Citibank caught in legal spat over plagiarism of award winning short film
While the Ogilvy-Vivo spat has been turning heads in the advertising industry recently, there has been no dearth of situations where these creative ideas are being lifted and used without any consideration, compensation or credit (at the very least).
Cup of Tea – an acclaimed short film written & directed by Jitendra Rai has been recently subjected to a similar such incident. The film was released in 2017 with an intention of raising funds for children’s education. The film had been nominated and selected to be viewed at over 120 film festivals across the globe. The film has also won 24 awards so far and has had multiple people from the industry backing the creative efforts including over 150 million views on social media.
This piece of work has been directly lifted and reproduced on a script by Citibank for their Diwali commercial this season.
Here is how this plays out. In the original film, the video begins with a boy stealing a young woman’s bag and running through the village. The woman chases the boy in an attempt to get her bag back. The boy finally leads her to a huge group of people, leading to a warm heartfelt interaction. Citibank’s narrative too is built on the same path, where the boy steals the lady’s cake and runs away, the lady too chases down the boy to a group of people, ending with an interaction.
With the story line and narrative being extremely similar, the makers of Cup of Tea, are taking legal action against Citibank.
Commenting on the film, Jitendra Rai, Director & Producer – Matheno Films, said “It is highly disappointing to see a brand of such caliber create a film that is a direct copy of our film – Cup of Tea. We have engaged with Citibank by sending out a legal notice for which we are awaiting a response to. We request the support of the creative community to not allow such practices where the scripts are merely lifted.”
Matheno Films is a creative partner of Schbang. And Schbang was involved in the process of submitting the film into multiple film festivals across the world. They have also helped in onboarding brand partners for the original film at the time of launch. Commenting on the incident, Harshil Karia, Founder & MD – Schbang, said “It is extremely unfortunate to see a large brand like this lift Jitendra’s work. I hope this creates consciousness amongst the community. We will stand with the team of Cup of Tea to ensure it gets the justice required.”