Elvises everywhere!

Do Elvis (and other celeb) impersonators have to pay royalties for their acts?
And my real question, if one, a really really good one, writes and sings an original song in “the style and voice” of Elvis Presley, doing it so well that he could easily pass, is he in violation of any law?
Some of these guys are very good at what they do. I think that one or two could make a record using the technology of the time that would be very hard to prove wasn’t a “lost” original.

No, there is no royalty payable on impersonation per se, although there will almost certainly be royalties due on any music played or performed during the performance.

As to the second part, if the product is sold honestly, as the work of an impersonator, then no laws are being broken. If the product is sold dishonestly, such as pretending it’s a long-forgotten recording of the real Elvis, then yes, this contravenes all sorts of laws pertaining to trading and how goods are described and sold. In basic terms, it’s illegal to sell something as if it’s something it isn’t.

Proper term is Elvii (Civ II reference).

Requisite Mojo Nixon video: Elvis is Everywhere

In most public venues – bars, night clubs, etc. – the royalties are payed by the venue, not the performer.

I love that stupid song. :stuck_out_tongue:

Did Sid Meier actually use such bad Latin, or did that come from the fans? “Elvii” would be the plural of “Elvius”, whoever that is. According to the standard Latin patterns, the plural of “Elvis” would be “Elves” (pronounced with two syllables, roughly like “El ways”).

Considering that “octopuses” is now okay, it follows that “Elvises” would also be okay.
I always hated saying “octopi”, but Sister Mary Christopher made me.

Bad on Sister Mary Christopher, then. “Octopi” would be the correct way of forming the plural, if “octopus” were a Latin word, but being as it’s actually Greek, the classical plural is “octopodes”. Of course, if you’re using it as an English word, then it’s also perfectly permissible to form the plural according to the English rules, and get “octopuses”.

To sum up: Using the English plural is OK, and using a foreign plural is OK as long as you get it right, but using a foreign plural and getting it wrong is the worst of both worlds, as it makes you look both pretentious and uneducated.

SMC held dominion over me in the mid 1960s, and I’m pretty sure “octopi” was the accepted term back then and for many years afterward. It’s only in the last couple decades or so that I’ve noticed the increasing popular use of “octopuses”.
I sure hope that the really cool sounding “octopod” works it’s way into the American vernacular. :wink:

Thank you, I came into this thread because it was calling out for some “Mojo”.


Back to the OP.
I believe other than paying royalties on any original song, an Elvis impersonator would have no problem singing a new, original song in the Elvis style without having to pay any royalties.