Song appeared in 1995 appliance ad
Frank Zappa's widow appeared in a Canadian court Monday seeking unspecified damages from a furniture company for using one of her husband's tunes in a 1995 appliance advertisement.
Gail Zappa and her lawyer flew from California to Quebec City to pursue the statement of claim filed in 1998. The claim says the store "distorted, mutilated or otherwise modified" Zappa's "Watermelon in Easter Hay" from the 1979 album "Joe's Garage" and "used it in association with a product."
Jacques Tanguay says his company, Ameublements Tanguay Inc., didn't know the song was under copyright, adding that his chain tried in vain to prevent the case from landing in court.
"There have been talks a number of times over the past nine years," Tanguay said outside court. "[There were] many attempts to settle this, but unfortunately we're in court.''
Zappa died in 1993 of prostate cancer at age 52. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. His widow, a Los Angeles resident, is named as a plaintiff, along with their children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.
"It's a signature work of my husband, it's part of a literary work and not only did they take it without permission, they whacked it, they cut it and chopped it up to suit their design," Gail Zappa said in an interview Sunday night.
The furniture chain said it didn't realize the song was Zappa's and made a mistake in good faith.
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