Minutebuzz in hot water for selling plagiarized love story to Coca Cola

Minutebuzz in hot water for selling plagiarized love story to Coca Cola
Culture & Property rights


It seems that Shia LaBeouf isn’t the only one getting in trouble for ‘being inspired’ by the works of the others – French viral video site Minutebuzz is in hot water for their most recent viral creation, a video about a young Frenchman who decides to get a last-minute plane ticket to Cancun to surprise his girlfriend. He records the travel, the surprise, and the 48-hour vacation that results. It’s a touching story, but it’s one you may have heard before: perhaps from Casey Neistat’s YouTube video: “The Surprise in South Africa.”

While the two videos are nearly identical in their plot, and even scene layout, what really seems to have gotten Neistat angry, which he shared in a blog post responding to the video, was that the video ends with the hashtag #DRDC (Des Raisons d’y Croire, or “Reasons to Believe”), which is part of an ongoing Twitter campaign by Coca Cola France.

“It’s hard to pin point why this upsets me so much.  Copying is part of the game.  This is not the first, certainly won’t be the last, time something like this takes place.  Maybe it’s because my movie was made purely out of love and happiness…Or maybe that I’ve never made any money off of my video, I don’t even have it monetized on YouTube.  It’s a story that has made me so happy to relive again and again by watching my movie and watching this interloper’s shitty Coca-Cola rip-off just ruins it for me.” – Casey Neistat, “Inspiration vs. Plagiarism

The situation raises a lot of questions about the value of content on the web. On the one hand, Minutebuzz and other viral sites aren’t known for their quality journalism or their apt source-citing; however, when you take someone’s profession – one which requires thousands of dollars of equipment (he’s made a video about that) – and you rip off its creativity, it seems to strike a chord. While list articles and link bait are based off of other non-creative lists and forum entries, there is a clear sense that intellectual property – or creative property for that matter – has been stolen, contorted, repackaged and resold for profit.

I only just recently stumbled upon Neistat’s videos on YouTube in the past few months, and he has an unmistaken style. It is clear watching his videos that he records everything in his life, and afterwards chops things together to tell a story after it’s happened. The clone video has clearly been mapped to match Neistat’s real-life experiences – and, worse, Coca Cola paid Minutebuzz to do so.

Though Barbier has given credit to Neistat for “inspiration,” it’s clear that Minutebuzz is monetizing the inspiration of others, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coca Cola double back on this situation in the next 48 hours.

Not surprisingly, it seems that Neistat has been ‘inspiring’ Minutebuzz articles for quite some time: these pieces from JanuaryMarch, & April of 2012, for example, which all embed Neistat’s videos and narrate in French the video’s plot.

One thing’s for sure: I wouldn’t want to have Casey Neistat angry at me. He has a tendancy to make his voice heard:

22 Responses

  1. Kenneth Shaw

    Pretty much everything on the internet is a copy of a remix of a copy of a remix. This is what culture is. Even so called “original” books and movies are usually just remixes of classical Greek literature from thousands of years ago. That being said, blatant stuff like this will end up getting called out. I kind of understand the pressure to do this though. It’s very difficult to stand out in any way online. That’s a big part of the reason why there are so many companies online (see http://www.buyfacebooklikesreviews.com that do nothing other than help people get more likes) for advertising this kind of stuff in the hopes of going viral. If you have to copy an idea or take inspiration from others, most people end up doing so and this is a good example of it.

    • Liam Boogar

      Nope. Definitely wrong. As a writer, I can tell you that the vast majority of what I write is original. Casey Neistat’s video was original – Minutebizz’s video was not.

      Yes, there are shades of grey. No, this is not an example of that.

    • Walker

      Want to bet your work isn’t original? Post some of it and i guarantee that i will find something similar was written in the last 200 years.

    • Peter F

      I agree with what Kenneth had to say, everything with see is an idea and we try to recreate it by trying something else. Windows copied Mac and it happens move on. How do you think people get creativity by watching movies, reading books, and seeing things with there own eyes.

    • MisterMonocle

      There are only so many human experiences that we want to tune into. We like watching people fall in love, we like watching people go through hell and rise from the ashes and we especially love watching the little guy topple the giant; the fact that these themes were written about thousands of years ago doesn’t mean they continue to be experiences we don’t relate to and doesn’t mean that everyone’s story is the same.

