Wednesday, October 15, 2008

iPint Lawsuit

Trevor Beattie is God, in my opinion. But he's having an interesting week.

First was the announcement that TBWA is not going to take over his BMB outfit after all. (Which incidentally means the position of ECD at TBWA London is up for grabs again.)

And now Creativity reports that the Silver Lion-winning iPint application for Carling by BMB - which has been downloaded 6 million times - is the subject of a $12.5 million lawsuit by the developer of the iBeer application.

There have been several cases (notably when director Mehdi Norowzian sued the agency that created the Guinness Dancing Man ad) that touch on the question of copyright infringement in a piece of film.

What the law will decide when it comes to an iPhone app, we shall soon find out...

95 comments:

Anonymous said...

So we have the twin bugbears here of 'finding someone else's good thing and sticking a logo on the end of it' (didn't know BMB had ripped this off. Opinion of them now lower as a result) and 'asking for permission to use it, getting turned down, and stealing it anyway'.

Just the kind of things that make everyone outside the industry think we're all theiving, unoriginal, cynical cunts.

I hope BMB have to stump up $12.5m for that. It might teach them and all the other shitty thieves a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. If they didn't want to sell their thing so Trev could put a Carling logo on it, leave them alone.

Only a prize arsehole would just take it anyway.

If there's anyone from BMB reading this, can you defend what your agency has done?

And did you really think you'd get away with it?

And the Carling ad with the cowboys is shit, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Agree with anonymous v1 above. I work in a digital agency and thinking up apps like ipint is part of what we do. The creativity - and any subsequent glory - is all bound up with the initial idea that a mobile could do such a thing. Tech innovation is concept innovation. Copying someone else's innovation so closely is not even in the ballpark of acceptability.

├ůsk Dabitch said...

Ha! I know the three nutters who did the iBeer app, they started their own little company on that app. Of course, they'd like to get paid for people (or ad campaigns) using it. Will be interesting to see where the FAIL happened. Maybe I'll ask the guys.

tonimoroni said...

If memory serves, none of these attempts to sue agencies for IP theft have ever succeeded, have they?

Scamp said...

That is correct.

Anonymous said...

maybe it's time they did succeed. The actual fact that they didn't encourages the recidivism.

Anonymous said...

did 'I-pint' actually execute what BMB executed for a client?

if so, BMB have ripped them off.

If they didn't - tough shit. BMB got there first.

Anonymous said...

That's indefensible.

Whether or not this is a breach of the law, it's repellent moral bankruptcy.

Mr Beattie, I hope you realise what a cheap, lazy, nasty, cynical thing you have done. If you don't care, then I hope you leave this industry.

rhayter said...

According to the report on Brand Republic, BMB claim their version is different because it uses the accelerometer in the iPhone to simulates the beers movement whereas iBeer just played a video... not so sure about that being different enough, frankly...

Anonymous said...

It's cunt behaviour and no mistake.

Anonymous said...

anon 12.29,

It looks like i-pint produced it as an attractive thing in itself. The fact that they hadn't shoved a logo on it doesn't make the thieves of BMB excusable.

'Hey I invented the Smart car!'
'Ha! I put an Economist logo on it. I win!.'

Anonymous said...

iPint was created before the app store was launched... so how can they have stolen the idea!?

I know for a fact it was in development on a jail broken iPhone well before app store launch. with the intention that when Apple DID open up their doors... iPint was ready.

So this is just all a load of tosh.

Anonymous said...

A little while ago I remember Trevor B writing to Campaign expressly to credit Jon Williams (now CD of Grey) with the creation of the iPint. Appeared to be a very decent 'credit where it's due' type letter at the time. Looks a lot more like buck passing now.
It certainly seems that they were 'heavily inspired' by the iBeer but that wasn't enough for Mehdi or anyone else. Most likely be a case of most expensive lawyer wins as usual. Let's hope the iBeer guys have someone good.

The Guy Above said...

Well, this post continues pretty much in the theme of the David Trott post and the YouTube post - it's all about originality and creativity in advertising and how much we get annoyed when someone or a collective deviate from this very defined perspective we have.

What is creativity other than a huge conscious collective at a banquet table all putting down their own puddings, starters, sauces and borrowing other peoples recipes and improving on Mr. & Mrs Beatties chocolate sponge pudding (gosh, I haven't spelt chocolate in a very long time, feels weird).

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.46

Have you not read the article. They asked ibeer if they could make it a Carling thing. Ibeer said no, ipint came out, the curly man is a thief.

