Friday, June 20, 2008

The song they didn't write? Coldplay are accused of plagiarism by American band

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Chris Martin attended a Creaky Boards concert in New York last year

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles

It was all going so predictably well. Coldplay's new album went straight to No 1 on Sunday, selling 300,000 copies in three days; concerts sold out; that iTunes ad was everywhere. Even their notoriously sniffy critics in the music press seemed, with the odd exception, unusually muted.

Then, things took a sudden turn for the worse – with a plagiarism row. Yesterday, the band was forced to issue a categorical denial of allegations that they copied the title track to their new record, Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends from a little-known US group, Creaky Boards.

In a video posted on the video-sharing website YouTube, Andrew Hoepfner, Creaky Boards' singer and songwriter, claimed that the melody of Coldplay's song, "Viva La Vida", is pinched from a track he wrote last year called, ironically, "The Songs I Didn't Write".

He blamed Chris Martin for the alleged artistic theft, saying that Coldplay's frontman attended a Creaky Boards concert in New York last year. "We were flattered when we thought we saw Chris Martin in the crowd," said Mr Hoepfner. "He seemed pretty into it... Maybe TOO into it?"

The clip, which was first posted on Sunday, rapidly went viral. By last night, it had been watched by nearly 300,000 people, many thousands of whom had typed comments remarking upon the various similarities between the two tracks. In an industry where even small chord sequences can become subject of costly copyright disputes, allegations of plagiarism are as potentially damaging to a musician's finances as they are to their reputation.

Little surprise, then, that Coldplay responded with a vigorous denial. "We totally refute their claims, and there are two facts that make it easy to disprove them," said the band's spokesman Murray Chalmers. "First, on the night in October when the band say Chris Martin was watching them, he was actually working at the Air Studio in London, and we can prove that. Second, even if he had been at the gig, "Viva la Vida" was written and demoed seven months before the night in question, so it couldn't possibly have been copied."

Sources close to the band said they were unlikely to pursue legal action against Creaky Boards, since it would "look bad" to start a David versus Goliath lawsuit against a group of young musicians. They are, however, pushing for them to publicly withdraw the allegations of plagiarism.

The two tracks have different lyrics, say the Coldplay camp. Although certain elements of their melody sound remarkably similar, the band say this is due to simple coincidence rather than a case of artistic theft.

Either way, the trite nature of Mr Hoepfner's video clip has succeeded in gaining a new following for his band, and was driving traffic to their MySpace page. The YouTube video concludes: "I wish Coldplay the best of luck. If they ever want to collaborate, I've got some microphones we could use in my bedroom."

Creaky Boards' video outlining the similiarities between the two songs

Coldplay are recording several live TV performances to promote their record in the US, but are steering clear of major interviews, following last week's incident on BBC Radio 4 when Martin walked out of an interview with the arts show Front Row, saying he did not like "having to talk about things".

Rock royalty vs pop paupers


* Chris Martin is widely considered one of the most influential musicians of his generation, and was acclaimed as "heir apparent to Bono" on the band's last tour in 2006.

* Coldplay boast 447,546 friends on MySpace and 222,985 fans on Facebook.

* Coldplay are signed to Parlophone, part of EMI.

* Chris Martin is married to the actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Creaky Boards

* Andrew Hoepfner's biggest endorsement so far comes from a New York free paper, The Village Broadsheet: "His songs hit on a strange-but-perfect kink-swing tradition"

* Creaky Boards have 1,873 friends on MySpace. They don't bother with Facebook.

* Creaky Boards are still looking for a record deal.

* Andrew Hoepfner's marital status is unknown.

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10 Ways Musicians Piss Off Their Fans

We've all come in contact with that drunken guy at the party (hell, perhaps you've been that drunken guy) who corners you and makes you listen to a song that's "changed his life." Because music has this ability to really affect its listeners, the creators of said music are often worshipped or idolized. This fan worship can often go straight to the musicians' heads, and can cause them to do things that are considered to be very schmuck-like by their fans. Frankly, these things have the ability to piss us right off and, to put it politely, can make us think uncharitable thoughts. Very uncharitable. Such as the recent incident at the Bonnaroo Music Festival where Kanye West didn't play his set until 4:45 in the morning, making fans wait 2+ hours! Mmhmm - schmuck-like, indeed. (In response to this, one fan told Kanye to "S my D.")

