Today, Pitchfork released a story on Hugo Boss and the XX pertaining to a particular instance of potential plagiarism. The Boss brand recently used a bit of music in their new ad campaign featuring a sexy man in a pair of the Hugo’s sunglasses that sounds exactly like the XX’s “Intro” .
Don’t believe us? Check out the two songs on Pitchfork, here: http://pitchfork.com/news/56981-the-xxs-label-accuses-hugo-boss-of-plagiarism/.
The story got us thinking… in the twenty-first century, how has the Internet played a role in business to business plagiarism? When a brand as big as Hugo Boss drops their standards of originality, what does that say about modern creativity? Are they just cutting corners and ripping off the XX blatantly, or was it more of a subconscious thing? With the advent of the Internet, the music (and fashion for that matter) industry has shifted and so has their marketing platforms. These types of questions are becoming more and more prevalent as artists, labels, and brands use greater amounts of online marketing. How much of the music out there has been ripped off without artists’ control or knowledge?
Not every band has a label as big as XL Recordings to troll the web in search of potential cases of plagiarism. So how much of it gets swept under the rug? Does it come down to the responsibility of the studio or artist itself? What steps can artists and labels take to help prevent future occurrences of plagiarism? And who decides how the repercussions are handled, and punishments dolled out. These are important questions the industry and law makers should begin considering as more pressing. The internet certainly has many benefits for musicians, but where is the line drawn between inspired creativity and simply ripping another group off?
As for the case of Hugo Boss, they had better start paying up some royalties to the XX for all the attention this add will certainly receive.