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Black Keys Win Lawsuit Against Pizza Hut and Home Depot, Plus 5 More Artists Who Sued Over Commercials

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By Craig Hubert | It’s being reported that the Black Keys have reached a settlement with Pizza Hut and Home Depot, who the band sued for unauthorized use of songs in their advertisements. Both companies denied the claims, of course, which is not surprising. Companies have been unsuccessfully attempting to place songs, without the artists consent, in commercials for years. And each time they get sued, though that doesn’t seem to stop them. Here are five notable examples of artists who sued companies over unauthorized use of their songs.

1. White Stripes

In 2010, the Air Force Reserve used a song in their brief Super Bowl spot that sounded an awful lot like “Fell in Love with a Girl” by the White Stripes. The band issued a statement declaring their support for the military, before saying, “We simply don’t want to be a cog in the wheel of the current conflict.” The Air Force, for what it’s worth, claimed the similarity was unintentional. Listen for yourself below.

2. Eminem

A song that sounds an awful lot like “Lose Yourself” appeared in an Audi commercial in 2011. Eminem successfully sued and the company had to make donations to local Detroit charities as part of the settlement. Apple also used “Lose Yourself” in a commercial for the iPod in 2003, and Eminem sued claiming he never authorized its usage.

3. The Beatles

The Fab 4 (or 3 at this point) sued Nike over the use of “Revolution” in a commercial. This one was tricky, though, because the surviving members did not actually own the rights to their own song – Michael Jackson did. They went forward, though, and reached a settlement in 1989.

4. Wu Lyf

Toyota used “Heavy Pop,” a track off the band’s 2011 album “Go Tell Fire to the Mountain,” in an advertisement the members deemed sexist. The commercial features various men explain to their female partners that they have just bought a car, which followed by said women crying, smashing windshields, and the like. Aside from its sexist nature, the ad doesn’t even really make sense. Oh yeah, and the band never actually gave permission for their song to be in the ad. Two weeks later, the band broke up.

Watch the commercial on Vimeo

5. Tom Waits

The gravely voiced singer has declined to license his songs to commercials over the years, but many have tried to slip through the cracks. Waits has sued Levi Strauss & Company, Frito-Lay, Audi, and Opel for using sound-alikes to soundtrack their commercials. Although Waits doesn’t want his songs featured in advertisements, he is not opposed to his voice, which narrated a Purina dog food ad in 1981.

Image: Black Keys/ Karl Walter/Getty Images

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