The End of Attribution?

A cou­ple of days ago, we fea­tured a video post­ed on Pen­guin’s YouTube Chan­nel that used a smart video tech­nique to restore faith in the future of book pub­lish­ing. A cou­ple of our read­ers were quick to point out that the video’s cre­ative ele­ment was high­ly sim­i­lar to an award-win­ning video called “Lost Gen­er­a­tion”. (See above.) And yet there was no attri­bu­tion. A prob­lem? Par­tic­u­lar­ly for an enti­ty in the intel­lec­tu­al property/copyright busi­ness?

UPDATE: Tonight, anoth­er read­er tells us that “Lost Gen­er­a­tion” has its own ori­gins in a 2006 adver­tise­ment for Argen­tin­ian pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ricar­do Lopez Mur­phy called “The Truth.” Does this make this style of video a meme of sorts? A style that’s so out there that attri­bu­tion is not worth a both­er? Per­haps I’m hold­ing Pen­guin’s feet too close to the fire on this one. Per­haps (as, Maria, a blog­ger col­league men­tions via email) this high­lights a big­ger prob­lem. Too much deriva­tion. Not enough orig­i­nal think­ing all around.

by | Permalink | Comments (7) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (7)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Well, same deal as the REM / Improv Every­where flash­mob video… It’s the ugli­est, most unscrupu­lous man­i­fes­ta­tion of those I‑wish-I’d-thought-of-this-first moments that we all have.

  • The pen­guin video would­n’t have been an issue if the Lost Gen­er­a­tion video was released with under a Cre­ative Com­mons license that allowed deriv­a­tives with­out attri­bu­tion. Since the Lost Gen­er­a­tion video did­n’t come with that license, releas­ing a video that gets any­where near copy­right gray areas prob­a­bly was­n’t a smart move for Pen­guin, if they want oth­ers to respect their IP–whether it was tech­ni­cal­ly legal or not.

  • Mike says:

    Imi­ta­tion may be the sin­cer­est form of flat­tery, but it does­n’t con­sti­tute theft.

    Actu­al­ly there’s been quite a lot of sin­cere flat­tery going on. Jonathan Reed’s 2007 “Lost Gen­er­a­tion” video was award­ed sec­ond place in AARP’s “U@50 Chal­lenge,” but his work was in turn inspired by a 2006 adver­tise­ment for Argen­tin­ian pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ricar­do Lopez Mur­phy called “The Truth,” which was cre­at­ed by Savaglio/TBWA & Asso­ciates in Buenos Aires. You can see the Eng­lish and Span­ish ver­sions here:–220-argentina

    That ad won a Sil­ver Lion award at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val. Here’s a lit­tle arti­cle on it:

  • Avi Burstein says:

    > …it just seems like it’s bad form not to give attri­bu­tion, espe­cial­ly if you make your busi­ness in the world of ideas.

    And you nev­er stop com­plain­ing that every­one is unfair­ly rip­ping off your con­tent.

  • Avi Burstein says:

    Just to clar­i­fy my last com­ment: the “you” of ‘you nev­er stop com­plain­ing’, was refer­ring to the pub­lish­ing indus­try, not to the esteemed blog author.

  • Mario Ramirez Reyes says:

    Actu­al­ly… they are attribut­ing both sources in their blog entry (link on the “more info” bar on the Youtube site).

    “Where did the idea come from?

    DK Mar­ket­ing in the UK had asked us to make a film for their con­fer­ence in Feb­ru­ary, about how pub­lish­ing would look in the future. We took inspi­ra­tion from a film we had seen on YouTube called “The Lost Gen­er­a­tion” and sug­gest­ed this might work as a treat­ment for the DK film, which we called “The End of Pub­lish­ing”. “The Lost Gen­er­a­tion” was inspired, along with some oth­er sim­i­lar rein­car­na­tions, by a film called “The Truth”. This orig­i­nal film was an Argen­tin­ian polit­i­cal TV adver­tise­ment writ­ten by Ricar­do Lopez for the Argen­tin­ian Polit­i­cal Par­ty Recrear. It won the Sil­ver Lion Award at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val in 2006.”

    I think the prob­lem is not doing this attri­bu­tion in the actu­al “prod­uct” (video).

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for the infor­ma­tion, Mario. I think it would be inter­est­ing to know whether the con­cept actu­al­ly orig­i­nat­ed with the politi­cian, Ricar­do Lopez Mur­phy, or (and I think this is more like­ly) with some unnamed ad agency work­er in Buenos Aires. It was a great idea.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.