Posted in music | tour dates | video on December 7, 2008

Joe Satriani

A noted guitarist has sued members of Coldplay, claiming the band's smash hit "Viva La Vida" copied parts of one of his songs.

The copyright infringement lawsuit by Joe Satriani was filed Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles.

The 52-year-old claims Coldplay copied "substantial, original portions" of his 2004 song, "If I Could Fly." The Coldplay hit, which was nominated for a Grammy this week, has topped charts around the world and been used to sell iPods in commercials. [AP]

Lawsuits suck, but I can't help thinking the idea of Joe Satriani suing Coldplay is awesome. And this is the second time Coldplay have been publicly accused of ripping off the same song from someone. The first, as you may remember, was NYC's own Sidewalk Cafe regulars the Creaky Boards, who, became YouTube-famous after posting a video comparing Coldplay's song to theirs. Joe didn't make a video, but someone else did for him. Watch both of them below...

Joe Satriani vs Coldplay

Creaky Boards vs Coldplay

Creaky Boards - 2008/09 Tour Dates
Dec 7 - Union Pool - Frank Hoier tour kickoff with Soft Black Brooklyn, New York
Dec 20 - Pattenburg Tavern w Thomas Francis Takes His Chances Hunterdon County, New Jersey
Dec 26 - The Elbow Room - Creaky Boards Christmas Classic w Pop Project and Canada Ypsilanti, Michigan
Dec 31 - SPECIAL SECRET NEW YEAR'S PARTY - write for details Brooklyn, New York
Jan 29 - Schokoladen Berlin, Berlin
Jan 30 - MusikCafeen Aarhus
Jan 31 - Knust Hamburg, Hamburg
Feb 1 - Bahia de Cochinos Castrop-Rauxel
Feb 3 - Take Five Bar Maastricht
Feb 4 - Cafe Video Gent
Feb 5 - JeudiBars (Bulex) Brussels
Feb 6 - ACU Utrecht (near Amsterdam)
Feb 7 - L'International - with the wedding soundtrack Alfortville (outer Paris)
Feb 9 - El Lokal Zurich, Zurich
Feb 12 - Franzis Wetzlar
Feb 13 - Galerie Durchlauferhitzer Halle
Feb 14 - West Germany Berlin, Berlin

Coldplay - 2008/09 Tour Dates
Dec 7 - Echo Arena (moved from 10.12.08) Liverpool
Dec 9 - SECC (moved from 5.12.08) Glasgow
Dec 11 - MEN Arena Manchester
Dec 12 - MEN Arena Manchester
Dec 14 - O2 Arena London
Dec 15 - O2 Arena London
Dec 16 - O2 Arena London
Dec 19 - Odyssey Arena Belfast
Dec 21 - O2 Dublin
Dec 22 - O2 Dublin
Dec 23 - Odyssey Arena (moved from 18.12.08) Belfast
Feb 11 - Saitama Super Arena Tokyo
Feb 27 - Burswood Dome Perth
Feb 28 - Burswood Dome Perth
Mar 3 - Rod Laver Arena Melbourne
Mar 4 - Rod Laver Arena Melbourne
Mar 5 - Rod Laver Arena Melbourne
Mar 8 - Entertainment Centre Brisbane
Mar 9 - Entertainment Centre Brisbane
Mar 11 - Acer Arena Sydney
Mar 12 - Acer Arena Sydney
Mar 14 - Acer Arena Sydney
Mar 15 - Acer Arena Sydney
Sep 12 - LCCC Manchester
Sep 16 - Hampden Park Glasgow
Sep 18 - Wembley Stadium London
Sep 19 - Wembley Stadium London



Comments (75)

Now Joe Satriani should sue Creaky Boards too.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 12:47 PM

Why doesn't somebody sue Coldplay for sucking major ass?

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 12:51 PM

Maybe it's just a crappy melody that lots of the same crappy musicians create.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 12:55 PM

radiohead 4eva

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 1:05 PM

we can get all the future comments out of the way:

1) radiohead rules
2) coldplay ripped off radiohead
3) joe satriani is a wanker
4) riffs sound the same

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 1:18 PM

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah smoke and mirrors on the publicity water and fire in the sky, people are going hungry somebody said people are dead you lay your silk pillow with your fat ego head Bono sews crap into homogenized ear wax eat it up drink it in hello Veagan its me agan smoke on the wa turd

Posted by Hack | December 7, 2008 1:28 PM

Sigur Ros should sue Coldplay

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 1:30 PM

Great call, guys. We had a pretty popular and humorous timeline up on Radio Exile about this, so please check it out.

