Nike Steals Album Art For Skateboarding Poster

major_minor_threat.gif

Apparently, Nike has taken, without permission, the 1984 album design of Dischord Records artist Minor Threat and turned it into a skateboarding poster for the company's "Major Threat" East Coast Tour. When asked by Pitchfork Media if Nike had obtained permission to mirror the art, Dischord Records said, "No, they stole it and we're not happy about it. Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand. Nike represents just about the antithesis of what Dischord stands for and it makes me sick to my stomach to think they are using this explicit imagery to fool kids into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission. It's disgusting."

by Steve Hall    Jun-24-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Promotions   

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"it is disgusting that they did this and did not pay us. please pay us, and we'll shut up. not getting paid is against every principal we stand for."

Posted by: greg on June 23, 2005 10:31 PM

Greg. You're a moron. Dischord, and their bands, have always stood for principals far beyond the straight-up cash-in that most music labels represent. If you have no ideas that have enough value to upset you if stolen, then that's your problem.

Posted by: eric on June 24, 2005 2:25 AM

I second Eric's sentiment. Dischord has been railing against corporate control for years -- decades, even -- so this Nike ad is a particularly crass slap in the face. The appropriation of album art in skateboarding merchandising has been done for years, but given that punk rock and skate culture have always shared a symbiotic relationship, the practice was always more of an homage than an exploitation. Nike's shifty insinuation into the skateboarding subculture was greeted with more than a few raised eyebrows, and I'm sure this move will raise some serious hackles.

Posted by: Ben on June 24, 2005 9:05 AM

Even if Dischord was only bitching about not getting paid - and it seems clear that they aren't - they'd still have a case. What gives Nike the right to rip off someone else's work? That's not an homage - that's outright theft.

Posted by: Beef Wellington on June 24, 2005 9:43 AM

greg,

It might have been more appropriate to use this kind of quote(') as opposed to this (") to express your opinion. By using quotes you parallelled Nike's behaviour by falsely quoting something that Dischord Records rep never said.

In case you weren't aware, that's liable.

Posted by: Paolo on June 24, 2005 10:49 AM

Eric is right. Ian MacKaye and the folks at Dischord, including especially the bands Minor Threat and Fugazi, could have been major multi-millionaires at any moment they requested. They measured their success in reputation and musical influence, rather than dollars, and are now the richest of their generation.

Posted by: Parke on June 24, 2005 11:12 AM

I'd send Ian and all of Fugazi to lay down some smackdown on the ass of Nike's Corporate Headquarters.

That is, if they are over that whole "straight-edge" thing.

BTW, I think I would have been more disgusted if Nike had made the song "Good Guys" as an anthem. *shudders*

Posted by: Len on June 24, 2005 11:17 AM

Let's give a big shout out to the corporate dollar. The lords of Dogtown will be barking in their graves. Respect.

Posted by: Mcthingy2 on June 24, 2005 11:34 AM

we were supposed to stay young. And now it's over, it's finished, it's done. Normal expectations, they were on the run. But now it's over, it's finished, it's done.

Posted by: blaarg on June 24, 2005 11:46 AM

This is just about the most twisted thing I've ever seen in my life. period.

ugly ugly ugly


Posted by: Haydn on June 24, 2005 11:49 AM

I donít see this as a question of dollars as much as a question of respect. Nike had the responsibility to contact Dischord and request rights for usage. Dischord could then cut whatever deal they wanted (from choosing to give the rights for free, to taking a pass and denying usage to Nike.) I consider what Nike did by taking this to be blatant theft of intellectual property. I believe that type of behavior should be made an example of and stopped.

Iím all for open source sharing of ideas and content (Creative Commons is a good example of how that practice can work.) Also, the practice of openly sharing thinking can document where an idea actually came from and ultimately give credit to the originator. (Seth Godinís Change This Manifestos are kind of example of this, as are blog posts.)

However, stealing intellectual property and using it for commerce and monetary gain is wrong and needs to be stopped. Appropriation/subversion of content for art is a separate issue. (Iím a big fan of graffiti art, etc. in this regard.)

I think the recent response of the ad agencies who chose not to participate in the Hilton pitch in another illustration of the growing need to address the issues surrounding the value and the ownership of intellectual property. I applaud their stance.

