In the April 2009 issue of Entertainment Law & Finance, three partners in the Intellectual Property Group at Kilpatrick Stockton LLP have been musing over the Joe Satriani vs Coldplay copyright case.
The US guitarist is suing Coldplay for infringing copyright, alleging the UK band's hit song Viva La Vida uses "substantial portions" of his own song If I Could Fly.
While the legal debate is somewhat dry, the article in EL&F is interesting stuff.
The lawyers at Kilpatrick Stockton LLP says that:
"What makes this case unique is the lively debate that it has prompted, which will likely impact how this action and similar infringement cases will be prosecuted and defended going forward.
"Within days of the suit's initiation, YouTube was inundated with postings in which fans freely offered their opinions concerning the merits of Satriani's claims (or absence there-of). Some of these submissions were supported by surprisingly detailed analyses of the works."
Who will benefit from fans' analysis?
Public debate "could be helpful to Coldplay in defending against Satriani's claims"
"The parties should take note of the prior art works that have surfaced as part of the public debate. Such works could prove to be helpful to Coldplay in defending against Satriani's claims, as they could reflect that Satriani himself may have 'unconsciously copied' from an earlier work."
While Satriani vs Coldplay may not go to trial for a variety of reasons, lawyers at Kilpatrick Stockton LLP think that YouTube analysis by fans and music teachers could well be used as evidence by either side in the case.
And that will be a first.
And all this doesn't even consider Yusuf Islam's hint that he might sue Coldplay as well.