Album cover remixing by clothing retailers

Are clothing retailers embracing remixing of album covers as a new trend in advertising? I've learend of two incidents where popular album covers have been essentially copied for advertisements by Nike and by Abercrombie & Fitch.

My friend Jason pointed me to a post at pitchforkmedia about a dispute between Nike and Minor Threat’s record company, Dischord Records, over a recent Nike ad campaign for its skater gear. It’s remarkable to me that a corporation like Nike with such a strong (aggressive) position as a rights owner would so obviously copy the of the Minor Threat album cover. Legally, it might be argued to be a "remix" of the Minor Threat album, or perhaps even a parody, but it really seems like Nike was trying to pitch itself as a alternative, punk-loving shoe company (rather than a multi-national corporation with sometimes questionable labor practices) to trade off the image of Dischord Records/Minor Threat and reach that audience more likely in the skater community. If the ad is a "remix" then Nike should have gotten a license to use the images. If it's a parody (tougher argument) then Nike would not need permission, but would be open to an infringement suit and then have to argue the parody question in defense. According to its website, Nike apologized to Dischord Records for the incident (click on "English" and after all the fancy graphics load look under "News" on the right side of the page), but I can't seem to click through to read what exactly they offer in their apology...(frustrating).

A few days after seeing this post, I was with some friends who were looking at an Abercrombie & Fitch advertisement (in Vanity Fair). My friend Adam immediately remarked that the Abercrombie ad was very similar to the Rolling Stones 1971 album cover for Sticky Fingers. I think he's right. To be sure, there are some differences between the images: Abercrombie doesn't include a belt or copy the red stamps, and unlike the Sticky Fingers album it shows the model's sweaty belly button (are we surprised?). Nevertheless, the images are both in black and white and the immediate likeness is quite remarkable. This is similar to the Dischord Records-Nike situation, but I think in the Nike situation (with the change of "Minor" to "Major") is significantly more compelling. I wonder whether Abercrombie (or its advertising firm) knew it was copying a Rolling Stones' cover? Is the ad an attempted remix of the idea/image? Did Abercrombie get a license to use the image? Did they deliberately try to include the same look, but include enough differences to avoid infringement? Do the Rolling Stones even know or care?

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