There's Only So Many Ways To Combine Chords...

from the so-stop-worrying-about-copying dept

The whole Coldplay/Joe Satriani copyright fight is pretty silly for a a variety of reasons. Yes, there are some similarities, but there's a ton of stuff in music that sounds the same. There's a great chapter in James Boyle's The Public Domain all about Ray Charles' song I Got A Woman, where Boyle goes back in time to show how Charles' song basically copies from a few others (in some cases rather blatantly) in order to effectively invent soul music. Then he moves forward and looks at how others have built off of Charle's song as well. You can read the whole chapter (and, indeed, the whole book) online. The chapter in question is Chapter 6: I Got a Mashup.

Then, of course, many folks have seen the comedian who points out how many songs are based on the same basic progression as Pachelbel's Canon in D:

Along those lines, reader Bill Squire has sent in this similar video about how many songs use the same basic chord progression as Journey's Don't Stop Believing:
And yet, now some people are worried that one musician has come up with a similar song?

Filed Under: chords, humor, music, similarity

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  1. identicon
    James Keegan, 24 Jan 2009 @ 4:01am


    Apparently I got your attention. My point is not to stifle your rights to speak freely, but to ask you and many others to think before you speak (or write). We are responsible for our words, especially in print. You are welcome to your opinion, of course and as this is your site (or you work for the company), you can print what you like. This is a fairly popular site and your opinion is read by a large number of people. You must assume that your opinion has an impact on others. To express an opinion on any subject of which you have limited knowledge is to potentially tell falsehoods. For instance:

    "The whole Coldplay/Joe Satriani copyright fight is pretty silly for a a variety of reasons."

    Do you know what constitutes a musical copyright infringement? If you have to look it up, you're too late. You should have known before you printed the opinion.

    If you know the law, do you know if Coldplay is guilty? You will have to have an education in music theory to answer this.

    As this song has sold millions of copies, what does Joe Satriani have to gain?

    "Nazi?" "Stench?" "Elitism?" Settle down kids! I'm just questioning the ethics of publishing an opinion based on a lack of information. I'm not questioning the legal aspects. Print away if you so desire! But at what cost?

    Oh, and I have read The Constitution. I am not Congress!

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