1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Friday, 10 February 2012

Butler not willing to serve Greek yoghurt

Copyright lawyers busy 
while trying to settle the case
The middle finger which guest singer M.I.A. flashed during the performance of Madonna's new single Give me all your luvin at last week's Super Bowl will probably not be the only scandal surrounding the event, as allegations of copyright infringement have also come into play.
The Super Bowl -- which was shown on NBC this year -- is routinely viewed by more than 100 million people and is probably going to be the biggest TV event of the year. 
A new advertisement for US food giant Dannon's Oikos Greek yoghurt, which debuted last Sunday and was aired during the third quarter of the game, allegedly contains a very similar riff to that at the start of 2003 hit and ARIA Award-winning Zebra by Australian band John Butler Trio.
The ad features US TV star John Stamos and is intended to be a little bit sexy and a little bit playful. Dannon's commercial cost $50,000 to make and the prime-time Super Bowl spot cost the company $3 million, according to ABC.
Due to become an expensive yoghurt?
So far, Dannon's spokesman in New York told The Australian that the company was not able to say whether the music had been based on the John Butler Trio song. This is because the ad was created with the help of a crowd-sourcing advertising site which allowed advertising professionals to submit ideas, from which Dannon then chose. In any case, Dannon has apologised for any anxiety caused to the John Butler Trio and promised to further investigate this matter.

As reported by the Herald Sun, when it comes to advertising, copyright infringements usually arise when independent musicians are hired to write soundtracks for commercials. As explained by IP lawyer Nicholas Pullen, "[t]he advertiser ends up having to pay out because the independent muso has either inadvertently or actually tried to mimic that tune".
In this case the actual sum Dannon may end up to pay promises to be fairly high, due to the actual exposure which Dannon's advertisement has so far enjoyed.

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