Elvis is in your pants

Elvis has left the building. Now 30,000 impersonators may have to go as well:

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."

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13 Responses:

  1. _the_deuce_ says:

    As long as it doesn't impinge upon my bad Elvis karaoke...

    Hmm, $300,000 a year, eh? Maybe it's time for a career change.

    • phenyx says:

      If you do change careers now, you'll have to go underground - but look at what prohibition has done for the price of drugs! Contraband Elvis impersonations could double, triple in value.

  2. rawdogue says:

    This is the worst news I've heard in weeks.

  3. travisd says:

    When being Elvis is outlawed, only Outlaws will be Elvis.

  4. cavorite says:

    Someone really needs to work underground Elvis speakeasies into a cyberpunk novel.

  5. leolo says:

    This would be very funny, if it wasn't so completely pathetic.

  6. omnifarious says:

    *chuckle* Maybe something like this is what's needed for people to see what kind of damage unrestricted copyright law can do. Take a beloved (if rather cheesy) icon and make it 'owned'.

  7. obreerbo says:

    I guess these guys will be the first up against the wall.

    "We're the Flying Elvises...Utah chapter!"

  8. sneakums says:

    Best news I've had all week.

  9. benediktus says:

    evasive maneuver: be an elvish impersonator?

  10. Krusty's clown college comes to mind.

  11. raemus says:

    Oh dear, looks like my mum's cousin may be out of work soon...

  12. spudtater says:

    It's copyright law that should be "in for a cull".
    How the hell did somebody's likeness ever become copyrightable?