With bands continually looking for ways to augment income in face of decreasing across-the-board record sales, brazen advertisers have allowed the Black Keys to turn commercial lawsuits into a lucrative revenue stream.
After already successfully suing Pizza Hut and Home Depot for the same offense, the Ohio-based blues-rockers are now taking on Pinnacle Entertainment and Manhattan Production Music for ripping off one of their songs for a TV commercial campaign.
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, the Black Keys recently filed suit against the two aforementioned entities for a pair of commercials (including one for L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles in Louisiana) that utilized music which sounds “substantially similar” to the band’s song, “Howlin’ For You.”
Unlike the band’s previous lawsuits with Home Depot and Pizza Hut, this current case has a thoroughly modern social networking angle. As part of the complaint, the band’s legal team has included a Twitter exchange between a fan and the casino resort about the music, with the resort stating, “We bought a licensed musical interpretation of the song.” A similar claim on the casino’s Youtube page is also part of the suit.
These additional charges allow the band to sue for trademark law violation (“by suggesting a false designation of origin”) and creating unfair competition in addition to the copyright infringement charge.
In wake of the charges, the offending resort commercial has been pulled from the Web.
The Black Keys are currently preparing for a big night at the 55th annual GRAMMYs, where the duo is up for five trophies, including Album of the Year for El Camino and Record of the Year for “Lonely Boy.” The band’s frontman Dan Auerbach is also vying for the vaunted Producer of the Year nod.
-Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local
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