Our agency recently had an idea/execution blatantly ripped off by a client. While our contact with that client since has been limited, you can be sure that lawsuits are being prepared as I type this.

Posted by: Bernard Urban on June 24, 2005 11:51 AM

Boston's Global Threat is a better band. Adidas is a better shoe.

Posted by: Bob on June 24, 2005 2:14 PM

Gimme a break. Skateboarding has been subverting popular logos and ideas since its inception. Stop the whining.

Posted by: Vlade Divac on June 24, 2005 2:53 PM

....didn't rancid use that image for an album as well? do you think they contacted dischord to see if they can use it?
it sucks, but i dont think there will be any repercussions from it. if they used the exact same picture maybe

Posted by: dEaD on June 24, 2005 3:58 PM

DIY skate companies are not nike
and for that matter, the rancid cover was at least a little different, this is the same, its obvious. In fact, the cover of the original album is that blue/green also, the red was used for the complete discography.

Posted by: branded in DC on June 24, 2005 5:01 PM

According to my sister who is currently studying entertainment law this could be construed as copyright infringement since Nike is not necessarily parodying the ad. For e.g. artist Ron English www.popaganda.com takes major pop culture symbols like Charlies Brown, Homer Simpson, and a slew of Disney characters and then parodies them in his art. However, since there is no parody there might be a problem. But my question is, what if a smaller brand did it? Is it because its Nike that did it, that it affects our perceptions a bit? Maybe, hipsters don't jump on me, its just a question.

Posted by: bucky on June 24, 2005 5:50 PM

"In case you weren't aware, that's liable."

You mean "libel." And it isn't.

"According to my sister who is currently studying entertainment law this could be construed as copyright infringement since Nike is not necessarily parodying the ad."

You need to have a copyright in order to have it infringed. I'd be pretty surprised if ANY record label went through the paces of copyrighting, particularly since most covers don't even meet the legal standards which would allow them to be copyrighted in the first place.

Posted by: no on June 24, 2005 8:04 PM

Call Nike's ad agency, or stop by. Tell Dan Wieden what you think.

Wieden & Kennedy
Portland HQ
(503)937-7000

New York Office
(917)661-5200

dan.wieden@wk.com
pressrelations@wk.com

Posted by: Dan Wieden on June 24, 2005 8:14 PM

from an objective standpoint, the images are very different(exc. the word "threat" which i do not believe is copyrighted)... the shots and props used within are different/colors are different(the original is not the same blue used by nike)/typography is different...

ALL perceived similarities or associations are the product of the viewer and exist solely within the mind...

and thats what this ad is all about... targeting the people who will MAKE(create) the connection, regardless if it is really there or not... it is manipulative but all images are...

and I kind of agree with bucky... if a company like DC did this everyone would probably think it was dope.

Posted by: anon on June 25, 2005 2:54 AM

Paolo,

In case you weren't aware, the word you were looking for is libel, not liable. Also, it's not libel. Obviously satirical content is not considered libel.

Posted by: Michael on June 25, 2005 1:44 PM

"Gimme a break. Skateboarding has been subverting popular logos and ideas since its inception. Stop the whining."

But Nike is not a skateboard company. They are a multi-million dollar shoe corporation interested only in profit and will exploit anything and everything from skateboarding, to old school D.C. straight edge bands, to 5 year old children in asian sweat shops to attain it. The Nike corporation is like a giant monument to apathy.


["In case you weren't aware, that's liable."]

'You mean "libel." And it isn't.' -true

["According to my sister who is currently studying entertainment law this could be construed as copyright infringement since Nike is not necessarily parodying the ad."]

'You need to have a copyright in order to have it infringed. I'd be pretty surprised if ANY record label went through the paces of copyrighting, particularly since most covers don't even meet the legal standards which would allow them to be copyrighted in the first place.'

I don't really know all the facts about this but what about the fact that they're using Ian MacKaye's image without his permission? What are the possible ramifications with that?

Posted by: Squire on June 25, 2005 10:36 PM

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/news/05-06/23.shtml

I think Pitchfork accurately describes the situation.

[if a company like DC did this everyone would probably think it was dope.]

