The Swarm

December 04, 2007

Indie Rock Universe Class Action: Should the bands used sue Camel and Rolling Stone over cartoon ad too?

David Prince

UPDATE: The Indie Rock Universe Strikes Back: Fucked Up and Xiu Xiu file class action lawsuit against Camel and Rolling Stone

UPDATE: Indie labels demand apology in open letter to Rolling Stone

UPDATE: Camel halts The Farm promotion, facing $100 million fines…

So if 8 states’ Attorney Generals are suing RJ Reynolds because they think the Rolling Stone ‘Indie Rock Universe’ cartoon is actually a Camel cigarettes advertisement, does that mean all of the bands who’s names/brands were used without permission will sue too? Would make one hell of a class action…

Or, as one Daily Swarm reader posted in the ‘Kill Rock Stars’ comments:

It’s one thing for the Lips and Dino Jr. to knowingly take Camel’s money; it’s another for a band that would never do such a thing to find itself “name-checked” (to use a word in the story) in this advertorial section. Does that imply that the group endorses the product? The argument could be made, if we buy that the section was all one big ad. I’d say that if a band was litigious, it could get some nice coin—and media attention underscoring Camel’s insidiousness—by threatening to sue.

UPDATE: From today’s ‘Kill Rock Stars’ comments:

I’m in one of the bands name dropped in this fold out ad. Nobody , at any time contacted my band , label or publicist. We were never asked if we wanted to be mentioned in a cigarette ad or if we minded to have our music on The Farm website. We certainly we\are NOT compensated in anyway.

I personally don’t smoke , nor do any of my bandmates. I already lost a parent to lung cancer and having my band associated in any way with Camel INFURIATES me.

Camel doesn’t care about indie music and neither does Rolling Stone. Both just want youth money and don’t care what ethics they breech to get it.

UPDATE: Might Real Music’s Rhapsody be on the hook for the Indie Rock Universe fiasco as well? The online version of the advertorial section included links to Rhapsody music service for streaming songs from each of the bands that are name-checked (still does). Did Rhapsody have permission to utilize these tracks in an advertisement? Some of the bands’ labels say “no way.” Real has an exclusive licensing deal with Wenner Media to operate Developing…

UPDATE: Toronto Star: Fucked Up vs. Big Tobacco:

Committed antagonists though they may be, the members of F——ed Up aren’t in the business of shilling for cigarettes. Selling cigarettes occasionally to make ends meet, maybe, but that’s another story. In any case, the band was still alarmed – along with the likes of Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Devendra Banhart and fellow Canadians such as Wolf Parade, AIDS Wolf and Black Mountain – this week to find an MP3 link to its song “Color Removal,” among others, hitched to the online version of Rolling Stone. It was part of an advertising feature touting the “Indie-Rock Universe” that some U.S. lawmakers claim is a veiled pitch for Camel cigarettes. Eight states had already sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco as of Tuesday over the original, illustrated print pullout because, they say, it violates a law that prohibits using cartoons to sell cigarettes. But the buzz on sites like is that bands and labels are now gearing up to file their own lawsuits because the online music provider Rhapsody surrendered their tunes to an alleged tobacco ad without their consent. F——ed Up, for its part, found out about the snafu from a member of AIDS Wolf on Monday and is now, says vocalist Damian Abraham, casting about for an entertainment lawyer. “We want to know if the bands can take legal action against Rhapsody, which illegally licensed the MP3s for the project,” says guitarist Mike Haliechuk.

Bands in Camel/Rolling Stone’s “Indie Rock Universe” ad:

A Place to Bury Strangers
A Silver Mt. Zion
Against Me!
Andrew Bird
Animal Collective
Antony and the Johnsons
Arcade Fire
Architecture in Helsinki
Arctic Monkeys
Art Brut
Band of Horses
Bat For Lashes
Belle and Sebastian
Biffy Clyro
Black Dice
Black Mountain
Bloc Party
Blonde Redhead
Boards of Canada
Bonde de Role
Bright Eyes
Brightblack Morning Light
Bucks and Gallants
Built to Spill
Cat Power
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Coco Rosie
Comets on Fire
Daft Punk
David Pajo
Dean and Britta
Death Cab for Cutie
Devendra Banhart
Dirty Pretty Things
Dirty Projectors
DJ Mehdi
Dr. Dog
Ellen Allien and Apparat
Emily Jane White
Emma Pollack
Erase Errata
Explosions in the Sky
Fall Out Boy
Franz Ferdinand
Frog Eyes
Fucked Up
Ghostland Observatory
Girl Talk
Godspeed You Black Emperor!
Gogol Bordello
Grizzly Bear
Guided by Voices
Guitar Wolf
Gym Class heroes
Handsome Furs
High on Fire
Home Blitz
Hot Chip
Husker Du
Inferno Friendship Society
Iron and Wine
Jans Lekman
Joanna Newsom
Jose Gonzalez
Joy Division
Junior Boys
Kaiser Chiefs
Last Days of May
Laura Veirs
Lavender Diamond
LCD Soundsystem
Le Tigre
Les Savy Fav
Lightning Bolt
Little Claw
M. Ward
Mates of State
Minus the Bear
Modest Mouse
Mountain Goats
My Chemical Romance
My Morning Jacket
Neutral Milk Hotel
New Pornographers
New Young Pony Club
Oakley Hall
Octopus Project
Of Montreal
Panda Bear
Panic! at the Disco
Parts and Labor
Peter and the Wolves
Pissed Jeans
PJ Harvey
Plain White T’s
Prinzhorn Dance School
Ryan Adams
Scout Niblett
Sea Wolf
Sigur Ros
Simian Mobile Disco
Sonic Youth
Sons and Daughters
St. Vincent
Stephen Malkmus
Sufjan Stevens
Ted Leo
The Cribs
The Cure
The Decemberists
The Fiery Furnaces
The Fratellis
The Futureheads
The Go! Team
The Gossip
The Hold Steady
The Killers
The Magik Markers
The National
The Nightwatchmen
The Ponys
The Rapture
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
The Rogers Sisters
The Shins
The Smiths
The Stills
The Strokes
The Thermals
The Thrills
The USA Is a Monster
The World
TV on the Radio
Vampire Weekend
We Are Wolves
White Denim
White Magic
White Stripes
Will Oldham
Wolf Eyes
Wolf Parade
Xiu Xiu
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yo La Tengo

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