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Black Keys settle lawsuits with Pizza Hut, Home Depot

November 28, 2012|By August Brown
  • Dan Auerbach leads the Black Keys at Staples Center.
Dan Auerbach leads the Black Keys at Staples Center. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

If you're a Black Keys fan and you've ever been enticed to order a Meat Lovers' Supreme at Pizza Hut or invest in a storage shed from Home Depot, there might have been a subliminal reason. Each company used songs in commercials that sounded an awful lot like tracks from the Black Keys' smash album "El Camino," namely "Lonely Boy" and "Gold on the Ceiling."

The Black Keys noticed this too, and have reportedly settled the resulting lawsuits around copyright infringement of the band's music.

The band, along with its longtime producer Danger Mouse,  filed suit in June. Both companies denied the accusations. The Black Keys told a federal judge in Los Angeles that they had settled with Pizza Hut on Monday and Home Depot earlier this month.

The settlement details have been kept private, and none of the parties have commented on the terms.

The band has moved on as well --  the Black Keys  reportedly been recording material for the followup to "El Camino" and plan for an early 2013 release.

Speaking to the band for a forthcoming profile, Times pop music critic Randall Roberts asked drummer Patrick Carney about their wide-ranging commercial licenses, and how their successful sound has led to knock-off commercial tunes:

“It’s common, and the thing is, a lot of our friends -- even John [Wood] and Gus [Seyffert],  our buddies who play keyboards and bass with us -- they’re both super-talented musicians, they do a lot of session work . . . they were getting requests from music supervisors asking for songs that sound like the Black Keys without the supervisors even knowing that they were in the band," Carney said.

"And [John and Gus] kept going off, because a lot of music supervisors that I’m friends with are like, ‘You’re the No. 1 requested band right now by advertising agencies to have sound-alikes.’

"There’s this one song called 'Howler,' which is made by a music supervision firm -- a jingle house, basically. It’s called 'Howler,' and it’s just 'Howlin' for You' verbatim," Carney added.

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