Ben Gibbard Finds a Rotten Apple

Says computer giant lifted video for "Such Great Heights."

Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service singer Ben Gibbard is, by almost all published accounts, a really nice guy. But what happens when a computer giant combines with a pair of filmmakers to replicate portions of the video for The Postal Service's breakout single "Such Great Heights"? Heads will roll! Or, at the very least, stern messages will be posted on band websites.

The trouble began when Apple hired Josh Melnick and Xander Charity -- the directorial team behind the "Such Great Heights" video -- to work on their campaign promoting the company's partnership with Intel. Rather than starting with a clean slate, someone on the commercial team appears to have thought, "Hey, that thing with the spacemen floating around the laboratory to the sounds of electronic music was pretty cool." The result is an Apple commercial that will look awfully familiar to Postal Service fans. The filmmakers' "recreation" of their own work is not illegal, but Gibbard says that it is unethical.

"We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent," his statement read.

While some of Apple's other commercials -- the iPod dancers, the "1984" Super Bowl spot -- have become pop culture landmarks, this isn't the first time that they've been accused of indulging in not-so-creative fare. In late 2005, with a commercial featuring a silhouetted Eminem in constant rotation, Apple received a cease and desist letter from Lugz Footwear, who claimed the Em spot bore too close a resemblance to one of their previous campaigns.