Psy Elects Not To Go Legal Over Gangnam Style Restaurant

from the oppa dept

Weeks ago, Mike explored the cultural blitz surrounding the song/video Gangam Style and its creator, Korean pop sensation Psy. One of the themes of the article was how Psy's seeming permisiveness for the internet community's repurposing of his song to spread the fun around resulted in something of a turbo-charge effect on its popularity. It turns out that this understanding of how digital culture can help spread an artist's popularity wasn't a one time thing for Psy.

Recently, a Korean restaurant in Los Angeles closed up shop for a few weeks as it changed its name to Gangnam Style, without even attempting to get Psy's permission, obviously looking to build their business on the song's popularity. While one might cringe at the expected legal result of the use of the song's title, you can safely un-cringe; Psy not only isn't going after the owners of the restaurant, he loves what they did.
"Gangnam Style" singer Psy will NOT sue an L.A. restaurant for naming itself after the famous song -- in fact, Psy's pumped ... because as far as he's concerned ... imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The restaurant never bothered to get Psy's permission to use the name -- but sources close to the singer tell TMZ, he doesn't give a crap ... because where he comes from, imitation is a form of honor.
The larger point being that there's no harm from the restaurant's move and the possibility for further cultural penetration. While I appreciate Psy's inaction legally, I would actually suggest he go a step further and embrace the restaurant by reaching out and working directly with them. Why not have his music playing there? Why not have CDs or merchandise available for purchase, with some kind of agreement worked out with the restaurant? Not obstructing is wonderful, but I would suggest more collaboration by the artists to further their monetization and success. Why the hell not?


Reader Comments (rss)

 

Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

"You (all) keep taking these rare exceptions and sheerly from the fact they exist, assert that your notions are proven!"

Interesting take on the article. What exactly did I say that Psy has "proven"?

"There's NO connection between this unique phenomenon and copyright!"

Are you really suggesting that the rampant social media remakes and remixes of Gangnam Style, all or many of which may be considered infringing, had no impact on today's popularity of the song? REALLY!?!

"IF he wants to ignore the name on a restaurant -- or his video used by others -- and argued above and elsewhere is that he couldn't prevent those -- then that's fine, within his rights in either case."

I have no idea what this is, but it isn't English....

"But that he has the choice is basically just due to luck and random factors."

You don't think much of musicians and/or artists, do you?

"I advise you all to learn how to promote yourselves -- or at least get the existing machinery to give you "the treatment" (assuming you'd sell out and take the piles of filthy money from royalties)."

This DOES indeed appear to be English...but I have no idea what it is saying, nor am I interested in taking advisories from someone without the cognitive skill to write clearly....

"That's far more important for anyone personally than worrying about copyright or its evils."

I'll keep my own counsel on what's important to me, thank you very much....

"So, Timmy"

Demeaning use of a name I don't take; ad-hom, a continuation of your unprovoked attacks from the past few days, for which you have not responded to me when I asked you to apologize. Do you care, here, finally, to demonstrate a shred of credibility and respond, or shall you shrink away yet again?

"homework assignment."

I've got more important things to do than your homework assignments....like....anything.

"Learn all you can from how "Psy" burst onto the scene, and duplicate it. Report back in a month."

Uh huh. I'll just travel to South Korea and personally duplicate exactly what Psy did, because that makes any sense at all....
—Dark Helmet

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    cpt kangarooski, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:04pm

    Of course, let's also not forget that be might not be able to do much about it even if he felt differently: You can't copyright a title, and you generally can't trademark one either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    David (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Good Idea

    Having his products available would be great (and some customers would actually expect to see them).

    Plus I could go for some Jahb Chae!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

    Psy understands that he's a lucky bastard for getting worldwide attention for a 4 minute song (and video). After working for a month or two on that video, he's set for life.

    Apparently he's not saddled with a bunch of non-creative people who also hope to make a living off of Psy's song, and insist he go after every single won he can get.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Loki, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    Considering he bumped Justin Beiber (a better example of all that is wrong with the major labels I cannot think of) from the top spot on iTunes back in like August, and has now bumped him from the most watched video on YouTube, I think he understands the power of marketing and word of mouth very well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    I don't know. I myself would never bother to go to/purchase from a company that obviously is trying to cash in on a popular fad or topic. Much like those that try to cash in on popular hash-tags.

