The organisers of MILK, a club night at Flat 0/1, have accused a well-known promoter of plagiarism after a club night of a similar name was launched in the neighbouring nightclub, Kushion.
In 2011, Aileen Lynn and Hannah Currie established an indie live music and club night called MILK, in the nightclub Flat 0/1 on Glasgow's Bath Street. The popular Glasgow nightclub Kushion, which is next door to Flat 0/1, has recently launched a similarly named club night called Milk Fridays.
Milk Fridays is organised by promoter Hamish Rowe, who uses Kushion as the venue for his popular club night, which he says started in Edinburgh. As well as having a similar name, both club nights initially had strikingly similar promotional material, which centred on a 3D milk carton design. The poster for MILK was designed by the brother of Aileen Lynn, one of the organisers of MILK, and has been used to advertise the club night since it was launched 2011. Rowe told The Glasgow Guardian that as soon as he realised the obvious similarity between the posters, he "made sure it was taken down".
The Glasgow Guardian spoke to Aileen Lynn and Hannah Currie about the allegations of plagiarism that they have levelled against Milk Fridays: "We first became aware of Hamish using the MILK name when he launched in Edinburgh last year - we did notify him at the time that there was already a club night called MILK. However, when he moved to Glasgow and started advertising as 'Milk Glasgow' we contacted him again and suggested he change the name.
"We couldn't believe he was setting up in the nightclub next door - it seemed too ridiculous to be true. Then the posters were released which directly copied our MILK carton design, even using the same font. We were not notified of any of this, it was friends that spotted it and sent it to us. The posters were not removed and no public acknowledgement was given".
The Glasgow Guardian asked Hamish Rowe when he first became aware of the similarities between the two club nights. He said: "I wasn't made aware until after I signed the contract and moved in [to Kushion] and that's when it was brought up that there was a Milk in Glasgow already."
With reference to the posters, Rowe admitted that he could see similarities between the two, but insisted that he was not responsible: "[...] there was some artwork that went up online, on one of my DJ's personal facebook profile [...] I hadn't seen this artwork until I got a notification on my phone [...] This is the first time, or one of the first times, I'd seen this artwork, I can't stress [that] enough and I think this is where a lot of people are incorrect, the facts are wrong, that artwork wasn't commissioned by me, it wasn't okayed by me, I didn't have a part in making or creating that art work, and if you look closely at it you'll see that it doesn't fall in line with any of the other artwork I do, so this is obviously a real massive inconvenience for me [...] It just so happens that it did look very similar to something that they had done."
He added: "If you put that image through Google Images, something like 'milk missing' into Google Images, and you'll see pages and pages and pages of very similar artwork, so to make the accusations that they copied that direct from the Milk Glasgow page years ago, I think that's a bit of an assumption to make, it's a huge assumption in fact. I never had a go at them [the DJ] for it. Like I said, they did it because they felt like they promote their room, it would be a good thing. So like I said, I had nothing to do with that."
In addition to allegations of plagiarism, Aileen Lynn and Hannah Currie have accused the Milk Fridays PR staff of posting negative reviews of Flat 0/1 on Facebook. Flat 0/1 did not hold a MILK night over the summer, but Aileen Lynn and Hannah Currie say that they have received critical feedback online from people who, for that reason, could not have attended MILK over the summer months. They also allege that when people posted in defence of Flat 0/1 and MILK on the Facebook page of Milk Fridays, many of the comments were deleted.
MILK has attracted support from the public, as well as those who have previously performed at the night. Kerr Okan, frontman of The LaFontaines, who is DJing at the next MILK night, said: "It’s plagiarism in its most blatant form. Having witnessed the ladies from MILK build their brand with one of the most reputable club nights in the city, it’s hard to believe anyone could be so brazen and disrespectful. If you can’t be arsed to build your own home, you don’t deserve the keys to someone else's".
Aileen Lynn and Hannah Currie expressed their anger at what has happened: "They're basically ignoring us and hoping we go away, but we spent a lot of time and energy building up our club nights and we don't want some guy to think he can come in and walk all over us.
"It's frustrating that as a fellow promoter would do that when surely they understand the hard work that is involved with creating and maintaining a successful club night. The promoter has contacted us by email but has not apologised for the poster, or for the negative Facebook reviews that his PR staff have left on our site, or for anything."
The Glasgow Guardian asked Rowe if he had thought about changing the name of Milk Fridays or the promotional material associated with the club night. He said: "That artwork, as soon as I realised it had been put up in the first place, I made sure it was taken down. I'll put my hands up and say it looks similar, but like I said, I would never have done that myself. [...] 100 per cent I'd never ever want to recreate anything that they'd done, I don't think that I do, and I think that the nights are different enough to work together."