So what follows is a list of things that musicians have done that has caused outrage and scorn among listeners and, if you get right down to it, are pretty asshat things to do.

Canceling Shows

Listen, we get that crap happens, and that the odd show cancellation is unavoidable and completely understandable. But, if Kanye West can perform a show ONE WEEK after his mother died, we don't want to hear any of your hangover/laziness excuses. (I'm looking at you Justin Timberlake. Clearly, the Smirnoff Ice has, once again, proven to be too much for you.) Anyway, if your fans take the time out of their schedules to buy tickets to your show, the profits of which helps support you and your cool rock star lifestyle, and you can't even bother to show up, well, you can just colour them not pleased.

See also: Avril Lavigne

Refusing to Play Old Hits

There's a reason that you're popular, and it's because you've written some songs that make the people's hearts sing. So, really, most of us don't care how many times you've sung that same old song, if we want to hear Like A Virgin, then dammit Madonna, you best be playing it.

See also: Radiohead - Creep

Letting Record Distributors Conduct Pissing Wars with Your Music

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is content protection software used to lock up digital media. Basically, what this means is that if you buy CDs from certain labels, they won't work on your iTunes. Instead of stopping pirated copies, it interferes with the legal usage of your purchased music. So, really, although this isn't technically the artists' fault, the only losers in the whole scenario are the fans. If we want to have the CD and the mp3 we have to buy the music twice. Screw that noise. Musicians should be putting the kibosh on this whole situation, and figure out a new way to distribute their music so their fans stop getting the short end of the stick (like Pearl Jam did with Ticketmaster...ah love). Thank God the music industry is now offering some DRM-free options.

See: Nickelback

Retiring Over and Over and...Over Again

Often fans pay a lot more money to see a show when they know it's the "last" tour. If you continue to have a "last" tour every two years, frankly it gets to be a little annoying. It gives the impression of being a tad money-grubbing, and let's face it, most of the time you aren't improving your sound at all. (In fact, it might even be on the decline.) Sometimes, it's a better idea to just put the horse out to pasture. It's more gentle and quick that way.

See: Celine Dion, Cher, Jay-Z, 50 Cent

Being Extremely Egotistical

Thinking that you're the greatest thing since sliced bread is fine. Continually reminding anyone who will listen is not. When Noel Gallagher from Oasis said, "With every song that I write, I compare it to the Beatles. The thing is, they only got there before me. If I'd been born at the same time as John Lennon, I'd have been up there," I think we all grow a little purple with rage. Granted, Oasis is a good band, but it's beyond irritating to hear someone say they'd be better than a band they were clearly inspired by.

See also: Kanye West, Axl Rose, P. Diddy, Brandon Flowers

Becoming Wussies

Can I just ask what the hell happened to Aerosmith? I mean, Dream On, Sweet Emotion, Same Old Song and Dance...genius. Then we get Don't Want to Miss a Thing. What the hell is up with that? Listen - experiment with your sound, do what you got to do to mix it up a little, but don't become complete and utter wussies. How might you know if you've become wussies? When your biggest fan base switches to soccer moms and wedding singers, you just know that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. At that point, fix the situation as it's become embarrassing for us to watch.

See also: Bon Jovi, Rob Thomas

Ignoring Who Your Fans Are

Nothing pisses your fans off more than when you say or do something that is contrary to some of the cores of their beliefs. For example, whether or not Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks was correct in what she said about George Bush, the fact is that a huge number of her fans were southern, Republican and extremely patriotic. Sooo, of course they were going to get riled up - it wasn't exactly a surprise. Musicians have just as much right to free speech as anyone else, but if you want to keep your album sales up, you might want to do a little research into the likes and dislikes of your fans.

See also: Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears

Money Grabbing

Everyone should get paid for their work, but there's no need to be obscene about it. There are some artists that charge ridiculous amounts for tickets to see them in concert (i.e. Barbara Streisand has charged $2,500 for certain shows). Hello? That's the price of an old car or a mortgage payment or two. There's really no need to charge that much money for a concert, and it's a big indicator to fans about where their favourite musicians' priorities are.