    I figure if they need to go to that level of gimmick marketing, that their product isn't that good to begin with or is overpriced.

    Psy might also realize that it's better to just ignore them, as they will not be around long, than to start any sort of conflict where that company will be getting lots of press coverage. Or, it could be just as he says. =P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    Or he could say for a fee he'll make a personal appearance. that should drive sales at the restaurant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    You (all) keep taking these rare exceptions and sheerly from the fact they exist, assert that your notions are proven! There's NO connection between this unique phenomenon and copyright! IF he wants to ignore the name on a restaurant -- or his video used by others -- and argued above and elsewhere is that he couldn't prevent those -- then that's fine, within his rights in either case. But that he has the choice is basically just due to luck and random factors.

    I advise you all to learn how to promote yourselves -- or at least get the existing machinery to give you "the treatment" (assuming you'd sell out and take the piles of filthy money from royalties). That's far more important for anyone personally than worrying about copyright or its evils.

    So, Timmy: homework assignment. Learn all you can from how "Psy" burst onto the scene, and duplicate it. Report back in a month.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    You (all) keep taking these rare exceptions and sheerly from the fact they exist, assert that your notions are proven!

    These exceptions to the copyright laws exist. Therefore we've proven that you don't need copyright to be successful. FINALLY you see the point....

    There's NO connection between this unique phenomenon and copyright!

    Exactly. You don't need to use copyright or trademark laws to bully people and protect your "art". Welcome to the conversation ootb!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    There's NO connection between this unique phenomenon and copyright!

    But without copyright, Psy never would have had the incentive to create the song in the first place, amirite?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    There's NO connection between this unique phenomenon and copyright!

    But without copyright, Psy never would have had the incentive to create the song in the first place, amirite?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    "You can't copyright a title, and you generally can't trademark one either."

    Doesn't stop ppl from suing for it though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    When "all we sez" is "copyright is not necessary to fuel business models", it only takes one example to prove it true.
    The fact that examples keep cropping up only strengthens the claim.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    ldne, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    homework assignment. Learn all you can from how "Psy" burst onto the scene, and duplicate it. Report back in a month.


    No need to wait a month, he did it by doing virtually everything the opposite of the "existing machinery" that you seem to love so much. He made a song for fun, poking fun at something from where he grew up, made a campy self produced video of it and uploaded it to the dreaded youtube and basically gave it away and the resulting attention and performances have earned him a few million bucks and made him a worldwide star instead of just in South Korea. No major label marketing machine or copyright police required.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    "You (all) keep taking these rare exceptions and sheerly from the fact they exist, assert that your notions are proven!"

    Interesting take on the article. What exactly did I say that Psy has "proven"?

    "There's NO connection between this unique phenomenon and copyright!"

    Are you really suggesting that the rampant social media remakes and remixes of Gangnam Style, all or many of which may be considered infringing, had no impact on today's popularity of the song? REALLY!?!

    "IF he wants to ignore the name on a restaurant -- or his video used by others -- and argued above and elsewhere is that he couldn't prevent those -- then that's fine, within his rights in either case."

    I have no idea what this is, but it isn't English....

    "But that he has the choice is basically just due to luck and random factors."

    You don't think much of musicians and/or artists, do you?

    "I advise you all to learn how to promote yourselves -- or at least get the existing machinery to give you "the treatment" (assuming you'd sell out and take the piles of filthy money from royalties)."

    This DOES indeed appear to be English...but I have no idea what it is saying, nor am I interested in taking advisories from someone without the cognitive skill to write clearly....

    "That's far more important for anyone personally than worrying about copyright or its evils."

    I'll keep my own counsel on what's important to me, thank you very much....

    "So, Timmy"

    Demeaning use of a name I don't take; ad-hom, a continuation of your unprovoked attacks from the past few days, for which you have not responded to me when I asked you to apologize. Do you care, here, finally, to demonstrate a shred of credibility and respond, or shall you shrink away yet again?

    "homework assignment."

    I've got more important things to do than your homework assignments....like....anything.

    "Learn all you can from how "Psy" burst onto the scene, and duplicate it. Report back in a month."

    Uh huh. I'll just travel to South Korea and personally duplicate exactly what Psy did, because that makes any sense at all....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    ShellMG, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

    I'll admit it

    I wouldn't have bothered with Gangnam Style if it hadn't been for the parody videos. There was so much buzz it made me curious. I watched his original and a few others...and BOUGHT the song on iTunes.

