New York Times Magazine Accused of Ripping Off Dream Theater’s New Album Cover
Update, 1:20pm EST: The band has now issued their own response via Twitter, which you can find at the bottom of this post.
Accusations of bands or other entities stealing artwork from others are as old as time. A few that come to mind of late have been Every Time I Die vs. Foster the People, Bring Me the Horizon vs. Coldplay, Most Precious Blood vs. Thy Art is Murder and illustrator Orion Landau vs. several other artists that claim he lifted small elements of their works. The issue often comes down to whether it’s an example of blatant plagiarism or a simple homage/tribute, which is usually up for interpretation but in some cases is very clearly one way or the other.
The latest potential artwork plagiarism fracas comes between Dream Theater, who unveiled the cover for their forthcoming album Distance Over Time earlier this month, and The New York Times Magazine, which recently featured a cover that looks remarkably similar. One Twitter user put together a humorous image poking fun at the similarities:
There's an old saying; Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm glad @nytmag likes @dreamtheaternet so much that they're paying homage to the new album on their newest issue. Cheers @pablodelcan, @GailBichler, @bengrandgenett. pic.twitter.com/ZJevQjaOcb
— Freddy Jacobi (@FreddyJacobi) November 22, 2018
A representative for Dream Theater was quick to point out that the robotic hand is a stock image that was licensed out for the Distance Over Time cover (either DT or NYT made some modifications, as the finger positions are slightly different while DT’s version has a pad on the palm and a small button on the wrist). Gail Bichler, the magazine’s Design Director, issued her own tweet saying that any similarities between the two pieces of artwork, which were released 12 days apart from one another, are purely coincidental:
“Yes, these things look remarkably similar but we had never seen the album. As far as I can tell the album and our cover were released within days of each other. Sometimes people independently come up with the same idea at the same time.”
Indeed, if you do a Google image serch of “robot holding skull” you’ll see a whoooole lot of similar depictions; it seems neither Dream Theater’s or the New York Times’ concept was very original to begin with.
Still, while I take Gail’s claim at face value, I’m forced to wonder whether someone working under her, likely without her knowledge, was inspired by Dream Theater’s new album cover while working on the piece. Metalheads are everywhere! If I were Gail I’d be attempting to root that out right this second.
Yes, these things look remarkably similar but we had never seen the album. As far as I can tell the album and our cover were released within days of each other. Sometimes people independently come up with the same idea at the same time.
— Gail Bichler (@GailBichler) November 22, 2018
— Dream Theater (@dreamtheaternet) November 26, 2018