This post originally appeared on Techdirt
When Joe Satriani sued Coldplay for copyright infringment last December, lots of people were quick to notice that a bunch of other songs shared the same melody, including some predating Satriani’s tune. Last month, Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) made headlines claiming that Coldplay had “stolen” the melody from him, not Satriani. Islam’s 1973 song was one of many that people had noticed which sounded similar, but Islam was sure Coldplay got the melody from him (“if you listen to it, it’s mine!”) and said he’d decide whether or not to take legal action “depending on how well Satriani does.” Now, Islam is talking about it again, this time saying he’s not angry with Coldplay:
I stand by what I said. They did copy my song but I don’t think they did it on purpose. I can understand why they got so upset because they probably don’t even realise they have done it. It happens all the time. I have even copied myself without knowing I have done it. I’ll write down what I think is a new melody and then listen back to it and realise it’s the same as something I have already done. It’s just one of those things and I don’t want them to think I’m angry with them. I’d love to sit down and have a cup of tea with them and let them know it’s ok.
That’s a step up from Satriani’s “dagger through my heart” response, especially if he’s suggesting the cup of tea instead of a lawsuit (though, TwentyFourBit notes that the Flaming Lips would be annoyed if Coldplay gets a tea settlement while they got a royalty split). But it’s still odd that Islam is so convinced that the melody is his. What about all the other songs with the same melody? Islam doesn’t even entertain the possibility that no copying took place, that it’s just a natural melody to sing over those chords. He’s forgiving them for something they deny having done, and, although upset initially, Chris Martin actually said the claims are inspiration to write better songs. It’s nice to see Islam recognize that this sort of thing “happens all the time” and that “it’s ok” — and hopefully that means he’s given up on a lawsuit — but he fails to admit even the possibility that Coldplay came up with the melody on their own. Regardless, this can’t be helping Satriani’s case.
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