The Black Keys are suing a casino for ripping off “Howlin’ For You”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Black Keys have one more reason to sing the blues. Coming straight off the heels of settling lawsuits with Pizza Hut and Home Depot over improper use of the duo’s songs in commercials, the band is now suing Manhattan Production Music and Pinnacle Entertainment for, respectively, recording and then making use of a song that is suspiciously similar to The Black Keys’ “Howlin’ For You,” all to promote Pinnacle’s L’Auberge Casino & Hotel in Baton Rouge.
In addition to allegedly arguing via the ad's YouTube page that the track was merely “inspired by” the song, the casino also allegedly responded to a Keys fan who mentioned the use of the song on Twitter, claiming, “We bought a licensed musical interpretation of the song.” The Keys are also suing on the basis of trademark law violation and the creation of unfair competition, in addition to the copyright infringement complaint.
To be fair, the songs aren’t exactly the same: The Pinnacle version feels a little tidier than the Keys’ grittier garage sound. That said, claiming a song is “inspired” by another song, when all it really inspired you to do was to write pretty much the same song, probably doesn’t count as “inspiration.” And it also probably isn’t the best idea to flat-out admit that your song is a “licensed musical interpretation,” considering everyone knows that isn’t a real thing. Hopefully Pinnacle will learn to trust its own creative spirit a little more next time.
Unfortunately, the controversial commercial has already been pulled from YouTube, so we can't offer a comparison. But here's the original “Howlin’ For You,” for your own "inspirations."