Legal Roundup: Coldplay, Lauren Hill & More

Coldplay is accused of plagiarism once again, Lauryn Hill’s bassist is fatally shot and a Swedish hip-hop artist goes to trial on murder and assault charges.

Fourth Time’s A Charm

Coldplay just can’t catch a break when it comes to being called a bunch of copycats.

In the past few years, guitarist Joe Satriani, Yusuf – the folk singer formally known as Cat Stevens – and Brooklyn, N.Y. indie band Creaky Boards have all claimed that Coldplay’s 2008 hit “Viva La Vida” was a rip-off of one of their tunes.

Photo: AP Photo
Estadio Olímpico, Barcelona, Spain

Now Sammie Lee Smith, a man who describes himself as a “well-talented” yet “unknown” songwriter, has filed suit in L.A. County Superior Court, claiming he actually wrote the following Coldplay hit singles: 2000’s “Yellow” and “Trouble” and 2003’s “Clocks,” according to

The lawsuit notes that since 1976, Smith has “recorded approximately 100 tapes, each tape containing approximately 40 songs.”

Smith is seeking an undisclosed sum of cash and for the British rock band to stop playing his songs.

Satriani sued Coldplay in December 2008, claiming “Viva La Vida” stole “substantial original portions” of his 2004 song “If I Could Fly.” The case was dismissed with prejudice in September. Court documents suggest that Coldplay and Satriani came to an undisclosed agreement.

Last May Yusuf accused Coldplay of stealing from his 1973 song “Foreigner Suite.” After initially saying he was going to wait to take legal action based on how well Satriani’s suit did, the singer-songwriter later said he didn’t plan on serving Chris Martin and co. with legal papers.

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Bassist Fatally Shot

Dewey Tucker, a bassist who toured with Lauryn Hill the past few years, was fatally shot and found dead in his vehicle Tuesday night near Crockett, Calif. The 24-year-old was on his way to band practice in Oakland, Calif.

Photo: Chris McKay /

Investigators say it appears to be an unfortunate case of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Authorities are looking for suspects.

In addition to working with Hill, Tucker also performed with Oakland hip-hip group the Coup and was a member of the Greater St. Paul Baptist Church band in Oakland. He had no criminal history.

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Swedish Musician Claims Self-Defense

Swedish hip-hop artist David Moses Jassy pleaded not guilty to murder, assault and other charges on Wednesday, claiming that he acted in self-defense when he beat up and ran over a pedestrian in November 2008.

Jassy, a 35-year-old songwriter and producer who is also known as Dave Monopoly, has co-written songs for “High School Musical” star Ashley Tisdale and worked with Heidi Montag from MTV’s “The Hills.”

Attorney Alec Rose defended Jassy during opening statements in the trial, explaining that he assaulted the pedestrian, John Osnes, because he feared for his own safety and that of his girlfriend.

When crossing a street on foot near his home after midnight Nov. 23, Osnes saw Jassy’s rented SUV creep into the crosswalk. Prosecutors allege Osnes slapped the vehicle and that Jassy then got out of his car and punched Osnes in the face. When Osnes bent over to pick up his glasses, Jassy kicked him in the head.

As bystanders, including an off-duty police officer, tried to stop Jassy, the hip-hop artist got back in the vehicle and fled, running over Osnes.

Prosecutors called Osnes a “pedestrian rights activist,” a 55-year-old local jazz pianist who prided himself on not owning a vehicle. He died at a hospital Nov. 23.

Click here for the AP story.