In a statement released on Tuesday, the band responded to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by guitarist Joe Satriani last week in federal court in Los Angeles. That lawsuit says the Grammy-nominated song contains "substantial, original portions" of his 2004 song, "If I Could Fly."
"With the greatest possible respect to Joe Satriani, we have now unfortunately found it necessary to respond publicly to his allegations," read the statement. "If there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental, and just as surprising to us as to him. Joe Satriani is a great musician, but he did not write the song 'Viva La Vida.' We respectfully ask him to accept our assurances of this and wish him well with all future endeavours."
Satriani, 52, wants a federal judge to order an accounting so he can determine how much money he may be owed, or else stop using the song.
In response to Coldplay's statement, Satriani's lawyer, Howard E. King, said Coldplay's public reaction was dramatically different from how the guitarist's claims were treated before the lawsuit was filed.
"We attempted to have a dialogue on this before we went public," King said. "We felt almost forced to file suit."
"As far as the 'coincidence,' ultimately that's for a jury to decide," he added.
King said it's common for musicians to be influenced by other works and incorporate it into their own, sometimes a little too closely. But he said that the reaction is usually different when the similarities are pointed out.
"It doesn't mean you don't owe something to the original composer," he said.
Coldplay is one of the world's top-selling pop acts, and their latest CD, "Viva La Vida," has sold nearly 2 million copies in the United States alone. It was nominated last week for seven Grammys, including album of the year and record of the year for the title track.