4 Other Artists Who Were Sued for Plagiarism

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Unless you've been living in a cave, you probably know by now that Coldplay has been accused of plagiarizing the tune used in the title track to their new album Viva La Vida. The band Creaky Boards claims members of Coldplay stopped in to one of their gigs in NYC and lifted their tune called "The Songs I Didn't Write." (Irony anyone?)

Whether the claim is accurate or not isn't for us to say. We'll let the legal system go to work on that one. But we can fill you in on a few other recent plagiarism claims. Ethan Trex did such a great job on this blog earlier this month writing about the time the Beach Boys pinched from Chuck Berry, so be sure to check that post out when you're done clicking through the list below.

georgeh.jpg4. Beatle George Harrison was sued by the publishers of The Chiffons' 1964 hit "He's So Fine." Apparently they thought the melody of his song "My Sweet Lord" was a wee bit too similar.

Ruling: After several years of litigation, a trial judge concluded that $1,599,987 of the whopping $2,152,028 the song had made to date was a reasonable sum owed The Chiffons' publisher. Harrison, of course, appealed the case but the ruling was upheld.

Here are the two songs for you to decide:
"My Sweet Lord"

"He's So Fine"

avril-lavigne-pregnant.jpg3. In 2007 the 1970s band The Rubinoos sued Avril Lavigne alleging that her hit "Girlfriend" ripped off their song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."

Ruling: Lavigne settled out of court and the lawsuit was dropped. Her lawyer, though, pointed out that settlement does not necessarily indicate an admission of copyright infringement. Here are the choruses of the two songs in question:
"Girlfriend"

"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"

madonna300.jpg2. In 2005, Belgian composer Salvatore Acquaviva sued Madonna for lifting the melody from his song "My Life's Getting Nowhere" for her 1998 hit "Frozen." Said Acquaviva at the time of his court proceeding, "I was in the bath. I was listening to the radio, and thought that's strange, I know that melody. I said it's not possible."

Ruling: The judge declined to award damages, but did order the withdrawal of all remaining discs for sale and barred the song from Belgian TV and radio airplay. The plagiarism in question consisted of the song's opening four-bar theme.
Hear it now:

timbaland.jpg1. Also in 2007, Timbaland (Timothy Z. Mosley) was alleged to have plagiarized several elements of "Acid Jazzed Evening," a song recorded in 2000 by Finnish artist Tempest, in his song for Nelly Furtado called "Do It." In an interview, Timbaland admitted to what he called "sampling," but he also claimed that sampling is "not stealing," because "everybody samples from everybody every day."

You can watch a detailed comparison in the clip below:

Ruling: the jury is still out

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June 30, 2008 - 1:53am
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