Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is suing car manufacturer Adam Opel AG and ad agency McCann Erickson Deutschland in Frankfurt, Germany, for using a perfect imitation of the singer's voice in a series of c
Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is suing car manufacturer Adam Opel AG and ad agency McCann Erickson Deutschland in Frankfurt, Germany, for using a perfect imitation of the singer's voice in a series of commercials.
The lawsuit claims that Ruesselsheim, Germany-based Adam Opel, a General Motors subsidiary, and the ad agency violated Waits' long-established policy of never doing commercials. He claims the defendants' agent had appointed a perfect sound-alike to impersonate him after he refused their requests.
Although the commercials were produced in Germany, they have already been aired in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway since at least February of this year.
Waits and his representatives are seeking an injunction and at least $300,000 in damages for breach of various private rights and copyright infringement of music works he claims were used for the commercial. The artist is basing his claims in part on a German law previously used to find that Marlene Dietrich's personality rights had been unlawfully used in a similar case.
In March 2004, Waits won a legal dispute against Tandem Campmany Guasch, a Spanish production company that had misappropriated his singing style for a soundalike TV spot.
He also won $2.5 million in a case against Frito-Lay in the United States, which was affirmed on appeal in 1992, for using his vocals style in a commercial marketing the Salsa Rio Doritos chips.