A New York businessman has bought the rights to Elvis's name and likeness and has threatened to ban "unauthorised" Elvis clones.
Robert Sillerman, a billionaire media entrepreneur who owns American Idol, paid $114 million last year for an 85 per cent stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises, which is run by the Presley family. He got control of Graceland, the King's home in Memphis, Tennessee, and control of his name and likeness, but not his music.
Of Elvis impersonators, he said ominously: "If we were going to do a show that was based on Elvis impersonators, then obviously it wouldn't make sense to have unauthorised Elvis impersonators."
Impersonators in America believe that it is inevitable that their industry -- which includes dwarf Elvises, Chinese Elvises and African-American Elvises -- is in for a cull.
Matt Lewis, another Elvis impersonator, said that his agents had been studying the legal ramifications of his status since Mr Sillerman acquired the rights. Some impersonators make $300,000 a year, and Mr Lewis acknowledged that he made "six figures" per annum.
"If they tried to stop me I'd figure out a way to keep going," he said. "We would band together. I have this image of old ladies going to underground shows and giving passwords at the door. There would be underground Elvis speakeasies. Honestly."