Concepts, Copyright and Catch 22’s

One main thing we worry about in the arts industries, is whether our concepts are safe. I don’t mean whether something is too controversial, but rather if the concepts you come up with will not be stolen. It was once said that any publicity is good publicity, but we miss out on the fact that whilst business is business, it is our human nature to be upset.

A few years ago, Honda released an advert which caused quite some debate in the art and design worlds.

It was deemed one of the most intriguing, out of the box adverts of its time. The concepts of deconstruction to make something more interesting was something that could not be ignored. Because of it’s fame and high profile, this emerged from the wood work:

The difference? Around 23 years. You can read the news story here.

Fischli and Weiss, of course, won the debate and have since gone on to produce new concepts that have been very successful. It is debated though, that their rediscovered fame came from this controversy and nothing more. Whilst the film they originally made won several awards at the time, fame dies over time as the innovative concepts become old. These concepts were only brought to light to much bigger circles than just those associated with short films, when Honda made something similar.

Perhaps, from another point of view, there is no need for innovation anymore. It would be something in which to debate. Considering that many concepts are like trends and just keep re-emerging every few years, there is no point. An example of this can be found through children’s films: the reason why the likes of Toy Story made a come back for its sequels, were so that the character Andy would match the age of the generation that watched Toy Story when they were younger. So in the latest Toy Story, Andy was going to ‘college’, which at the time, my age group, who had grown up with the original Toy Stories were just setting off for university. Therefore, trends completely depend on the generation.

With this in mind, perhaps it is also a financial thing. Vintage styles often come back when money is tight. Thrifting became very fashionable, for example, during the crash at the beginning of the century. Vintage styles were resourceful and made the most of what was readily available. With the above concepts in mind, it would be cheap to reinvent ideas from the past and to use resources that were readily available. All the car parts would be easy to source, and so cheap. It would just be the set up and the time to film that would be the most expensive part.

All in all, the considerations above would be easy to debate. But is it true? Is innovation really dying out in favour of ease?