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Video: Kia Sued Over Song Used In Creepy Super Bowl Ad

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Video: Kia Sued Over Song Used In Creepy Super Bowl Ad

By Richard Read


March 19th, 2010


Louis Vuitton isn't the only company up in arms about the recent Super Bowl ads. Drive-In Music Company is in a tizzy, too, hurling lawsuits at Kia Motor Company, CBS, the NFL, and anyone else within arm's reach. At issue: the backing track used in Kia's Super Bowl commercial for the 2010 Kia Sorento, which Drive-In sees as a rip-off of a tune by 60s funk band Dyke and the Blazers.

The Kia Sorento ad in question features a song by British rock band The Heavy called "How You Like Me Now". Drive-In says that the song is a dupe of a Dyke and the Blazers ditty called "Let a Woman Be a Woman, Let a Man Be a Man", to which Drive-In owns the rights. Here are the Kia ad and the Dyke and the Blazers song for comparison:

As you might've guessed, we have a few issues with this lawsuit:

1. The background riff sounds similar in both songs, but "How You Like Me Now" is clearly not a remake of "Let a Woman Be a Woman". We're not legal scholars, but it seems that at best, Drive-In has a sampling case against The Heavy. If successful, Kia might then be liable for using the song in its ad, but who knows?

2. The background riff also sounds similar to half of James Brown's catalog, so maybe Brown's estate should sue the pants off Drive-In Music Company, The Heavy, and the hundreds of funk/rock bands who have used similar horn riffs for the past 40 years.

3. Frankly, we though the concept of originality in music was dead. Aren't all popular songs just mashups of the same four chords?

4. No matter what happens, the people of America should sue Kia for using Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba. That thing is freaky.

[MediaBistro, YouTube]



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Hyundai/Kia being sued again, this time for song in ad
by Dan Roth (RSS feed) on Mar 23rd 2010 at 8:27AM

With all the lawsuits flying, at least Hyundai/Kia knows its commercials are being watched. First, it was a problem with Hyundai using a Louis Vuitton-like fabric; now, Drive-In Music Company, Incorporated has tossed lawsuits at Kia, CBS, NFL Enterprises and creative agency David & Goliath, among others. At issue is the head-bobbingly catchy tune used in the TV spot for the Sorento, which debuted during the Superbowl.

Drive-In Music agrees that the song is catchy, and contends that this is due to the fact that UK artist The Heavy's sampling of Drive-In's artist Dyke and the Blazers. How Kia, CBS, D&G and everyone else becomes a party to this case of fair-use fuzziness is quite a head-scratcher, other than the obvious money grab, of course. There's a marked similarity between The Heavy's "How You Like Me Now" and Dyke and the Blazers' "Let A Woman Be A Woman," and it's not a stretch to imagine that the original song was the source of the riff. Some producers have record collections that run incomparably deep with some of the most obscure cuts; it's the way the Amen Break became so ubiquitous, for example.

Sampling has always been a hot potato, and while Drive-In may have cast an excessively wide net in this case, you can't blame the company for looking out for its interests. Still, it's certain that D&G did its best to clear all of the music and characters featured in the ad, which portrays characters like Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba, an overgrown sock monkey and toy robot reveling in grown-up fun. When clearing The Heavy's work with its label, the fact that the song had been released on the 2009 album "The House That Dirt Built" implies that label Counter Records had settled any samples contained therein. The fact that The Heavy's song was used by Kia in a commercial aired during the Superbowl shouldn't make them targets. This issue appears to really be between Drive-In Music and Counter Records, though nobody stands to walk away with any money that way, which appears to be the whole point of tossing this cluster bomb in the first place. Videos posted after the jump for your review.



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