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Company apologizes to Zappa widow

Quebec store used husband's song in commercial
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Canadian furniture store apologized to the widow of Frank Zappa Tuesday for using one of the late U.S. rock star’s signature songs without consent in a television commercial.

Ameublements Tanguay Inc. issued a letter of apology to the Zappa family, which owns the rights to all Zappa’s work. Other terms of the out-of-court settlement over the copyright infringement complaint, such as monetary compensation, were not disclosed.

The agreement came during the second day of the Federal Court of Canada trial in which Zappa’s wife, Gail, complained of the copyright infringement.

“The unique character of Frank Zappa’s work and the importance of recognizing the value of copyrights prevailed,” she said in a statement.

“It sends a message that if you don’t have a copyright, don’t copy,” Zappa told reporters outside the court.

The store used extracts from the 1979 Zappa song ”Watermelon in Easter Hay” as background music in a 1995 commercial. Gail Zappa filed the court complaint in 1998 after a local fan notified the family of the commercial.

Frank Zappa, known for his inventive guitar playing and satirical songs, died at age 53 from prostate cancer in 1993. ”Watermelon in Easter Hay,” from the album “Joe’s Garage,” features a stirring guitar solo by Zappa.