LA plays host to two copyright infringement suits

A flurry of high profile copyright infringement cases– why now?

One of the big stories being passed around now in Blogland is happening here in Los Angeles, where Associated Press is going after Shepard Fairey for appropriating one of their photos for his Obama Hope poster. In fact, as I type this, there is a story about it airing on NPR.

But Los Angeles could soon be the setting for another high profile copyright infringement battle. And two  more are playing out in NYC– one in the theater world, the other in the art world.

In LA, next week the focus may shift to Coldplay and guitarist Joe Satriani’s plagiarism charges against the group, claiming they lifted the tune for their hit “Viva La Vida” from his song “If I Could Fly.”

The band issued a denial on their website but, not having been in LA lately, they have avoided being served court papers by Satriani or his reps. But Coldplay will be in Los Angeles for next week’s Grammy Awards ceremony at the Staples Center. And here’s the fun part: Satriani’s lawyers say they will be stalking the group with a camera crew (!) seeking to serve them with court papers.

If I were Staples (the office supply megastore chain that paid big $$ for the naming rights to the venue,) I would wire Satriani with a microphone, send him dancing onto the stage during Coldplay’s scheduled performance on the live Grammy telecast to serve the band with court papers, and then have him turn to the camera and scream, “THAT WAS EASY!”

The other cases involve the estate of playwright Tennessee Williams issuing a cease-and-desist order to an NYC production of a play called “Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire;”  and French photographer Patrick Cariou’s lawsuit against artist Richard Prince for appropriating photographs from Cariou’s book “Yes Rasta” for a series of collage paintings.

Is this flurry of copyright infringement cases a coincidence or a coordinated effort by  intellectual property rights lawyers in order to have an excuse for more billable hours to make a display for what they believe is just?

For a video tour of the work of the greatest appropriator of all time click here.

3 thoughts on “LA plays host to two copyright infringement suits”

  1. A wired Satriani shouting “That was easy!” would be awesome! Who do we have to talk to to make this happen?

  2. Maybe they should get the Soy Bomb guy to serve the papers on Coldplay.

    As a lawyer, my professional, technical opinion is that the lawsuits are being filed now FOR THE GODDAMN MONEY. Recession = need money = file lawsuit. Note that, for companies who already have salaried attorneys on the payroll, especially ones who might not be as busy during a slowdown, it might not cost much extra to pursue such a lawsuit.

  3. Matt, I believe Satriani has been in discussions with Coldplay for quite some time, and originally hoped to have settled this out of court.

    Regardless, it sounds like a ripoff to me. Go Satriani!

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