It's all very interesting, and I have to admit that the two songs sound very similar.
There's a second factor, however, in all this and, to me, a more interesting pop culture foot note than the alleged rip off: the random tie to Legend of Zelda. Without this element, I probably wouldn't have even written this post, as I generally could give a shit about what Coldplay does. (I side with Chuck Klosterman's and his summation of the British band: "a mediocre photocopy of Travis, who sound like a mediocre photocopy of Radiohead," and whose first big single "brilliantly informed us that the stars in the sky are, in fact, yellow." Klosterman also calls the Coldplay the single shittiest fucking band he's ever heard in his entire fucking life, but I feel that's taking it a step too far, given that Crazytown existed.) As I first learned in this post on The Girl Gamer and found to be echoed in other articles on the matter, Creaky Boards frontman Andrew Hoepfner admits that, in the first place, his his initial inspiration for the "Songs I Didn't Write" came from another song melody was the Great Fairy theme from the Legend of Zelda games. Perhaps that's why he's only politely complaining about Coldplay.
Here's that Zelda music:
The funny part here is that I'm not sure I hear the resemblance, at least not as strongly as I can hear a connection between "Viva la Vida" and "Songs I Didn't Write." But Hoepfner owned up to the Legend of Zelda connection, so I guess it must be the case. Still, I'm take aback that any serious musician would openly credit video game music as simple as this as inspiration. I mean, it's bound to happen, given how may video games people my age have played, and I should be the last one to be shocked. Nonetheless, I am.
Am I alone on this one? Or is this all as strange as I'm making it out to be?