Coldplay and Satriani Settle Copyright Dispute

How much did Coldplay have to pay up?

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

Coldplay and Satriani Settle Copyright Dispute

You may remember Joe Satriani’s lawsuit against Coldplay back in December of 2008, claiming that their title song “Viva La Vida” was plagiarized from an instrumental he composed in 2004, called “If I could Fly.”


It appears that a deal has been reached, being that Satriani’s lawsuit alleging copyright infringement has been dismissed. Billboard reported earlier that details of the case will remain sealed, but a financial settlement between the two parties appears to have been reached. Coldplay will not be required to admit to any wrongdoing - but a big check made out to Satriani to make it all go away seems to be an admission of guilt within itself.


“I felt like a dagger went right through my heart. It hurt so much,” Satriani told website Music Radar at the time . “The second I heard it, I knew it was [my own] ‘If I Could Fly’. Almost immediately, from the minute their song came out, my e-mail box flooded with people going, ‘Have you heard this song by Coldplay? They ripped you off man.’ I mean, I couldn’t tell you how many e-mails I received. Everybody noticed the similarities between the songs. It’s pretty obvious.”


Indeed, it is. Hear the comparison and decide for yourself:



Following the accusations, Coldplay ignored Satriani’s charges of plagiarism, avoiding it for weeks before issuing a statement:


“If there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental, and just as surprising to us as to him.”


Reports indicate that the lawsuit was dismissed at California’s Central District Court “upon stipulation,” which means that financial settlement is more than likely true.


So while Satriani may now be out of the picture, Coldplay's copyright woes aren't finished just yet. Last May, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) claimed that the melody of “Viva La Vida” is a direct theft of his 1973 song “Foreigner Suite,” which clocks in at 18-plus minutes. 


It may be a win for Coldplay, not having to admit any wrongdoing, but the follow-up to Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, better sound a little more original.