Die Antwoord video pulled over copyright

2012-02-14 09:17

Cape Town - The teaser trailer for Die Antwoord's new album Ten$ion has been pulled from the internet after copyright concerns over an anti-apartheid sculpture, the Cape Times reported on Tuesday.

Martin Heller, a lawyer for resistance artist Jane Alexander, told the newspaper that a video by the band had referred to her sculpture, The Butcher Boys, without the necessary consent.

This comes after an earlier report by Channel24 suggested that the Ten$ion trailer references The Butcher Boys.

"Ms Alexander does not intend to limit her work's interpretation, and she does not seek to interfere with other artists' work," he was quoted as saying.

"In this case, however, Ms Alexander is concerned that Die Antwoord's use of her work and its context might be publicly perceived as reflecting her own artistic intention. In creating the work, Ms Alexander referred to the dehumanising forces of apartheid."

Necessary steps

The short video was released about three weeks ago to promote the rappers' new album Ten$ion, which was released a week ago.

The video features Die Antwoord's Yo-landi Vi$$er and Sixteen, her seven-year-old daughter with band mate Ninja, as goblin-like creatures.

Alexander's The Butcher Boys depicts three life-size, human-like beasts, with powdery skin, black eyes and horns, seated on a wooden bench. It was created by Alexander in 1985 and 1986 to represent the brutal dehumanising forces of apartheid in South Africa.

Heller said he had taken the necessary steps to stop the video's distribution.

"Die Antwoord has acknowledged Ms Alexander's concerns. We are in contact with Die Antwoord's attorneys about a settling agreement."

The Butcher Boys sculpture is housed in the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town.

Watch Die Antwoord's I Fink U Freeky video here:


  • Johan - 2012-02-14 09:31

    Sorry, but this is BS. If this is a copyright violation, then every photograph ever taken is also a copyright violation. Jane Alexander, sell your own art, and stop trying to profit from the work of others.

      werner.smidt - 2012-02-14 09:39

      Indeed. Not the biggest fan of "Die Antwoord" but I don't think consent is necessary. One can argue that Jane Alexander profited from Apartheid :)

      Merven - 2012-02-14 09:41

      My question is, why can't Die Antwoord be original? Why must they steal other people's ideas?

      AntonKingsize - 2012-02-14 10:11

      @ Merven . . . Die Antwoord not original?? Are you kidding me? Have you followed them or listened to any of their music or watced any of their videos? There is not a more original or unique / bizarre act on the face of this planet at the moment.

      Johan - 2012-02-14 10:48

      This is what I think the dispute is about: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=164897456959485&set=a.164897453626152.33761.100003176958078&type=1&ref=nf On the left is Die Antwoord video, on the right the sculpture. As you can see, there are similarities. But it is not like Jane Alexander was the first person in the world to think about giving a man horns! All art builds on other art. That does not make it a copy.

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-02-14 11:26

      I'm sorry but the only reseblance to butcher boys is the eyes.. talk about trying to drum up publicity for yourself! Coat tails anyone?

      adrian.strydom - 2012-02-14 11:55

      You call the statues and "Die Antwoord" art.

      Merven - 2012-02-14 15:33

      @AntonKingsize What is so amazingly original of them???? The black alien eyes of Yolandi? (every low budged alien movie got it - not original) The tattoo's of Ninja? (90% of the rappers got it - also bear in mind it has been ripped off from the gangsters in SA jails - not original) The screwed p hairstyles? Typical 70's hill billy hairstyle - not original The golden nuckle busters in Rich Bich? - done many times years before by various rappers The face pullings of Yolandi - you guessed it, not original The 'crazy' look in the eyes of Ninja - been done by many rappers especially Limp Bizkit The scary kid in Fink youre Freaky - we all know that story Having real scruffy, homeless people in your music video - not original

      Merven - 2012-02-14 15:40

      Then there is of course also the song 'enter the Ninja' - clearly a rip off of Enter the Dragon They are many things like unique and bizarre but they are not original.

      Johan - 2012-02-14 16:16

      Merven, have you ever done anything original in your life? Do you know of anyone who has done anything original in their life? Because according to your definition of "original", there has been nothing original in the world since the virgin birth of Jesus.

      Johan - 2012-02-14 16:40

      Does Original Art Exist? http://briansherwin-artcritic.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-original-art-exist.html

  • Pieter - 2012-02-14 09:40

    Copyright was first introduced to prevent plagiarism. It was intended to prevent artists from claiming someone else's work as their own. Now copyright laws have become so broad that even selling a legitimate item that was not acquired through proper distribution channels can be seen as copyright infringement. Copyright needs to be re-examined. One large aspect that is missing from copyright law is what role the consumer of art plays in making the work a success.

