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Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Black Keys, Danger Mouse sue for copyright infringement

Brilliant ideas are the heart of business innovation in Denver and around world. New technologies are created, new songs are released, books are published and it seems there is always someone or some company out there trying to capitalize on someone else’s great idea. Just look at the number of patent infringement lawsuits surrounding cellphone technology, software and Internet technologies and anyone can see that infringing on the intellectual property of another can be both costly as well as profitable for those who attempt it.

But one rock group is fighting back copyright infringement on two of their songs and going after two corporate behemoths in the process. The Grammy winning rock group the Black Keys have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that The Home Depot and Pizza Hut have infringed on their copyrights for two songs. The suit states that The Home Deport did not have permission to use elements of one of its hit songs in an advertisement promoting power tools. It also claims Pizza Hut misused their song “Gold on the Ceiling” in one of its recent ads touting some of its ‘cheesy’ products.

Both of the songs in question appear on the group’s seventh album titled “El Camino” that was released last year. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney comprise the Black Keys. Musician and producer Brian Burton, also known as Danger Mouse is also listed in a similar lawsuit.

A spokesperson for the band said in a statement that experts had confirmed that the two ads had infringed on the bands copyrights. The lawsuits claim that both companies were sent written notices that their commercials were using musical elements of the Black Keys music without permission. No vocals were included in either advertisement.

The suit is seeking unspecified damages in excess of $75,000 each and an order banning both companies from continuing to use the songs in its commercials.
Protecting your intellectual property can be especially difficult in the internet age with file sharing and download sites popping up by the minute, but two corporate giants like The Home Depot and Pizza Hut should know better than to infringe on the intellectual property of others and not expect to be held liable.

Source: 9 News, “Black Keys sue Pizza Hut, Home Depot over song use,” June 23, 2012

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