Posted by Shawn M. Smith | December 7, 2008 1:39 PM

Always loved Satriani. I have most of his albums and seen him live many times over the years. I couldn't care less about Coldplay. That said this is another one of those big bullshit accusations. If Satriani comes out successful at the end of this, then pretty much any rock musician can find someone to sue. If I had a dime for every time I heard similar melodies and chord progressions!

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 1:39 PM

well, the chord progression's been used in rock and roll since the fifties, that's a pretty obvious melody to write with it, and both these artists are pretty mediocre..... i declare a mistrial.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 1:47 PM

The similarity between the Coldplay song and the Satriani song is much greater than the similarity between the Coldplay song and the Creaky Boards song. They all suck, anyway.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 1:49 PM

Whether they suck or not is not really up for debate. Coldplay is making zillions from this song. Does Joe Satriani deserve a piece?

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 1:59 PM

they are similar
sue away

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 2:11 PM

I love the subliminal messages in the first video

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 2:17 PM

The funniest part is what an elementary and decidedly mediocre melody it is. It's a typical cornball Satriani melody and probably the worst single Coldplay has ever released. Sounds like a children's song.

But yeah, keep forming the line of tools bragging about writing it first.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 2:41 PM

i used to wear tape on my fingers since i was 5, i'm sueing

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 2:51 PM

can more possibly educated musicians please post more about how the similarity in chord progressions isn't too outstanding because it is a common melody or is mediocre..

we really need to drive that message home..

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 2:56 PM

"If Satriani comes out successful at the end of this, then pretty much any rock musician can find someone to sue. If I had a dime for every time I heard similar melodies and chord progressions!"

anon @ 1:39 nailed it. there definitely has to be a higher standard than just having the same, or similar melody or everyone who picks up a guitar is up shit creek.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 2:57 PM

I was the first person to put G, C D and together, so everyone else is ripping me off!

Is it pure theft? Maybe subconsious theft? For me the moral of the story is if you write easy, shitty generic pop shit it's gonna eventually be spewed out by a shitty generic major label pop band and made into a commercial. is that all the songs are at the same TEMPO even? It's one thing to copy chord progressions, melody, but that it is same timing is very suspicious...

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 3:26 PM

this is a perfect example of how you people who are generally commenting are jackasses. None of the comments above added ANYTHING to this thread. Anyway, for what it's worth, they are similar enough, and Satriani will probably win. And yes, he should also be suing creaky boards. go Jets.

Posted by guy | December 7, 2008 4:19 PM

They all sound like "the lullaby of broadway".Case closed.

Posted by oh my gawd | December 7, 2008 4:44 PM

"The similarity between the Coldplay song and the Satriani song is much greater than the similarity between the Coldplay song and the Creaky Boards song."

I agree. The Creaky Board song (which is terrible, easily the worse of the three) had few similarities with the Coldplay song. The Satriani song is spot on though.

Creaky Boards were just looking for publicity, while Joe already has fame (in his tiny little circle).

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 4:57 PM

Should we really delve into the impossibility of Chris Martin hearing a Joe Satriani song and even subconsciously deciding to rip it off? I doubt I'm alone in having only heard that Satriani song for the first time in this very thread.

Martin isn't exactly a songwriting genius, but kindly give me a fucking break.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 5:07 PM

mr or mrs 5:07 is right.
the chords and melody are not particularly unique, though it IS odd that they are in the same key AND virtually the same tempo.

BUT - what are the chances that chris martin heard this joe satriani song? satch may boogie down hard for his fans, but dude exists in the nichiest of niches this side of nichedom.

chris martin is many things we can dislike but i feel pretty fucking confident that he is not a closet cheesy-instrumental-hard-rock-head and could not have heard this song. these melodies and chords are just pure rock building blocks.

Posted by da judge returns | December 7, 2008 5:33 PM

Even if Chris Martin hadn't heard it, he can be found to have infringed Satriani's copyright.

