May 6, 2008


Crystal Castles Accused of Plagiarism
5/6/2008 By Brock Thiessen

As Crystal Castles ride the wave of success generated by their debut full-length, allegations of copyright infringement are bearing down on the Toronto-based duo.

Late last week, a post via the chiptune-related file-sharing community, 8-bit collective, alerted users to the striking similarity between the Crystal Castles track “Insecticon” and “My Little Droid Needs a Hand” by artist Lo-Bat. Several of the collective’s members went on to allege the duo have engaged in musical plagiarism, as well as an abuse of the Creative Commons license, by taking, using and rearranging Lo-Bat’s song without the artist’s permission and then passing it off as their own.

Since the initial 8-bit collective post, more allegations have also arisen from chiptune artists — those like Crystal Castles who write music in real time via a computer or video-game console sound chip — claiming Crystal Castles’ song “Love and Caring” unfairly rips off the beat from Covox’s track “Sunday.”

And while at first the accusations may come off like a bunch of hot air and some old fashioned critical backlash, the chiptune community is very serious in its claims against Crystal Castles. So far, 17 pages on the 8-bit collective’s forum have been dedicated to the alleged plagiarism and several other websites have followed suit, launching their own investigations into the supposed plagiarism. The blog Gameboy Genius has even gone so far as to put Covox’s “Sunday” under spectral analysis to prove that Crystal Castles are indeed lifting beats from Covox.

Now, if the 8-bit scene’s claims prove to be true, perhaps Crystal Castles have got into this mess by misunderstanding the rules behind Creative Commons licensing. Both the Lo-Bat and Covox songs in question fall under the Creative Commons territory, but under the licensing rules, artists using Creative Commons’ works must specifically give attribution to the original source material, not use the works for commercial purposes and ensure that the derivative work be released under the same license.

On Crystal Castles’ end of things, they have barely met any of these Creative Commons requirements. So far, the only action taken by the band to right the situation has been to change one of their MySpace page’s posting “Insecticon” to now read, “CC vs. Lo-Bat,” instead of giving full credit for the song to themselves.

And this is not the first time Crystal Castles has found themselves in hot water because of alleged copyright infringement. The group recently used graphic artist Trevor Brown’s. image of Madonna with a black eye on their posters, T-shirts and record releases without his permission. As of yet, Brown, who is currently reveling in this Creative Commons fiasco on his blog has received zero financial retribution from Crystal Castles or their label, Last Gang Records.

Original article here (one of my favorite blogs btw) full article including the two tracks in question here

Response to plagiarism accusations by Crystal Castles moniker "Andy" here


The tracks in question are on the full article along with more information. It is a track by Lo-Bat that has been sampled in the track "Intersection" by Crystal Catles, it was featured on their myspace briefly under a couple different names. Lo-Bat actually states in the 8-bit Collective forum (here) that he is not going to sue, but that he wishes they had followed the Creative Commons processes of attribution before putting the track on their myspace. (The track was not actually released).

Crystal Castles have also been charged with stealing art from artist Trevor Brown --> his blog post about this here. Then going on and using the art for their t-shirts, cd-covers, etc. There is speculation that Trevor is actually trying to hype his blog and the permissions were given to Crystal Castles but the legal documents were out of order and Trevor changed his mind. A response to Tevor's accusations by Crystal Castles alias "Andy" here

This issue has become pretty hot... at which point are you stealing? With mash-ups and pro-sampling becoming so popular the lines become fuzzy especially using Creative Commons licenses. Many fans, myself included, are very fond of the Crystal Castles and are distraught over this.

I personally think that Crystal Castles should have accredited Lo-Bat before putting the sampled track on their myspace. (The track was later changed to Crystal Castles vs Lo-Bat due to the 8-bit collective response)

As far as the Trevor Brown issue goes, I'm not sure... there are heavy speculations coming from both sides of this conundrum and no legal tender to resolve the issue... so... I don't know.

On a side note, Crystal Castles have also been plagiarized by popular Hip Hop producer Timbaland --he sold 50 cent some beats that is a blatant copy of their acclaimed track "Courtship Dating" --actually my favorite track by them. See youtube here. So maybe that's just karma.


here are some new(ish) Crystal Castles tracks/remix

+ Crystal Castles - Crimewaves (Lazrtag Rmx)

+ Crystal Castles - Crimewaves (xcuse.fl!ippa rmx)

*thnx Electrorash in Melbourne for the first two here, rockin blog.

+ Crystal Casltes - Vanished (320)

+ Crystal Castles - Courtship Dating (320) (my nue fav track by them)

both off their self titled album which you HAVE2HAVE(boomkat)!!! also available on Beatport


J-chot said...


"Response to plagiarism accusations by Crystal Castles moniker "Andy" here"

J-chot said...
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J-chot said...
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Daniel said...

It's fake controversy! The song with the sample is unreleased and ancient and never performed according to Pitchfork. Ha ha the 8-bit kids accidently made CC more popular with this controversy. CC for life.