Well-groomed and well-mannered boy band One Direction have released a new music video. Great, you’re not a teenage girl so why should you care? Because the London poppets have been accused of ripping the concept from their new clip from Australian band, Clubfeet.

One Direction’s video for ‘You & I’ features the five lads strolling down a bleak-looking British pier as they morph into one another before becoming a mob of multiple members, using some digital trickery to make it all appear like it was shot in a single take. Which seems eerily familiar to Oh Yeah Wow, the Aussie production company behind one-take wonder clip ‘Everything You Wanted’ by Clubfeet, which earned both parties the 2013 J Award for Best Music Video.

In a post on their official website titled ‘No Direction‘, Oh Yeah Wow claim that One Direction have ripped off the Clubfeet video.

“Late Friday night whilst we were busy observing the good traditions of the public holiday, something very suspicious was brought to our attention,” begins the post. “It seems that the chaps of One Direction have taken it upon themselves to regurgitate our original concept, as seen in our award-winning clip for Clubfeet’s ‘Everything You Wanted’.”

The production company also points out that: “yes 1d fans, we are aware ours doesn’t have the creepy facial morph stuff, we’re specifically talking about the 3rd act,” in which the boy band stroll in a manner that’s a little too close to comfort to the swagger of Clubfeet’s own clip. You can compare the two clips below.

“Considering the sleep deprivation one must endure to create an original piece with practically no budget, you can start to understand the annoyance we might feel when some affluent young bucks and a director devoid of creativity, decide to effectively steal (and subsequently dilute) our idea,” write Oh Yeah Wow.

“Sadly, we’re actually kind of used to it now,” the company points out, “this isn’t the first time that the concept for this video has been hijacked.” 

The first copycat came in Japanese indie quintet Champagne, whose video for their ‘Forever Young’ single “blatantly ripped off” Clubfeet’s, according to Oh Yeah Wow producer/director Darcy Prendergast. Then when Turkish RnB singer Soner Sarıkabadayı pulled the same stunt for the clip to his song, ‘Kutsal Toprak’, Clubfeet noted a “recurring sense of déjà vu.”

In the ‘No Direction’ boycott, the production company add:

“We have experienced plagiarism from all over the globe, including bands from Japan, Turkey, Thailand and Poland, some of which have been taken down due to so much public backlash.

To be crystal clear, OYW has nothing against creative evolution. Artists constantly reinterpret other works that have inspired them and we’re fine with people taking a technique and using it to create something new – our clip for Gotye [‘Easy Way Out’] was loosely based on the genius short film Tango by Zbigniew Rybczynski, for example.

The wider problem is, that plagiarism and copycatting is becoming increasingly common and acceptable. When did we, society, become so complacent as to allow this kind of behaviour to become normal practice in the media industry? It is for this very reason we have decided (this time) to rally some support- for the last thing we want is a generation of kids labelling our Clubfeet video a One Direction rip off in years to come.

To that end, Oh Yeah Wow include the individual twitter handles of each of the One Direction members as well as the contact details of the ‘You & I’ clip’s director and production company in their post, urging supporters to protest with the hashtag #nodirection.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but how far is too far?

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine