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EPE Takes Legal Action Against Global Bootleg Ring

July 18, 2011 | Other

In February 2011, Elvis Presley Enterprises took swift action to stop the commercial sale and distribution of a DVD/CD set which included recordings and audiovisual footage of Elvis Presley concert performances. Working with a team of investigators across three continents, EPE was able to track down the individuals believed to be behind the release and distribution of the box set.

On July 5, 2011, EPE reached a settlement with Joseph Pirzada. Under the terms of the settlement, Mr. Pirzada is enjoined from releasing, offering for sale, advertising, importing, distributing or stocking any audiovisual footage owned by EPE, including the 1977 CBS Special, Aloha From Hawaii, and the '68 Comeback Special, any 8mm film footage featuring Elvis Presley performances, as well as any unauthorized Elvis Presley merchandise. As part of the settlement, EPE will receive significant cash payments and was granted a security interest in certain real estate owned by Mr. Pirzada.

In a separate matter, EPE reached a settlement with Bud Glass. Under the terms of the settlement, Mr. Glass was similarly enjoined from manufacturing, distributing or selling any copyrighted works owned by EPE as well as any unauthorized Elvis Presley merchandise. As part of the settlement, EPE also will receive significant cash payments and was granted a security interest in certain Elvis Presley memorabilia owned by Mr. Glass.

While satisfied with these settlements, EPE continues to review additional evidence and is considering taking further actions against other individuals responsible for the manufacture, sale, and release of this particular box set. 