What's your point, again?

brake dollinge said...

heh. I don't think there's any point in pursuing the case, now.

I'd say the rantings of a load of faceless internet mongs in possession of four paragraphs about it have pretty much put this to bed.

Anonymous said...

I hate to bring it up again, but it keeps coming back to Dave Trott's misguided blog entry about 'no one getting hurt' by thieving in the ad world.

If Carling got 6 million views for an idea that was stolen then the original ibeer has lost out on potential site visits and therefore ad revenue from their site, so they have been hurt.

Also let us not forget this won awards in place of other work that may have so other creatives who may have picked up didn't therefore (as it is in my agency) wouldn't have gained a pay rise, so more people have been hurt too.

And lastly BMB's reputation has definitely been hurt, but do they or Dave care, I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

maybe they should introduce Olympic style medal bumping up for when drug cheats are uncovered, so who ever got the bronze at Cannes now has their silver in my eyes and although I wasn't entered in that category I'm taking the bronze.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Their Silver Lion won't be worth anything if it comes with a $12.5 million law suit attached to it.

The Guy Above said...

Or their silver lion would be worth $12.5 million - a huge tag for a silver cyber lion...

Anonymous said...

maybe they could melt it down into Argos jewelery to pay off some part of the debt?

Anonymous said...

Trevor (Brummie accent, of course): Oi, matey, can we loike put a Carling logo on the end of yer funny iphone beer thingie?

Ibeer people: No. We'd like to sell it and have it reflect our creativity if you don't mind.

Trevor (next day): Alroight, me little Swedish mates! Could you just rip this off, perhaps improving it a little because you don't have to use the time or effort to do all the original hard work.

Swedes: Ja!

And I'm sure we all know Trevor didn't write 'Hello Boys' but happily soaked up every bit of PR for it.

brake dollinge said...

well, 1.41, seeing as they've put two and two together and made twelve and a half million, perhaps they're fucking geniuses.

Anonymous said...

Can't they just sort it all out over an iPint?

Ant M said...

Dave Trott didn't "steal" anything. The bloke whose ideas they were said he could have them.

Anonymous said...

same difference

Anonymous said...

One small point we all seem to have overlooked:

What kind of cunt downloads a virtual pint onto their phone?

Most pubs will give you a real one if you ask nicely.

What next, iPork-scratchings?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:27 is right, ipint ain't that great anyway.

It's more of an indictment of their creativity, how fresh can idea be if it's been done before. As soon as they found out they should have walked away from it.

Bad day for bmb

tonimoroni said...

These sorts of allegations do seem to follow Trevor Beattie around more than most, don't they?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

To all the people attacking Trevor - he has written many, many great ads and has also CD'd many great ads. His creative reputation is quite rightly huge, and his new agency (BMB) is doing undeniably excellent work.

Let's not lose sight of these facts.

All BMB did was adapt an iPhone app and turn it into a piece of branded communication - in the same way that every agency adapts pop promos, short films, YouTube films etc.

Anonymous said...

12.37

I take your point. All I'm saying is if 'I-Beer' (not I-pint as I said earlier) were approached by BMB, as someone has claimed on here, and they refused to sell it to Carling, then what else were they going to do with it?

there doesn't seem much point to the thing, other than 'whacking a logo on it'.

so why not do it? more fool them if they turned it down. I'm sure they would have been credited and lots of PR could have been arranged. or maybe they were hoping for this scenario and a chance to make big bucks. there's no other way they were going to make any money out of it after all. it's probably a one man band in a bedroom somewhere.

Anonymous said...

iBeer were selling the app for $2.99

Anonymous said...

80's boy band Bros once wrote a tuneful and poignant ballad entitled 'A cat among the pigeons'

Now mr 'anon 3.09' why do I think of that little masterpiece when I read your comment?

Anonymous said...

The Beastie Boys used to wear VW badges on chains, that was much worse, because lots of kids copied them and started to rip the badges off cars, They actually damaged the plastic grill on the front of VW Golf's and Jetta's, to name two models, but I'm sure more were affected.

Now thats stealing.

Anonymous said...

Dances with Wolves, the 1990 box office smash hit directed and starring Kevin Costner as Lieutenant John J. Dunbar was a masterful piece of cinematic movie making that was not original.

Anonymous said...

3.20

So that'd be about £250 then....

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

lawyers will sure have a nice dance on this case -- best argumentation will eventually win.

"Comment deleted by a blog administrator" seems to appear a little too often, which says something about the negative energy deliveries on this matter. Therefore let's relax http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOgQyIMX_XU

Anonymous said...

