We received this reaction from EPE to fans on the reactions the got on the Definitive Elvis Lawsuit from Apache Elvis' mailing list. Looking at the reactions on our updates on this matter we decided to add this message from EPE.
The makers of The Definitive Elvis were quietly advised in advance of their release that a small portion of the content was copyrighted material that they did not have permission to use - not just EPE material, but also material owned by other companies. They blatantly chose to release it anyway without deleting that material. As for "reaching an agreement with Passport", that's hard to do when the other party contends that you have no rights and that they do not have to reach any agreement with you at all. Neither EPE nor the other companies involved in the injunction are the bad guys in this and you have no reason to be upset with us.
We have no desire to block the release of this or any other Elvis documentary of good intent, so long as there is no copyright infringement issue. The makers of The Definitive Elvis forced us and the other companies to seek an injunction against its further distribution until the copyright issues can be resolved.
Presently, we are not in a position to license footage for "story of his life" Elvis documentaries due to commitments we have for a full-story documentary of our own that is in development. (Sorry we're not moving fast enough on that to suit you. There's a lot involved in doing it right and planning and timing its proper distribution and promotion and making all that work fit all within the schedule of many other projects going on. We wouldn't have publicly shared our long-range plan for our documentary, but so many fans were asking us if anything like that was in the works. Nasty comments like yours are what we get for trying to be informative.
We have cooperated with a dozen or more documentaries over the past few years (especially this 25th anniversary year) that were on more narrow topics of Elvis' life and produced by companies that sought the appropriate permission if they wanted to use any material that we owned. They had a very easy time of it - including getting to shoot at Graceland.
Your wishing for any entity to win a copyright case against us is wishing unpleasantness for yourself as a fan. If laws weaken so that well-intended people can blatantly use copyrighted material, then it also means that the bad guys can do so as well. If you get your wish, then you are, in effect, also wishing for sleaze-ball
documentary makers to have free reign to do whatever they want. Copyright owners have to react to infringements on a consistent basis, whether the unauthorized use is for a good project or a bad one, or the laws protecting
copyrights will weaken.
We do understand how you might feel, not having known all this. You might still choose to think we're the bad guys anyway. Whatever your feelings, we do know they arise out of a genuine respect and loyalty for Elvis. Nothing diminishes our appreciation for that.
Thanks & best,