Megachains Pizza Hut and Home Depot separately denied claims in court in Los Angeles on Thursday and Friday that they ripped off music by the band The Black Keys in TV spots, reports the Associated Press.
In June, the garage rock duo issued two individual lawsuits against nation-wide chains Pizza Hut and Home Depot for "prominently featur[ing] significant portions" of their songs in commercials without the band's permission. According to allegations from Black Keys' frontman Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney - who are also being backed up by their producer, Danger Mouse - two songs off of their most recent album "El Camino," were used improperly: "Lonely Boy" in a Home Depot commercial for power tools, and "Gold On the Ceiling," in a Pizza Hut advertisement for Cheesy Bites Pizza.
In the complaint, attorneys for the Black Keys refer to the alleged copyright infringement as, "a brazen and improper effort to capitalise on [the] plaintiffs' hard-earned success," reported Bloomberg. The band also claimed to have sent letters to each of the companies back in May, a month before slapping them both with suits, requesting that they stop showing the offending commercials on television.
Now, after two months, legal teams for both Home Depot and Pizza Hut's parent company Yum! Brands, have filed court documents denying the allegations and asking for the Black Keys to pay their attorneys' fees in the event that they win the case.
The Black Keys are hardly the first band to claim that their music was ripped off for unlicensed commercial purposes, in fact the music blog Stereogum devotes a recurring segment of their website to featuring songs that may have been ripped off in recent TV spots.
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Some of the Indie bands whose fans recently alleged their music was ripped off have included Phoenix, Beach House, The xx, and LCD Soundsystem. Although fans seemed to agree that the background song for a 2011 McDonald's commercial bore an uncanny resemblance to Phoenix's hit song "Lisztomania," the band did not publicly address the incident, unlike Beach House, who did issue a statement about the similarity between their song "Take Care" and a British Volkswagen commercial . In a statement, the band said "The ad agency actively tried to license "Take Care" from us for weeks, to which we politely declined. People's comments/anger should not be directed towards VW or us. It was the ad agency that made these moves. I hope this also clarifies to fans and non-fans just how "Take Care" and the vw ad song are related."
Watch the videos below for a comparison of the Pizza Hut commerical and the Black Key's song "Gold On The Ceiling."