from uh-huh-huh department
When someone mentions Las Vegas, a couple of things are likely to jump right into your brain. Gambling and casinos, but of course. Maybe also magic shows. And, of course, Elvis. Yes, the idea of Elvis themed weddings in Las Vegas has achieved trope status. But Authentic Brands Group (ABG) wants to put an end to all that.
ABG is a license troll for celebrities or, more generally, their estates due to their death. ABG also has a habit of exaggerating the intellectual property and rights it actually owns. The Elvis estate, meanwhile, also has a history of targeting anyone and everyone with trademark and intellectual property threats, and even lawsuits, which are baseless.
This all brings us to the present moment, in which ABG is apparently carrying out a blitzkrieg attack on businesses and chapels in and near Las Vegas in order to stop the practice of Elvis-themed weddings.
The company that dominates the King’s image and likeness is cracking down on Las Vegas chapels booking Elvis-themed weddings and otherwise embracing his personality. Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which licenses products related to Elvis Presley, sent a cease and desist letter dated May 19 to several Las Vegas chapels.
ABG specifies “Elvis, “Elvis Presley,” and “The King of Rock and Roll” as its protected marks.
Several questions come to mind. First and foremost: hey, ABG, where have you been? There have been Elvis themed weddings in Las Vegas since 1977. It’s been forty-five years of utter failure to protect the trademark rights you now claim in your threatening letters. What changed ? Why shouldn’t this long history of anyone not protecting this mark in this way be considered abandonment or tacit approval? And why does a trademark somehow prevent a person or company from having someone disguise themselves as a historical public figure?
And why on earth would the estate want to end a tradition that keeps this deceased public figure in the public consciousness, which sparks continued interest in Elvis?
Kent Ripley of Elvis Weddings is among the operators who play Presley and is also a co-owner of the business. He has been in business for 25 years and has never received such a warning.
“We get bookings that have been planned for three, four, five years to have an Elvis wedding,” Ripley said. “They want to protect the Elvis brand. But what are they protecting by keeping Elvis away from the public?
This is exactly the right question to ask. And the “abduction” part is already underway. Chapels are removing Elvis weddings from their offerings and cleaning up their websites of any references to the king.
And that may be how Elvis finally dies a cultural death, forty-five years after his time on Earth expired. A licensing troll pushes rock and roll royalty into obscurity.
Filed Under: elvis impersonators, elvis presley, elvis wedding chapels, las vegas, likeness rights, likeness troll, publicity rights, trademark
Companies: abg, authentic brand group