Pure plagiarism from Egyptian TV channel
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A few months ago we brought your attention to the advertising world's most outrageous plagiarists, exposed by a Kuwaiti blogger. This time, it's a young Egyptian showing up a local TV station for its unoriginal ideas. But he's treading on dangerous ground. Read more...
On the left, an extract from The Benny Hill Show. Right, its Egyptian twin.
A few months ago we brought your attention to the advertising world's most outrageous plagiarists, exposed by a Kuwaiti blogger. This time, it's a young Egyptian showing up a local TV station for its unoriginal ideas. But he's treading on dangerous ground.
A couple of weeks ago, 22-year-old graphic artist Tamer Azab came across a Facebook group announcing the launch of a new Egyptian TV channel, Cairo Centric (Al-Kahera Wal Nas). Browsing the various promotional clips, Tamer noticed that one of them was almost identical to that of a famous car brand. Tamer looked them up on YouTube and found that the channel's promos were based entirely on old ads from the West, going back as far as 1970 and from clips as bizarre as British comedian Benny Hill.
“Tarek Nour and his chain underestimated the capacity of Egyptian geeks”
Tamer Azab, 22 is the creator of the Facebook group "Cairo Centric-Stolen Ads".
The warning that I received referred to my making alleged defamatory comments about Tarek Nour and Cairo Centric, and having had breached copyright laws in using the channel's logo as part of the image for my Facebook group [since removed]. They themselves are the plagiarists, and yet they have the cheek to accuse me!
Tarek Nour and his chain underestimated the capacity of Egyptian geeks. They thought that their dirty work would go unnoticed. I created the Facebook group not to attack anyone in particular, but to promote the idea of using our home-grown talent instead of plagiarising.
Now I'm scared for my personal safety. Tarek Nour is a powerful man, capable of doing me harm. Looking at previous cases however, it seems that copyright laws go pretty much ignored.
People don't seem to feel at all bad about stealing others' work here. Wael Saed, a friend of mine, created a computer wallpaper that became quite popular. A few months later, we found it used in a crisp advert! The agency hadn't even bothered to ask for his permission."
Top, a 2008 spot for new ringtones by Ukrainian agency Ogilvy Group. Below, Cairo Centric’s version.
Tamer decided to launch a Facebook group in response called "Cairo Centric-Stolen Ads", and got quite a following, with over 5,000 members signing up in just a couple of days. The channel responded by publishing a message on its website, explaining that it was not plagiarism but a game of "spot the difference", even promising the winning Web user an "interview with an audience of 70 million". Not impressed, Web users mocked the hilarity of the channel's desperation, until a few days later, the message was taken down.
The “spot the difference” message.
On August 30, the owner of both Cairo Centric and the agency which produced the ads, businessman Tarek Nour, emplyed his lawyer to send a warning to Tamer Azab, saying that if he didn't make a public apology and immediately close the Facebook group, he would soon find himself in court.
Two days later, however, Tarek Nour admitted on national radio station Noujoum FM that the clips were indeed copies, the point being to create a buzz. Tamer Azeb was not forgotten though, and faced with Goliath, is closing the group.
Top, the Mercedes-Benz ad that Tamer remembered. Below, Cairo Centric’s copy.