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Lugz sends Apple cease-and-desist over Eminem spot

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
Lugz footwear has sent a cease-and-desist letter to both Apple Computer and its ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, over similarities between a commercial "Arrow," which Lugz aired in 2002, and a spot with Eminem that launched earlier this month for Apple's iPod and iTunes, AdWeek is reporting.

Both television spots are strikingly similar -- as first noted in an October 13 AppleInsider report -- featuring urban images on a red, yellow and orange background, with black silhouettes dancing to a hip-hop soundtrack.

Larry Schwartz, executive vice president and a principal of New York-based JSSI, which makes Lugz, said in a statement: "If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there's a problem here. The Apple commercial uses the most powerful elements of our campaign, making the ads disturbingly similar. We are prepared to vigorously pursue all legal remedies in order to protect our rights."

Immediately following the debut of the Eminem iTunes spot last month, Apple abruptly pulled copies of the commercial from its website with out offering an explanation. Speculation as to the reasons behind Apple's move ran wild for a couple of days before the commercial ultimately aired on network television and reappeared on the company's website.

Ironically, in February of 2004, Eminem's record label, Eight Mile Style, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit against MTV, Apple, MTV's parent Viacom Inc. and advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, claiming that Apple used one of the rapper's hit songs in an advertisement for iTunes without permission.

A year later, Apple settled the lawsuit with Eminem for an undisclosed cash sum that was rumored to have been in the millions.
post #2 of 65
Does anyone else remember Steve saying they had been working on this 2 years in the webcast?

When (approximate date) did the Lugz commercial originally aire?
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post #3 of 65
Lugz is simply trying to get some free advertizing. They couldn't win this case if they paid the judge off.
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post #4 of 65
I'd go for free advertising as well. Unless Lugz have a patent on using the colour orange in advertisements.
post #5 of 65
after viewing both adds, the similarities are striking. i have seen this happen numerous times. person pitching the concept uses an idea that was used before and the people who green lit the pitch are unaware.

apple will either settle or pull the add.

it isn't just the colors, it's the concept. just like if someone else used the original apple sillouette concept, apple would be all over them.

someone at apple's ad agency screwed up royally and has probably already been fired over this. apple created a large sh!t sandwhich and they are going to have to take big bite.

doesn't matter who you are or how big. you can't steal other's intellectual property. whether intentional or not. it's one of those things and they will move on.

my .02

chung lee
post #6 of 65
oh shut up lugz.


2002? give me a freaking break, no one even rememebrs their commercial.
post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by Elixir
oh shut up lugz.


2002? give me a freaking break, no one even rememebrs their commercial.

I'm sure you wouldn't be saying that if it was Apple suing Lugz for the same infringement.

-M
post #8 of 65
Urban spraypaint motifs are all the rage. If the ad was in green Lugz wouldn't pursue this.

We'll see what happens.
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post #9 of 65
does anybody have a link to the lugz comercial?
post #10 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by moazam
I'm sure you wouldn't be saying that if it was Apple suing Lugz for the same infringement.

-M

That's right, because Apple rocks!

Here's a thought, it was a coincidence. Is it that hard to accept, that coincidences DO happen?
post #11 of 65
apple should tweak the commercial a little. change the color scheme.


how funny would that be?
post #12 of 65
So, when is Apple going to learn? Just stay AWAY from Eminem, that's all. You don't want to relate your company with people with shady criminal backgrounds!

Music is, or at least used to be, cool though. But please just drop the ads...
post #13 of 65
Did Lugz copyright the ad and all the appropriate ad elements? If not it's just another case of one ad looking like another. A VERY common occurrence. Trademark wise it falls apart from Lugz being shoes which are not possible to confuse with computers or iPods so no case there either.

All in all it's great publicity all for the cost of a couple hours legal dept costs. Cheap in comparison to an ad campaign!
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post #14 of 65
If you have QT Pro, open the ad and use the Tint A/V control to turn it any color you want, I chose iPod shuffle green. When you watch the ad in a different color palette it becomes completely disconnected from the Lugz ad.
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post #15 of 65
Maybe I'm not in touch with "kids these days" (being in my 20s), but I've never heard of Lugz before, let alone seen one of their ads. I'd guess the Apple execs who green-lighted the campaign are the same.
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by vikingstad
So, when is Apple going to learn? Just stay AWAY from Eminem, that's all. You don't want to relate your company with people with shady criminal backgrounds!

post #17 of 65
it doesn't matter, that one ad is for shoes or one is for ipods. who ever came to market first would have their add diminished if there are a number of copy catters using something similar.

it's like if other companies started using an apple for their brand identification. doesn't matter what they sell apple would sue them.

this is obviously a mistake by apple because they did not vet the concept which would have been very easy to do. especially when the original add is not that old. this is emabarrising for apple and they should just move on.

apple's whole mindshare is about thinking different. even if the courts rule for apple, it damages their brand.

this is one where they would lose even if they won.

other then the 1984 commercial and the sillouette adds, apple's other adds have been quite pedestrian. the add for the g5 powermac, how should i say this, looked like it was thought up by freshman in high school.

apple has set a high standard for everything they do but for a couple of examples, their advertising has been subpar.

my. 02

chung lee
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
That's right, because Apple rocks!

