Court upholds Waits $2.5 mil award

The Supreme Court let stand a $ 2.5 million award to gravel-voiced singer Tom Waits over use of a “sound alike” artist to mimic his voice in a television commercial.

The court, without comment Tuesday, rejected arguments by Frito-Lay and its advertising firm that federal copyright law bars such awards of damages.

Waits, a singer, songwriter and actor known for his raspy voice, sued Frito-Lay and advertiser Tracey-Locke over a 1988 TV commercial for Doritos that used a singer to copy Waits’ voice.

Waits has refused for years to perform in commercial advertising, and his attorneys presented testimony from people who thought the voice in the commercial was his.

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