Even An Indie Band Gets Copyright Protection

Do you know the Black Keys song “Tighten Up”? Ever hear it and think it would be absolutely great in a bank commercial? Me neither. But the folks at Valley National Bank and their advertising agency Della Femina did. And, apparently in their excitement about using the tune, they neglected one small detail – asking permission to use it. And that’s why Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney aka “The Black Keys” have filed a copyright infringement suit in a Tennessee based federal court. As more and more advertisers turn to pop music it’s inevitable that there will be suits like this. And the fact that advertisers are looking for songs may be an element of the Black Keys damages here. If Valley National Bank uses “Tighten Up” without permission, doesn’t that mean another bank – which might have been willing to pay to use the tune – less likely to use it? And if so, that’s less $ for the Black Keys. It’s kind of interesting that Black Keys is fighting this fight. They engaged in a “sell out off” with “Vampire Weekend on a very funny episode of Stephen Colbert earlier this year.