This reminds me of something from the automotive world. When Ford put out its first hybrid vehicle (an Escape SUV), it licensed some contraptions from Toyota, since Toyota had patents on them. People generally assumed that Ford took the easy way out, but Ford claimed that its engineers had independently come up with these contraptions and it was a coincidence that Toyota had already patented them.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 5:35 PM

just goes to show nobody CREATES music. it's all just a manipulation of the notes we know into different sequences. music should just be free.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 7:25 PM

That's fine, 5:35, but the difference between proving a tangible (but unknown) patent was infringed upon and an artistic work was stolen from another based on a 5 note similarity seems pretty large.

For people who think Satriani has a case here, you should contact the man himself and try to get on his legal team, because he's going to have a pretty hard fucking time proving it.

This is hardly "My Sweet Lord" vs. "He's So Fine." And I'm pretty surprised Satriani is actually going forward with a lawsuit for what is almost certainly just a coincidence and not "artistic theft."

Posted by Anon 5:07 | December 7, 2008 8:20 PM

Was convinced by neither video. Common chord progression, and simple motive that follows the notes laid out by the chord progression. That's like me taking credit for the beat on "Walk This Way."

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 8:27 PM

I am convinced that Coldplay is utter garbage.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 8:40 PM

The similarities are so obvious that you would have to be a moron to blatantly rip something off and think you'd get away with it. Maybe 20 years ago when there was no internet you could buy yourself some time. Not this day in age. I think it was sheer coincidence. I also agree that all three songs blow. I personally find it quite odd for artists to cry out "oh I wrote it first so gimme my money"... well I'm off now to go write the 4th version to this song so that I can make my millions and then counter sue Satriani....

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 9:40 PM

after the curtain by beirut also sounds like viva la vida.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 9:44 PM

in the mausoleum ripped off come on feel the illinoise

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 10:12 PM

joe satriani ripped me off. surfing with the alien sounds exactly like this really wet fart i made once.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 10:27 PM

"Even if Chris Martin hadn't heard it, he can be found to have infringed Satriani's copyright."

Idolator commenters think otherwise:

(See the comment at 12/5 1:52 PM in particular)

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 10:50 PM

LOL @ 10:27pm

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 11:01 PM

haha 10:27

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2008 11:18 PM

"(See the comment at 12/5 1:52 PM in particular)"

it says:

"If Satriani is to win his case, he's going to have to make a convincing case that Coldplay would have been exposed to his song in order to violate its copyright, either intentionally or by osmosis. Given that he is an extremely niche musician, one that it's difficult to believe Coldplay would dig, it's not going to be easy.

I'm guessing he's looking for a settlement."

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 12:00 AM

when does daft punk play?

Posted by nonny digital | December 8, 2008 12:11 AM

George was innocent. that was biggest bullshit decision ever.

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 12:51 AM

They both are similar to the original Beverly Hills 90210 theme...somebody owes Brandon and Brenda some dough.

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 7:20 AM

coldplay must have subconsciously picked up the melody in some elevator somewhere..

Posted by x.swansong | December 8, 2008 8:09 AM

I want Coldplay to sue me. I want them to sue me then I pull my pockets inside out and shrug my shoulders. Myabe a rent a moth-handler if I can gather up enough money. I am going to make suing the coolest thing since adults wearing clothes that we wore back when were 8 years old.

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 8:31 AM

"joe satriani ripped me off. surfing with the alien sounds exactly like this really wet fart i made once."

passion pit also ripped me off by sounding exactly like the time i shit my pants while touring the Boring Factory.

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 9:22 AM

Coldplay SUX!

Posted by R08 | December 8, 2008 10:17 AM

it does sound like 90210 theres no way they should be sued for this

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 10:37 AM

BS lawsuit. And Joe Satriani being a melodramatic diva doesn't help his case either...digger through his heart? spare me. You know, sometimes the cosmic forces align and two people happen to come up with the same chord progression.

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 10:44 AM

Uh, lawsuits do not "suck." They are one of the few remaining avenues, in an increasingly corporate-seized culture, for people to defend themselves. This constant knee-jerk reaction to any idea of intellectual property by weenies like internet bloggers goes beyond boring and tiresome when it appears that it's blinding people to their rights and throwing up white flags to any hope for artists. I could not care less about douchebags like Satriani. But do not simply toss off the idea of lawsuits because you like Girl Talk or whatever, as you may one day need the legal system to help you.