See also: Madonna, Miley Cyrus

Becoming Uselessly Drunk or High Before a Show

As Amy Winehouse has proved time and time again, it's not a great idea to get so inebriated before a show that you can't perform. Fans tend to get a little angry when they've paid a lot of money to see a show, and the musicians in question makes a fool of themselves on stage. We're not there to watch a drunken ass grope blindly around the stage, cause if we wanted that we could have gone to any bar and seen that show for free.

See also: Pete Doherty

Be Metallica

If there's one thing Metallica knows how to do really well, it's raising the ire of their fans and of music lovers everywhere. Metallica is considered to be mostly responsible for the shutdown of the beloved Napster, and in fact printed out a 60,000 page document of all users sharing their songs. Lars Ulrich became the spokesperson for the RIAA, and frankly, annoyed the crap out of people everywhere. Metallica now plans to sell some of their music on the internet, but it's not really receiving a very positive response as people have long memories. When it came down to MP3s or Metallica, most people chose MP3s, and they haven't forgotten that it was Metallica that made them make that choice.

Photographs Courtesy Getty Images

Posted by Colleen

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Kid Rock Boycotts iTunes, Champions P2P

By Eliot Van Buskirk

The digital music revolution has been compromised, according to Kid Rock, because digital music stores and record labels still manage to hoard the lion's share of music revenue.

He advises fans to download his music for free from P2P services, although he himself doesn't have to. "I don't steal things," he told the BBC. "I'm rich." As for everyone else, he says, "Download it illegally, I don't care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live."

Rock's tirade was apparently precipitated by a request from his record label, Warner Music Group's Atlantic Records, that he publicly denounce file sharing. His response: "Wait a second, you've been stealing from the artists for years. Now you want me to stand up for you?" Ouch.

It seems there's no one way that artists are responding to the opportunities and challenges presented by the internet. It's official now: They're all over the map when it comes to downloads, DRM, file sharing and the rest of it, no longer offering the same rationales for completely different conclusions.

"ITunes takes the money, the record company takes the money, and they don't give it to the artists," added the country rock rapper. Instead, he says, the internet offers a "great opportunity for everyone to be treated fairly, for the consumer to get a fair price, for the artist to be paid fairly, for the record companies to make some money."

This makes a lot of sense, and it's the sort of thing that the digital music optimists among us have been saying for years. However, Rock expands on the idea, positing that anyone who needs something should just take it: "I don't mind people stealing my music, that's fine. But I think they should steal everything. You know how much money the oil companies have? If you need some gas, just go fill your tank (up) and drive off, they're not going to miss it."

Kid Rock's iTunes boycott is in full effect. As of right now, none of his Warner-era albums are available on iTunes, where only his rarely heard debut -- 1990's Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast on Zomba Recordings -- is available (clicking the link spawns iTunes).

Meanwhile, Metallica has been busy apologizing for its management company's testosterone-fueled deletion of early reviews of their upcoming album -- more on that soon.

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Iron Man Soars to $300 Million

Iron Man Industrial Light & Magic

The biggest movie of the summer just became the biggest movie of the year.

Iron Man became the first film of 2008 to pass the $300 million mark at the domestic box office today.

The Robert Downey Jr. career-resuscitating, comic-book adaptation had grossed an estimated $299.3 million through Tuesday, per the number crunchers at Box Office Mojo, and should have reached the milestone by the time you read this.

Wednesday's totals were not yet available, but the film has so far made no less than $680,000 per day in ticket sales, meaning if the Marvel flick didn't hit the mark last night, it's a statistical certainty it will do so today.

Worldwide, the film has grossed an additional $250 million, bringing its global gross to more than $550 million.

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MASH-UP: Requiem For A Day Off

By Alex Blagg

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Requiem For A Dream have very little to do with each other. One’s a feel-good 80’s teen movie about coming to grips with growing up. The other is a harrowing portrait of the tragic effects of drug addiction. Yet somehow, when combined, the results are strangely awesome. I’m just glad they spared Sloane the…well, you know…that scene. (via Fimoculous)

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The Vatican Bans Filming of "Angels & Demons"

The Vatican has banned the makers of a CERN-inspired quantum physics-based prequel to The Da Vinci Code from filming in its grounds or any church in Rome, describing the work as “an offence against God”.

