Documentary ''The Definitive Elvis" Is Blocked

A U.S. appeals court has brought down the curtain on a film documentary about singer Elvis Presley, saying it made improper use of copyrighted film, photo and musical material. "The king is dead", 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Tallman wrote in the decision. "His legacy, and those who wish to profit from it, remain very much alive." The case centred on a video called "The Definitive Elvis" a 16-hour documentary that retailed for $99 (63 pounds) after costing Passport Video more than $2 million to make. Elvis Presley Enterprises, entities that owned the rights to various Presley television appearances and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote the hits "Jailhouse Rock" and "Hound Dog", objected to the documentary's use of their material. The 9th circuit upheld a lower court decision blocking the further distribution of the video. "It would be impossible to produce a biography of Elvis without showing some of his most famous television appearances for reference purposes," the court wrote. "But some of the clips are played without much interruption, if any. The purpose of showing these clips likely goes beyond merely making a reference for a biography, but instead serves the same intrinsic entertainment value that is protected by Plaintiff's copyrights." In a dissent from the three-judge ruling, Judge John Noonan wrote the court did not properly take into account the public interest in the Presley biography and called the decision "a miscarriage of justice".
Source: Reuters / Updated: Nov 7, 2003 
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