      Johan - 2012-02-14 09:57

      I agree. Copyright law, patent law, it is all one big mess. In this case it is not even the same media - the one is a sculpture and the over a live act / video. At this rate it soon will be impossible to do anything, because somewhere in the world, someone else has done something similar.

  • jannie.debeer - 2012-02-14 09:44

    I looked the sculpture up. It does not resemble the beasts in the video. Well, at least both parties now have more attention. I would not buy either's work though.

  • Sharon Van Zyl - 2012-02-14 09:52

    Totally agree with everyone..thise sculptures looks nothing like Alexanders and the black and white is pretty much artistic standard. Nice try drom Alexander to show of his work in a sneaky way... Not that its that great anyway. Pretty revolting actually. Anti Alexander now.

      Johan - 2012-02-14 10:14

      Sharon, the one beast (not shown here) does actually look a lot like one of her sculptures. But the point is that this is a new work of art, new characters, music, ect. All art builds on other art. Copyright law is meant to protect artists from verbatim copies. Not this.

  • Phoenix - 2012-02-14 09:54

    "We are in contact with Die Antwoord's attorneys about a settling agreement." I wonder if this will include money. If so, it is even more dissapointing. When art is released into the public domain it will get re-used somehow. Pity it appears that Ms Alexander seems to think that this use of her imagery is not 'worthy' and not up to her standards. It is pop and it is art. Move with the times.

  • Troy - 2012-02-14 10:09

    I recently tried to post a short video of my weekend on an island on Facebook, but they pulled it and sent me a form to sign if I wanted to post it as they said I was infringing copyright laws with the song I had as a backtrack!!! I am allowed to play a CD that I have bought for my friends, and only my friends have access to my FB Profile, so in my view, I ain't in the wrong! Would appreciate some constructive comments.

      Heiku - 2012-02-14 10:23

      I think one of your friends must have flagged it as copyright infringement.

      Derde - 2012-02-14 11:45

      Troy, as far as i have it, FB is in the public domain and the copyright on the music probably states " no reproduction". So in eseense, the artist has every right to ask you to remove it.

      Johan - 2012-02-14 12:39

      I think everyone will agree that this "for my friends only" use SHOULD be allowed. But the reason it is not is because of wide scale piracy. The pirates ruined it for everyone. So now we have these ridiculous restrictions. I suggest you invite your friends over for a beer and show them the video in your own home. No one can stop you doing that.

  • Fredster - 2012-02-14 10:26

    They call this music?

      Heiku - 2012-02-14 10:42

      I believe you're the only one who mentioned music.

  • Petrus - 2012-02-14 10:43

    How many records have these idiots sold? Having youtube hits doesn't make you successfull.

      Phoenix - 2012-02-14 11:00

      LOL Seriously??? Are you living in a vacuum? They have been on all the major talk shows in the US, in Rolling Stone magazine, and are on billboards EVERYWHERE in the big US cities as the faces of Wang fashion. You are so totally freaking clueless wow LOL

      Merven - 2012-02-14 15:35

      @Petrus, they are fully booked all over the world were they tour, so probably many records.

  • Petrus - 2012-02-14 11:02

    Phoenix, please do answer the OBVIOUS question that I asked. How many records have they sold? Or can I assume their target market can't afford to buy an album?

      Phoenix - 2012-02-14 11:06

      Oh dear.

      BeverleyDuPreez - 2012-02-14 12:28

      Sold out concerts around the world, on the UK top 40 list in September- they must have sold something to get there? I am sure you can google it though?

  • Lezhanne - 2012-02-14 11:47

    Ha ha ha... Music!? Seriously??? Maybe they should think of teaming up with Jack Parrow lol. They can call themselves The Three Stooges.

      Marius van der Sandt - 2012-02-15 07:48

      They already did a few with. Your idea.... Not so original as well.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-02-14 12:18

    A reference to a work of art even if such work is from another artists can never be a copyright issue, Sounds more like a "I want some money" issue to me. This case is like Ford suing for mentioning one of their cars in a song, "because Ford was concerned that the use of their work (DESIGN) and its context might be publicly perceived as reflecting their own artistic intention" Jane Alexander joins a long line of white South Africans who are an embarrassing to their race and a strong argument for promoting BEE policies.

