Elvis Presley

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
Post Reply
fabben
Regular Member
Regular Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: London

Elvis Presley

Post by fabben » Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:48 am

If I wanted to write a story, where a kid goes back in time and meets (hangs out) with Elvis Presley. Where the history of the King is written more as a story line from a teenager's point of view. Can I write anything I like?

I'm thinking here of the "Elvis Estate" which I understand protects it's Elvis brand- so to speak. I'm just wondering how much control they have?

Also "slander" and "Libel", I'm pretty sure that this only applies to living people but when there's an organisation behind the person, can they persue such claims? (not that I would ever do something like that, just curious)

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1942
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:55 am

Hi fabben,
Introducing Elvis Presley as a fictional character in a work of fiction shouldn't present any major problems from the point of view of copyright, because of course Elvis was not previously a literary character.
You need to be careful not to infringe any UK/EU registered trade marks (of which there are over a dozen active ones) but this should not be too difficult since having him as a character in a story would not normally lead anyone to assume that the story originated from one of the several entities which have registered the name, including his estate.
As you mention, the Elvis Presley Estate has been proactive in the past about protecting his image and reputation (by which I really mean, they have been keen to monetise his persona to the maximum), based on the US concept of a Right of Publication. However that law does not apply in the UK and so they would not be able to do much about the mere depiction of Elvis in a story. And as you say, a dead person cannot be defamed. However, although UK law does not provide the Estate with any realistic cause of action, that does not mean that they won't try to pressure you into a licensing deal or paying compensation for some alleged sleight. If that should occur, it might be sensible to get some legal advice if only to avoid additional harassment and expense.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

fabben
Regular Member
Regular Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: London

Post by fabben » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:16 am

thanks for your speedy reply.

I know that the "Elvis Estate", which used to be the family but is now owned by a seperate organisation. I understand that they brand items as "official" - what ever that means. But that implies they can't block all things Elvis, even in USA.

Post Reply