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Black Keys Sue Home Depot and Pizza Hut For Unauthorized Song Use

Black Keys
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

It seems everybody wants a piece of the Black Keys‘ music these days. The rockers aren’t above licensing their songs for use in commercials, but they claim in a new lawsuit that two large companies – Pizza Hut and Home Depot – borrowed their music without compensating them.

Bloomberg reports the Akron duo and producer Danger Mouse filed separate claims in a Los Angeles federal court for the unauthorized used of the group’s music. ‘Lonely Boy’ was reportedly used in a Home Depot ad for its Ryobi line of power tools, while ‘Gold On the Ceiling’ was featured in a spot for Pizza Hut’s Cheesy Bites Pizza. The Black Keys’ lawyers said the commercials represented “a brazen and improper effort to capitalize on plaintiffs’ hard-earned success.”

It’s almost hard to believe in this age of frequent corporate song licensing that a large company would try to steal a song without paying for it. We have yet to hear the other side of the story, except for a comment from Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for Home Depot, who told Bloomberg, “We haven’t seen the complaint but we take intellectual property very seriously.”

Both songs have appeared in multiple ads already. ‘Gold On the Ceiling’ was used in an NCAA commercial and the trailer for the film ‘The Campaign,’ while ‘Lonely Boy’ appeared in an HSBC rugby promo. We assume all of those appearances were properly compensated. Both tracks appear on the Black Keys’ 2011 album ‘El Camino.’

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