      Terrence - 2012-02-14 13:02

      @ ludlowdj: Why would you bring race into a forum where copyright is discussed? Completely unnecessary. This is suppose to be a forum to give your opinion on a specific article not push an agenda. It's people like you who will keep racism alive and divide people. I urge you to rather be part of the solution and not the problem.

  • Hermann - 2012-02-14 12:24

    Jane is out of the struggle which is over, gone and past so she must have a new way of cashing in. BS I say. I take photographs of statues ans paintings as an amateur and I would to see them stop me. As a matter of fact I should charge those idiots because I am promoting their work, but let them get away with it free of charge. Bunch of selfish goggas. As far as Die Antwoord is concerned the less I hear of them the better.

      Phoenix - 2012-02-14 12:47

      Valid points. I dont think you are their target audience, though.

  • SirFGrumpy - 2012-02-14 12:54

    Carp scultures, crap music, crap video. Enough said!

  • tilovonbrandis - 2012-02-14 13:14

    All art is based on art that came before. Otherwise the first painting cave dwellers own all rights to all art, as they “invented” art. (Art cannot be invented, art is an expression) The fight against SOAP and IPPA in America is all about the ownership of ideas and representing these ideas. If it would be for the big publishing houses, all art created by artists before their clients art was "copyrighted" was free and now that it is "copyrighted" they claim ownership. This would mean 99% of art created now is stolen from the few that took ideas already in public domain and made them their own. This whole scenario is preposterous as it denies any future artist their right to create because somewhere someone claims ownership. Unfortunately big organisations that control copyright and make it their livelihoods have made it law by bribing the American lawmakers to change the laws which defines copyright in their favour and the rest of the world followed suite because it enriches a few who are not even the artists. We should thank the people that are fighting to have these laws repealed, otherwise we will progress into a world where every artist is breaking the law, unless they are submitting to the extortion by the "copyright owners" so that they can "legalise" their own work if they pay the prescribed “tax”. Imagine what an artistically desolated society our children will live in if we let this capitalistic and fascist trend to continue.

  • Linda - 2012-02-14 14:22


  • nicholette.gouws - 2012-02-14 15:08

    What a load of CRAP...seriously!!!

  • Nicola Erasmus - 2012-02-14 20:59

    Jane Alexander's claim is a bit preposterous. It's two completely different art forms. Is she now going to go on a witch hunt and sue every book, magazine and website that has ever published a photo of her sculpture without her consent? Maybe the family of Anton van Wouw should consider suing Pretoria for making the statue of Paul Kruger come to life during an advertisement in 1995? Or Brahm Stoker's could sue Ann Rice, Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris and LJ Smith for stealing his legacy? No, this has nothing to do with copyright but more with Die Antwoord's bad reputation and Alexander's fear of being associated with it.

  • paul.ramalheiro - 2012-02-14 21:57

    Looks like ms Alexs .train left the station long time ago...Sorry Girl..plus that does not belong to her...Man, Have seen ancient art with that before...on caves Hate the want tooooS ...lol Sad.

  • johannes.smith - 2012-02-15 09:30

    Although I respect Jane Alexander for being an exceptional artist, and in my opinion one of the great SA artists (studied all her work in detail whilst studying), the fact of the matter is, when you do a controversial piece or any piece at all, you do this in order to share it with the world. If anything, she should be happy that Die Antwoord is making reference to her work (which is no doubt the case) in their video. If anything, this is giving her work exposure to audiences that haven't neccesarily ever heard of her or seen her work. "Die Antwoord has acknowledged Ms Alexander's concerns. We are in contact with Die Antwoord's attorneys about a settling agreement." This indicates that she is indeed seeking some moola!

  • alan.vesty - 2012-02-16 18:29

    What a pity Jane Alexander has chosen this route, considering her work languishes in the frigid halls of the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. If you dig hard enough you will find a tiny mention of it on the Iziko website - though no photo. Die Antwoord on the other hand receive millions of views on YouTube for their bizarre music videos - much of which is video art to my eyes. I remember seeing the actual Butcher Boys sculpture several years ago. I stared for a while at the three rather disturbing human-sized demonic creatures. At the time there was no explanation as to the meaning of the work and its anti-Apartheid frame of reference. (In themselves, I do not think the figures are very unique - they strongly reference very old Western myths and beliefs that have been portrayed uncountable times.) What the work was trying to say has only come to my attention now, due the renewed interest and debate about it - which Die Antwoord has stimulated, and, had they been given the chance, could still have stimulated, reaching a far wider audience than the elite few mincing about the gallery in the Cape Town Gardens.

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