Throw Away Those Blue Suede Shoes: Impersonating Elvis To Be Banned?

from the ip-law-gone-ridiculous dept

Among the many enjoyable aspects of the Cato conference was hearing Professor David K. Levine from UCLA present some of his research, showing how intellectual property laws often do exactly the opposite of what they're intended to do. It turns out that Prof. Levine and some others have recently started a blog called Against Monopoly, which looks like it'll be a worthwhile read. At the blog there's a great post that points to yet another case of intellectual property being taken too far... in a somewhat bizarre way. It turns out that the guy who recently bought most of the rights to Elvis Presley's "name and likeness" is threatening to require all Elvis impersonators to purchase a license. Apparently, he feels that "unauthorized" Elvis impersonators are diluting the Elvis brand. It's hard to see what sort of benefit it provides either society or the brand of Elvis to limit a good part of what has kept Elvis so popular all of these years, but it looks like (once again) we're seeing a focus on short term gains at the expense of long term business viability.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    JP, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 1:22am

    Why?

    Why would he want to limit impersonators? It seems to me that impersonators are more or less free advertising. I still have yet to see the Time Life Greatest Elvis Impersonations.

     

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  2.  
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    PopeRatzo, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 3:30am

    Is limiting Elvis impersonation a good thing or bad thing?

    I'm thinking...

    ..still thinking. Let me get back to you.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 3:55am

    i work with a guy who does Elvis on the side. Maybe we'll get lucky and he won't want to pay the "elivis fee" and quit. The guy is a real douche bag Vision of Elvis. Check out his website for a good laugh!

     

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  4.  
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    Todd, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:12am

    He looks like a douche bag, with that fake looking wig, even his clothes look a $19.99 Halloween costume.

     

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  5.  
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    Sean, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:16am

    Blog site.....

    The blog site is either incompatible with firefox or is having serious load issues.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:17am

    Is that his daugther on the left?

    She look slike she might be kinda hot.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:21am

    Personally I hope it happens. I hate Elvis impersonators.

     

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  8.  
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    Geneku, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:27am

    Wake up!

    It doesn't matter if you like or dislike Elvis. Think about it, if this becomes wide spread it will become impossible to 'dress up", "pretend" or go in costume as any licensed character. Should we really have to pay Lucas a $50 licensing fee just for our kid to be Vader at Halloween. This sucks!

     

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  9.  
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    Bob Dole, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:39am

    I think I might buy the rights to wear t-shirts and jeans...

     

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  10.  
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    Brodee, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:42am

    You already do!!

    You already pay a license fee for your kid to dress up as Vader, at least if you buy a store bought costume. The fee is included in the price.

    I guess my question is how is he going to enforce this? Is he going to hang out in Vegas all the time and sue everyone he sees dressed as Elvis?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:43am

    RE:Wake up! by Geneku

    We already do pay fees for our kids to dress up as Vader for Halloween. The manufacturer licenses the rights to produce the costumes from the owners and fiugures the cost into each sale.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:46am

    No more elvis, where does it stop. Can I still dress up like Santa Claus? The Easter Bunny? Mrs. Claus? (only on weekends) OH the humanity!

     

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  13.  
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    Public Ritual, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:49am

    America?

    Elvis impersonators are an American institution. What if living people like George Bush start taking the same stance that impersonation dilutes their "brand"...comedy as we know it will cease to exist, the world will plummet into depression and possibly all out war...

     

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  14.  
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    Republican Gun, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 6:56am

    Sites down

    The problem with their site is on their end. Looks like someone was editing the php and messed up.

    Typical though because a monolpoly would never let that happen

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    I would never do Elvis, on the side, or any other way. That's just sick.

     

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  16.  
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    RenderingSanity, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 7:24am

    100 years from now at this rate society will collapse under the weight of it's own rules...You just can't function like this longterm...

     

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  17.  
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    Dam, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 7:34am

    Monopoly Image

    AT 10:34am 4/27, the site's database has crashed and there's nothing to read. But I see the learned professor has no problem borrowing the Monopoly character for his site and not attributing it to Parker Bros.

    I guess it's for a greater good that he uses the manufacturer's IP.

     

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  18.  
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    Damian, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 7:34am

    May End Up Hurting Him

    If Elvis impersonators were hurting the Elvis brand, then Lisa Marie would have shut them down years ago but she didn't. The impersonators are what help keep the "brand" alive.

     

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  19.  
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    Patrick Mullen, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 7:36am

    Re: You already do!!

    I guess my question is how is he going to enforce this? Is he going to hang out in Vegas all the time and sue everyone he sees dressed as Elvis?


    Hopefully. Actually, this sounds pretty good to me, seems we rid society of a lot of problems. Gets rid of the Elvi, and it gets lawsuit happy people out of the way too.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    --johnonymous, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 8:04am

    Will it really help any?