No, a company like DC probably would ask permission to use an image from Minor Threat. If they stole the image, I'm sure there would be the same reaction from the skate/punk community.

...But then again, Nike bought out Converse, and all the kids still buy their All-Stars. I guess fashion takes priority over political values in today's scene... *sigh*

I'm afraid I don't think Dischord Records has much of a case legally against Nike. As obviously... uh... derivant... as it is from Minor Threat's album cover, it's just different enough that Nike's team of lawyers can still steamroll Dischord in court. Nike's legal department must've made sure of that. I mean, Nike isn't stupid... they know what will stand up in court and what won't, and they made sure the dominoes would fall their way if Dischord filed a suit.

Nevertheless, I think Dischord should take legal action anyway, if only to show that they aren't taking this sitting down.

The saddest part is, in a couple of months, this issue will die down. The kids will still buy their All-Stars, Dischord will still be fighting for independent bands and labels and the DIY ethic, and Nike executives will be laughing all the way to the bank over this inexcusable exploitation of an honest, hard-working record label. Some poor kids just getting into the skate/punk/independent/DIY scene are going to learn about Minor Threat and see this poster, and equate Minor Threat's morals and values with the mission of this giant, heartless corporation, who is essentially the exact opposite of everything Minor Threat and Dischord stand for.

You can email Nike at:
http://swoosh.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/swoosh.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php

Bitch at them to pull the poster. But give them some marketing incentive, too. I told them I'd even buy a pair of shoes if they just pulled the poster (lies).

You don't think it'd make a difference? Maybe not. But in the words of Minor Threat, "AT LEAST I'M FUCKING TRYING!"

Posted by: John on June 26, 2005 12:36 AM

nike vs. dischord Jun 25, 21:27
the ripoff is way too close and is not even a derivative -- its a direct copy...it just goes to show how nike hired some irresponsible designers for the job, that's all. far from original, but happens everyday. dischord should shut up about being co-opted cause that's just a lame argument. we live in a post post modern world, and its just a part of the game and majority of designers are un original.

ok, what if Jun 25, 20:53
it wasnt Nike who vamped the image, changed the text, what if it was lets sayBAPE/ALIFE /aNYthing/SSUR/Recon/FL/Supreme, (to name a few)....would it then be ok? Myself, its all the same, no matter whos name is on it...as big as that "evil" corp is, it was probably some cool head inspired like the rest of us, who works for the machine and now has to eat shit because it wasnt done for an indy label...thats harsh.

Posted by: anon on June 26, 2005 11:16 AM

"You need to have a copyright in order to have it infringed. I'd be pretty surprised if ANY record label went through the paces of copyrighting, particularly since most covers don't even meet the legal standards which would allow them to be copyrighted in the first place."

FYI: all pieces of art are automatically copyrighted at the moment of creation. Once a photo is snapped, the photographer owns the copyright. Once a painting is finished, the painter owns the copyright. However, the ability of the owner to enforce the law in the case of an infringement of that copyright becomes difficult unless said artwork has been registered with the U.S. Copyright office. The exception to this rule is when the artwork has been previously been published. Say I take a photo today, and someone hijacks the image and uses it. I publish it on the cover of Vogue tomorrow, and they use it next week, since I have the original and published first I would be considered the owner.

In this particular case, Dischord Records published the image a considerable time ago, and it has a wide viewership that clearly recognizes it. However, Nike has not stolen the image, but has tried to recreate it. In fact the image is beyond the 30% required variation to copyrighted material and trademarks to hold it's own in the courts. And yet the attempt is clearly to invoke an emotion that is generated by Minor Threat, and on that alone Dischord should file suit. The fact that Nike is trying to induce and take advantadge of that emotion could result in a win for Dischord.

As far as action, do not tempt Nike by offering to buy their product in return for pulling the advertisement. Instead, boycott Nike for this and all the other atrocities they have committed over the years. Stop buying their products, stop others from buying their products, and do not attend this skateboarding tour. Oh yeah one other thing, ignore it completely and stop acknowledging what they did. If you provoke the bully and show that it annoys you, he will continue to try it. If you ignore his actions no matter how much they annoy you he will soon become bored.

