Tom Waits Wins His Action For Unauthorised Use of His Work in a Spanish Advert and Eminen Brings a Similar Claim in the United States

April 2004

Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists

Tom Waits has won the opening stages of a legal battle against a Spanish production company that adapted his music and impersonated his voice for a television commercial, despite Waits’ refusal to allow his original version of the song, Innocent When You Dream, to be used for the advertisement. The court in Barcelona has ordered the company, Tandem Campany Guasch, to pay compensation to Waits’ publisher in Spain, Hans Kusters Music, for violation of copyright. The commercial, for Audi cars, was screened in Spain in 2000. As well as having the same structure as Innocent When You Dream, the commercial’s music was also performed in a Tom Waits’ style. The court judgement thus recognises there has been a violation of Waits’ moral rights in addition to the infringement of copyright. Waits first heard of the infringement from fans, many who believed it was Waits singing his own song. Waits has succeeded in a number of actions worldwide to prevent his music and image from being associated with commercial products.

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In a separate matter, Eminem is suing Apple Computers after the company used part of his song, Lose Yourself, in a TV commercial without his permission. It has not been made public how much money the rapper is seeking in damages, but Eminem has stated that if he were to endorse a product, he could earn more than $10 million. The copyright infringement lawsuit, filed in a Detroit court on Friday, also names the advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day and MTV because the commercial was aired on the music channel as well as on Apple’s website. The lawsuit claims that the song was used in a television ad for Apple iTunes pay-per-download music store and featured a young boy with an iPod portable music player singing Lose Yourself, a song from the 8 Mile soundtrack.

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