Posted by Eric | December 8, 2008 10:53 AM

this suit is lame.

pointless jealousy from the sunglasses at night, Mr. Clean of the electric guitar.


Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 11:42 AM

12:51 am is right. I think George got majorly screwed on that one. I've read the entire case, and the whole time I'm just thinking of all of the other songs out there that are blatant ripoffs but haven't been involved in lawsuits and it all just seems very unfair that his unintentional rip-off was punished. That was one of the first cases of this kind and I think they came down hard. Nowadays, with so much more music in the collective mind of musicians, everybody would be suing everybody with this mentality.

Another BS case involves John Fogerty's song "The Old Man Down the Road," in which Fogerty was sued by his former label for sounding too much like a song recorded while he was on that label ("Run through the Jungle").

I am on board with the idea of intellectual property, especially concerning the use of samples, but I think these two cases were frivolous. As for Satriani and Coldplay, I chalk it up to coincidence or unintentional rip-off, but I don't think that Coldplay would be so stupid as to blatantly steal the song, no matter what my opinion of Chris Martin is.

Posted by KoolMoeDee | December 8, 2008 12:32 PM

I'm losing my hair. Will Joe Satriani sue me?

Posted by rich | December 8, 2008 2:16 PM

satriani's hasn't changed his gear since the early '90's and doesn't waaaaaaaaahhhnt to either. Coldplay's peeanist named his kid after a fruit. Creaky boards is playing lots of dates, looks like everything's fine here move along there's real problems the world over to get worked up aboot, eh

Posted by smith | December 8, 2008 2:20 PM

Joe Satriani should sue Dr. Evil for stealin his look.

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 2:49 PM

Anyone heard Coldplay's 'Talk' and Kraftwerk's 'Computer Love.' Yes, K-werk is credited, but seriously, can this band come up with anything original? Shouldn't U2 (who suck as it is) have sued them for existing?
Seriously though, this is ridiculous. I could see suing if Satriani were poor or if his song actually had vocals... Maybe... But really, it doesn't matter. KEep writing music. Some of what you write is going to be very similar to what someone else writes. Oh fucking well. Stop crying. Move on. Write more songs in 7/8 or 10/8 and you'll have less problems.

Posted by Gorbert | December 8, 2008 6:21 PM

suing creaky boards would be an asshole move.
suing coldplay deserves a pat on the goddamn back.

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 8:03 PM

You either copy and paste or carbon copy its still a copy.
Plagiarism should be stoped!
If found guilty in the court of law
ColdCopy should pay and forced to change their name!

Posted by ColdCopy | December 8, 2008 9:46 PM

Bob Marley ripped off the Banana Splits, you know its true!
(now that wouldve been a helluva coutroom scene)

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 10:50 PM

Joe Satriani and Creaky Boards are washed out people trying to get money from the success of Coldplay they should get a life and earn there own money instead of spongeing off Coldplay's

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2008 11:01 PM

Again, presupposing any of the members of Coldplay actually heard some random song off of Joe Satriani's 2004 album that nobody bought already puts you on par with moon landing deniers and the other conspiracy theorists.

It's a coincidence and nothing more. And the Creaky Boards, as well as the handful of other bands that have songs with similar basic melodies that have since re-surfaced do nothing but prove that.

Satriani really needs to stop listening to his "fans" and get the fuck off his high horse. Even if Coldplay does eat all of our collective asses.

Posted by Bob Manbody | December 8, 2008 11:04 PM

people haven't listened to those two songs but they have commented out...i've listened to those two songs and they are the same. imagine someone using the portion of your song without any notice.

Posted by satrianist | December 9, 2008 12:06 AM

As a no-name musician who writes songs every day, at least once or twice a year I hear a song that sounds incredibly similar to songs that I wrote. Except I know for a fact they couldn't have possibly heard my song, as I've never released any of them.

Should I assume I'm being spied on and picked clean of all my melodies, or should I chalk it up to the fact that the amount of songwriters in the world + the amount of chords possible = a good chance some other songwriter will eventually come up with a similar melody to mine?

If I'm Joe Satriani, I'll see you in court. But as a non-asshole, I'll call it what it is: coincidence.

