Apple’s Lifted Video Provokes Band Response

We’re a bit behind on this story, but we figured we’d get our finger on it before it got away from us. Apple straight-up ripped off the video for The Postal Service’s song Such Great Heights to promote its use of Intel chips in its new Macs. (The Postal Service is a band, not our U.S. Mail.) Both videos were directed by the same two people, which makes it unquestionably clear that Apple and their ad agency, TBWAChiat Day, intended to clone the video shot-for-shot from the beginning.

The Postal Service’s Ben Gibbard had this to say:

It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers’ new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for ‘Such Great Heights’ made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent.

Like we said, we’re a bit late to the game on this one, but we think there might just be more to say about this in the future. If nothing else, it does Apple no good to look like a copycat (even if polishing old ideas is something at which Apple excels).

Every time one opens at iPod there is a sticker that says ‘Don’t Steal Music.’ Perhaps with the introduction of the iPod video, Apple should be heeding its own advice: Don’t Steal Videos.

Speaking of not stealing, image from Frederik Samuel.

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  1. TheChaz says:

    Based on comments from other sites the consensus seems to be that Apple didn’t steal anything in the legal sense. The copyright for the video itself belongs to its production company / directors, with whom apple worked. Mostly, they’re guilty of being unoriginal.

  2. nweaver says:

    This is a BIG screwup, although probably a screwup on Chiat/Day’s part rather than Apple’s part.

    The similarity is so close that a copyright lawsuit would probably work, ALTHOUGH the question is, who owns the copyright on the video: The director or the band?

  3. mrscolex says:

    Postal Service [to Prod company]: We don’t sell enough music!

    Prod Company: Well emo is lame-o baby, that’s so 2005.

    Postal Service: What are we going to do?

    Prod Company: Well we did use the same music video for you guys as an Apple commercial– you don’t have any rights to sue Apple because we produced it, but your allegations will be picked up by the mainstream press and you’ll get lots of buzz.

    Postal Service: We find this to be somewhat unethical because Apple, in part, helped us in becoming the minor success that we are through heavy promotion on their iTunes service– but — we need to cash before the emo well dries up. Brilliant!

    *Prod Company and Postal Service engage in maniacal laughter*

  4. seamus says:

    Wait a second — didn’t LUGZ also complain that Apple stole their Eminem iTunes commercial from an old LUGZ ad?

    Yes they did:
    http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2005/10/applelugz_flap_.ht

    But remember, “Apple = Innovation.”

  5. mrscolex says:

    In regard’s to the LUGZ ad, which I actually went back and checked out on the http://www.psyop.tv website (great website btw) I can’t really say Apple stole it– its certainly similar and I will say that it’s definitely ‘inspired’, however, did you see the Wachowski brothers going around suing people for the hundreds of Matrix rip-offs?

    Let me take my foot out of my mouth before someone finds out they did….

  6. kickslop says:

    All I know is, the best way to sell Apple products to the BAJILLIONS of people who have been using Windows + Intel machines for the last 25 years… is to tell them that all of their successful and productive work on that platform has been simple-minded and dull bullshit.

    Every time I see that smug Apple ad I want to punch Steve Jobs and every Apple zealot in the mouth.

    “Hi, our company blew from 1992 to 2000 and we lost millions of potential customers who ended up buying Windows PCs with Intel processors. Now that we’ve sold a ton of iPods and we’ve got our shit together, we’re going to condescend to all of the people who have been productively getting work done on Intel machines for the last 15 years.”

    I was actually considering checking out an iMac for the last year. Honestly. My attitude today is “Fuck Apple and Fuck Steve Jobs.”