Angels and Demons, the latest Dan Brown thriller to be turned into a film, includes key episodes that take place in the Vatican and Rome’s churches. Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the head of the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs, said that Brown had “turned the gospels upside down to poison the faith”.

The novel introduces the Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon as he tries to stop what seems to be the Illuminati, a legendary secret society, from destroying the Vatican City with the newly-discovered power of antimatter.

Like the Da Vinci Code, the book opens with a murder when CERN director Maximilian Kohler discovers one of the facility's most respected physicists, Leonardo Vetra, murdered in his own secured, private quarters at the facility -his chest is branded with a symbol — the word "Illuminati", formed as an ambigram, using a hot iron and his eye torn out. Instead of calling the police, Kohler researches the topic on the Internet and finally gains contact with Professor Langdon, an expert on the Illuminati.
It's later revealed that the Illuminati has also stolen a canister containing a quarter of a gram of antimatter — an extremely deadly substance with destructive potential comparable to the most powerful nuclear weapons in existence, a potential unleashed upon contact with any form of normal matter

“It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into films in the name of business,” he said, adding that Brown’s work “wounds common religious feelings”.

Father Marco Fibbi, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rome, said: “Normally we read the script but this time it was not necessary. The name Dan Brown was enough.”

The Vatican fiercely condemned The Da Vinci Code novel and its film version, which starred Tom Hanks as the Harvard professor Robert Langdon. Hanks is also starring in Angels and Demons, which like The Da Vinci Code, is directed by Ron Howard.

Crucial scenes are set in the Vatican and two Rome churches — Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria. In both churches, cardinals are murdered and mutilated with mysterious marks and symbols. Father Antonio Truda, parish priest at Santa Maria del Popolo, said that there was no question of allowing scenes to be shot there. “It’s bad enough having to put up with tour guides explaining the scene to tourists,” he said.

The production team is set to recreate on a set in Hollywood the interiors of the Rome churches from which they are banned. Vatican officials said they had been unable to prevent the film-makers from shooting exterior shots of St Peter’s and the surrounding medieval streets of the Borgo, with the permission of the borough council.

However, the film-makers are having to use the marble halls and staircases of the former royal palace at Caserta, near Naples, to double for Vatican interiors.

Posted by Jason McManus.

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Jamie Lynn Spears Has a Baby Girl

By Mary Margaret

Jamie Lynn Spears Has a Baby Girl | Jamie Lynn Spears
There is a new baby in the Spears clan! Jamie Lynn Spears and her fiancé Casey Aldridge welcomed a baby girl Thursday morning.

PEOPLE confirms exclusively that the baby was named Maddie Briann.

"Just the family was there," says a source about the birth around 9:30 a.m. at a hospital in Mississippi, near her Louisiana hometown. "Everyone is healthy and happy."

Jamie Lynn's sister Britney, father Jamie and brother Bryan flew in Wednesday to be with her for the birth; her mother Lynne had been with her helping her get ready for the baby.

Since announcing her pregnancy in December, Britney’s little sister has retreated from the bright lights of Hollywood, opting for the comforts of her hometown of Kentwood, La.

With her Nickelodeon show Zoey 101 already ended, Jamie Lynn went home to prepare for the birth of her baby. The actress, 17, and Aldridge, 19, got engaged in March. Recently, the couple purchased a three-bedroom home in Liberty, Miss., where Aldridge went to high school.

Over the last few months, Spears has kept busy by passing her GED exam, preparing the nursery and attending multiple baby showers.

Jamie Lynn's Zoey 101 costar, Erin Sanders, told PEOPLE earlier this year that the actress will be a fun mother.

"She is just a very good-hearted and warm person," he said. "We would always hang out on the set and she is a lot of fun, so I think she's going to be an easygoing, fun mom."

More Celeb Baby Boom: Proud parents – Nicole Richie, Christina Aguilera, Angelina Jolie and more – show off their adorable additions on the cover of PEOPLE

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