Super Bowl commercial lawsuits keep coming

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Super Bowl commercial lawsuits keep coming

Fri Mar 12, 2010 @ 01:34PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

For the third time in the last 10 days, a commercial that aired during this year's Super Bowl has prompted a lawsuit.

The latest targets a spot aired by Kia Motors that allegedly rips off a classic funk tune by Dyke & the Blazers called "Let a Woman Be a Woman."

Drive-In Music Company, which says it owns the rights to the composition by Arlester Christian, is suing Kia, CBS, the NFL, ad agency David & Goliath, Ninja Tune Records and various other parties for infringing its copyright on the song. According to the complaint, the agency didn't seek or obtain permission to use the composition or sound recording in the spot. The plaintiff is spreading the blame, taking CBS to court for airing and continuing to air the commercial and the NFL for airing the ad on its website.

Super Bowl commercials are designed to attract attention but brands who paid big bucks to be a part of this year's extravaganza probably did not have this in mind. This month luxury goods maker Louis Vitton sued Hyundai for featuring a basketball with the company's logo. We've already covered in detail Lindsay Lohan's lawsuit against E-Trade. And let's not forget the beef by the White Stripes against the U.S. Air Force (even though that didn't get to court).

Here's the latest complaint, filed yesterday in California district court by Drive-In's attorney, Allen Hyman.

And a comparison between the song and the commercial.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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