Black Keys Sue Pizza Hut, Home Depot

A little while back, we posted a Pizza Hut commercial that was soundtracked by what seemed to be a knockoff of Black Keys’ “Gold On The Ceiling.” To the Black Keys — and their lawyers — it sounded similar enough that they decided to pursue legal action; the group, as well as co-writers like Brian Burton, are suing Pizza Hut for damages. They’re also suing Home Depot, who allegedly used unlicensed pieces of “Lonely Boy” in an ad for Ryobi power tools. More:

The use of the songs was “a brazen and improper effort to capitalize on plaintiffs’ hard-earned success,” lawyers for the Black Keys said in the complaints.

“We haven’t seen the complaint but we take intellectual property very seriously,” Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Home Depot, said in a telephone interview.

(via Bloomberg)

The court cases are titled “Auerbach v. Pizza Hut, 12-05385, and Auerbach v. Home Depot, 2:12-cv-05386, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles),” and since this issue has been percolating for some time, the result could have vast implications on the subject of intellectual property. LCD Soundsystem, lawyer up! In less litigious beefs, Patrick Carney v. Van Halen rages on.

Previously: Helping Beach House Plead Their Case Against Volkswagen

Comments (37)
  1. Did of Montreal ever sue Outback Steakhouse for the blatant ripoff they did a few years back?

  2. Anyone have a link for the Ryobi commercial? I don’t think I’ve heard that one.

  3. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  4. This just in:

    Patrick Carney’s ass sues his mouth for sounding too similar.

  5. What happened to these dudes…

    • I know right why don’t they just bend the knee for Lord Pizza Hut?

      • Bands, when approached by soul-sucking ad agencies should treat the situation as adults. You know, like Ween did when approached by Pizza Hut in 2002.

        1. Write a song or six emoting your feelings toward the company. (In Deaner’s case: “When I think of Pizza Hut, I think of 6 pounds of cheese and shitty pizza.”)
        2. Name your song something catchy, “Bitch, Where’d The Mother Fuckin’ Cheese Go At?”
        3. Be promptly dismissed from the project.

        • Bitch where the motherfuckin’ cheese at?

          (I don’t know)

        • I work at a “soul-sucking” ad agency and just want to pipe in and say we’re cool! We’re hip, we’re fun! We’re people just like you! We read music blogs and just about each of us is some sort of artist outside of the office!

          But seriously, the people who are sitting around thinking up ads aren’t evil. Don Draper and Pete Campbell might seem to have little respect for the consumer (or anyone), but the reality is that all we want to do is come up with something cool that will resonate with people who see it. And we happen to be music fans, so when it comes to putting music in the work we gravitate to what we know and like. I’m not talking about copping a band’s sound, which is low, just music and advertising in general.

          I always read these bands vs. brands music usage disputes with great interest and try to figure out what happened. When done the right way, I love when bands I like are in commercials. That :30 seconds of my life just got that much more enjoyable and an artist I admire got paid for it. TV commercials have become a new way to discover cool bands, and that benefits both parties. Generally the indictment of soullessness should be directed at the brands.

          (Tangent: if you have a problem with “selling out,” get a clue. A mature person should be able to recognize the benefit realized by the artist greatly outweighs any loss of artistic credibility you have perceived.)

          I absolutely don’t want to bands to be taken advantage of and am sad to see it happen. Just want to stand up for the ad agency folks who love music and quite often work hard to help lesser-known artists gain some exposure and make some money. Maybe it’s just because I’m a ginger as well, but the soulless accusations start to get to you.

          • Hey, this blog wouldn’t exist as it does without ad agencies. I wasn’t trying to say that all ad agencies are soul-sucking. But in these cases, especially the recent Volksagen/Beach House scenario, the advertising companies are clearly exploiting one entity’s licensed property without consent to improve their bottom line.

            That, to me, is soul-sucking.

            I understand enjoying music, taking pride in your work and trying to marry those two. Please, do it in a way that actually honors the band. If they don’t want to do it, move on. What is happening, though, is companies are hoping capitalize on a current fad and avoid asking permission altogether. It is bullying and it is low.

          • It won’t let me reply to your comment below, JaggerT, but we’re on the same page!

    • why is this comment being upvoted? arent you supposed to sue people for stealing your work?

      • I support bands suing companies for using songs without permission or creating blatant ripoffs to increase their bottom line. Hopefully, if the Black Keys are successful, it will pave the way for smaller bands who aren’t as wealthy/legally savvy to be recognized for their work.

        The recent discussion about the morals regarding paying for music is an interesting one. But in this case, artists are being robbed and exploited.

      • if there is a real case to go after, i dont see why a band should get beef for suing a company that is stealing from them.

        now how many people here download music without paying for it?

      • I think for some reason musicians fighting over their rights to their work is not fan-friendly. I don’t understand either

  6. this is kind of funny, considering that “everlasting light” is practically indistinguishable from t-rex’s “mambo sun.” and yes, i know that they licensed a sample on that one. but still. i think it’s t-rex every time.

  7. There’s another pizza hut ad that sounds like The Strokes “Under Cover of Darkness”. Check it out here:
    http://www.thatsongsoundslike.com/2012/06/22/the-black-keys-vs-pizza-hut-vs-the-strokes-vs-home-depot/

  8. any doubts about who the alpha dog is in the group should now be over since Auerbach is the named party.

  9. So is what Dr. Frankenstein did wrong because graverobbing is illegal or because brains are intellectual property?

  10. ‘wheres the beef’ should just be renamed ‘black keys weekly news report’

  11. this is horse shit – leave the 14.99 walk-in panormous special alone, you sons of britches

  12. The P’zolo is awful. Any and all remaining P’zolos should be rounded up and sent to P’zolo internment camps in space. That will then be shot into the Sun. While “10 A.M. Automatic” plays over and over on repeat.

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