marco31768 wrote on July 18, 2011
If Elvis' fans will wait for great SONY releases... They'll die without interesting CD's...
I am Buffalo-Horn! wrote on July 18, 2011
No, EPE will definitely not allow them to stay in business! The only deal they have signed refers to valuable memorabilia & houses which will be forfeited if any further (discovered!) bootlegging takes place. It would be interesting to learn exactly what "Significant cash payments' are involved; presumably the amounts are what EPE consider to be the money generated by the '77 Final Curtain box set. One has some sympathy with both sides.
lray wrote on July 18, 2011
marco31768. Checkout the label, Follow That Dream Records. They are under Sony and are 100% legal. You might be pleasantly suprised to find dozens of cds that are much better than any bootlegger could produce. Happy hunting!!!
ElvisCriticsSuck wrote on July 18, 2011
Great, now we can LEGALLY be overcharged for Elvis Material when and if they re-release any of it...A lot of these guys were greedy, and as they say:"Give them enough rope"...
Lefty wrote on July 19, 2011
I don't give a rip about the legalities involved. Most of the bootleggers are fans just like us, and they've become sophisticated at putting together some really neat packages. If they're meeting the market demand for great Elvis CD's and DVD's then I say more power to them. FTD and their lawyers can play cops and robbers all they like. There's only one effective way to shut down the bootleg market, and that's to put out a better product than the bootleggers can offer. FTD has failed miserably at doing so time and again, even though that's their charter mission. How about giving FTD over to the control of Sony Legacy. The Legacy edition CD's are phenomenal, inexpensive, and available to everyone. Imagine what Legacy would do with The Hampton Roads Concert. Man, that would be a sweet deal! But alas, one can only dream, and keep buying those good old bootlegs in the meantime.
Jerome wrote on July 19, 2011
too bad as we had a great new label with Box Car..
Herman wrote on July 19, 2011
The crazy EPE should realize that a lot of fans are waiting for stuff like The Final Curtain ! So long live to these labels !
linda_433234 wrote on July 19, 2011
Rock on lefty,your absolutely right,no hampton roads concert but a book about elvis jumpsuits. FTD Will never be what it could and should have been.
Pedro Nuno wrote on July 19, 2011
I said it once and I say it again: from the 80's till 2000, bootlegs were the flame that kept Elvis alive in the Fan World. And, as Lefty pointed, more than 90% of those releases came from fans, just like us. But more than that, I have lots of so call bootlegs, and never spend a cent on it, since I've got it always through fans forums or Fan Clubs and never, ever, someone ask me for money. And although i do have that kind of product, I never stopped to buy BMG or FTD products.
circleG wrote on July 19, 2011
well put HDog Etienne, one wonders why EPE would go to such length to stop bootleggers and then ... just sit on all the recordings. It makes no sense. An EOT box set is well overdue, but then after the Johnny B Goode fiasco ( 'Chuck wouldn't answer his phone' - they can chase bootleggers all over the world but they can't find Chuck!) nothing surprises me!
Tony C wrote on July 19, 2011
We should all know the reason that EPE has not released the 1977 "Elvis In Concert" material, they have told us often enough. They are the owners of this material and have the right to do or not do whatever they wish to. They are a business corperation and if somebody steals their products they will come down hard on them. In reality, the two individuals got away lightly, they could have been facing a prison term. Regarding the idea of bootlegs, I have bought them for the past 35 years, although in much less numbers since we have had the FTD series. I know that they are an illegal product, as do the people who make them. As for the concept of the bootleggers just being fans helping out other fans, how come the prices are so high when CD manufacturing costs are at an all time low? They pay no royalties or tax, they just rake in the profits. I notice that "Elvis On Tour" has been mentioned again in relation to EPE and Sony. As has been said many times before, neither of these bodies own this material so it is stupid to blame either of them for the lack of a special edition DVD. With regard to the location of the MGM footage, this is also something that has been cleared up before but some people choose to ignore the facts. The MGM material is not stored in a saltmine. The MGM material is stored in a climate controlled archive that once was a saltmine, under conditions that prevent any deterioration. Spot the difference? It was also stated below that EPE could find the bootleggers but they could not find Chuck Berry. EPE, to my knowledge, have never sought to find Chuck Berry. Warners are not EPE. A posting below mentioned that it will be more difficult to sell the FTD material after the year 2015. Is there to be a cull of Elvis fans in that year?
Santa Claus wrote on July 19, 2011
EPE bought 30.000 photos and other stuff from the Colonel's collection. So, how many of those 30.000 do you have in form of a fine coffee-table book from EPE? Not one! They grab all the stuff together and give us ... Elvis Barbies and Kens and impersonator contests where the impersonators are often more heavyweighted than Elvis. They have the copyright. But they also have a (cultural) responsibility. If you surf the internet you get surprised by porn pop-ups every ten minutes. People pee at each other or whatever. I'm forced to live with these impressions but I'm not hard enough to see Elvis 1977 singing "Early Morning Rain"? What a gag. We fed them fat and they don't give us something back. Take away the Aloha and Comeback boxed-sets ... what do we have left? (P.S.: What RCA has to pay for royalties is what the Bootleggers have to pay for good material)
Natha wrote on July 19, 2011
RCA, the Colonel and all other legal business partners have not taken up what we fans needed. Just consider all the wonderful LPs and CDs have been delivered by the bootleggers. I think that FTD has also missed out chances. Must have been a poor business plan. If they had announced a solid plan for let's say five or even ten years, we all would have known what will come out (yes, they might even listen to what fans comment!). We know what is asked for so long! Bootleggers are given the opportunities to release materials (how do they get the originals???!!!). Fans for fans? Well, sort of. They also make quite a buck profit. It is not a real Fan2Fan shareware! But at least they know what fans want. On the other hand there is EPE,Sony,Warner etc. Most of the things EPE has done is ducks etc. Sony is just repeating the same old stuff trying to lure us into buying a cd because there is one take not used before. FTD seems to follow that too (like selling LA seperate from the book now). Lately I skipped them. Warner Bros, MGM etc. they don't value the Elvis material high and only get upset if other make a quick buck. No sympathy from my side here. I would love to spend money on royalties to EPE etc. but then they should deliver. By the way, if the guys paid so much for their project on the Final Curtain, I would think that they have paid the royalties. So the box should be legal now!
