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Lawsuits in Fla., England related to Elvis music

- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) - Elvis Presley Enterprises said it's suing men in Florida and England on claims of copyright infringement and illegal sale of a DVD and CD box set of recordings and footage of the singer's performances.

Meanwhile a third person, Europe-based DJ Spankox, is disputing a British court ruling against him in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the company.

The Memphis-based company said Wednesday it filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the Chancery Division of the High Court in England and Wales against Joseph Pirzada, alleging he is the source of the box set.

The set includes footage from a 1977 television special called "Elvis in Concert" and raw footage of Elvis in Omaha, Neb., and Rapid City, S.D., according to the company, which owns copyrights on those materials.

Company lawyers and computer experts, with authorization by the court, searched Pirzada's home Jan. 25 for evidence of the sale and distribution of the set.

An e-mail sent Wednesday to a recording company that lists Pirzada as its owner was not immediately returned.

On Feb. 2, Elvis Presley Enterprises sued Bud Glass, who has previously published an Elvis book and DVD series, on claims he illegally sold and distributed the Pirzada box set in the United States.

An e-mail sent to Bud Glass Productions on Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida.

Elvis Presley Enterprises has been known to go after entities it claims have violated its copyright and licenses. The company manages the dead singer's music publishing assets and a worldwide licensing program.

The company said it's considering filing additional lawsuits against others involved the manufacture, sale, and release of the box set and other bootlegs.

"Elvis Presley Enterprises will not tolerate infringement of our intellectual property rights," said Jack Soden, CEO of the corporation.

In more court action, Elvis Presley Enterprises said it won a judgment in the England and Wales chancery court against Agostino Carollo, known as DJ Spankox.

The company had sued Carollo, alleging breach of contract and trademark infringement related to a Christmas remix album that included the company's trademarks, logos and photos.

The DJ and the company had entered into an agreement in 2008 on Carollo's first album of Elvis remixes and a follow-up album, but the company told Carollo in 2009 that it would not support nor endorse the Christmas remix album.

The British court on Feb. 1 barred Carollo from infringing on the company's trademarks and ordered him to pay damages and attorney's fees.

Carollo denies wrongdoing and says he is working to get the ruling discharged.

"They filed the Claim out of nowhere, without even trying to contact me with one single letter, accusing me of infringing EPE's copyright when they instead knew that I didn't infringe anything," he told The Associated Press in an e-mail to the AP's London bureau.

Carollo criticized Elvis Presley Enterprises for filing the lawsuit in England, when he lives in Italy.

He also said the recently released "Viva Elvis-The Album," which features reworked versions of Elvis songs, was inspired by one of his own remix albums.

"It felt like a friend had stabbed me in the back," Carollo said.

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Associated Press Writer Cassandra Vinograd in London contributed to this story.

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Online:

Elvis Presley Enterprises: http://www.elvis.com

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