In the world of films both short- and long-form, you can often see the influence of other works in what a particular artist brings to the screen. Many artists craft original works that still manage to evoke the look or sound or feel of a piece of art that influenced them in some way. In its purest form, many would cite that evocation as homage rather than copying. But in certain cases, mimicking a particular style in your work can be seen as copyright by the original artists, and that can cause an unpleasant dispute.
When art-rock luminaries Radiohead suddenly released a video for the song "Burn The Witch" earlier this month, it garnered a wave of media attention in addition to over a million YouTube views on the first day. Fans had waited almost five years for new material from the group only to have a new song and video suddenly dropped into their laps by the notoriously secretive English band. The material itself was vintage Radiohead: a dark and ominous song against a claymation video that mixes a best village contest with elements of the 1973 film The Wicker Man. And for all the praise the song and video received, there was one family who took issue with what they saw as potential infringement.
The children of television creator Gordon Murray told the Daily Mail that their family is angry with the band for using characters in their video that resemble characters from Murray's Trumpton shows, which were animated children's series in Britain in the 1960s. The family has expressed concern that the video, given its subject matter, will tarnish the Trumpton brand. Murray's son in law, William Mollett, indicated to the newspaper that the family were considering whether or not to take legal action against the band for the video.
Radiohead, in what could be considered typical Radiohead fashion, have not issued a statement or addressed the nascent controversy. For comparison, you can watch the video below and see images from Trumpton here.