    Without the "back door" of parodies he'd have one less customer. And if I'm ever near the restaurant (unlikely in the near future from this flyover country TechDirt reader) I'd love to sample some Korean cuisine now that I've heard about it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    PSYch them out

    How does Psy’s actions impact copy write?
    It shows the Public Domain is a clear and profitable alternative to “lockdown”.

    Who is “Gangam Style” hurting?
    The contrived “bieber fever” losers.

    How will Gangam Style alter copy write?
    It scares the HELL out of Chris “the douche” Dodd who will now be exposed as the “LIAR” he is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Alana (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    You’re on a plane that crashed in the Sonora desert....


    /giggles maniacally

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    slick8086, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    FREE FOOD!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Markus Hopkins (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    ... I get replying, really, it's the gut reaction they're going for, and it's hard to resist. But, why are you feeding the trolls even more by "first word"-ing your reply? Especially OOTB (for goodness sake, we have an ACRONYM for that one and you still had to draw more attention to him). Come on. Please kids, don't feed the trolls.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    One in a million? You mean like how aside from a few outliers like Gene Simmons who would imprison all his fans if he could, most artists are against the crippling standards of how copyright is enforced?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Re:

    You can actually trademark it. There is no "generally can't" about it.

    In fact the restaurant strangely enough could trademark the name specifically for usage in Restaurants since Psy does not use the words in that specific area and is NOT in the USA.

    This is the weirdness that is trademark law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    cpt kangarooski, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re:

    In order to trademark a title, it has to function as a source identifier. But usually titles of single works don't do this; they just Identify the work itself and are treated as being generic or at best merely descriptive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    SheriffFatman, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 12:46am

    I may be wrong, but I thought "Gangnam style" was an expression that predated the song (at least in Korea), a rough U.S. equivalent being something like "Beverly Hills style".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 2:39am

    Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    By the same token pointing at a few (possibly) infringing files on a site doesn't make it dedicated to infringement. If you want to ignore all the non-infringing works on a site, that's fine and within your rights. But the fact that artists and creators use these sites to legally distribute their own works, and the vast fields of open source and public domain material just make you look like a sad little troll.

    Then again, whenever you post idiotic statements like this you prove it, anyways.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 4:43am

    Just another instance of Psy proving he is a really nice guy. Watch any interview and you get this impression.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    gab4moi (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 5:37am

    Gangnoooooooooooooooo!!!

    Gees Tim, don't encourage the guy, he will keep singing!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:24am

    I'd recommend that Psy either officially works with these guys or they need some sort of visible disclaimer that they don't actually represent Psy.

    What was done here is, without a doubt, wrong. They've essentially stolen his likeness to promote themselves. To be completely honest, I think Psy is crazy for NOT pursuing some sort of legal action or at least a letter saying "WTF dude? At least don't pretend I'm involved!". The actions of this restaurant can reflect on Psy as it operates with the illusion of his approval and involvement.

    Think of it as someone other than Disney opening Disneyland. It will reflect poorly on Disney if it's a craptastic park. I may not agree with every 'right' that gets asserted, but sometimes, it just makes sense.

    Even though he approves of the imitation, he should still at the least make sure it's on the up and up before letting them run around like that. It's just common sense to protect yourself from the potential backlash if they're doing something shady.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Techdirt's standard "one in a million proves all we sez".

    You're never going to convince the troll of anything.

    Any reply to them is not for the trolls to read. It's the rest of the readers that will enjoy the reply, if it's insightful or funny or whatever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:50pm

    I wonder what the restaurant will be called next month when Psy's 15 minutes of fame are up and he's long-forgotten.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 7th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Korean Rapper Under Fire for Spewing Anti-American Hate...

    http://amp.cbslocal.com/2012/12/07/does-south-korean-rapper-psy-hate-america/

    And now, by the magic of boldface:
    The Last Word goes to out_of_the_blue!

    Now, to be clear, I don't care about Psy's views, perhaps even agree, but Timmy seems something of a pro-US jingoist, and so might be concerned that he supported Psy at all. -- Of course, Timmy will likely feel compelled to post here and say he's absolutely for free speech and this doesn't matter, but I doubt this piece would have been written had this come out earlier.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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