Elvis Presley is an icon, and it is no surprise that anything associated with him instantly becomes attractive. Elvis merchandise sells fast, any parties with an Elvis theme fill up quickly, and Elvis-themed weddings in Las Vegas are no different.
Unfortunately, weddings by the king might soon come to an end if a letter sent out by Authentic Bands Group on May 19 is anything to go by. The company is in charge of licenses for Elvis merchandise. They issued cease-and-desist letters to multiple chapels in the city, barring using the Elvis persona for business.
Lynn Goya is the current clerk in Clark County, and in a statement, she mentioned that this action would affect many people and even cost them their sources of income. Lovers come from all over the world to marry in Las Vegas, and unique experiences like Elvis-themed weddings are why.
Officials from ABG expressed that both Elvis and the popular reference “King of Rock and Roll” are a trademark. The instructions are not only for the name but include the voice of Elvis. It prevents external parties from using Elvis’ name and persona for advertising or merchandise. Elvis-themed tribute shows, like All Shook Up at Alexis Park fall under fair use and are exempt from this rule. You’re seeing artists at work when you see a show. Elvis merchandisers, according to the argument, are just profiting off of the name.
Chapels like the Las Vegas Elvis Chapel have received communication stopping them from normal operations related to the Elvis name. The letter issued to these chapels gave them a week to comply.
This is a huge change-up. The president of Vegas weddings stated that these weddings were a way to keep Elvis alive. Another business owner and Elvis’ impressionist says he has been in business for more than twenty years, during which he has not had such challenges or warnings in the cause of his career.
An amicable solution to this challenge would be for chapels to have an agreement with ABG where they can get licensing to operate as usual under regulations approved by ABG.