April 22, 2002 5:40 PM PDT

Yahoo settles yodeler suit

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Yahoo said Monday that it has settled its copyright infringement lawsuit with singer Wylie Gustafson, whose voice is heard in the signature Yahoo yodel.

Terms of the settlement, which was agreed to Saturday, were not disclosed. However, Yahoo said the yodel will continue to be used in Yahoo advertising and marketing materials.

"Wylie Gustafson yodels on for Yahoo," the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said in a statement. "While both parties had a reasonable basis for their beliefs, as soon as Yahoo learned of the suit, the company responded promptly and fairly."

Gustafson, a country singer for the band Wylie & the Wild West, filed a $5 million lawsuit against Yahoo last week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claiming that Yahoo continued to use his yodel without compensation and, as a result, allegedly violated his registered copyright.

Gustafson said he yodeled for Yahoo in 1996 in its first television commercial and was paid $590. But he said Yahoo took his audio track for that commercial and began using it in subsequent commercials beginning in 1999, including TV commercials broadcast from the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl. He said that he wanted to be paid for residual royalties.

"I'm very happy with the speed and ease that Yahoo settled with me," Gustafson said. "It was a fair settlement that reflected (the yodel's) worldwide use."

 

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