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Brian Quinn
11-24-2011, 04:04 PM
November 24th 2011
EPE LOSE LEGAL BATTLE - The legal heirs of Elvis Presley lost a lawsuit Wednesday
in Germany claiming a fortune from Sony Music Entertainment Germany for what they called
the "exploitation of Elvis Presley's greatest hits".

The Judge hearing the case in the Munich court mockingly quoted one of Elvis' 50s songs,
saying, 'Money, honey, if you want to get along with me,' as he threw out the claim by Elvis
Presley Enterprises for a share of the record company's profits over the past 40 years.

The unprecedented deal, thought up by Colonel Parker saw Elvis sign away to RCA Records
in 1973 the rights to all his classic hits and more, including Heartbreak Hotel and Jailhouse
Rock, for a lump sum of $5.4 million dollars. The deal saw both Parker and RCA Records
profit greatly while Elvis was walk away with less than 2 million dollars for all but his entire
career. Sony later acquired the rights.

The Elvis estate argued the package was now worth $130 million dollars thanks to German
copyright extensions. They partly based their claim on a 2002 provision in German rights law
that ordains a top-up of royalties for unexpected best-sellers.

But the judge disagreed. Christian Czychowski, the lawyer for Elvis Presley Enterprises, in
which the icon's daughter Lisa-Marie Presley holds a 15-per-cent stake, said his client
would appeal.

Brian

King Of The Whole World
11-24-2011, 04:36 PM
I hate it, but this is no surprise to me. I never thought EPE had a leg to stand on. Its not RCA's fault that Elvis signed a bad deal that would hurt him financially. I guess if he would have had someone in his corner looking out for him things would have been different.

KPM
11-24-2011, 07:19 PM
I am not surprised-RCA made the deal in 1973 knowing that the pre-73 catalogue was priceless, knowing it would always make a profit-and Parker shortsightedly saw it as old product that has been exploited and now was useless-so he jumped at the deal-telling Elvis it was a great profitable contract. Elvis accepted Parkers word, and signed the contract......and now 34 years later Graceland is open, they sell trinkets and tours and Sony/BMG/RCA sells the music-the legacy of Elvis.

rickb
11-25-2011, 07:08 AM
The Colonel's short-sighted management strikes again!
Unforgivable

JRtherealJR
11-25-2011, 11:47 AM
After this deal was made in 1973, EP and the Colonel got $5.4 million to spilt between them 50/50.

In 1973, $5.4 million would have been worth $27,848,625.88 today.

So Elvis walked away with almost $14,000,000 in today's money. Remember that nobody was expecting him to die in 4 years' time- they though he would have many more decades of new songs to continue to profit from in the future.

And this deal did not affect in any way Elvis' publishing royalties of these songs:


QUOTE FROM EPE:
MUSIC PUBLISHING
Totally separate from the ownership of Elvis' recordings is the ownership of the songs themselves. Elvis recorded over 700 songs. Elvis, through his own publishing companies (Elvis Presley Music, Gladys Music, Whitehaven Music and Elvis Music, Inc.) was part owner of a great many of the songs he recorded and even some songs he did not record. Hill & Range Music, owned by brothers Julian and Jean Aberbach, was his publishing partner for the most part. Typically, in the deals made with the publishing companies, the composers retain a share. The publishing companies manage the material. Elvis did not sell his publishing interests. EPE still holds those interests and they are one of our major assets.

Thus, the 1973 deal regarding Elvis's artist's royalties had no effect on his publisher's royalties.

Elvis continued to get (EPE still gets) his publisher's royalties on sales of recordings of songs he had publishing interest in, no matter what date they were recorded. Elvis also recorded many songs that he did not have publishing interest in. Once in a while, per the contracts signed in Elvis's lifetime, his publishing interests expire on some songs.

KPM
11-25-2011, 11:53 PM
After this deal was made in 1973, EP and the Colonel got $5.4 million to spilt between them 50/50.In 1973, $5.4 million would have been worth $27,848,625.88 today.

So Elvis walked away with almost $14,000,000 in today's money. Remember that nobody was expecting him to die in 4 years' time- they though he would have many more decades of new songs to continue to profit from in the future.

