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Two Nonprofit Elvis Institutions?
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Tennessee
Year Ended 1987
Plaintiffs Nonprofit Organization(s)
Defendants Elvis Presley Enterprises
Nonprofit Organization(s)
State Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Presley, Elvis
Short Description Even a decade after his death, Elvis Presley's name generated over $4 million in annual revenue. In 1979, a group of fans tried to create a fundraising group using his name that would help improve a hospital. The Tennessee Secretary of State initially refused their request, but then granted the charter to the International Foundation. In 1985, Presley's estate created a not-for-profit corporation, the Foundation, that gathered money to build a statue of Presley across from Graceland. The International Foundation sought to prevent the Foundation from using the similar name. The case speaks about the right of publicity, that is, a person's ability to capitalize upon his name while preventing others. The Court noted the long, slow development of the right and the fact that it may be descendible. In particular, Presley's estate had already been in court four times concerning this right of publicity, and three other courts had found that the right of publicity survived his death. After noting that Tennessee courts had only once addressed the issue, the Court noted that the right of publicity has value to a person as a type of intangible personal property. The Court concluded that a federal appeals court had wrongly interpreted Tennessee law and not found publicity to be survivable (confusing it, perhaps, with the privacy tort of "commercial appropriation"). The Court found that the upholding the right was based upon important policy provisions. The Court reasoned that if a property right exists during life, it should exist during death. Further, the Court wanted to protect against parties who are unjustly enriched by the right of another. Also, allowing survivability protects the expectations of the celebrity and the persons who enter into contracts that would use their publicity right. The Court also found strength for its decision in Tennessee's laws. The court remanded the case for additional fact finding determine whether the Foundation had waited too long to bring suit against the International Foundation. - JMC (ed. LSW)

Legal Issues
Business Associations Nonprofit Organizations Formation, Operation & Dissolution
Civil Procedure Third Party Claims Intervention
General Equitable Defenses Laches
    Waiver, Estoppel & Acquiescence
Torts Privacy Torts Commercial Misappropriation of Name/Likeness
Trademarks & Unfair Competition State Statute/Common Law Right of Publicity
    Unfair Competition, False Advertising & Related Torts


Opinions Elvis Presley Int'l Mem'l Found. v. Crowell
733 S.W.2d 89
Court of Appeals of Tennessee , April 03, 1987 ( No. 86-99-II )


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Related Searches Parties
Elvis Presley Enterprises ( Defendant )
Nonprofit Organization(s) ( Plaintiff )
Nonprofit Organization(s) ( Defendant )
Presley, Elvis ( Other )
State Entity and/or Official(s) ( Defendant )

Legal Issues
Business Associations / Nonprofit Organizations / Formation, Operation & Dissolution
Civil Procedure / Third Party Claims / Intervention
General / Equitable Defenses / Laches
General / Equitable Defenses / Waiver, Estoppel & Acquiescence
Torts / Privacy Torts / Commercial Misappropriation of Name/Likeness
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / State Statute/Common Law / Right of Publicity
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / State Statute/Common Law / Unfair Competition, False Advertising & Related Torts

Courts
Court of Appeals of Tennessee (highest court)


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