Monday, June 01, 2009

Coldplay and Fans on Youtube

As some of you may have heard, there is a copyright lawsuit between Joe Satriani and Coldplay about Coldplay's song "Viva la Vida." Basically, Satriani is claiming that Coldplay infringed Satriani's copyright on his song "If I Could Fly."

Of course, Coldplay is denying any copying.

Are the songs close? You can judge for yourself. Just click on any of these different links in order to hear comparisons between the two songs (and many others, as you can tell) and to read comments left by other users. There are even people leaving erudite videos about the differences and similarities between the two songs.

What is the difference between this and past cases? It's not really the possibility of infringement - even Yusuf Islam (born Cat Stevens) has made his own public claims (but has not filed a lawsuit) about infringment. Infringement can happen accidentally. George Harrison experienced this. The issue there is if there is enough originality in the original work(s) to have a copyright not just in the full expression of the song, but in each and every phrase as well. This is well-worn copyright territory.

Or [prior art] may simply reflect these oft-quoted words from the Second Circuit: "It must be remembered that, while there are an enormous number of possible permutations of the musical notes of the scale, only a few are pleasing; and much fewer still suit the infantile demands of the popular ear. Recurrence is not therefore an inevitable badge of palgiarism." Darrell v. Joe Morris Music Corp., 113 F.2d 80, 80 (2d Cir. 1940)

What is very interesting here is that all the amateur musicologists may have an impact upon the case. The various videos with analysis are amazingly detailed, and the opinions are recorded on YouTube as well. The videos could be previews of the two sides' arguments. The comments could be previews of what jurors might think.

Is this infringement? Is there enough originality in the riff to have a copyright in the expression or is it just another pleasing popular music riff?


Another Webinar on Trademark and Copyright Law for Small Business!
These have been popular, so I will keep doing them.

Join us for a Webinar on June 2

This will be a webinar on copyright and trademark law for small businesses. Learn what a trademark is. Learn what a copyright is. This is going to be a primer so that you're familiar with the terms and with the differences between these areas of intellectual property. Don't hesitate to protect your trademarks and copyrights!

Title: Copyright and Trademark Law for Small Businesses

Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

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