kottke.org posts about minorthreat

Theft or homage?Jun 27 2005

Nike is catching some shit for appropriating some imagery for one of their skateboarding events from a 1984 album cover by Dischord Records' Minor Threat. Dischord is alledging that Nike stole the image:

No, they stole it and we're not happy about it. Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand. Nike represents just about the antithesis of what Dischord stands for and it makes me sick to my stomach to think they are using this explicit imagery to fool kids into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission. It's disgusting.

Here are the images (original on the left):

Major Threat Minor Threat

Setting aside the difference in philosophy between the two parties, this is obviously an homage on Nike's part (or rather, on the part of the designers working on this campaign for Nike...they probably love skating and that album and are paying their respects). Graphic design, filmmaking, pop culture, and music is full of stuff like this...sampling and ripping and riffing and homages are all part of the deal. Seems like a punk label like Dischord should be aware of that but in the above quote they sound more like a big company afraid of losing their intellectual property. Isn't punk all about taking without permission? Or does that not apply when you don't like the folks doing the taking? Lighten up, Dischord.

Update: Nike has apologized for producing the poster. Lame.

Update #2: I'm getting a ton of mail about this, the most about a single post in quite awhile. Without exception, you all disagree with me.

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