Tom Waits in Legal Battle With French Circus

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Bartabas is a French circus star, producer, and horse trainer. Bartabas’ Circus Zingaro’s latest show is an equestrian opera called On Achève Bien les Anges (roughly translated to They Shoot Angels, Don’t They?), which features 16 songs by Tom Waits. (Waits’ music is featured in the below video about the show.) Waits says he didn’t approve the show’s inclusion of his songs and is in a legal battle with Bartabas over rights violations, The Guardian reports. Last month, a French court rejected Waits’ bid to shut down the show in France. Waits’ second civil court claim could reportedly stifle Bartabas’ plans to tour the show to the UK.
According to Waits, his songs make up “the narrative heart and soul” of the show. In the complaint, Waits expressed surprise that he ran into this problem in France (“they have a minister of culture for Chrissakes”). He added:

“I turn down all commercial product endorsement offers and rarely collaborate or lend my name or work to other endeavours. It is my choice to get paid or not to get paid. And that value has been taken and exploited for the profit and promotion of Bartabas’s career and for his religious and political ideology, which neither the songs nor I chose to express.

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