marco31768 wrote on July 19, 2011
For "lray": I collect every FTD release... And a lot of boots... I love boots: they give us Elvis' songs that FTD could not release and sometime the sound of bootlegs is better (Audionics, Gravel Road and Venus labels). Often, their artworks are amazing.
Orion wrote on July 20, 2011
Somebody had to take the fall and become the face of the "evil" that is botlegging. I feel sorry for Bud and Joseph. However, I must ask in what way does this action make the Elvis world better for the fans. As Elvis always said, without his fans he would've died driving a truck. So, EPE, what do we (the fans) get in return for all the money you spent prosceuting these two men ? Will FTD now re-release all the material that has been issued on "imports" to keep going for another 15 years ?
drjohncarpenter0117 wrote on July 20, 2011
Elvis Presley the biggest influence to hit the music field in the 20th Century,the sheer volume of work Elvis put down in the recording studio and in later years the concerts,is it no wonder fans want more than what we get from official release's. The bootleg/import side of things regarding Elvis Presley has to me always been a serious part in trying to get as much material Elvis recorded as possible,and through the years going back to my first 'boot' vinyl.....'From The Waist Up' it has been a life long challenge keeping up.It's all about supply and demand and fan's demand more from Elvis than the record company and EPE have given over the years,the gap between what the companies feel Elvis fans want and they actually put out has never been enough to fulfil Elvis fans who buy the import side of things. FTD has gone some way in trying to fill the void and have had some good release's but again along way short compared to some of the excellent projects put out by other parties,for a instance i have recently gone back and re-listened the excellent box set 'Reclaiming the Crown' and to me this gives me a real chance to listen to Elvis in the studio working on material and blows me away,a fascinating opportunity to listen to Elvis and the going's on in the studio,it's stuff like this that fuels the import side of things and i belive are missed golden opportunities by Sony and FTD to seriously compete with the import side of things. EPE are of course trying to protect the 'image' of Elvis in the latter years and projects like 'TFC' may be of concern to them but the project was for fans by fans and not a commercial release for the general public so not sure why EPE feel that TFC would of damged the 'image' of Elvis Presley,all Elvis fans are fully aware of the problems with Elvis and prescription drugs,concerts etc so of course the 'shock' factor of seeing Elvis in the latter years is nothing new to fans so again TFC was a project for fans and for those who wanted to buy it........it's not as if we did not know what we were buying.If EPE want to be realistic then bring out a edition of the CBS special as it is as important for Elvis fans to have some reminder of the King from this tv special...........but then i suppose EPE are more interested in mass production of cheap,tacky,worthless items.........'that's protecting the image' in EPE eyes. So come on Sony,EPE,FTD and all parties involved in the marketing of Elvis Presley's music and image fans want more than just another greatest hits release and you know you have material that should be released in the proper manner and please show fans the respect they deserve and do justice to all the hard work Elvis Presley put down in the recording studio,films and.concert........after all the 'image' is one thing,the music is another.
circleG wrote on July 22, 2011
thankyou Tony C i stand corrected - its confusing sometimes in the Elvis world!
salparadiseI wrote on July 25, 2011
EPE has a long history of being the show business equal to a high level collection agency. Their main weapon is the suit letter where it demands whoever has crossed their path will be sued unless they cease whatever it is they were doing. As noted here in comments, that policy has finally come home to roost and has lead to yet another example of what they're real operational mode is: to sue people. That way, EPE can 'protect' Elvis'. Anyone who has the ability to think at any level knows that EPE is trying to protect their brand. Their marketing people aren't very good (see comments for examples) and their long range planning even worse. Instead of planning for the future of Elvis' music, for example, they have shown countless times just how little they really understand. Since the Colonel unloaded most of Elvis' rights to his own music only music not part of that deal comes anywhere near what EPE does. Rather then get on the lead with his concert recordings, they instead follow the EPE mission statement : sue everyone. I hope the folks out there know that. EPE is pretty much just a front operation to harass people with treats to sue and to market his image and a few songs they retain rights to. But, what recordings do fall in their yard should be repackaged and sold to fans. EPE also needs to know that the main base of Elvis' fan base are dying off, and that the new generation have little, if any, idea of who he is. So, their window here is slowly closing. Elvis' was the dead star market leader until Michael Jackson hit the dust. The Wall Street Journal recently noted that EPE is a poorly run outfit who are very shortsighted with Elvis and instead focus on stripping all assets from EPE. Hence, not much effort on anything else.
Andre wrote on July 30, 2011
I love good quality bootlegs. They keep FTD and Sony on their toes. Thanks to them we have gotten many more Concerts and shows on CD than if we had to wait for Sony/FTD. Offer and demand practice always is good marketing strategy. There is lots of profits for all of those. Sony or BMG shouldn't waste their money on legal fees, agree, with most fans. Instead, if they can bring better product to us, we'll buy it from BMG/FTD/Sony...but they have failed to do so for years (have actually fallen asleep, we feel). Sorry.