Here's a thought, it was a coincidence. Is it that hard to accept, that coincidences DO happen?

WORD DPJ... Lugz - smugz!

Get real... I guess ALL of the car commercials (and many others) should sue each other for jumping on a THEME cause that's all it is! Apple is not trying to sell shoes pal!

THEY SELL ELECTRONICS!!!! Dumb shoemaker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #19 of 65
Lugz is just mad that nobody wears their shoes / clothing anymore.

I own a pair of their boots and I totally forgot about their commercial until it was mentioned. If one of their own customers can't even remember an ad, what does that say about its relevance?

Sit 12 people down, all who claim to be Hip-Hop fans, show them the Eminem promo, and then ask them if it reminds them of another commercial. I'm willing to bet everyone would draw blanks.
post #20 of 65
I hope Apple pulls the ad. I don't care why. I just hate that ad.
post #21 of 65
I have never heard of the shoe brand and probably never would have if it weren't for this controversy.

I am neutral on this case though, I can see it being just a coincidence and I can see it being otherwise.
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
I have never heard of the shoe brand and probably never would have if it weren't for this controversy.

Ding Ding Ding!

It's the halo effect... things associated with iPod are cool... ergo, Lugz wants to tie-in, even via lawsuit.
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post #23 of 65
The design company, Logan, that produced this ad are the ones who look like idiots, as are the agency for pushing for it. They would be very aware of the Lugz Spot, created by rival and very well known company Psyop in 2002. Most people in the design community don't work in vacuums. I can only imagine TBWA/Chiat Day made reference to the Lugz ad, but Logan should have taken it a little less literally. It's very poor form to do such a high profile, shameless rip-off. They must be embarrassed about the spot, as it's not featured on their website alongside the previous work they've done for Apple.
post #24 of 65
They should be suing just the ad agency. When I was in advertising, we thought up the campaigns, the client approved them, or had them modified. But they didn't research them. So unless someone in Apple remembered having seen the Lutz ad, they aren't responsible. Actually, they aren't responsible even if someone there did see the ad.

Besides, this ad is years after the Lutz ad (which I don't even remember).

The whole image is Emimem's city creds. Orange is a "hot" color.

So the graphics fits within itself. Lutz or no Lutz. I think the ad would have been done this way anyway.

Besides, ad concepts are considered to be reusable and disposable.

What would happen if writers, song writers, TV, movies, artists, etc. couldn't reuse an idea that proved successful?

Could you imagine if the first time someone painted a subject, no one else was allowed to paint it, because that would be copying the idea?

There would be no content at all.
post #25 of 65
Good point Melgross.

I don't even think Apple could sue someone if they had a "similar" commercial to the iPods. Copyright exist to ensure that orginal works don't face unecessary competition. However you can't copyright "look and feel" as Apple found out years ago. Lugz has no case that they can win in a court of law. None of us watching that ad said

"OMG that looks just like the Lugz commercial"

If people don't remember your commercial then you have no case at all.
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post #26 of 65
efficay of the lugz add is immaterial. it could have been made and presented in a vacuum. as long as they registered the copyright, they have recourse.

btw, copyright and registering the copyright are very different under the law.

being inspired by and a direct rip offs are two different things. similiar is different then rip off. there are alot of things that aren't rip offs but i think the lugz add was ripped off.

coincidence is also immaterial. apple's add could have been also made in a vacuum with no attempts to rip anyone off but that's also besides the point if the end result is a rip off.

...you want fair you got to a whore house. you want to get f^cked you go to court...

lose lose.

my .02

chung
post #27 of 65
From Uncle Sam

Quote:
How do I protect my idea? Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.

It cuts both ways. I expect to see an add someday that looks like the iPod adds but with a slight twist. I don't expect Apple to win that one as well. Copyright exists to compensate an artist for their work and prevent undue competition. However Apple sells computers and Lugz sells shoes. The damage Apple may have inflicted is miniscule if at all.

Lugz cannot win this case. I bet Apple's legal staff is 3x the size of Lugz. They better have Roy Black or Barry Scheck on retainer.
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post #28 of 65
My take:

1. The colors are similar, but have a deeper contrast in the Apple ad.

2. The Apple ad adds white paint splashes on the ground as the first person is walking.

3. The Lugz ad is set in a subway, with a train and station furniture clearly visible, the Apple ad is set in a alley or urban playground.

4. The Lugz ad features one person, the Apple ad two.

5. The Lugz ad features the person break dancing and spinning on his back, the Apple ad has one character performing the rap song on a microphone and the other jumping around.

6. The Lugz ad has the person sticking his feet up in the air a few times and the camera freezing on them to show off the shoes, the Apple ad has the white iPod and white microphone permanently visible on the moving people.

7. The Lugz ad has a strong black graffiti motif playing through it, with lines and arrows prominently encircling the character, the Apple ad has white splashes of paint in the background.


In conclusion, the Apple ad was clearly *inspired* by the Lugz ad, but there are too many differences for it to be a clear copyright violation.

Otherwise, any car ad that shows two people sitting in the front seat smiling at how nicely the car rides on a tree lined road is a copyright violation.

Lugz is doing this for the publicity.
post #29 of 65
main issue is the color palette. style and form of the ad would be okay, but having a similar color scheme unfortunately pushed it from "inspired by lugz" to "similar to lugz". whether lugz deserves royalties/ compensation/ etc, well, i don't know... \ apple should give them maybe 20-50 iPods for lugz marketing and promos
post #30 of 65
apple should just pay lugz about a million dollars in a settlement and it would probably triple lugz's income and it would be pocket change for apple.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by aplnub
Does anyone else remember Steve saying they had been working on this 2 years in the webcast?

When (approximate date) did the Lugz commercial originally aire?

I thought Steve had said they had the idea and been wanting to do this for 5 years? Oh well, 2 years, 5 years, whatever.
post #32 of 65
Has there ever been a thread where so many people knew so little about what they were talking about?
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
Has there ever been a thread where so many people knew so little about what they were talking about?

Enlighten us, please.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
Has there ever been a thread where so many people knew so little about what they were talking about?

that depends if you mean legally or morally. \
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
Has there ever been a thread where so many people knew so little about what they were talking about?

Half of PO fits that bill... as do most of the speculation threads in advance of any MWSF
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post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
Half of PO fits that bill... as do most of the speculation threads in advance of any MWSF

Well really, what would be the point if we only talked about what we know?
post #37 of 65
heh.
post #38 of 65
Copyright infringement it's not. If Apple had used footage from the Lugz ad in the iPod ad, then it would be. Apple got burned by Eminem for using his copyrighted song, re-recording it, and then using it in their own ad without permission. That's copyright infringement.

Trademark infringement it's not. If Apple had used the Lugz logo or something strikingly similar looking in the ad, then Lugz would have a case.

Idea infringement it IS. It is similar in color schemes, tone, etc., but none of that is illegal. This won't hit the courts, and if it does it won't go anywhere. Apple's lucky.
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post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
Copyright infringement it's not. If Apple had used footage from the Lugz ad in the iPod ad, then it would be. Apple got burned by Eminem for using his copyrighted song, re-recording it, and then using it in their own ad without permission. That's copyright infringement.

Trademark infringement it's not. If Apple had used the Lugz logo or something strikingly similar looking in the ad, then Lugz would have a case.

Idea infringement it IS. It is similar in color schemes, tone, etc., but none of that is illegal. This won't hit the courts, and if it does it won't go anywhere. Apple's lucky.

This sounds pretty much on the money.

The color is really where most of the commonality comes in.

Eminem is basically doing his stage act in the commercial. No copyright violation there.

The background is also different.

It's a three dimentional version of Apples' other ads. A logical progression.

2D = music.

3D = video.

Oh, just remembered.

The 2 years number is likely how long it took to make up with Eminem and convince him to do an ad.
post #40 of 65
I hesitate to come in like wilco and accuse everyone of knowing nothing about this. But wow, is it hard not to.

I had to wait until I cleared before I could post, so this is late, sorry.

The Lugz ad, which was not remembered by anyone on this thread, is remembered in every single detail by every person who does motion graphics for a living. Most have seen it a dozen times; in fact, it's among the most famous spots ever done. When it appeared in 2001, on technical terms it knocked people on their asses. The toon-shaded 3D and the character animation in it have yet to be equalled (the Eminem ad was a sorry try at mimicking the cityscape). On styling terms, the Lugz spot congealed everything that was floating around in the 'urban culture' category of motion design, and then it raised it a level. To say that Lugz and psyop (the creators) doesn't have a beef here because you may not have seen their ad is rather like saying that Rembrandt doesn't have a beef against a forger because you don't know anything about Rembrandt. Hello. Please try again.

Now, I'm not trying to compare psyop to Rembrandt. That was just for the sake of shorthanding the situation for those posters here who seem to think they know it all without troubling themselves to learn even the first thing.

Chiat/Day, the ad agency who hired Logan for the Eminem spot, has used psyop in the past for an amazing Infiniti sales ad (see it at psyop.tv). Which is to say, the CDs at Chiat are well aware of psyop and the Lugz work--in fact, the psyop reel is sure to be in the production office at every quality ad agency around, along with BrandNewSchool, Logan, Shynola and the other top-tier motion houses.

By way of credentials, not to wave them about, I was an ad creative at the top shops in SF for six years, so yes, I know very well what's a rip and what's not. I've been in motion design for four years and currently moderate the largest forum for motion designers on the web, so yes, I've seen pretty much everything that's come down the pipe. On the day psyop's Lugz was released, much like their 'Bombay Sapphire Drift' and about five other things they've done (they're pretty much the best there is, aside from Shynola), the motion world stood still. Thousands of people simultaneously gasped, arrowed-through the quicktimes, and immediately stored them on their hard drives.

To put it bluntly, Chiat/Day, Logan and most likely Apple knew very well they were taking a big bite out of psyop's work. Logan has done enough other original and amazing stuff that they'll only take a minor hit to their rep. As for Apple and Chiat, they deserve every bit of the embarrassment that comes from this.
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