Posted by: greg on June 26, 2005 11:36 AM

I really hope Dischord takes some action and that Nike will be forced to stop using this ripped off poster

Posted by: Raymond Ahner on June 26, 2005 4:13 PM

And while we are at it... Should we hate on the countries that help support piracy by not buying their legitimite goods? IE Nike sneakers?

Posted by: Adolf on June 26, 2005 4:58 PM

Not the sort of thing id expect from W+K really. I think it crosses the line between influence and theft.

But at least its not as bad as those godawful McDonalds snowboarding ads. 'We're hip, honest...'

Posted by: Rob Mortimer on June 26, 2005 9:58 PM

What's up will all this ripped crap anyhow? I've seen alot of people lately ripping off artist. I think someone needs to redefine the term original if this keeps up.

-Original +before people took others ideas = New idea that one thought up of their own will

-Original ~now = borrowed ideas redone for one own liking.

It's just sick that people are too lazy to come up with their own ideas.

Posted by: LP on June 27, 2005 1:03 AM

Part of the problem with originality today:

)))) there are so many ideas out there that the likelihood of something being repeated is much greater, done knowingly or unknowingly.-- I even read that thing about snowflakes, no two being alike, probably not true.

))) it's easy to apply an imaging program filter again and again.

)) the way some classes are taught "emulation" is more prevalent.

) our primary and secondary education system encourages not thinking too hard: multiple choice test, T F questions, etc. If anyone ever got those tests back with wrong answers and the teacher said, "you're over thinking the questions," there is hope yet.
----
Last night I read Steve Jobs' speech at Stanford for the first time. He said that stuff about calligraphy and in some forum people were dissecting that. But if you do hand lettering or practice anything repetitively by hand, you start to notice intricacies and differences in making a movement this way and that. That, for me at least, is inspiration. Even if you cheat using tracing paper, you won't get the same thing. Compare that to how many times today you will use the command (or control) + C and command+ V buttons. You'll start to realize how we got this far ah ... ahead.

Posted by: nk on June 27, 2005 10:00 AM

I am absolutely mortifiied by this rip-off.

The corporate "punk" kids of today likely don't even understand the reference.

But for those of us who do-- here's another reason to withdraw our support from corporate America.

Posted by: Lisa on June 27, 2005 1:10 PM

Der, y'er all retahded.

The real point here is that any art director or creative director who saw this, and approved this, is about as lame as you get. Not instantly knowing Minor Threat and their viewpoints means they're outdated by about 20 years, and need to be dropped.

WK shouldn't be apologizing, they should be reading these blog comments and finding their new art and creative directors.

What's the next thing these clowns are going to do? Put together a poster with Nine Inch Nails and Ten Inch Teals?

Guys, stop trying to rebel or scream about corporate America. Do what Ice-T said -- infiltrate the system, and take it over.

Posted by: Kevin Glennon on June 27, 2005 10:31 PM

What would Nike do if I put their swoosh on my punk rock album? What if I made some shoes and put a swoosh on there that was almost identical to theirs? That's right, so what dipshit decided this was a good idea?

Whatever kids fall for this just don't get it anyway and that's just the way it is. If you are really pissed then go to the stupid Nike skate tour or whatever it is and let it be known. Make up your own flyers about how they are dishonest thieves and put them everywhere. Inform everyone attending that they are supporting a company that is taking advantage of them and their rights by stealing. The media will not tell them so you do it. That is how you make a difference.

Posted by: shiteface on June 28, 2005 2:11 AM

Nike pulls out...

http://www.gawker.com/news/media/advertising/index.php#nike-bows-to-minor-threat-110388

Posted by: bucky on June 28, 2005 1:04 PM

Wieden+Kennedy didn't produce those posters, Nike Skateboarding did. Different division. Just to clear things up for everyone.

Posted by: chris j. on June 28, 2005 2:04 PM

i never bought a "this is not a fugazi tee-shit" ,and i sure as hell will not buy a pair of nike shoes to skate in. PUNK FOR LIFE sory to see this crap Ian.

Posted by: jonage on June 29, 2005 11:17 AM

I just wanted to say that this is really all that i can take. Minor threat is really an amazing band and their message is a small one. For a main stream company to take their deep art and depict as some sort of F***** advertisement is just plain disrespectful! Doesn't anyone understand what minor threat was a about!

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