Is this whole thing not a modern evolution of 'mine sweeping' practised up and down the land where by students or pikeys who devoid of cash sweep a pub/bar or club stealing full or half full pints?

I think what I'm trying to say is whoever did this at BMB is either a student or a pikey without the creative currency to buy their own idea.

Anonymous said...

"Argumentation"? WTF?

Anonymous said...

I believe Dave Trott also said it's not who says it, it's who spots it - so iPork Scratchings...I saw that first, yeah? Dibs. Mine. MINE!

Anonymous said...

isn't this controversy just horseshit?

firstly the lawsuit comes from the good old litigious u s of a where you can sue yer mum if you are ugly and secondly the ibeer sounds shit.

My gadgethead mate had an ipint in the pub and what was so innanely cool about it was that the digital bevvie wibbled around with the motion of his new iphone (is that the accelerometer??). if this ibeer is just a video of a pint on your phone then none of us would have looked twice and my spodboy mate would not have downloaded it in the first place. This sounds a bit like the bloke who brought you the horse and cart suing enzo ferrari.

sound more like sour grapes than a nicked idea to me

Anonymous said...

anon 3:09pm

BMB doing excellent work?


er....when?

Anonymous said...

like the ipint. i don't buy the bile. It is green for a reason

Anonymous said...

5:06pm

the iBeer and iPint are EXACTLY the same. BMB got it and stuck a carling logo on it.

fxcking thieves.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scamp,

maybe next Tuesdays Tip should be

'What would BMB do?'

you wouldn't have to write much.

Anonymous said...

@5:25 that was inspiring. In combination with the debate on "Leave nothing", I suddenly imagined a BMB self-promotion ad saying "Give nothing."

Anonymous said...

can either of them get you pissed or laid or mend a broken heart? no.

analogue beer still wins

Anonymous said...

1:58pm Nor did he originate FCUK it's what we all used to put on our emails when I worked as a shop gal.

FCUK calling FCNY etc.

Scamp why is Mr B God in your opinion? He gets on my tits to be honest with you. And a fair few others I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

have any of us done an idea that millions of people would download and show to their mates in the pub? something expensive and shit (the ibeer) got changed into something good and free and we are all jumping up and down.

i tell you what else makes me mad- f'ing sunshine. everyday the same

dinosaur said...

its just a bloody iphone app, big deal, oooh look what happens when i tilt my overly designed iwank, oooh, come on people if this is the future, its bleak, not orange, who cares if it was ripped off, it's lame.

lets get back to some real ads.

Packard built merlin said...
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mm said...

Anon 5:43.

Everyone knows where FCUK came from because Trevor openly admitted it in Campaign ages ago, although if my memory serves me right it was faxes not emails.

Perhaps you're more suited to retail love.

Mr Beattie is a god for the very simple reason he's a brummie. Now fcuk of back to bluewater.

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting in the Josef (you know where I am) Prestty much off my tits sadly reading this. Truth is I'm a London creative who given half a chance will rip off anything if it wins me awards acclaim and the occasional blow job.We all pretend to be outrasged but fuck it - we all do it and will carry on doing it. Onward!!! ~bastards. Love it that the weird letters end with bj

Paul Skinbach said...

So Scamp. I confess, I am slightly confused. Is it okay to rape the security guard as long as he doesn't work in the industry?

The Old Bill said...

Dear Mr. Skinbach,

It is a criminal offense to rape anyone, regardless of their occupation. If you find yourself raping anybody please turn yourself into the authorities.

Best regards,

London MET

Anonymous said...

technically, it appears that everything is ok as long as you're doing yourself a favour. I depends on how peacefully you can sleep at night and how satisfactory the illusion of having won is for you.

Anonymous said...

It's a dog eat dog world out there, so sharpen your teeth...Is it not just the same as sampling an old tune and dropping new lyrics over the top. A million rap artists do this with varying levels of success. It often creates renewed interest in the original!

You are all talking about ipint now...i bet you weren't this time last week.

Anonymous said...

does renewing the original absolve you from paying for the copyright?

The Guy Above said...

Well then - let's go back in time 40 odd years when David Ogilvy wrote what is considered one of the most famous headlines of all time 'At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls Royce comes from the ticking clock' - he read this line in a research paper conducted by the Rolls Royce engineers, he liked it and used it - all he added was 'new'...

Let's go back 80 years to what is regarded as one of the most famous TV ad's of all time for Apple 'Why 1984 won't be like 1984' - the art director read this in a research paper for apple, thought it was a great thought and used it.

