An extremely earnest manager at Bank of America got what he thought was a great idea: to rewrite U2's heartfelt anthem, "One," into a cheesy public relations pitch about BofA's merger with MBNA. At a large corporate gathering, the manager and his sidekick performed their rendition of the song to polite applause. Universal is not applauding and is a little miffed that a video of the performance was posted to YouTube and is now making its way around the Internet.
A Universal lawyer (who declined to speak to me when I called) apparently posted a public "cease and desist" letter in the comments section of a popular music blog that linked to the video, claiming the song was an unauthorized use of a copyrighted composition. Universal's point seems to be that the widespread playing of the video is tantamount to Bank of America using the song as a commercial, and it did not have permission to do so. The greater tragedy here, however, is not so much the unauthorized use, but the bastardization of such a great song. Check out the new "lyrics" this guy came up with:
"And it's one bank One card One name that's known all over the world One spirit We get to share it..."
Do you like the Cowboys? Or your university? Do you like the Yankees? Or is NASCAR more your speed? Well it's your choice Your right To pick a card that shows Your heart and your pride.."
Yikes, that's bad! This might be funny if the marketing guy was doing this as a complete spoof. But, from the look on his face while performing, this dude's taking it way too seriously, and he considers himself a singer, having put out his own CD. There may not be a copyright violation here - since this is arguably a parody -- but there is a good taste violation -- and BofA is guilty as charged!