Black Keys name Martin Agency in copyright suit

The popular indie rock band alleges that TV commercials improperly used two of their songs

Last month, indie rock group The Black Keys filed copyright infringement lawsuits accusing The Home Depot and Pizza Hut of illegally using two of the band’s songs in television commercials. The Martin Agency, based here in Richmond, created the ads in which the alleged infringement occurred. The advertising agency has also been named in the suits.

I spoke with Dean Jarrett, executive director of corporate communications at The Martin Agency earlier this week. He said it’s company policy to avoid discussing ongoing litigation with the press, but said The Martin Agency “fully respects the intellectual property rights” of artists. “We work really hard to make sure people are compensated.”

When asked if suits such as the these were commonplace in the advertising industry, Jarrett, a 23-year employee at The Martin Agency, said “it’s not something that happens very often.”

One of The Black Keys suits alleges that a Pizza Hut commercial improperly used their song “Gold on the Ceiling.” Here is that Pizza Hut commercial:

And here is the Black Keys’s song “Gold on the Ceiling:”

I asked two local music advertising companies and an area copyright lawyer to discuss the lawsuit. They respectfully declined to comment.

When asked when a legal decision might be reached, Jarrett said it will depend on the “due diligence” of lawyers.

  • error

    Report an error

Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

6 comments on Black Keys name Martin Agency in copyright suit

  1. Yep, that is definitely Gold On The Ceiling. The opening riff is incredibly similar, and once that is over, they practically sound like the same song.

  2. Joshua on said:

    This is a silly lawsuit. The music is similar, but very different. Both are based on a very common blues progression. Pizza hut commercial stays in the same riff, while the Keys start a down stepping progression. Similar, but not the same. If this holds up.. SRV, and any other blues artist for that matter, should be able to sue the black keys..

  3. anon on said:

    Looks like the Martin Agency are little more than rip-off artists. What else would you expect from people involved in advertising?

  4. Sean Stilwell on said:

    Gary Glitter should be suing both of them…

  5. That pizza makes me feel super uncomfortable.

  6. Do we wonder why obesity numbers are what they are?

Leave a comment

Your comment may be held for moderation and may not appear until manually approved. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Or report an error instead