Tom Waits files lawsuit

Published: 2005-09-19
Gruff singer-songwriter Tom Waits is suing a division of General Motors, alleging they used an imitation of his voice in their European advertisements.

According to Andreas Schumacher, Waits' lawyer in Germany, the singer was approached a number of times last year by Adam Opel AG and the advertising firm McCann Erickson, but refused to lend his music to their ads.

Schumacher said the firm was so insistent on using Waits' voice that they hired an impersonator. A series of advertisements featuring the phony Waits then aired in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland earlier this year.

Waits is a two-time Grammy winner who has long refused to sell his music to advertisers. In a recent statement, he reiterated his disinterest in advertising dollars.

"Apparently the highest compliment our culture grants artists nowadays is to be in an ad - ideally naked and purring on the hood of a new car. I have adamantly and repeatedly refused this dubious honour," he said.

"While the court can't make me active in radio, I am asking it to make me radioactive to advertisers."

Waits is suing for damages and profits the ads might have generated, on the grounds that the company violated his personality rights.

Writer: Greg Hoekstra



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