And this deal did not affect in any way Elvis' publishing royalties of these songs:


QUOTE FROM EPE:
MUSIC PUBLISHING
Totally separate from the ownership of Elvis' recordings is the ownership of the songs themselves. Elvis recorded over 700 songs. Elvis, through his own publishing companies (Elvis Presley Music, Gladys Music, Whitehaven Music and Elvis Music, Inc.) was part owner of a great many of the songs he recorded and even some songs he did not record. Hill & Range Music, owned by brothers Julian and Jean Aberbach, was his publishing partner for the most part. Typically, in the deals made with the publishing companies, the composers retain a share. The publishing companies manage the material. Elvis did not sell his publishing interests. EPE still holds those interests and they are one of our major assets.

Thus, the 1973 deal regarding Elvis's artist's royalties had no effect on his publisher's royalties.

Elvis continued to get (EPE still gets) his publisher's royalties on sales of recordings of songs he had publishing interest in, no matter what date they were recorded. Elvis also recorded many songs that he did not have publishing interest in. Once in a while, per the contracts signed in Elvis's lifetime, his publishing interests expire on some songs.
According to Elvis Day by Day-on March 1st 1973 the infamous selling of the pre-73 catalogue, a new management contract with Parker concerning all income from recording (not just the side deals Parker had going) would be split 50/50 a new 7 year deal with RCA (at the same royalty rate) all and all something like $10.5 million in business is done-somehow the Colonel will receive nearly $6 million
of the $10.5 and Elvis gets about $4.5 million. The Colonel comes out on top.
As far as Elvis walking away with $14 million in todays money-as I pointed out Elvis 30#1s alone would have brought Elvis about $15 million at 10% artist royalty rate and around 12 million copies having been sold worldwide. Elvis and his estate lost out on probably a couple hundred million because of that single deal.
The $130 million mentioned in the suit was for German rights alone.
This was far from a smart deal-regardless if Elvis had lived to 70 or died at 42-the pre 73 catalogue was priceless and time has shown that to be true. As soon as the deal was signed RCA began working on the Legendary Performer series, the Sun Sessions album etc...they began making back that $5.4 million almost immediately......year after year they reap huge profits/
As far as the publishing deals-that is true as I have pointed out many times....the estate still gets those profits which are split with the Aberbachs and the songwriters for each individual song that is in their publishing catalogue. The profits for the publishing are not nearly as large or profitable as the artists royalty.

JRtherealJR
11-26-2011, 12:58 AM
Elvis 30#1s alone would have brought Elvis about $15 million at 10% artist royalty rate and around 12 million copies having been sold worldwide. Elvis and his estate lost out on probably a couple hundred million because of that single deal.
The $130 million mentioned in the suit was for German rights alone.


You are quite incorrect when you say that Elvis missed out on $15 million from the 30#1s release. In fact Elvis did not miss out on a single cent because he was very sadlly no longer living.

rickb
11-26-2011, 04:45 AM
Well the Elvis estate missed out.
The colonel's greedy, short-sighted sell-out and exorbidant percentage can never be excused.

LaurieT
11-26-2011, 02:09 PM
I have to sort of laugh, the supposed reason this was done is that Elvis needed the money to pay Cilla the divorce settlement. So after it comes back and bites them in the butt,,,they want to recup that loss at the expense of others who made the deal of the century. My gosh, just how much money do these people need???

KPM
11-26-2011, 10:44 PM
You are quite incorrect when you say that Elvis missed out on $15 million from the 30#1s release. In fact Elvis did not miss out on a single cent because he was very sadlly no longer living.
I stand corrected;):P, but in my mind ELVIS LIVES, so let me rephrase-Elvis's daughter Lisa, and his grandchildren lost out on $15 million from that one album. From the Christmas releases probably easily another $15 million, and any other release that RCA has pushed out since 1973.....I'm sure the total lost revenue is staggering!
The biggest total missed out on would be from August 16 1977 to mid 1981... production could not keep up with demand for product......who knows how many records were sold, and how many multi millions were lost to the estate and legacy of Elvis.
RCA did not worry about keeping good records as long as the money was rushing in so fast.

Jumpsuit Junkie
11-27-2011, 10:19 AM
To be perfectly honest, I have little remorse for the loss of earnings for Priscilla or Lisa Marie, Priscilla allows money grabbing on a scale unprecedented by even Parker's standards. I could understand if they were trying to protect the Image rights or were trying to protect the Elvis legacy but they are purely out for the money!

