(CNN) — Some Las Vegas wedding chapels are receiving cease and desist letters asking them to stop using Elvis’ image and likeness in their businesses, according to two letters obtained by CNN.
In letters received by the two churches and shared with CNN, a lawyer for Authentic Brands Group (ABG) said the businesses — Vegas Weddings and Viva Las Vegas Weddings — infringed on Elvis-related intellectual property, making “False impression that Elvis has approved, endorsed or sponsored an infringing church. The infringing church is clearly trading Elvis’ intellectual property, image, name and likeness without Elvis’ consent.
In 2013, Authentic Brands Group announced that it had purchased intellectual property related to the rock icon from Core Media Group.
“As guardians of the Elvis Presley estate, we have a responsibility to protect his estate,” ABG said in a statement Wednesday.
“This includes ensuring that all products, services and advertisements using Elvis’ name, image or likeness are duly licensed by Elvis,” the statement said.
“The estate has strong relationships with official Elvis tribute artists, fan clubs and festivals and a strong global network of licensed merchandise partners. We have no intention of closing down churches offering Elvis packages in Las Vegas. We are looking to partner with these small Everyone in the business cooperates to ensure that their use of Elvis’ name, image and likeness is duly licensed and authorized by the estate so they can continue to operate.”
The statement went on to say that ABG acknowledges that “Elvis is integrated into the historic fabric of Las Vegas, and we are committed to protecting and extending his legacy for future generations.”
Melody Willis-Williams, president of Vegas Weddings and Viva Las Vegas Weddings, has been seeking legal counsel since receiving a letter from ABG last month.
“We believe the Las Vegas wedding industry has helped Elvis keep in touch with an entire generation,” Willis-Williams said. “People come from all over the world for this.”
Willis-Williams said several Elvis impersonators work at her property, which also houses Hollywood figures such as Dumbledore and Snape from the Harry Potter films “Batman and the Grinch.” officiated wedding.
Willis-Williams said she’s been back and forth with ABG for the past week. ABG’s goal, she said, is to reach a licensing deal.
Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, issued its 5 millionth marriage license on February 20, 2022, according to website weddings.vegas.
“Elvis Presley has long called Las Vegas his home, and his name has become synonymous with Las Vegas weddings,” Jason Wiley, president of the Chamber of Weddings of Vegas, via e-mail Mail told CNN.
“The Vegas Wedding Chamber is concerned that many of our churches and (copycat’s) livelihoods are being targeted, especially as many are still struggling to recover from the hurdles we’ve suffered due to the COVID shutdown. We will continue to focus on the situation and Looking forward to a solution that will not negatively impact the Las Vegas wedding economy or the Elvis wedding experience, many couples travel to Las Vegas for their weddings.”
Las Vegas Mayor Caroline Goodman also expressed concern about the letters.
“Our wedding industry has been grappling with the pandemic and the economic devastation it has caused,” Goodman said in a statement to CNN. “These are clearly not people who are hyping this community or its people. or company.”
Clark County Clerk Lynn Marie Goya echoed those feelings.
“The spirit of Elvis continues to live on in Las Vegas as other entertainers fade from the public consciousness. Couples from all over the world add a little Elvis glamour to their lives. Elvis weddings have been around for decades. , and there are many businesses that make a living sharing the joy of Elvis living with his husband and wife,” Goya said in a statement to CNN.
“If he does leave this building, it’s a sad day for Las Vegas and the world.”
Above: Playing the role of Elvis at a wedding organized by Viva Las Vegas Weddings. (Courtesy Viva Las Vegas Weddings)