Monday, March 9, 2009

A note on plagiarism before we need to talk about plagiarism

coldplay1 As we mentioned in class the other day, plagiarism is something we want to avoid at all costs. We’ll talk about this more when we get to synthesis writing, but in case they take this down, here is an interesting exercise in plagiarism that a local radio station did recently.  Check this out.  They list the rip-off first and then the original second. It’s amazing how many big acts have borrowed from other people, including Coldplay on almost every one of their major hits. 

Every once in a while someone gets sued, like George Harrison who paid about $587,000 in a lawsuit with the Chiffons (#2 on the list).  While it didn’t make this list (possibly the radio station didn’t consider Ice, Ice Baby to be music), I think Vanilla Ice’s stealing the very recognizable baseline from David Bowie and Queen’s Under Pressure is one of the worst ones of all time.  Mostly because he still denies it.  Bowie should sue him, though then he’d have to admit he’d heard Ice, Ice Baby.  ;)


  1. Cool link. Can we please stop hating on Coldplay, though? For the record, only two of their songs were legitimately on that list- Viva la Vida and Talk. Viva la Vida was on the list twice and on another entry they said Coldplay stole "Speed of Sound" from a previous song named "Talk". You can't steal a song from yourself. Lots of songs are in the same key and go the same speed. Many artists repeat successful ideas. Thats totally legit. So can we please stop hating on Coldplay? You know what other artists were on the list twice (or more)? The Beatles, U2, Michael Jackson, Green Day, Steve Miller Band, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Jet and Pearl Jam. Those are all legit bands. Nobody is talkin smack about them.
    Sorry to get so emotional and defensive, but music is very important to me and I had to stick up for my homeboys Coldplay.


  2. Well you can steal a song from yourself. Prince did it on this list, though he wrote the first song for someone else and then one with similar elements for himself. In writing, if you have published something or turned it in and you want to use something from it again, you still need to acknowledge the previous paper.

    I put this up to get people thinking a little bit about inspiration and "borrowing". I only picked on Coldplay a little since this list put them number one and they had a pretty high hit to list ratio, even compared to the other artists who appeared more than once. You likely won't like it, but you'll probably have a lot to say when we look at a couple evaluation arguments in a bit from the book "Everything's an Argument": one deals with Britney Spears and one deals with Coldplay.

    I do own Coldplay albums (not illegal downloads) and am only truly tempted to make fun of them when I see them play live or when I remember that Chris Martin named his kid Apple.