Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, April 21, 2006

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?


Blogger David Schantz said...

I heard something about Muhammad Ali selling a large percent of the rights to his name the other day but I had missed this. I have a 14 year old Grand Daughter that is in love with Elvis, but as far as I know she has never thought she saw him.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

April 21, 2006 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

David: I hadn't heard about Muhammad Ali doing this. I hope this doesn't become a trend.

April 21, 2006 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

We'll just have to overwhelm him with so many Elvis's that he can't possible sue them all.

April 21, 2006 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Marie: Yeah, there you go. Hundreds, thousands of Elvises walking along. What could he do?

April 21, 2006 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Last I heard there were already that many Elvises in the state of Nevada.

April 21, 2006 at 11:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yeah, it sure seems that way. It's hard to believe some billionaire could put all these Elvises out of business, but we'll see...

April 22, 2006 at 1:02 AM  
Blogger Stray Angel said...

Daim. That's totally crazy.

Nice blog btw. First time here.

April 22, 2006 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Wild1: Thanks. You've got some cool music links. I'm listening to your Satriani/Vai/Malmsteen tune right now. Yeah!

April 22, 2006 at 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Lawyer in Cleveland owns the name of some of the classic oldies bands like the Coasters and the Vouges. Then he gets a made up band to tour the country in using that name. If any of the Originals members even mention they were members of the same band, they get sued and a "Ceast and Desist" order on them.

This became a real problem when the Coasters were voted in the R&R Hall of Fame. The Lawyer wanted his Coasters to receive the award the Hall said "no only the originals" and the guy sued.

It was Dennis Kucinich who passed a special Law in Congress allowing Original members to receive their awards in the Hall of Fame - Hurray!

I was also reading through that Mary Wilson of the Supremes is trying to get laws passed as she ownes the Supremes name and their are other people performing as Supremes. She only has legal grounds in some states so she is trying to get federal laws passed.

And now someone owns Elvis?


April 24, 2006 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I never knew about that with the Coasters. That really sucks. Suing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for inducting the real Coasters instead of "his" Coasters -- how tacky can somebody get?

Good for Dennis Kucinich.

April 24, 2006 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Jason Pickles said...

Yes, Mr. Ali has sold a large portion of his "name" to the same guy. Creepy

April 25, 2006 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jason: Yup, that's creepy all right. Thanks for the info.

April 25, 2006 at 5:41 PM  

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