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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 17:21 GMT
Band irked by Coca-Cola TV advert
An image from the Seven Seconds of Love video Ninja
Ninja, a ska-influenced track, featured dancing cats and people
An unsigned British band have claimed the music and design of one of their videos were "substantially" copied on a TV commercial made for Coca-Cola.

Several dancing, swivelling characters were created to accompany Seven Seconds of Love's track Ninja in 2005.

But fans directed them to an advert, shown in Argentina, which appeared to have a similar look and sound.

Coca-Cola said it had been assured by its Argentine advertising agency that nothing had been plagiarised.

"We have acted in good faith when retaining the agency and deciding to air the TV commercial," the soft-drinks manufacturer said in a statement.

"Therefore, we are surprised by the alleged claim and deeply regret being associated to this unusual and unexpected debate."

'Anger'

The lead singer of Seven Seconds of Love, Joel Veitch, is also an animator, and was responsible for the video to Ninja.

Bottles of Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola maintained it had acted "in good faith" over the commercial
"Whenever someone sees something that looks vaguely like my work, usually it's simply not true," he told the BBC News website.

"Usually it just looks a bit similar, or a style reference to something that we did," he said, meaning that he was not "overly concerned" when people first contacted him about similarities towards the end of last year.

"After a few weeks they put it online so I actually saw it, at which point I was filled with righteous anger, and realised it was a slightly different case from the usual."

He claimed "the whole work" had been copied rather than just one element, such as a melody or an animation technique, and lawyers had advised him that there was "a clear case" for legal action.

'Mismatched battle'

However, a lack of money may mean the seven-member group pursue neither Coca-Cola nor the advertising agency, Santo Buenos Aires.

Joel Veitch
Mr Veitch said he had hoped to settle the issue in a "nice, happy way"
"It's a bit of a mismatched battle. We haven't got any financial resources behind us and they're an enormous multi-national behemoth," said Mr Veitch.

"The risk is that if we do take it to court, there's every possibility that they may just drag it out until we're bankrupt."

It was also unclear whether any legal case would be heard in the UK, where the music video originated, or Argentina, where the TV commercial was made, the 32-year-old added.

"Spending many thousands of pounds on a lawyer on the other side of the world to fight a case in a different language, while we're all trying to hold down our day jobs and pay a mortgage, sounds a bit difficult really.

"But if we could do it on a no-win, no-fee basis in England, we'd be laughing," he said.


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