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Elvis Presley Int'l Memorial Foundation v. Crowell

Court of Appeals of Tennessee
733 S.W.2d 89 (1987)


Facts

During his life, Elvis Presley executed numerous licensing agreements, granting third parties permissions to use his name and likeness in connection with the marketing and sale of various consumer goods. After his death, Elvis’s estate formed Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (Enterprises) to oversee and control licensing activities. In 1985, the estate and Enterprises also formed the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation (Memorial) (defendant), a non-profit corporation. However, a group of Elvis fans had already formed Elvis Presley International Memorial Foundation (International) (plaintiff) four years prior. International sued Memorial to dissolve Memorial and to enjoin use of Elvis Presley’s name. The trial court granted summary judgment for Memorial, holding that Elvis’s right to control his name and image passed to his estate when he died and that the estate and Memorial had the right to control the commercial exploitation of Elvis’s name and image. International appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Koch, J.)

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