Gravel-voiced singer-songwriter Tom Waits has settled his lawsuit against German carmaker Adam Opel AG and its advertising agency McCann for using a sound-alike in a series of TV commercials.
Waits will donate his net settlement proceeds to an unnamed charity, according to a statement issued today (Jan. 25) on behalf of the American performer. Financial details of the settlement were not disclosed.
Legal action was taken against Ruesselsheim, Germany-based Adam Opel -- a General Motors subsidiary -- and McCann Erickson Deutschland in Frankfurt, in light of Opel TV commercials in 2005 which aired in Germany and various northern European markets.
Waits claimed the defendants' agent had hired a singer to impersonate his distinctive vocal style in the ads after he had refused their requests.
The singer and his representatives had sought an injunction and at least $300,000 in damages for breach of various private rights and copyright infringement of music works.
In the statement issued today, Waits quipped, "I'm glad to be out of the car sales business once and for all."
The released also added a response from McCann Erickson, which said, "We respect Mr. Waits, and deeply regret any embarrassment this may have caused."
In March 2004, Waits won a legal dispute against Tandem Campmany Guasch, a Spanish production company that had misappropriated his singing style for a sound-alike TV spot.
He separately won $2.5 million in a case against Frito-Lay in the United States, which was affirmed on appeal in 1992, for using his vocal style in a commercial marketing the Salsa Rio Doritos chips.