While Jacksfilms was poking fun of Apple for its “useless” new smartwatch, indie-rock band OK Go was busy accusing the company. The musicians claim Apple stole their idea from their “The Writing’s on the Wall” music video for the tech giant’s September 9 product launch video.
In an article on Bloomberg Businessweek, OK Go said they noticed how Apple’s product launch video, called “Perspective,” closely resembled their video’s concept. Both videos tell a story (Apple’s is praising “different” thinkers) using optical illusion images in an organized sequence, seemingly filmed in one take. The semblance gets even more suspicious considering the band had met with Apple in April to discuss this same concept as a collaborative effort, only to be turned down by the company. It later hired the same director and production company, 1stAveMachine, who worked on OK Go’s video to create its product launch video.
“The Writing’s on the Wall” (an ironic title considering the circumstances) was a hugely successful music video for OK Go; it was viewed on YouTube over 10 million times since June and won MTV’s Music Video Award for best visual effects. The band’s manager, Andy Gershon, said it’s obvious where Apple’s video came from. While he mentioned to Businessweek it’s “entirely possible that someone would be inspired to make a similar video,” the fact that the band had already talked to Apple about the idea is enough to make the connection. “The videos speak for themselves, and you can draw your own conclusions,” he said.
OK Go is looking into their legal options, but it doesn’t seem they’ll have much opportunity take any action against Apple. The Businessweek article made it clear Apple hasn’t learned its lesson, since this isn’t the first time the tech company’s been accused of stealing ideas from other companies and creators. Past ads from Apple have closely resembled an ad from the shoe brand Lugz and a music video from the band The Postal Service. Apple apparently also used a photograph from Louis Psihoyos without purchasing rights, and it made a film close in concept to Christian Marclay’s after he declined to let them use his work.
While it doesn’t seem likely the new iPhone 6 sales will be substantially slowed down by this situation, the accusation from OK Go could be enough in and of itself to dissuade on-the-fence consumers from buying Apple’s other products, like the Watch (which is already receiving mixed reviews from the public).
As an online video viewer, we’d like to hear your opinion on this: do you think Apple stole OK Go’s music video concept for their own benefit? Let us know in the comments below.