Music/Popular Culture

TunesDay: I fought the law and … well, you know the rest

For today’s TunesDay, why don’t we forget about the music and talk about music lawyering? Because really, chicks dig the suits.

Let’s start with my favorite assortment of anti-music fucknozzles, the RIAA. Up first, one of the industry group’s top hired guns wants to “intervene” in a probable cause hearing. Seems some kids at NC State aren’t terribly happy about the RIAA’s business model random trolling for file-sharing violations. You know how it works – ‘let’s sue everybody on the off chance that they might be guilty and/or unable to afford a lawyer.”

Of course, those Woofpack students can at least stand up for themselves. Check this episode of asshaberdashery, though:

Their RIAA is suing a young transplant patient in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Nineteen-year-old Ciara Sauro has pancreatitis and because she needs an islet cell transplant, she’s hospitalized every week, a situation resulting in a huge accumulation of medical bills.

Now, “Because she didn’t defend herself against a copyright lawsuit, a federal judge in Pittsburgh ruled she’s a music pirate, and that could cost the Sauros almost $8,000 in fines,” says Pittsburg news channel

“I already have severe depression,” the story has her saying. “I mean, it’s so hard to sit there and think that I have to get in trouble for something that I didn’t do. It’s not fair.”

As SlashDot notes, Sauro “claims that she did not infringe any copyrights.” However, “she failed to answer the complaint in time, and a default judgment was taken against her.”

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Apparently neither are poverty, grave illness or innocence.

But hey, enough about the innocent. Now let’s talk about the damn-sure-looks-guilty.

You may have heard that Joe Satriani is litigating Coldplay. Their most recent CD, he alleges, has a song – “Viva la Vida” – that rips off one of his songs – “If I Could Fly.” Of course, people claim that other people are imitating them all the time, right?

Coldplay might want to make a settlement offer here, though. I mean, George Harrison got punked for infringing on “He’s So Fine,” and Satch has a better case. Seriously. His lawyer will have to demonstrate that Coldplay had been exposed to “If I Could Fly,” I suppose, but Coldplay’s lawyer is going to have find a jury with a profound belief in coincidence. (Then again, this is America, and lots of folks believe in weirder stuff than this.)

What am I talking about? I’m talking about this. Pay particular attention to the part that commences around the 1:00 mark.

Trust me, counsel, you do not want the jury to see this clip…

14 replies »

  1. Well, on the plus side Coldplay’s record company might have “earned” enough from suing seriously ill patients to cover the legal expenses for the suit that Joe will file.

    Illegal downloading is a huge problem on campus at nearby Northern Michigan University; it’s one of those schools with mandatory lap top leasing and blazing internet everywhere on campus. The Uni’s gotten so much grief from the record companies that they monitor the servers on campus and come down quick and hard on students. Of course, the student body doesn’t seem to realize that if they download off campus they’re safe. (Granted, the dorm residents are basically trapped)

    The record companies just can’t stop clinging to their outmoded business model. And had they been smart, they might have set up the most kick ass download sites themselves. I used to imagine the entire Blue Note catalog available on line with good quality, or all the old albums that are out of print from other companies. But i gave up. And now there isn’t even a record store in town where i can buy a CD (unless you count WalMart). So what do the record companies want me to do?

  2. Dr. Slammy,

    Interesting coincidence. Maybe their argument will be the old coincidence of an infinite number of monkeys pounding on an infinite number of typewriters……


  3. This isn’t the first time they have been accused of “borrowing” a melody. I heard a song a while back from another band who’s song was almost a complete clone of the song in question. I’ll have to look through some old e-mails for the link and band name, I was going back in forth with someone about how their albums completely blow and I sent him the clip. God I hate Coldplay.

  4. Can we look at the positives for a minute? Without the RIAA, what would cause the invention of such fantastic words like “asshabardashery” and “fucknozzles”? I think we’re underestimating the positive impact they’re having on creativity.

  5. Best of luck finding rhymes for them. 😉

    In all seriousness, are there any new developments in that class action suit that was filed against the RIAA?

  6. Best of luck finding rhymes for them. 😉

    Hmmm. Monstermashery – that might work for a Halloween song. The other one is tougher. You could do slant rhyme with “Pete Rozell.”

    In all seriousness, are there any new developments in that class action suit that was filed against the RIAA?

    I haven’t heard anything new. I assume the cases are progressing.

  7. Drop the “s” and you could use “causal”. As in, ”

    The ignorance is causal
    The record exec
    is a god-damned fucknozzle

    His asshabardashery
    his ganking of society
    promote a no-hit wonder
    from the bland note factory

    hehe. Best i could do in 10 minutes. 🙂

  8. Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” more closely resembles french pop artist Alizee’s “J’en Ai Marre” than it does Satriani’s song. I’m quite surprised the songwriter who penned JAM for Alizee didn’t sue first, as it’s been frequently mentioned in the news overseas and even moreso with Coldplay touring there recently.

  9. Also, did Coldplay properly credit Kraftwerk’s “Computer Love” as the melody of “Talk”? That use was so obvious, it rivaled the “Ice Ice Baby” bassline drama of the early 90s.

  10. Agreed Sean Mac. Coldplay has been just asking for trouble. Don’t they know that if you’re going to steal, you should keep it in the family? Kraftwerk is Warner. Alizee is Universal. Satriani is Epic/Sony. Coldplay is Capitol/EMI. You can’t just continue to poach from the other members of the Big 4 and expect to get away with it. The thefts have been so over the top that, if I were their attorney, I would try to play the “fair use” angle and claim that their works were satire; intended to lampoon the creative recycling that is rampant in Hollywood.