from the oppa dept
Weeks ago, Mike explored the cultural blitz surrounding the song/video Gangam Style and its creator, Korean pop sensation Psy. One of the themes of the article was how Psy's seeming permisiveness for the internet community's repurposing of his song to spread the fun around resulted in something of a turbo-charge effect on its popularity. It turns out that this understanding of how digital culture can help spread an artist's popularity wasn't a one time thing for Psy.
Recently, a Korean restaurant in Los Angeles closed up shop for a few weeks as it changed its name to Gangnam Style, without even attempting to get Psy's permission, obviously looking to build their business on the song's popularity. While one might cringe at the expected legal result of the use of the song's title, you can safely un-cringe; Psy not only isn't going after the owners of the restaurant, he loves what they did.
“Gangnam Style” singer Psy will NOT sue an L.A. restaurant for naming itself after the famous song — in fact, Psy's pumped … because as far as he's concerned … imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The restaurant never bothered to get Psy's permission to use the name — but sources close to the singer tell TMZ, he doesn't give a crap … because where he comes from, imitation is a form of honor.
The larger point being that there's no harm from the restaurant's move and the possibility for further cultural penetration. While I appreciate Psy's inaction legally, I would actually suggest he go a step further and embrace the restaurant by reaching out and working directly with them. Why not have his music playing there? Why not have CDs or merchandise available for purchase, with some kind of agreement worked out with the restaurant? Not obstructing is wonderful, but I would suggest more collaboration by the artists to further their monetization and success. Why the hell not?