[Smt-talk] Music Plagiarism Cases

S. Alexander Reed alexreed at ufl.edu
Fri Dec 18 09:41:50 PST 2009

In a recent high-profile case, Joe Satriani sued Coldplay over the 
melody for their mega-hit "Viva La Vida," which he asserted was 
lifted from his own "If I Could Fly."  The case was dismissed, 
however, and it appears that they may have settled out of court.

There are plenty of musical plagiarisms to be found in classical 
and popular music, though in a post-Negativland age (to say 
nothing of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Girl Talk, and increasingly 
ridiculous court-defined stipulations on what the music "is"), I 
think a lot of musicians feel a certain futility when it comes to 
defending what they view as their own intellectual property.  It 
certainly never makes one popular to do so.

Alex Reed
Assistant Professor
University of Florida

alexreed at ufl.edu

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