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.


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Comments on “Throw Away Those Blue Suede Shoes: Impersonating Elvis To Be Banned?”

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31 Comments
Patrick Mullen says:

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.

freakengine says:

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?

Amanda R. says:

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.

Beach Mom says:

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.

ThinkSolveDo (user link) says:

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?

Mike (profile) says:

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…

Mike (profile) says:

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.

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