      Its like music man, there are only 12 notes – so all songs are the same. You see how broad and vague and general that is?

  2. JB

    Minute buzz video is a copy for sure…But what a lame copy…

  3. Walker

    Casey, your work is great, and while the story is very original, your editing is not. Maybe you should refer those who have inspired you.

    • Hans-Henrik

      If you wan’t to know Casey’s references and inspirations read the article on which you are commenting or do a google. “I watch and draw inspiration from my favorite filmmakers, Kubrick, Anderson, Tarantino, Charles and Ray Eames all of their work influences mine.” – Casey

  4. Truth

    Casey is mad ’cause he didn’t sell it to Cola

  5. David Keystone

    The other guy’s video sucked anyways. And how great it would’ve been for him to turn the corner in to her room only to find her with another man. That’s what I was hoping for… :p

    • adrien roy

      He films his life because that’s how he became successful, also he publishes “shit” that makes him look cool because he’s a pretty awesome guy and, like I said, because that’s how he became successful and its how he makes his living. He’s pretty good at it to. So stop insulting someone for being cool… It makes no sense

    • yakuza

      I guess that this one was addressed to my post above.

      Sir, yes sir, I’ll stop saying what I have in mind just to please you (kidding)

      I did not know that “coolness” is the criterion that rules it all.

      Seriously, could you tell me what are the effects on your mind / mental / health after watching this guy ‘exploits’ ?
      – Do you feel more intelligent,
      – Do you thing you’ve learned something that worth (except quotes of random authors ?)
      – Do you feel more ‘cool’ ?

      I guess that he’s just another clown in the circus : (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy or http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/debord/society.htm)

  6. yakuza

    Yet another non-interesting article about a non-interesting story that happend to two non-interesting upper middle class white people to drag traffic for a non-interesting blog.

    • Ray

      Treat people how you want to be treated man, would you like it if someone plagiarised your work?

    • yakuza

      Depends on what is plagiarised…

      If a piece crap is copied to make yet another crap, I don’t care (even if it is my piece of crap)

      Also, this Casey Netstat write in his blog “Like this experience that was so intimate and pivotal in my life can just be reproduced and sold in 12oz red cans.”
      WTF, it it is intimate and pivotal etc, just dont publish it on social media.

      Sorry, but Casey Netstat is just an attention whore who keeps publishing shit showing how he’s a “cool guy” who lives in a “cool city” and who have a “cool life” and does “cool thing” for which too much idiotic people are exctasic

      But much ado about nothing, it will not change the world today

    • Kabir Chawla

      you sounds like vegetarian person thinks non – vegetarian food is total gross.

    • yakuza

      Glad to know it, I was thinking of stopping meat soon.

      But I don’t care about what people eat or do with their life,

      I just care about what does make sense to hit the headlines.
      I’m just grossed to see this guy ‘exploits’ every then and now
      Just like yesterday’s Justin Bieber media frenzy

    • Brett Ruiz (@BrooklynBrett)

      Why do you care that they’re “upper middle class white people?” That’s completely irrelevant.

  7. Andy Rod

    I’m with Casey on this one, he is right… the guy totally ripped hi off. BUT I really think its an insignificant video in a corner of the earth where its not relevant to him. Its like when you get spoofed, there are tons of videos on youtube made as a satire… granted this was serious, and this guys mistake is he did it almost frame for frame… it seems to me this guy made some regional money in France and also did it out of love… I think Casey angry the guy made money off of it…. that’s it. He’s right, don’t get me wrong… but even when u right sometimes u can let things slide… I really think this is one of those cases.

    • James Fischer

      Andy Rod you are assuming that rip off video was genuine? That it really was his girlfriend and there was no acting involved? Casey has the ability to not only capture life as it happens but to show that it is real, unstaged, unless it is clearly staged.

      If by chance he was truly wanting to do it out of love for his girl then he would not have needed to rip off another man’s experience. And the fact that money was involved serves to prove he is simply a hack… He may have great counterfeiting skills but then he is just a thief.

  8. Paul Blaccard

    So how come its OK for Casey to cut up the Lykke Li song “Get Yours” in the Walter Mitty video “What would you do with 25,000?” and the artist and song are not credited?

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