I realise the RCA/BMG/SONY are no better, but they were the ones who had the foresight all those years ago to buy Elvis out through one of the Colonels crappy deals. Its a little ridiculous for EPE to come back to the table for seconds when you have had starters, main course and dessert from Elvis' legacy already, they just look greedy IMO

Donut
11-27-2011, 07:26 PM
Exactly, neither Elvis nor EPE has missed out on anything. RCA invested its money, made a good deal and Elvis agreed to it, period.
What would have happened if those records wouldn't sell? Would Lisa Marie still want to fight to get those rights back?

rickb
11-28-2011, 05:41 AM
I agree that Elvis' estate had no grounds for this claim

monk37
11-29-2011, 01:08 AM
especially to sue in another country under other laws

rather than the laws and country in which the at issue deal was conducted.


bad enough money over artistry was the game when Elvis was alive, disgusting that it continues after death

vultures have more class

KPM
11-30-2011, 03:58 PM
Exactly, neither Elvis nor EPE has missed out on anything. RCA invested its money, made a good deal and Elvis agreed to it, period.
What would have happened if those records wouldn't sell? Would Lisa Marie still want to fight to get those rights back?
I would point out that hundreds of millions in artist royalties over 34 years would have negated the option of Graceland being opened to the public(which the probate judge recommended as the best option to keep the estate solvent) it also would have given the estate much more leeway to "pick and choose" its licensing agreements for the trinkets sold which rake in million upon million.....in place of artists royalties they do not get.

....the point of my argument about the selling of the pre 73 catalogue is that Parker supposedly the man with the intense business know how-did not see what RCA saw in making that deal-and that is that there was no question that those pre 73 songs would always sell-this was the easiest no brainer deal that RCA ever made and it was the worst deal Parker ever recommended to Elvis.
The only deal that compares is Lennon and McCartneys deal for their publishing rights to their songs in which they sold them outright and did not fully realise it at the time- McCartney was outbid for by Jackson when those rights came up for sale years later and today they are owned by Sony and the estate of MJ....and like the pre 73 catalogue they are priceless and will always make money.

debtdbruno
11-30-2011, 04:03 PM
they say hindsight is a wonderful thing don't they?...............

monk37
12-01-2011, 12:54 AM
now that is a sobering thought

if they had been able to have the record money - they probably still would have opened Graceland

but maybe there wouldn't have been all the crap products


probably would, there's just too much money to make off Elvis, no one could resist it

even those who aren't entitled as all the so called love children demonstrate

Donut
12-01-2011, 11:02 AM
I would point out that hundreds of millions in artist royalties over 34 years would have negated the option of Graceland being opened to the public(which the probate judge recommended as the best option to keep the estate solvent) it also would have given the estate much more leeway to "pick and choose" its licensing agreements for the trinkets sold which rake in million upon million.....in place of artists royalties they do not get.

....the point of my argument about the selling of the pre 73 catalogue is that Parker supposedly the man with the intense business know how-did not see what RCA saw in making that deal-and that is that there was no question that those pre 73 songs would always sell-this was the easiest no brainer deal that RCA ever made and it was the worst deal Parker ever recommended to Elvis.
The only deal that compares is Lennon and McCartneys deal for their publishing rights to their songs in which they sold them outright and did not fully realise it at the time- McCartney was outbid for by Jackson when those rights came up for sale years later and today they are owned by Sony and the estate of MJ....and like the pre 73 catalogue they are priceless and will always make money.

It would be good to know how those records were selling at the time Elvis made that deal, but I can't find any information about it.
Anyway, were they still be selling fine or not, we have to think that those were different times and Elvis and Parker didn't know those records would be more valuable with the passing of time. Was there any precedent of similar characteristics? I don't think so, and on the other hand Elvis didn't know he was going to die so soon. He problably thought he would be recording and selling new songs the rest of his life. He was still young and constantly touring. Also, things could have been very different in matters of record sales if he was alive today, his popularity could have decreased...

