H&M criticised for claiming Melbourne musician's work was 'specifically produced for us to use' in an Instagram ad

H&M criticised for claiming Melbourne musician's work was 'specifically produced for us to use' in an Instagram ad

H&M criticised for claiming Melbourne musician's work was 'specifically produced for us to use' in an Instagram ad

Updated 6 February 2018, 20:35 AEDT

The song Bamboo, by Melbourne's Harvey Sutherland, was used without permission under a video on the retailer's Instagram page.

If you're a major brand planning to use a musician's work without their permission, maybe make sure that musician is not — wait for it — also an entertainment lawyer.

This is the situation, unbelievable as it may seem, that global retailer H&M has found itself in after claiming a song used in one of its ads "was produced specifically" for it.

Melbourne musician Mike Katz, a producer who works under the name Harvey Sutherland, is seeking an explanation from H&M after it used his track Bamboo without his permission.

The song appeared under a video posted to H&M's Instagram page, which has 24 million followers. The post has since been removed from the platform.

"What is the name of this music track," one user commented on the post.

"This song does not have a name," H&M replied.

"It was specifically produced for us to use in this add [sic]."

But Katz (posting as Sutherland) said that was untrue.

"Excuse me, this is my song you're using without approval, licence or credit," he wrote on the post.

"Please DM immediately."

Katz is not just a successful independent musician. According to LinkedIn, he's also a lawyer with the Melbourne firm Studio Legal, which specialises in intellectual property, media, commercial, technology and entertainment law.

Bamboo comes from the Melbourne producer and DJ's 2015 EP Brothers.

Many commenters on the post pointed out that the song is not nameless, using the hashtag #payharvey.

The ABC has contacted H&M for comment. Katz told the ABC he had also reached out to the retailer and had no further comment.

It's not uncommon for a musician to find a major brand has used their work without their permission. The Black Keys sued a bank in 2011 for using Tighten Up without their permission, while the Beastie Boys went after the energy drink makers Monster for using excerpts of five of the group's songs in a promotional video.

What is uncommon is when that musician has the professional skills to know exactly what to do next.

It is also not the first time H&M's social media channels have caused the company headaches.

In 2015, when asked by a Twitter user why promotions in its new South African stores didn't feature any black models, H&M said it wanted its marketing "to convey a positive image".

H&M then tried to clarify, saying it "work[s] with a wide range of models and personalities", but eventually apologised for its original tweet.

Separately, earlier this year Canadian rapper The Weeknd severed ties with the clothing giant after an image appeared on its website showing a black boy modelling a jumper bearing the phrase "coolest monkey in the jungle".

H&M apologised and removed the image, but the controversy later sparked protests in South Africa in which mannequins were pushed over and racks of clothing pulled down.