Scott Wilson’s video for his song “Too Tired” matches the tune with an animated film by Takeuchi Taijin, Stop Motion with Wolf and Pig. The video, uploaded to YouTube in April, uses 1300 sequentially shot photographic prints that roll out across a room and all its furniture — an approximation of the frames-per-second method used to create vintage cartoons. In early July, Wilson got a message from a YouTube browser stating, “The Pen Story completely robbed you.”
“I did a search on the Pen Story,” says Wilson, “and I found a video by Olympus about their cameras that was almost identical to my video.” Viewed side by side, the Olympus film and Wilson’s are so similar they could be mistaken as two segments from one long video. The Olympus clip was accompanied on their website with a note reading, “We shot 60,000 pictures, developed 9,600 prints, and shot over 1,800 pictures again…thanks to all the stop-motion artists who inspired us,” with no mention of Wilson or Taijin.
After several people posted comments noting the similarities between the Pen Story and the Wilson/Taijin video, Olympus offered clarification. “Some of the comments we have read suggest that we should mention the creator of A Wolf Loves Pork [not the correct title, but rather the opening text line], Mr. Takeuchi Taijin. While we were looking for a way to realize a story describing ‘a journey through time’ based on printed images, we were inspired by Mr. Taijin’s brilliant work. For this reason, we intentionally quoted his work in our little movie, while showing full respect to his original idea. We didn’t mention his name because we did not want to do so without his prior agreement. However…we have decided to add credits to him and his work, which we obviously absolutely love.”
“I still have not heard from Takeuchi yet, so I don’t know what he thinks of all this,” says Wilson. “I don’t think they owe me anything, but I do think that it’s a little weird that this major corporation is plagiarizing someone else’s video without their permission.”
Wilson also points out similarities between the 2005 video for his song “Coffeehouse 101,” which featured around 50 local performers lip-synching a line, with a Nickelback video released two years later using an identical format and cadence, albeit with more famous guests, for their tune “Rockstar.”
“I look at it as a strange cosmic joke,” says Wilson. “I don’t think it’s possible to copyright an idea, so this is a fairly common practice. Although it shouldn’t be.”