My point is, it's very easy for us to say that deal was a huge mistake, because we have been here seeing how his records are selling since he died. Was a mistake that Sam Phillips sold Elvis' contract? Probably, but it was imposible for him to know what Elvis would become! We now know about the Beatles and how the music industry have made billions, trillions or whatever, most of all during the 80's and 90's. Elvis and Parker couldn't have known that, they were two "beginners" in a field that was not really explored yet. I don't think many artists would make a deal like that today, because they now have references. Elvis didn't have that, I guess.


As for EPE not opening Graceland to the public or not selling crap with Elvis' face on it if they got those royalties today, well... let me doubt that very much ;)

Jumpsuit Junkie
12-01-2011, 03:25 PM
McCartney was outbid for by Jackson when those rights came up for sale years later and today they are owned by Sony and the estate of MJ....and like the pre 73 catalogue they are priceless and will always make money.

Yes McCartney was outbid but only because he didn't bid enough, he could have bidded higher but refused quoting he wrote them why should he pay for them. McCartney isnt short of money by a long chalk but it is crazy that he didn't buy them when he could, because now he will never be able to afford to buy them even with his millions because now the potential is known.

Back in 1973 the Colonel probably thought there would be many more pay days after all Elvis was still riding the crest of a wave from the Aloha show and thought that Elvis would pull himself together...

King Of The Whole World
12-01-2011, 03:26 PM
Something to think about...if Elvis didn't spend every dime he made he might have not signed such a document. The money may not have been as important to him at the time.

KPM
12-01-2011, 03:50 PM
It would be good to know how those records were selling at the time Elvis made that deal, but I can't find any information about it.
Anyway, were they still be selling fine or not, we have to think that those were different times and Elvis and Parker didn't know those records would be more valuable with the passing of time. Was there any precedent of similar characteristics? I don't think so, and on the other hand Elvis didn't know he was going to die so soon. He problably thought he would be recording and selling new songs the rest of his life. He was still young and constantly touring. Also, things could have been very different in matters of record sales if he was alive today, his popularity could have decreased...

My point is, it's very easy for us to say that deal was a huge mistake, because we have been here seeing how his records are selling since he died. Was a mistake that Sam Phillips sold Elvis' contract? Probably, but it was imposible for him to know what Elvis would become! We now know about the Beatles and how the music industry have made billions, trillions or whatever, most of all during the 80's and 90's. Elvis and Parker couldn't have known that, they were two "beginners" in a field that was not really explored yet. I don't think many artists would make a deal like that today, because they now have references. Elvis didn't have that, I guess.


As for EPE not opening Graceland to the public or not selling crap with Elvis' face on it if they got those royalties today, well... let me doubt that very much ;)
I understand how you feel.
Parker had no idea that they would be worth anything-because he did not understand music-Elvis listened to Parker and he was taken.
RCA knew Elvis was truely one of a kind....they had never seen sales like he had brought them in his career with them. Parker just did not get it entirely-he saw $5.4 million for some old songs-RCA saw the total value of this music by an chrismatic innovator and artist....it shows that they understood the unique talent they had-Parker did not get it.
Elvis, Sinatra, Crosby, Beatles these people were not run of the mill pop-they were the best at their games-innovators and trendsetters and Parker sold Elvis short.
Have people ever quit playing Mozart, Beethoven, Bach? Of course not... they died and their music is priceless-Elvis for modern music is in that catagory(like the others I mentioned)
Elvis was the #1 record seller of the 50s, #2 for the 60s and he died in 77 still selling well enough to rank 11th for the 7 years he was alive.
(One list I found ranked him at #1 for the 70s based on the frenzy of material that sold after he died)
RCA did not have hindsight-to spend that $5.4 million they had to make the case for the musics worth to their board of directors and it was easily accepted, happily accepted.

King Of The Whole World
12-01-2011, 05:12 PM
KPM, Where did you find the information on Elvis ranking thru the years. Thats interesting. I assume the Beatles were first in the 60's.

You always hear how Elvis' career was on a "decline" in the 70's, but I read somewhere how Elvis was the biggest selling tour in 77. I wish I could find that info again.

