Elvis Presley’s widow Priscilla Presley has made varying statements on the Authentic Brands Group (ABG) initiative to have Las Vegas wedding chapels pay partnership fees for using his persona. She admits there has been “confusion” about the move. She also said it “has nothing to do with me,” TMZ reported.
“This is a good thing,” Priscilla Presley said in a text message Saturday quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. That may be her latest commnent.
ABG is the guardian of the Elvis Presley legacy, as is the family,” Priscilla Presley explained. “They and the family are committed to protecting it for generations to come.”
ABG is a licensing company which represents Presley’s estate and the estates of many other celebrities.
“ABG is sorry that recent communication with a small number of Las Vegas-based chapels caused confusion and concern. That was never ABG’s intention,” she added.
In 2013, ABG acquired the controlling interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises. Daughter Lisa Marie Presley owns 15 percent of the company. She is a “consultant” on decisions related to Elvis, the Review-Journal said.
It was on May 19, ABG sent cease and desist (C&D) letters to many of Las Vegas’ over 50 wedding chapels. In the letters, ABG orders the chapels to stop using Presley’s “name, likeness, voice, image, and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise, and otherwise,” the Review-Journal reported, citing the C&D letter.
Court action could follow if the chapels fail to follow the order. Last week, the company backtracked when clarifying their demands. Now, they are saying they are willing to enter into licensing partnerships. But wedding chapel owners say they cannot afford expensive fees, since many are small, independent businesses.
Range of Reported Fees
There have been conflicting reports just how much the company wants from the chapels for the licensing agreements. One company said last week ABG wants $20,000 a year. The Review-Journal reported it could be an amount less than $1,000.
Casino.org reached out to ABG for comment. No statement was provided.
In a statement published by The Guardian, ABG said there was “no intention to shut down chapels that offer Elvis packages in Las Vegas.”
We are seeking to partner with each of these small businesses to ensure that their use of Elvis’ name, image and likeness are officially licensed and authorized by the estate, so they can continue their operations,” the statement said.
Las Vegas, County Officials Concerned
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is among those who criticized ABG for cracking down on the wedding chapels which perform the Elvis Presley-themed ceremonies.
I have been very upset by what this could mean to our marriage business in Las Vegas,” Goodman told the Review-Journal. “I feel this company couldn’t care less about the impact this can have on our city.”
Goodman and ABG officials are expected to discuss the issue in a phone meeting on Monday, the newspaper reported.
Wedding chapel owners point out that many of those who head to Las Vegas for a Presley-themed wedding will stay in local hotels, may visit casinos, and go to shows. They generate money for the local economy.
Overall, Las Vegas destination wedding ceremonies are a significant part of the state’s tourism sector. The entire wedding industry produces $2 billion a year. Clark County issued its five-millionth wedding license in February.
Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya has warned the new crackdown could destroy a portion of the wedding industry. It could also lead to lost jobs.
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