August 15, 2022

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Las Vegas chapels work toward a new arrangement with Elvis Presley’s brand management

4 min read

Las Vegas payments alone as the Marriage ceremony Funds of the World.

Issuing an average of 80,000 marriage licenses and generating $2.5 billion in financial activity per year, the Clark County Relationship License Bureau promises to be the “busiest in the earth.” And immediately after he married Priscilla at the Aladdin in 1967, Elvis Presley turned a thing of a guardian angel—and frequent officiant—to couples looking to tie the knot in Sin Metropolis.

That the Presleys selected Las Vegas as their put of holy matrimony sealed Elvis’ careerlong relationship to the city, which had started even before his wedding here. All through his 1956 residency at the New Frontier Lodge, he listened to a rendition of Significant Mama Thornton’s “Hound Pet,” which he turned into a global hit, with hip grinding and gyrations for the duration of his general performance of the track on NBC.

Las Vegas latched on to the musician’s rise to fame, and the weddings and ancillary hospitality industries followed suit, with a lot of chapels continue to embracing the legacy of Elvis-themed or Elvis-officiated weddings, right now. But that custom appeared to confront a significant menace in Could, when Genuine Brand names Team (ABG), which manages Elvis’ intellectual property, despatched stop-and-desist letters to numerous neighborhood chapels, proclaiming unauthorized use and threatening legal motion.

Little Vegas Chapel

“Elvis providers are a major portion of our bookings,” says Michael Kelly, typical supervisor of Downtown’s Very little Vegas Chapel. “We get partners from all over the world—from the U.K., Australia, Spain … Just the exhilaration that they have, and the joy that they have to do an Elvis wedding is outstanding.”

The Minimal Vegas Chapel performs far more than 2,000 marriage ceremonies for each 12 months, Kelly states, 10% to 20% of which are Elvis weddings. Kelly confirms that, soon after the chapel obtained the preliminary cease-and-desist, ABG arrived at out all over again “to form a partnership.” The chapel has been in make contact with with ABG for the past quite a few months about an agreement, he suggests.

Numerous chapels that obtained stop-and-desist letters, which include Minor Chapel of Hearts and Vegas Weddings, have considering the fact that issued statements describing that Elvis has not really remaining the making. Shortly soon after the likely threat to Vegas Elvis weddings made news throughout the world, ABG introduced a assertion declaring it was functioning on a much more agreeable alternative.

“ABG is proud to be the guardian of the Elvis Presley legacy and is fully commited to preserving it for generations to occur,” the statement reads, in portion. “We are sorry that recent conversation with a smaller number of Las Vegas-centered chapels brought about confusion and concern. That was never our intention.We are performing with the chapels to make sure that the use of Elvis’ title, image and likeness are in preserving with his legacy.”

ABG did not answer to inquiries on the number of Las Vegas chapels that it sent stop-and-desist letters, the timeline for licensing agreements to be settled or the expense of the licenses.

Various local chapels have disclosed that the agreements entail licensing fees in the ballpark of $500 for every year.

Kelly reported the news arrived as a relief for Small Vegas Chapel workers, which experienced questioned if it could have to give up Elvis weddings solely. “The charge to carry out an Elvis marriage ceremony will increase, at least on our finish,” he suggests. “We pay back for the talent which is concerned, the Elvis tribute artist. And now it appears like we’re heading to have to pay out some kind of cost in addition to that. I’m just glad they have been in a position to give us a reasonable offer you.”

As for no matter if Elvis impersonators themselves could be matter to lawful motion, community intellectual home lawyer Jonathan Fountain says they could search for safety less than the First Amendment and Nevada legislation.

“The law recognizes a First Modification parody protection to intellectual home infringement,” Fountain explains. “If somebody is dressing up like Elvis and exaggerating his design and style for comedic impact, in accomplishing a marriage, there is a strong argument that that exercise is shielded Very first Modification exercise.”

As for the licensing agreements or “partnerships” ABG has reportedly been arranging with local chapels, “Licenses to mental property [have] to be in writing” to be legally binding, Fountain suggests. “I listened to on the news that ABG had entered into a verbal settlement to Elvis’ mental property. … I imagine the chapels [also] need to have to be mindful about their comprehension of this phrase ‘partner,’ mainly because I do consider [they’ll have] to give up some legal rights and agree to pay out some dollars.”

Fountain also says he suspects ABG has done “little to no” enforcement of Elvis’ intellectual residence rights in the Vegas wedding day industry for decades, which “dilutes the strength” of people rights. “You can’t sit on your legal rights for decades and not assert them, for the reason that persons like the marriage ceremony chapels would undergo prejudice, [after] investing hundreds of 1000’s of pounds in their corporations,”

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