The Las Vegas tourist industry is taking a pretty big hit this week, as the licensing company that handles Elvis Presley’s estate has blocked the city’s wedding chapels from using his likeness in their ceremonies.
As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the company that oversees all Elvis-related merchandise, sent cease-and-desist letters to multiple Sin City chapels in May, arguing that unauthorized use of “Presley’s name, likeness, voice image, and other elements” constitute trademark infringement. The company counts “Elvis, “Elvis Presley,” and “The King of Rock and Roll” among its trademarks.
The loss of Vegas’ infamous impersonators will likely cause some pretty big financial losses, city officials say. The city’s wedding industry generates $2 billion a year, and Elvis-themed weddings are especially popular. “This couldn’t hit at a worse time. It’s not a good thing,” Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya, who oversees Las Vegas’ wedding marketing campaign, told the Review-Journal. “It might destroy a portion of our wedding industry. A number of people might lose their livelihood.”
While Elvis impersonators can longer perform at wedding chapels, Mark Tratos, a local attorney who helped write ABG’s cease-and-desist letters, said Elvis-themed stage shows should not be affected by the order because impersonations within live shows are protected under Vegas’ “right of publicity” statute.
Elvis’ likeness is certainly getting around these days, as Baz Luhrmann has readied a new biopic about the King. Plus, last year RCA/Legacy Recordings unveiled Elvis: Back in Nashville, a CD box set of the artist’s final Nashville studio sessions.