Borrowing has been done for years - as David Trott wrote in his blog, it's not who says the idea it is who recognises the idea... none of these are pure originality.

I can, however, somehow see how this differs from the iPint/iBeer scandal.

The Guy Above said...

I mean't 20 odd years

rhayter said...

Guy Above... "he read this line in a research paper conducted by the Rolls Royce engineers, he liked it and used it - all he added was 'new'..."

But these weren't somebody else's ads or products were they? And what was 'borrowed' was used to promote the brands from which the research came. So while your argument is valid, your examples are irrelevant.

The Guy Above said...

Rhayter that's why I said - "I can, however, somehow see how this differs from the iPint/iBeer scandal".

It is more a point aimed at creativity in the discourse of originality.

People borrow ideas from alternate source that become the ads. iPint essentially took the iBeer idea and perfected it - although I don't agree with it, it's a timeless quality inherent in the nature of advertising.

iBeer was not selling anything except the gimmick, and BMB took it and made it more sensitive and intriguing just like adding 'New'.

I don't condone it, but I can see both sides of the argument. Who should we credit for inventing the telephone? Consider - 'Ask who really invented the telephone, and you may get the name of a German, Philipp Reis, not Alexander Graham Bell. The common wisdom is that Reis's telephone was only marginal, while Bell's phone really worked'.

Anonymous said...

as far as it concerns recognising a good idea, with the theory coming from David Trott, I think he should be more valuable as a HR director looking for new talented people.

Anonymous said...

alexander graham bell got the idea for the telephone off of youtube. fact

Paul said...

Facts:

1) ibeer was already a successful app in America long before the launch of the ipint.

2) ibeer developers turned down an offer from BMB to add Carlings logo on it.

3) BMB turned to Illusion Labs to develop it’s own ibeer, to be called ipint.

4) Hottrix contacted Apple over the ipint issue.

5) Apple removed the ipint from the U.S. app store.

The Guy Above said...

Wonderful

Anonymous said...

there are things to appreciate about the U.S. This is one of them.

rhayter said...

The Guy Above… Fair enough, point well made. But what's your >opinion<. Bugger all this rational discourse.

The Guy Above said...

I think it's lazy and the creatives did not earn their pay check (they stole an idea) besides briefing in the Swedish production people, they must have spent 2 seconds on that idea, and that was deciding whether to steal it or not - that's what I think.

Anonymous said...

the guy above - agree completely.

as you say, it can just be a tweek to something which makes it more relevant, effective and ultimately - better.

the brits have invented many things, yet it was often the yanks which took those inventions and realised their full potential. both deserve credit.

Anonymous said...

IDEA FOR A POST:

what is the deal with agencies who don't pay their freelancers within 30 days: and than have the bollocks to be surprised, or even ANGRY, when freelancers call repeatedly to follow up on payment?

there should be a blog or some resource for freelancers to reference before we accept a gig. somewhere we can check on the agency's history of paying their freelancers.

let me start it now:

WARL: the finance director who is in charge of payment not only makes up her own payment t&c's as she goes along but she is also unbelievably rude and nasty. and best of all: she acts like she's doing you a favor if she agrees to pay you in less than 60 days.

freelancers note: don't work at WARL unless you can afford not to be paid for 60 days: and you should also have the patience to deal with a very angry woman. oh and by the way: that's not 60 days from invoice date, but 60 days from end of month and it's not "exact" as she says.

Anonymous said...

the guy above - if you worked at BMB, saw the I Beer idea (allegedly), thought that it'd be great for Carling, approached I-Beer and they said no, would go 'fair enough' and walk away?

I reckon people like this I-Beer crew probably decided to hold out for the highest bidder. Someone like Guinness maybe.....and if someone did what BMB did they were always going to sue. It's a business manoeuvre. If so, you could argue they're partly culpable, so who cares?

Or maybe they're just stupid.

By the way - about your point on the creatives not doing their job, you wouldn't be doing your job as an agency creative if you didn't leap on something like I-Beer.

Anonymous said...

12.10

a naming and shaming of late payers would be interesting.

think my record was six months!

The Guy Above said...

It would not sit right with me to use an idea so close to another idea - I do happen to appreciate orginality and creativity - whether I am in the right industry is anothe debate - but I do creative things outside advertising (like alot of us) and I would never copy an idea directly whether it was an idea for a sculpture or a verse of lyrics - why? because it would not feel right, so why would it feel right if I am trying to at least pretend I am in a creative industry... let me PRETEND!

Anonymous said...

@12:25

who was it who took 6 months to pay you?

