Land of Plenty but Too Close to Home?

Saturday 12th October 2013
Article written by: Penny Catley

Audi’s first ever New Zealand made commercial “Land of Plenty. Land of Quattro” has landed it in a spot of bother; well at least the soundtrack has.

In a response to allegations[1]of copying , Audi and the composer of the song featured in the commercial, Greg Johnson, have categorically denied any wrongdoing, claiming independent creation.  Universal Music and Kirstine Fuemana, the widow of artist Pauly Fuemana of hit song “How Bizarre” fame, disagree.  According to a letter allegedly issued to Audi,[2] the melody and shape of the lyrics are similar, the vocal delivery resembles Fuemana’s, and the concept and lyrical themes are the same, with images in the commercial similar to those found in video of Pauly Fuemana’s song “Land of Plenty”.  

Allegations of copying aside, what is interesting is that the spectres of passing off and breaches of the Fair Trading Act 1986 have also been raised.  In other words, the claim appears to be that, through use of the allegedly similar song and the allegedly similar images in the commercial, Audi have made some form of misrepresentation, or are misleading and deceiving consumers in some way.   If this eventually does go through to formal proceedings, it may be the first time such claims have been considered in relation to music in New Zealand.     
So watch this space.

[1] Mike Alexander and Kirsty Johnston, TV Advert Song ‘Not a Copy’ see: last accesses 10 October 2013
[2] Mike Alexander,  Upset Widow Hears Land of Plenty Track in Car Ad, see: last accessed 10 October 2013


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