Evil Corporations, Reality TV and Unmitigated Plagiarism: The 21st Century Trifecta

Have you heard? Devo is suing McDonald’s over an American Idol themed Happy Meal toy unimaginatively named “New Wave Nigel”.

And, boy, I hope Ronald is subjected to a legal corn-holing that turns his red wig pale.

Just look at this toy. It’s a plagiaristic travesty. The figure sports an orange jumpsuit and Devo’s trademark "energy dome" hat which, in my opinion, is enough to damn McDonald’s as full-on rip-off artists.

But the clincher is the unquestionably Devo-esque music the toy plays when its arm is moved. (Hit play on the video at right to hear just how blatantly McDonald’s has mimicked Devo's sound.)

Big companies like McDonald’s pull this sort of shit all the time. They think that because they have bottomless pockets, they can just step all over other peoples’ copyrights. Of course, let me post an illustration of Grimace shoving his bloated, purple dick in Ronald McDonald’s ear and see how fast I receive a cease and desist letter.

What I love most about the story is Devo bassist Gerald Casale’s statement about the level to which the band is insulted:

"This New Wave Nigel doll that they've created is just a complete Devo rip-off and the red hat is exactly the red hat that I designed… Plus, we don't like McDonald's, and we don't like 'American Idol', so we're doubly offended."

Awesome. I didn’t think it was possible, but I actually like Devo even more now.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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14 Responses to Evil Corporations, Reality TV and Unmitigated Plagiarism: The 21st Century Trifecta

  1. SweetMisery says:

    Yep the screwed up big time. awwwwwwww

  2. AmyH says:

    Great post, and great quote.
    Yeah, funny how places like McDonald's or Disney can take other people's images but then scream bloody murder when someone does it to them.

  3. Xeyli says:

    down with the man, please?

  4. RedScylla says:

    Oh, man, I hope they take McDonald's to the cleaner for that. No wonder people hate America–all they see are the filthy corporations who are bound and determined to turn everything into a commodity. To rape and pillage every last cultural icon for cash.

  5. bouche says:

    That fricken Hamburgler… Just couldn't live with stealin' the patties he had to go thug and swipe up some Devo.There should be a new "whip it" video where Ronald's tied to that post … ew. I just mentally barfed.

  6. Scott says:

    Ooh, stealing the flower-pot thing…not good!
    And I think the name "Nigel" should be reserved for discussions of amplifiers that go to 11.

  7. Brown Suga' says:

    I've never heard of Devo, but I'm going to go and listen to them, just because.

  8. Kirk says:

    "I've never heard of Devo, but I'm going to go and listen to them, just because." Here, let me help you. ^_^

  9. Crom74 says:

    Whip it baby, whip it goooood.Frell McDonalds.

  10. Jay says:

    You told me you destroyed that picture, you conniving bastard. I hate you.- Grimace

  11. Curse those evil corporations for creating jobs, providing competition, and paying their employees more than minimum wage!
    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/legalpost/archive/2008/07/02/devo-denies-lawsuit-against-mcdonald-s.aspx
    My guess is that they actually ended up settling out of court. And, keep in mind that these toys were being given away free in Happy Meals. And, that this toy was probably designed by some lackey at some advertising firm and no one at McDonald's knew any better. It's not as if McDonald's has a corporate policy that says they must plagiarize and then profit from it.
    I grow weary of people bashing corporations and labeling them "evil" when nearly everyone works for a perfectly benign corporation and reaps the benefits of that work. In addition, most of the mistakes made by these corporations are made by people like you — its employees.
    The corner dry cleaners and the neighborhood pizza joint are probably corporations. If everyone would like, we could sweep away half the corporations in the country and watch the wages and benefits dry up due to lack of supply but high demand… GRRRRRR!!!

  12. Kirk says:

    "Curse those evil corporations for creating jobs, providing competition, and paying their employees more than minimum wage! "More than minimum wage? Hum. You must have vastly different McDonald's stores where you live than we have here.
    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/legalpost/archive/2008/07/02/devo-denies-lawsuit-against-mcdonald-s.aspx

    "My guess is that they actually ended up settling out of court."I hadn't seen that article yet. Thanks for posting the link. Suddenly denying the suit definitely goes in line with the type of agreements drawn in settlements of these immensely high-dollar legal battles. "And, keep in mind that these toys were being given away free in Happy Meals."So? They were used as a mechanism to sell more Happy Meals. If McD's gave up enough money to get Devo to claim the whole thing was a rumor, then they must have known they were screwed. "And, that this toy was probably designed by some lackey at some advertising firm and no one at McDonald's knew any better."Hey hey hey, careful shootin' there, Donovan. I'm an advertising lackey. 🙂 Designer, in fact. Though, I always make sure never to rip people off."It's not as if McDonald's has a corporate policy that says they must plagiarize and then profit from it."I didn't say it was a policy. I said they simply don't care about stepping all over others' copyrights because they have the money to beat down most comers."I grow weary of people bashing corporations and labeling them "evil" when nearly everyone works for a perfectly benign corporation… The corner dry cleaners and the neighborhood pizza joint are probably corporations.""Evil Corporations" in the title of the post refers to "big companies like McDonald's" from paragraph five. I grow weary of watching it become less and less possible for me to have a choice as huge companies start buying up or snuffing out every bit of competition. If you prefer a world supplied by two or three huge companies, great. We'll add that to our list of places we disagree. "If everyone would like, we could sweep away half the corporations in the country and watch the wages and benefits dry up due to lack of supply but high demand…"Wages and benefits? Again, I think you have bizzarro fast food places where you live. And don't get me started on how I've had to pay the taxes of the minimum wage workers at Wal*Mart because the largest retailer in the world was too cheap to provide it for them.Good to see you again, Donovan. One day, you should read some of my non-socially-outraged posts. Maybe we could chat about something we both agree on, such as cuttlefish-craniumed creatures of chaos. 🙂

  13. Kirk says:

    "I've had to pay the taxes of the minimum wage workers at Wal*Mart…" Oops! That should read: "I've had to pay for the health care of the minimum wage workers at Wal*Mart with my taxes…". Sorry.

  14. I continue to be a bit hesitant to even bother discussing these things in this 480-pixel-wide setting. It just isn’t conducive to reasoned discussion. After all, people can’t even sway the thoughts of others with professionally-printed articles in glossy magazines.

    I was prepared to respond to every little detail, much like you did, but armed with statistics from the Bureau of Labor. I was even going to regale you with tales of what it was like to be the owner of a profitable corporation for nearly eight years. But all those details would’ve completely missed the point of what prompted me to respond in the first place.

    It wasn’t the details of how much McDonald’s pays their employees or whether or not they were guilty of copyright infringement. It was that you were so ready — no, eager — to consider them guilty without knowing anything about the case. Even if they were shown to be innocent of any wrong-doing, you’d still hate them for being an “evil corporation”. And that kind of bias is what I find so aggravating and which I find so horribly widespread these days.

    And that's really all I've got to say on the matter.

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