KPM
12-01-2011, 05:43 PM
That info comes from a book on the Billboard charts and history-by record researcher Joel Whitburn.
You are correct the Beatles are first in the 60s.
I think that information about Elvis being the biggest selling tour act in 1977 came from Billboard magazine in 1977.

rickb
12-01-2011, 10:28 PM
Good points KPM

Donut
12-02-2011, 12:19 PM
I understand how you feel.
Parker had no idea that they would be worth anything-because he did not understand music-Elvis listened to Parker and he was taken.
RCA knew Elvis was truely one of a kind....they had never seen sales like he had brought them in his career with them. Parker just did not get it entirely-he saw $5.4 million for some old songs-RCA saw the total value of this music by an chrismatic innovator and artist....it shows that they understood the unique talent they had-Parker did not get it.
Elvis, Sinatra, Crosby, Beatles these people were not run of the mill pop-they were the best at their games-innovators and trendsetters and Parker sold Elvis short.
Have people ever quit playing Mozart, Beethoven, Bach? Of course not... they died and their music is priceless-Elvis for modern music is in that catagory(like the others I mentioned)
Elvis was the #1 record seller of the 50s, #2 for the 60s and he died in 77 still selling well enough to rank 11th for the 7 years he was alive.
(One list I found ranked him at #1 for the 70s based on the frenzy of material that sold after he died)
RCA did not have hindsight-to spend that $5.4 million they had to make the case for the musics worth to their board of directors and it was easily accepted, happily accepted.

Of course, those artist were not one hit wonders and Elvis is a legendary performer. But the fact that he signed that deal says a lot about what he and Parker thought at that time about those "old records". If they have known how much they would be worth they probably wouldn't have sold the rights.

To be honest, I don't care much about who gets those royalties. I don't have much faith in EPE, so I don't think we would get better Elvis related stuff if they owned those records. Maybe we'd get new Elvis singing rubber ducks instead the current silent ones!

KPM
12-03-2011, 08:13 PM
Of course, those artist were not one hit wonders and Elvis is a legendary performer. But the fact that he signed that deal says a lot about what he and Parker thought at that time about those "old records". If they have known how much they would be worth they probably wouldn't have sold the rights.

To be honest, I don't care much about who gets those royalties. I don't have much faith in EPE, so I don't think we would get better Elvis related stuff if they owned those records. Maybe we'd get new Elvis singing rubber ducks instead the current silent ones!
You see thats where you and I differ-EPE did not put itself in the position of having to sell "rubber duckies" that was done long before EPE came into existence. When you are left 4 cards in a five card hand and one draw-you play it the best you can.
Perhaps you are correct about how EPE would have played this hand-but those royalties would have certainly given them income to consider another path of movement. They were left this hand-they did not create it.

debtdbruno
12-03-2011, 09:05 PM
excellent point Ken

Donut
12-03-2011, 10:22 PM
You see thats where you and I differ-EPE did not put itself in the position of having to sell "rubber duckies" that was done long before EPE came into existence. When you are left 4 cards in a five card hand and one draw-you play it the best you can.
Perhaps you are correct about how EPE would have played this hand-but those royalties would have certainly given them income to consider another path of movement. They were left this hand-they did not create it.

KPM, even though I respect your opinion, I know we'll never agree on this because we have talked about it many times before. But that they sold those kind of things in the times of Parker doesn't mean they should be still doing it. That's exactly the problem. They are not selective about what they put Elvis' face on and it really affects his image. You just have to visit the Beatles online gift shop or Sinatra's to see the difference. Half of Elvis official merchandise either looks cheap, tacky or ridiculous. For each really tacky item you have of the Beatles we have 10 of Elvis. Have you received EPE's latest christams gift promotional e-mail? It makes you want to cry, or laugh, it depends on the day...
I'm not against EPE selling Elvis merchandise, it's the little care they have about how Elvis is perceived by the public (in large part thanks to them and their tasteless promotion) what bothers me. If that's the better they can do with the image rights to a legend like Elvis, well... something must be really wrong with their PR and marketing team, or they really don't care about Elvis while her merchandising keeps selling. I bet the last option is the correct one.
Sometimes seems like Col. Parker were still managing Elvis from the grave, and some say Elvis could be still alive... it's Parker who they should be looking for!

King Of The Whole World
12-04-2011, 12:21 AM
I think EPE believes sometimes if they don't put Elvis' name or face on any and everything, he will be forgotten. I guess a lot of these crazy items must sell, because there is no way these companies would want to not make money. I guess so many Elvis fans will buy anything that has to do with Elvis. I am not that way, I only buy what I think is cool merchandise.