay song "Viva La Vida" copied the melody and chord progression from Satriani's 2004 composition "If I Could Fly." But let's face it, there are only so many melodies and chord combinations in the world and similarities are bound to crop up. My attitude toward this sort of thing is that the plagiarism has to be pretty blatant to justify a public accusation and lawsuit.

Then I came across the YouTube clip embedded below, which first plays clips from the two songs back to back, and then plays a mash-up of the two songs together -- and after watching it, all I could think was "Dude, get out the checkbook."

It's of course possible or even probable that this was purely unintentional, as George Harrison claimed in the infamous "My Sweet Lord"/"He's So Fine" case, but the result should be the same, i.e. the original songwriter is compensated.

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