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


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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