The White Stripes, the Super Bowl and the Air Force — commentary by Dave Itzoff in the New York TImes

[Dave Itzoff, columnist for the New York Times, writes the ArtsBeat blog as well.  In it here, he reports on how at 9 AM  FEB. 9 The White Stripes issued a statement opposing the Air Force using their music to promote recruitment.  Shortly thereafter the Air Force removed the commercial, which had aired during the Super Bowl, from their web site.  By 6 pm that same day the composer of the Air Force commercial music said he “truly, truly, truly” had no idea there was a similarity, he had no intention of copying the White Stripes.  But this is not an argument about copyright, entirely.  It is an argument about art and the politics for which it is used — Lew Rosenbaum]

White Stripes Protest Super Bowl Ad for Air Force Reserve

By DAVE ITZKOFF

Update | 2:55 p.m. In song, at least, the band the White Stripes has boasted that it can hold off a seven-nation army. But now that rock group is taking on an entire branch of the United States Armed Forces, contending that it misused one of the band’s songs in a commercial that was promoted as a Super Bowl Sunday ad.

At issue is a commercial for the Air Force Reserve, set to an instrumental track that the White Stripes say is an unauthorized version of their song “Fell in Love With a Girl.” To make the point, at the Web site of its record label, Third Man Records, the band has juxtaposed the video for that song with a link to the Air Force Reserve commercial, inviting listeners to judge for themselves. (Update: the commercial appears to have been pulled from the Air Force Reserve Web site.)

In a statement posted Monday evening on the Third Man Records site, the White Stripes wrote:

We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management.

The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.

The White Stripes support this nation’s military, at home and during times when our country needs and depends on them. We simply don’t want to be a cog in the wheel of the current conflict, and hope for a safe and speedy return home for our troops.

We have not licensed this song to the Air Force Reserve and plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.

Blaine Warren Advertising, the company that created the advertisement for the Air Force Reserve, said on Tuesday morning that it would be issuing a statement later in the day.

February 9, 2010, 5:39 pm

<!– — Updated: 5:41 pm –>

Musician Apologizes for Advertising Track That Upset the White Stripes

By DAVE ITZKOFF

The composer of an instrumental track used in a Super Bowl commercial for the Air Force Reserve, and which the White Stripes said was an unauthorized copy of their song “Fell in Love With a Girl,” apologized to the band and said that the similarities between his composition and the band’s song were coincidental.

The composer, Kem Kraft, a freelance musician based in Salt Lake City, said Tuesday in a telephone interview, “I’m sorry it sounds the same. It wasn’t my intention, truly, truly, truly.”

Mr. Kraft said that he was hired by Fast Forward Productions, a local production company, to score a commercial that the company produced for the Air Force Reserve, and which was shown during regional broadcasts of the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Mr. Kraft said he submitted three different high-energy musical tracks to the ad’s producers. They chose one, and at their request he said he made further changes to “beef it up, make the drums stronger and put on an echo guitar.”

Mike Lee, the owner of Fast Forward Productions, said in a phone interview, “We went back and forth on the song several times. We changed stuff quite a bit, just to match the tempo of how I cut it together.”

Mr. Lee added: “I wasn’t familiar with the White Stripes song. I’ve heard of the White Stripes but I’m not a listener of theirs. I had no idea there was similarity until after the fact.”

In a post on the Web site of their record label, Third Man Records, the White Stripes said that they took “strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.” They added that they “plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.”

The Air Force Reserve said on Tuesday that any similarity between the two songs was “completely unintentional.”

Mr. Kraft said that if the White Stripes “want to call me and talk to me, as far as I’m concerned, I’m responsible for this. Just me.”

He continued: “I’m pretty much a one-man band here. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Air Force. They didn’t know anything, and I didn’t know anything either.”

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