...oh boy, i sure want to work for them!

Anonymous said...

12.23

It really doesn’t matter what the guys at iBeer were thinking - or whether their strategy was to try and start a bidding war.

It was their idea, their app and they have copyright. They can do what the hell they like with it and, if they get ripped-off, they’re totally within their rights to sue.

Anonymous said...

1.07

Whether they have copyright or not is yet to be decided.

And all I'm saying is it's not totally black and white.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

anon 1.24pm, totally agree. this whole thing has brought out the miss marple in me. if you dig around online it looks like there was an ibeerV1 which was a video you could download, then there was ipint (the bmb/ carling thing). the ibeer was shite and an mpeg. the ipint was an application that used the tilty new thing on the iphone. Then came ibeerv2. from the american's which worked like the ipint (ie it was an application) but was still shit compared to ipint according to reviews on itunes.

So who followed who? the jingoist in me says the yanks are out of order. dunkirk spirit, fight them on the beaches and all that. i might do some work.

Anonymous said...

it doesn't matter about the accelerator, its still a completely ripped off idea.

its not about the technology used its the fact that BMB nicked the idea nd stuck a logo on it.

FishNChimps said...

Virtual beer? Bleedin' obvious idea. Anyone done a bleedin' snowstorm for Xmas yet, or anything else that looks good shaken. Fer feck's sake.

Rory said...

I don't think this is plagiarism. The first version was a video, the second a motion sensitive simulation unique to the device on which it appeared - and a considerable advance on the earlier attempt. This is, after all, how 99% of all technological progress happens. You take a rough, fairly crappy idea by someone else and do it much more elegantly. In the world of IT this approach is known as "Apple".

How far should first-idea rights extend in any case? Should Hank Williams get royalties from every Rock & Roll record? Should the Sugarhill Gang demand a cut from every rapper? Should Poe get money from every whodunnit?

Lawyers probably find it amusing that advertising people insist on the primacy of "the idea", ideas being the one element of intellectual property that's hardest to protect.

Anonymous said...

Wow, another contemptible rip off from adland. Anon v1. got it right when they said that dreaming up stuff, and then actually building it, themselves is what digital agencies do all the time.

Based on the ipint revelations, and, numerous other You Tube rip offs, I reckon traditional agencies are gonna be fcuked sooner rather than later and that digital really will inherit all.

Anonymous said...

BMB made a shit idea much much better.
Anyone who thinks that's stealing shouldn't be posting via this blog, they should be cranking up Caxton's printing press.
You fucking hand-wringers. Just go and try and do something half way decent. Don't worry if someone else had a similar thought. Try to do it better and try doing something good.
It sounds to me like you're the ones responsible for all the shit on TV which wasn't inspired by anything but what was in your tiny ad minds. The people who moan about these type of things are the bitter people who come up with fuck all and just want to put anyone else down who dare to do something decent.

Anonymous said...

10:34

you either work at BMB or are weak on ethical values.

Anonymous said...

...or both (since it appears to me no one could work at BMB AND really care about moral values at the same time).

David Buonaguidi said...
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Anonymous said...

Rory,

Are you suggesting that if let’s say Fallon created an ad for Skoda called “Lemon” and instead of having a small black and white Skoda in the top left corner printed in a magazine, Fallon had it in an online banner ad, and with the new advances in technology had the copy appearing in an animation stating to the consumer that sometimes a Skoda fails their quality control, this wouldn’t be plagiarism?

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at the reaction to this latest episode of the so called 'creative' ad industry stealing. The awards industry is very responsible for this sort of behavior. It creates an environment where pretty much anything goes. Holsten Pils won golds in the 80's, it was the biggest fucking rip off in history. There are and will be lots of other examples. Admen have always been lightfingered fucks when it comes to creativity. Scamp, why do you think that [expletive deleted] is a god?

Rory said...

No, that would be plagiarism. Because it adds nothing to the original execution.

In fact it would be the worst kind of plagiarism, because it would take an original idea and make it worse.

On the other hand, if you were to invent an accelerometer-driven iPhone app called iPuke which enabled people in who had drunk nine pints of virtual Carling to pretend to vomit into their i-Phones, that might be sufficiently new to merit the claim of originality.

I don't deny that this is a complex area. But I think too much obsession with originality can be just as great a problem as too little. I hate the fact that The Grey Album was suppressed by EMI.

In my opinion, the greatest thing any creative person can do is the equivalent of originating the knock-knock joke or the light-bulb joke: in other words creating an original format capable of infinite creative adaptation. It's also the hardest thing to do.