Posted by Bob Manbody | December 9, 2008 1:09 AM

Anybody here familiar with Lennon's Happy Xmas (War is Over)? Hope u do. What a great song. What happened is, I heard an old song a few year back in radio which amazingly carry the same chord progression & tempo as Lennon's song. The feel of the song too is pretty spot on (even the chord change for the chorus part too is similar) However, the biggest difference between Lennon's song & the one I heard from radio is, Lennon's song is so much catchier & stronger. The vocal melody line is just better. However, I am not sure who wrote it first but they are 2 different songs carrying the same chord progression & feel too. As for the argument here, I wrote song too from time to time. Recently, I heard Kings Of Leon new song Cold Desert & it main melody line is pretty similar to one I wrote 3 years back. Well, to add a little different perspective to our argument here, my melody (I thought I am good ha..ha..) is not actually "original". To my own dismay, I found out that my melody (as well as Cold Desert) share the same melody notes as (oh yes!!!) The Stone's song Rocks Off (from Exile on Main Street)Honestly, I only discovered both songs AFTER I wrote mine. Well, go to Youtube & hear for your self:) My point is, if one is good, you don't have to go out there & tell people u are the writer of this song & that song. People will listen to u if they enjoy what u do.
Rocks Off
Cold Desert
Enjoy:) Give Peace A Chance

Posted by Anonymous | December 9, 2008 5:37 AM

while he's at it he should sue girl talk too.

just for sucking.

Posted by Anonymous | December 9, 2008 12:34 PM

sounded more like the slow part from Freebird to me.

come on you know they heard it, can't believe the balls though to copy it note for note.

Btw- Willie Dixon sued Led Zeppelin over Whole Lotta Love but they settled out of court. Im sure Satriani would settle if Coldplay just admitted they stole his song. Satriani dont need their money, but Im sure he wants to make an expample out of them after they brushed him off with their shitty superstar attitude.

Posted by Anonymous | December 9, 2008 1:12 PM

Yet another song that came out before Satriani's that sounds like both songs.

Posted by Anonymous | December 9, 2008 2:03 PM

it's no ice ice baby...

Posted by reheatedspaghetti | December 9, 2008 3:32 PM

wait a minute Satrianis came out in 2004 this alize chick came out in 2006? so she ripped off satriani as well.

Posted by Anonymous | December 9, 2008 3:55 PM

I've been an entertainment attorney since the mid-80's and a musician since the mid 70's - the melodies, beat and changes are so identical that your excellent mix of the two tunes (Mr. King, you should introduce that or your own expert's version into evidence!) frankly sounds better than either alone to me - it sounds like CP called JS in to play lead on the track - that's how identical it is, down to bpm (assuming you didn't change that in making your mix).
Legally, JS' lawyers will need to show that CP had access to the JS tune, tho' the high degree of similarity (to the point where they are essentially identical pieces of music) will likely undercut that significantly. This strikes me as (giving CP the benefit of the doubt - something tells me that they might not exactly be big JS fans...) the same kind of subconcious infringement that the court found George Harrison to have committed with "My Sweet Lord" vs. "She's So Fine". Atty's for CP and their label best settle fast....

Posted by Adrian R. | December 9, 2008 4:00 PM

JS wants "all profits"


what a D.

Posted by reheatedspaghetti | December 9, 2008 4:15 PM

Someone should compare Porcupine Tree's "Collapse The Light Into Earth" to Coldplay's "The Scientist."

Posted by Anonymous | December 10, 2008 7:27 PM

No doubt Coldplagiarism happened here. Coldplay’s arrogance will bite them in the ass. Get the shirt!!

Posted by Coldplagiarism | December 11, 2008 1:58 AM

on the youtube video they're in the same key, but that's only because the poster transposed one of them. they are actually in different keys.

Posted by ian | December 12, 2008 10:48 PM

coldplay admits to p lagarizing....i woinder whos guna win....

Posted by Anonymous | December 22, 2008 4:17 PM

Anyone ever heard of divine inspiration? Some theorists hypothesize that the minds of man are all subconsciously linked. Meaning that we are all really just part of the same collective consciousness. I wouldn't doubt it if all three of these songs are originals. It happens all the time.

Posted by Chris | February 11, 2009 11:36 PM

I'm a very Fan of Joe , but i disagree totally at this , do you really think that you get a 100% virgin song without stepping on someone elses melodies, if so then MChammer should do the same for his adams family song and the you spin my head right round , check on the video and its basically the same.

Posted by Ronald | May 7, 2009 10:31 AM

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