Cowboy Yodeler Is No Yahoo!

Wylie Gustafson, shown in this undated photo in Nashville, Tenn., has settled his lawsuit against Internet giant Yahoo! Inc. for using his distinctive yodel in its national advertising. `They wanted to do the right thing and pay for a vocalization that has become a worldwide trademark,'' Gustafson said Monday, April 22, 2002, from his ranch near Spokane, Wash. 020423, GD AP

Wylie Gustafson can really shout "Yahoo!" now.

The cowboy yodeler from Dusty, Wash., has settled his copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet giant Yahoo! Inc. over the use of his distinctive yodel in its national advertising.

"They wanted to do the right thing and pay for a vocalization that has become a worldwide trademark," Gustafson said Monday from his ranch in the small town south of Spokane.

His yodel will continue to be featured on Yahoo! advertising. But other terms of the settlement, which was reached last week, were not disclosed.

Gustafson, 40, who performs around the nation with his band Wylie & The Wild West, created and sang the three-note yodel for Yahoo! in 1996, before the company hit it big, and was paid $590.

He said he thought it was for a regional advertisement. But when he started hearing his yodel on commercials playing during the Super Bowl and other nationwide broadcasts, Gustafson decided to pursue more money.

Gustafson filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles last week. He contended that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's continued use of his yodel without compensation amounted to copyright infringement.

"Wylie Gustafson yodels on for Yahoo!," the 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."


By Nicholas K. Geranios
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