July 19, 2008 / 2:44 AM / 10 years ago

Paul Simon sues Japanese clockmaker for using song

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Singer and songwriter Paul Simon sued a Japanese clockmaker for $5 million for copyright infringement on Friday for claiming the company used one of his songs as a composition on their clocks.

Paul Simon speaks to reporters after musician Wyclef Jean announced his "Together For Haiti" program to help provide food and employment to the struggling country of Haiti at the Gansevoort Hotel in New York, May 20, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Simon’s lawyers accused clock company Rhythm Watch Co Ltd, and its U.S. subsidiary Rhythm USA Inc of using Simon’s song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” on 40,000 of its clocks in the last three years without his permission.

The lawsuit called the song “one of the best known songs throughout the world in popular music” and cited Rhythm’s “Grand Nostalgia Clock” as one that plays Simon’s song without permission as well as other popular songs including “My Way.”

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” was the title song of Simon and Art Garfunkel’s final album together, released in 1970.

Rhythm was established in Tokyo in 1950 and has its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. It manufactures, distributes and sells clocks in Japan, the United States, India and Hong Kong, the lawsuit said.

A license fee for using the song would have cost more than $1 million and the lawsuit estimated Rhythm had profited more than $5 million from the sale of clocks that use the song.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Michelle Nichols and Todd Eastham

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