Coldplay Drummer Speaks Out About ‘Viva La Vida’ Claims

Will Champion says copyright infringement accusations are 'part of the territory' of success.

When you aim to become one of the biggest bands in the world, this sort of thing just comes with the territory. At least that’s what [artist id="1111141"]Coldplay[/artist] drummer Will Champion said about the latest claims that the title track to his group’s multiplatinum Grammy-winning 2008 album, Viva la Vida, sounds suspiciously like another artist’s work.

After being sued for copyright infringement earlier this year by guitarist Joe Satriani , who claims that “Viva” bears too close a resemblance to his 2004 instrumental “If I Could Fly,” the band was hit with yet another accusation this week, when ’70s soft rocker Yusuf Islam (formerly known as [artist id="16914"]Cat Stevens[/artist]), said “Viva” also resembles his 1973 song, “Foreigner Suite.”

“It’s tough when people accuse you of stealing something, when you know that you didn’t,” Champion told HamptonRoads.com. “So, we accept that it’s part of the territory and know it is only for some reason, God only knows why, the successful songs that seem to be the ones that are accused of being stolen. So you go figure it out.”

Asked if such claims — which have traditionally been hard to prove in court — can be somewhat subjective, and if it’s easy to listen to any number of songs and claim that certain parts sound like other songs, Champion agreed that that was definitely the case.

“There are elements of our music that I’ve heard in other people’s music but it’s kind of … I don’t know,” he said. “It’s interesting but a very difficult thing to define. How can you … there are only eight notes in an octave and no one owns them. And there are probably about 12,000 songs that feature the exact same chord progression. I think it lies on an intent to steal, which we certainly have never done and never would. So, it’s unfortunate but it’s the way people are. That’s that. We’re confident we haven’t done anything wrong.”

In addition to Islam and Satriani, the Brooklyn-based indie band Creaky Boards have also claimed “Vida” lifts a melody from one of their songs. For now, only Satriani has filed a legal claim against Coldplay, though Islam said he might consider following suit depending on how the guitarist’s case plays out.

Often guilty, never convicted. Serving 15 years to life at MTV News.