Advertisement

OK Go accuse Apple of stealing their video for “Writing’s On The Wall”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Indie rockers OK Go have accused Apple of ripping off one of their videos for use in a promotional clip that aired during Tuesday’s global product launch.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, OK Go manager Andy Gershon claimed he and the band met with Apple in April to pitch a visual concept involving one continual camera that circles around a room and displays different messages depending on the perspective. When Apple declined the project, the band hired the production company 1stAveMachine and turned the concept into their video for “The Writing’s On the Wall”. The band uploaded the video to YouTube in June; it has since garnered 10 million views and won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects.

So, you can imagine the band’s surprise when Apple premiered their new video “Perspective”, which looks eerily similar to “Writing’s On The Wall” and was created by the same exact folks who worked with OK Go. Not only did Apple hire 1stAveMachine as producers, it used the same exact director as OK Go’s video. “The videos speak for themselves,” said Gershon, “and you can draw your own conclusions.”

Apple’s “Perspective”:

OK Go’s “The Writing’s On The Wall”:

Gershon said OK Go is considering legal action against Apple. However, as Stanford law professor Mark Lemley noted to Bloomberg Businessweek, the band might not have much of a case. He explained there is some precedent for what’s called an “idea submission case,” wherein someone who has pitched an idea in private can seek damages if the idea is used without their direct involvement. However, these cases usually require a non-disclosure agreement, and since OK Go doesn’t appear to have one, Lemley believes any legal claim is “unlikely to succeed.” He added, “That said, from a PR perspective, I’d say it wasn’t a smart move by Apple.”

It’s not the first time Apple has been accused of some sort of intellectual property theft or outright plagiarism. In 2005, a series of commercials featuring dancing silhouettes was accused of apeing a commercial for Lugz boots. A year later, in late 2006, Ben Gibbard argued that a television spot “bore striking resemblance” to The Postal Service’s video for “Such Great Heights”. Similar accusations of plagiarism have come from photographer Louis Psihoyo, who actually filed a lawsuit, and filmmaker Christian Marclay.

Given that Apple poured $100 million into this latest advertising campaign, any complaints of plagiarism could be quite bad for business. But here’s the ironic kicker: if Apple did in fact plagiarize, it would undoubtedly invalidate “Perspective” as a “tribute to people who have always seen things differently.” Ouchies.

Advertisement