Elvis Presley: Patent Pending
Elvis Presley’s name, image and likeness are now private property. For real! They’re now the intellectual property of a billionaire named Robert Sillerman.
No, this isn’t a burning issue, and no I don’t go around “seeing” Elvis at shopping malls and ice cream parlors. But seriously, just how anal-retentive can somebody get? How can somebody “own” an image and likeness that’s been an American archetype for over fifty years?
There are about 30,000 Elvis impersonators in the United States. It’s incredibly lucrative — paying up to $300,000 a year in some cases — but right now their career prospects don’t look too good.
Mr. Anal Retendo plans to open a huge Elvis theme park in Las Vegas. The Anal Billionaire said “If we were going to do a show that was based on Elvis impersonators, then obviously it wouldn’t make sense to have unauthorized Elvis impersonators.”
This isn’t the first time some God’s-Gift-to-the-World type has had an inflated sense of “ownership.” A few years ago a billionaire decided he “owned” the image of the famous Lone Cypress Tree near Monterey, CA. He threatened to sue anyone who painted it or took pictures of it. He probably didn't have any legal standing, but as the newspaper article said, “who wants to go to court and go up against a billionaire?”
More recently, Intel was threatening to sue a non-profit foundation called Yoga Inside. This organization was dedicated to teaching yoga to prison inmates. But Intel’s logo — Intel Inside — was supposedly being jeopardized by Yoga Inside, so Intel was ready to sue. Let’s see, yoga and computers, damn, I’m always getting those two things mixed up.
What’ll be the next archetype to be "purchased" by some self-important billionaire?