Tom Waits has won a legal battle against a Spanish production company which he accused of wrongfully misappropriating his vocal styles in a sound-alike TV ad.

Tom Waits has won a legal battle against a Spanish production company which he accused of wrongfully misappropriating his vocal styles in a sound-alike TV ad.

A court in Barcelona has ordered the company, Tandem Campmany Guasch, to pay unspecified compensation to Waits' publisher in Spain, Hans Kusters Music, for infringement of copyright. Tandem Campany Guasch has yet to appeal.

Tandem's commercial for Audi cars was screened in Spain in 2000. The court agreed that the ad's music followed the same structure as Waits' 1987 track "Innocent When You Dream," as well as utilizing Waits' distinctive gravel-voiced style. According to a spokesman, Waits had rejected Tandem's earlier request to use his original version of the song.

Car maker Volkswagen-Audi EspaƱa, originally a defendant in the action brought by Waits, was cleared by the court.

Waits first learned about the commercial from Web postings by Spanish fans, many of whom believed it was Waits performing the song, despite his established practice of not licensing his music to commercials.

The Spanish action is the latest in a string of legal actions Waits has taken to prevent his music and image from being associated with commercial products. In 1990, he won $2.5 million in a suit against Frito-Lay Inc. and its ad agency, having maintained that his singing style was copied in an ad for Salsa Rio Doritos chips.

In a suit filed in the U.S. Superior Court in 1993, Waits sued Third Story Music, the publisher of much of his earlier catalog, charging they licensed his material for use in foreign TV spots without his contractually dictated consent. And in 2001, Waits filed suit against Vivendi Universal's online subsidiary MP3.com, claiming it distributed his music without authorization.

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