Monday, July 30, 2007

Integrity is priceless. For everything else, there's MasterCard

MasterCard - we still call them Access, to be honest - asked M Ward if they could use one of his tunes on an advert.

Their offer was declined.

So Mastercard went off and made a carbon copy. Ward, of course, isn't happy:

to avoid confusion re: mastercard/europe

Mastercard was denied permission by M. Ward to use his version of Daniel Johnston's "TO GO HOME" - so Mastercard found some anonymous musicians to re-record the song. Neither M. Ward nor the musicians that appeared on his version have any involvement in this recording or the commercial.

You can't put a price on it, can you?

Oddly, Mastercard happily blocked payments going to because it respects artist's rights. Sometimes.


James said...

I remember the same thing happening to Muse a while ago. They recorded a (fairly aces) cover of 'Feeling Good', Nescafe asked if they could use it in a coffee advert, Muse said No, so Nescafe brought in a soundalike to re-record it for the advert.

Hopefully M. Ward will follow Muse's path - They successfully sued Nestle and gave the money to Oxfam :)

ian said...

I'm not entirely sure this M Ward, whoever it is, has any real claim to integrity when he's complaining about someone else covering the same song he has.

And as for Muse, as soon as Radiohead find out you can sue someone for sounding a bit like them, then they're going to be laughing on the other side of their face too.

simon h b said...

Ian, it's not so much that it's a cover - it's because the Mastercard version is a pastiche of his version. I doubt he'd have been bothered if the Spice Girls had been brought in, or they'd done a balalaika version.

duckie said...

Unfortunately you can't copyright a performance in the same way that you copyright a song, so unless the composer/publisher refuses permission, Mastercard, Nestle etc can do whatever they want. Muse's original cover was used for a few weeks by Nestle, until they complained and then the cover-cover was recorded and used instead, quite legally.

Having said that, Tom Waits managed to sue an ad company for "passing off" when they had someone record 'in the style of' Tom Waits i.e. deliberate deception intended to fool the listener that it's really him, so I guess it's a matter of how the lawyers approach it.

Ed said...

Surely Daniel Johnston would have been consulted too?

Kevin said...

Good on M Ward. He's not adverse to making a bit of money though: touring with Norah Jones = ka-ching. Ah well, more than deserved.

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