    It doesn't seem like this would do the guy much good. It won't accomplish anything, except ruin Elvis.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    mel, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 8:19am

    That

    is the dumbest, greediest thing I have ever heard of.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    freakengine, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 9:23am

    Greed

    Why is anyone surprised by this? The first thing ANYONE who buys a valuable commodity wants to do is to show how much better he/she is at running the show by increasing the bottom line. It's greed fever in this country, fueled mainly by stockholders and the Wall St. Wheel of Fortune.

    It sickens me to think this jerks gonna try and squash a few more pennies outta the little guys, but what else is new?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 9:48am

    Vision of Elvis - Thats not a wig...thats his real hair....it looks like that EVERYDAY at WORK!!! WTF

     

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  24.  
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    BC, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 10:24am

    Re: Monopoly Image

    "I guess it's for a greater good that he uses the manufacturer's IP."

    Or it could be to make a point. Do you honestly think anyone could mistake the Against Monopoly site for something affiliated with the game "Monopoly"?

    A Parker Bros. C&D would be great ammunition for them.

     

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  25.  
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    Amanda R., Apr 27th, 2006 @ 11:34am

    Calling All Elvis's

    I guess that particular impersonator is intitled to his opinion, but don't bring it north. Collingwood, Ontario has quite the Elvis following and every summer a festival in his honor with Elvis's as far as the eye can see. Personally; I can live without it, but I say "Let them have their fun and have it for free". I just can't see this guy making a five year old pay.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Beach Mom, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 11:38am

    Calling All Elvis's

    I guess that particular impersonator is intitled to his opinion, but don't bring it north. Collingwood, Ontario has quite the Elvis following and every summer a festival in his honor with Elvis's as far as the eye can see. Personally; I can live without it, but I say "Let them have their fun and have it for free". I just can't see this guy making a five year old pay, even if was Halloween.

     

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  27.  
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    LordGodGreed, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 2:05pm

    Capitalism run amok

    the story reads:
    "Billionaire Robert Sillerman..."

    Well you can stop right there, you've identified the source and cause of the problem: unrestrained capitalism.

     

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  28.  
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    Jonny Fictitious, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 4:07pm

    to the coward

    let them have there fun. Who cares. The Anonymous Coward must be pretty jealous of this guy to be talking that much smack. Imagine how your wife feels waking up to your face every morning! Of course your probably single and got shot down at one of Elvis's shows..........pretty sad

     

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  29.  
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    ThinkSolveDo, Apr 29th, 2006 @ 9:07pm

    So Mike, Now Copyrights are Bad Too?

    So Mike now copyrights are bad too? How would you feel if everyone took your “TechDirt” logo and began selling it and profiting from it and your writing too? Should EVERYONE be able to use everything you create without your permission? Should EVERYONE be able to pretend to be “TechDirt” and to profit from it without your permission?

    It is so funny how people like you tend to complain when anyone enforces their rights and then also complain when anyone even suggests violating yours. If there is no value in creating anything then why not let all of us use all your work for free?

     

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  30.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 30th, 2006 @ 11:18am

    Re: So Mike, Now Copyrights are Bad Too?

    ThinkSolveDo... it worries me that you don't seem to understand intellectual property at all, when you claim to advise others on the topic. That's SCARY.

    So Mike now copyrights are bad too? How would you feel if everyone took your “TechDirt” logo and began selling it and profiting from it and your writing too? Should EVERYONE be able to use everything you create without your permission? Should EVERYONE be able to pretend to be “TechDirt” and to profit from it without your permission?

    First of all, I think you should go back and learn the difference between trademarks and copyrights. It's actually really damning that you don't seem to know the difference. I can't believe anyone actually trusts you for advice on the topic when you don't seem to know the difference.

    Second, I've made it clear repeatedly that we have no problem with others making use of our content. For example, the site Bloglines republishes our content. Good for them. It makes it easier for some people to read what we write. That's great.

    If people can profit from the content, GOOD FOR THEM! That means they're doing something to make our content even more useful. That's great!

    Trademark violations however (using our logo, for example) are a different issue. Trademark is designed to prevent confusion. If someone else were trying to pass themselves off as Techdirt, that could lead to customer confusion. It's not about "ownership". It's about consumer protection. However, as long as anyone makes clear that the content originated from us, they're free to do whatever they want with it.

    It is so funny how people like you tend to complain when anyone enforces their rights and then also complain when anyone even suggests violating yours. If there is no value in creating anything then why not let all of us use all your work for free?

    You know what they say about people who make assumptions? As I've made clear, and have said for many years (once again, it looks like you spoke before you read or learned), we have no problem with someone using our content, so long as they say where it came from originally. So, go ahead, make use of our work for free. It'll help build our reputation even further, which helps us sell our services.

    Actually, PLEASE, go ahead and do so. It only helps us...

     

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  31.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 30th, 2006 @ 10:29pm

    Re: So Mike, Now Copyrights are Bad Too?

    Further thoughts on this from David Levine, the UCLA professor -- who points to the difference between copying a work and pretending it's the work of someone else.

    We have no problem with you helping to promote our work. We have a problem with you pretending it's your work. That's what trademarks are all about. But copying our work, even if it's for your own profit, is fine with us as long as it's clear that it's our work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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