Retro Stefson Songwriter In Copyright Dispute With Homeware Chain Store - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Retro Stefson Songwriter In Copyright Dispute With Homeware Chain Store

Published November 20, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson (seen above), frontman for Retro Stefson, is taking the homeware chain Húsasmiðjan to court for copyright violations, due to some striking similarities between the band’s hit song Glow and background music for a television commercial for the store—a month after a possible deal for Húsasmiðjan to use the song fell apart, RÚV reports. Húsasmiðjan denies any wrongdoing.

The story begins in September 2018, when an advertising company hired by Húsasmiðjan approached the agent for the band, wanting to use Glow as a part of an advertising campaign. While those negotiations fell apart, a month later, a new television ad campaign for Húsasmiðjan was launched.

Unnsteinn believed the similarities between the Húsasmiðjan jingle and Retro Stefson’s Glow to be similar enough to constitute a copyright violation. His lawyer, Magnús Hrafn Magnússon, sent a letter to the company on the matter, after which the commercials were pulled, but further negotiations broke down, leading to the legal challenge now arising today.

Smári Hilmarsson, the lawyer for Húsasmiðjan, told reporters that he believes the issue has been blown out of proportion, saying that the company has asked unnamed musicians to hear the two pieces for comparison, and that no similarities were found. He added further that the lawsuit ought to be aimed at the advertising firm; not the company who hired them.

At the one minute mark of the video embedded in the RÚV article, you can hear clips from the two songs played back to back and judge for yourself.

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