Intellectual property rights: cautionary tales!

Tonight we’re running an event with top lawyers called Exploring Intellectual Property, which will explore, well, intellectual property rights and how they might apply to RCA artists, designers and entrepreneurs. It sounds a bit dry, but many a passionate fight has been sparked by IP disputes. After all, there are few things more irritating than having someone steal your ideas and pass them off as their own. Here, we revisit four notorious cases where IP carelessness harmed livelihoods or reputations.

If you want to find out more about IP, come along to the event tonight or read our summary of what you need to know about IP from the Fuel Basics archive.

1. Tatty who?

Hot off the blogs: jewellery designers Tatty Devine caused a social media storm when they called out teen high street favourite Claire’s Accessories for producing necklaces and earrings of an eerie similarity to Tatty Devine’s quirky designs.

Spot the difference: Tatty Devine design on the left, Claire's Accessories product on the right

2. IP hop

Hip-hop is all about sampling and collaboration, so it brings up interesting questions in relation to intellectual property, but The Sugarhill Gang weren’t laughing when their light-fingered managers gave songwriting credits to their own kids and copyrighted the band’s name so the actual members couldn’t use it any more.

The (real) Sugarhill Gang

3. The way things (sometimes) go

Honda’s 2003 ‘Cog’ ad was an instant classic, adored even by people with no intention of ever buying a Honda. And no wonder it was so good, when the ad agency drew so much, um, ‘inspiration’ from Fischli and Weiss’s art film The Way Things Go, which also features a complicated arrangement of gadgets and studio junk causing each other to swivel, roll and even explode.

Still from The Way Things Go by Fischli and Weiss

4. Three girl connection

When 90s indie band Elastica composed their first album, they obviously wanted everyone to know what great taste in music they had, because they lifted the bassline from Wire’s Three Girl Rhumba for their song Connection. The matter was settled out of court, and next time Elastica stole a Wire riff, they carefully credited the band in the sleeve notes.

Elastica channeling postpunk circa 1995