The Independent explains it:
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".I've watched the video and think it's pretty amusing, but as for that melody — the only thing Hoepfner accuses Chris Martin of stealing — it sounds like the sort of singsong melody you'd come up with if you were called upon to start singing a made-up song on the spot. So I'm buying the "coincidence" argument.
... 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.
Should Coldplay be able to force Hoepfner to take down his accusatory video and apologize, or do we think it's a nice resolution of the controversy for Coldplay to escape unsued and for Hoepfner to have his viral video to leverage his band to whatever degree of fame it can get out of this amusing little artistic squabble?
By the way, I created the word "Coldplagiarism," so be sure to link to this post if you use it! I admit that on Googling to make sure that I'm first I found somebody on some obscure European message board once said it. But I hadn't seen that before I concocted my dazzling word play.
What if musicians could Google their tunes to see if anyone had ever used them before? Would they find that anything halfway melodic had already been used thousands of times?