Another day, another mini-scandal involving the Beijing Olympics organizers. According to WIRED, they are ripping off the arrangements for the national anthems. Peter Breiner, who did more than 200 arrangements for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, claims that the versions used in the Beijing Games are almost identical to his, a fact supported by a side-by-side comparison by THE WASHINGTON POST. Even this guy would have caught on that something was wrong with the anthems:
This is one of the few glitches in these Olympics, unless you count the fake fireworks, lip-syncing replacements for ugly girls and underage gymnasts. I guess we’re supposed to be surprised by this, but seeing as though China is the home of piracy, and not just in the digital realm, we’re not.
As ARS TECHNICA notes, it’s not just pirated movies and video games that can be easily bought in China - walk any block in China (or visit many stores) and you’ll see vendor after vendor selling imitation versions of brand-name clothing, purses, electronics, perfume, and more. “Copyright protection” seems to be a foreign (literally) concept to the Chinese, so why are we surprised that they are using knock-off versions of national anthems during the Olympics?
It turns out that one of the big red flags was the “Chinese” version of the Star Spangled Banner, which shares many musical similarities with Breiner’s controversial version. Unfortunately for the Chinese, Breiner’s version was a controversial subject for some in Athens, as many fans thought his arrangement was too soft and delicate. Breimer knew something was up when he started receiving letters from fans who hated his version and were upset they were hearing it in Beijing.
For their part, Chinese officials claim that their versions are 100 percent “orchestrated by Chinese musicians”, although where the arrangements came from seem to be a mystery. Chinese officials have also claimed that they received the arrangements from the IOC, and that they “found them on the Internet.” The next step is probably to claim that John Lennon gave them the arrangements on a flaming pie.