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Las Vegas chapels of love are shaken up after the licensing company that controls Elvis Presley’s name and image ordered operators to stop using his likeness in themed ceremonies.
Authentic Brands group had sent multiple chapels a cease-and-desist letter early last month.
Some say the move could decimate their businesses.
Kayla Collins, who operates LasVegasElvisWeddingChapel.com and the Little Chapel of Hearts with her husband, said: “We are a family-run business, and now we’re hanging with the big dogs. That’s our bread and butter. I don’t get it. We were just hitting our stride again through Covid, then this happens.”
The company’s website says Elvis weddings in Las Vegas became popular almost immediately after Presley’s death on August 16, 1977.
Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya, who led a marketing campaign promoting Las Vegas as a wedding destination, said the order for chapels to stop using Elvis could not have come at a worse time.
The city’s wedding industry generates $2 billion (£1.6 billion) a year, and officials say Elvis-themed weddings were a large number of the ceremonies performed.
She said: “It might destroy a portion of our wedding industry. A number of people might lose their livelihood.”
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Authentic Brands Group oversees the estates of world-famous names such as movie star Marilyn Monroe and boxer Muhammad Ali.
In the cease-and-desist letter, the company said it would halt unauthorised use of “Presley’s name, likeness, voice image, and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise and otherwise.”
The order should not lead to legal action against Elvis-themed stage shows in Las Vegas such as All Shook Up because impersonating someone for live performances is considered an exception under Nevada’s right of publicity law.
Mark Tratos, a local attorney, said: “An Elvis show is a performer essentially entertaining others by re-creating that person on stage.”
Kent Ripley, who runs Elvis Weddings, reportedly said he has never run into the issue in 25 years of performing as the singer. He added: “They want to protect the Elvis brand. But what are they protecting by taking Elvis away from the public?”
- Elvis Presley
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