Are EMI Censoring the Coldplay vs Joe Satriani Debate on YouTube?

You’ll almost certainly know by now that US ‘axe-hero’ Joe Satriani is suing Coldplay for plagiarism.  He claims that Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ (an EMI recording) stole from his 2004 track ‘If I Could Fly’ (a Sony recording).  This was becoming a PR disaster for Coldplay and a couple of videos on YouTube comparing the two songs were each getting a couple of million views.  In short the controversy was generating a lot of online buzz.  Some commentators were advising that Coldplay should kick their PR machinery into action.


Well it looks like that advice has been heeded.  As of today those videos on YouTube comparing the two songs (and other similar ones) have been removed, in their place is the following message


This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by EMI Music


Because YouTube has licensing relationships with the labels it has to be sensitive and responsive to their requests.  It looks like copyright infringement has been used here as a pretext for removing an awkward embarrassment.  Indeed a quick search finds other non-official copies of ‘Viva La Vida’ available for viewing, some (such as this one) with nearly 1 million views i.e. videos that are infringing copyright on the same song but not including reference to the Satriani controversy.  It’s somewhat ironic that copyright infringement has been used as the reason for pulling a video that discusses a copyright infringement controversy.



But this isn’t the first time the ‘copyright claim’ has been used to cover up YouTube embarrassments.  Back in July 2007  Beyonce Knowles took a dramatic tumble at a gig and mobile phone video footage spread like wild fire on YouTube.  In a desperate bid to airbrush out history SonyBMG got all the offending videos pulled, under the cover of the same ‘copyright violation’ tactic EMI have used here.  Similarly as now, plenty of other bootleg Beyonce live footage, some from the same gig, remained untouched.


What I said in my post at the time about Beyonce’s fall applies here also:



“What I find particularly interesting about this though is the fact that it is YouTube’s close ties with the record labels that has resulted in them filtering out the footage. To much of its audience this will feel like police-state style censorship and the curious will look elsewhere. Perhaps this an early sign that YouTube is becoming too closely aligned with ‘the establishment’ for ‘the kids’?”




And finally, if you want to judge on the Satriani / Coldplay controversy for yourself, here are YouTibe clips of both songs.  For ‘If I Could Fly’ move in 50 seconds and you’ll hear the part in question.





Joe Satriani ‘If I Could Fly’


Cold Play ‘Viva la Vida’



What do you think?

10 thoughts on “Are EMI Censoring the Coldplay vs Joe Satriani Debate on YouTube?

  1. Great post.

    I wrote on the same topic .

    This attempt at censorship doesn’t really change the truth, and I doubt it will help to earn Coldplay better PR.

  2. Pingback: El Francotirador » El derecho de autor como arma corporativa

  3. Once, a video of me singing a Paul McCartney song very poorly was posted on YouTube, and it was the source of much embarrasment for me. I wrote to the poster reasoning with him to remove the video, but he ignored me. So, I sent my tale of woe to YouTube. However, thinking that my mere shame was not enough reason to remove such a laughable mockery, I concluded my request to YouTube by reminding them that the McCartney song was not licensed for legal use on their site.
    The video came down almost immediately.
    – Flash

  4. Censorship won’t help in the Coldplay-Satriani case, but the panic over damage control is understandable on the part of notoriously protective EMI. They must understand the internet knows no boundries; there’s a loophole for every law.
    As regards Satriani’s potential claim to millions of dollars worth of profit from the single Viva La Vida, the album and live performances, that is one enormous slice of pie, and if you ask me, very near gluttonous…

  5. “It’s somewhat ironic”????? It’s downright hypocrisy. Thanks EMI. Let’s make sure people can’t judge for themselves. Pure and simple censorship, regardless of who was right in this matter. If you woke up in what you thought was a free country this morning….think again. EMI and YouTube should be ashamed.

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  7. Those corporations (EMI) (Google) (Youtube) treat u.s the reason for their existence like sheeple, and Youtube is fast becoming a conformist bully.
    An alternative to Youtube is needed. They are forgetting who and what makes their business propser.

  8. Pingback: EMI Pulls Offending Coldplay/Satriani Videos from YouTube | Business | Wired

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