The Black Keys Sue Ad Agency Over Song-Get Your Clearance People, Get it!


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It seems we are seeing more suits against Ad agencies and the companies they represent for unauthorized use of copyrighted songs. A little due diligence to get clearance before using a song goes a long way. Get an entertainment attorney to help you with that before using the work of another. If it is too late because you now face a lawsuit, then lawyer up for the settlement/trial ahead.

“Blues-rock duo The Black Keys hammered New York agency Della Femina Rothschild Jeary & Partners with two separate federal lawsuits last week for using their hit song “Tighten Up” to promote a New Jersey bank during the Grammy Awards without permission.

The group is asking judges in Nashville and Manhattan, where the suits are filed, to bar the company from continuing to air the ad.

Nonesuch Records filed the suits on behalf of the band, charging the agency and Valley National Bank with poaching its song without asking or compensating the musicians.

“For at least a two-week period in February 2011 coinciding with the period leading up to and the aftermath of the 2011 Grammy Awards, the Agency and VNB knowingly created and ran a television commercial incorporating significant portions of [Tighten Up] without having sought or obtained a license from Nonesuch to do so,” according to a suit filed in Tennessee, where the group recently moved.

In the commercial, bank president Gerald H. Lipkin makes a pitch with the pop hit playing in the background. Valley National and Della Femina both declined to comment because the litigation is pending.

The attorney representing the Warner Music Group label is asking the judges to award damages in proportion to the popularity of the song, which has been a runaway hit. . .”

THR Esq. has the full story.

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Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her firm’s fashion and entertainment law practice areas. Ms. Uduak has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts. She has also handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients including network television and licensing deals. Her work and contributions to the creative industry has been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA: ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also the author of Fashionentlaw™ and also has over two decades combined hands on industry experience in the creative industry which includes modeling, retail, fashion production, public relations, digital media, journalism and publishing. For further inquiries or if you are seeking legal representation, please email ( You may also follow her on twitter at @uduaklaw


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