Pop Icon Pulls Up To BGH: Tina Turner Is Double Suing Him regional

Pop Icon Pulls Up To BGH: Tina Turner Is Double Suing Him  regional

Karlsruhe / Passau – There’s the Music: Does the Fake Tina Turner Look Similar to the Original and Are Fans Being Misled by Advertising Posters for a So-Called Tribute Show? It depicts Turner’s resemblance to Dorothea “Coco” Fletcher and the title “Simply the Best – The Tina Turner Story”. But the original Turner (81) has nothing to do with the production and takes action against the use of her name—and her “picture”—up to the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). She says that because of the resemblance between Fletcher and her, viewers assumed that the posters depicted her herself. Turner has sued the Passau tour operator for defaults.

After Thursday’s trial in Karlsruhe, Turner shouldn’t have too high hopes. After a victory before the Cologne Regional Court, the Cologne High Regional Court had already accepted the decision and gave artistic freedom more importance than the right to its image and name. President of BGH Judge Thomas Koch said a preliminary assessment prompted the Senate to “tend to hold this decision as correct”. BGH will not announce its decision until February 24, 2022.

“Ms. Turner is unhappy with the whole thing that she wants to own her right to self-determination,” explained attorney Kerstin Schmidt. “She would like to decide for herself whether her name and picture are used for advertising purposes.” The point is to clarify on the posters “that this is a doppelganger show and that Ms. Turner herself has nothing to do with the show”.

Oliver Forster, managing director of concert agency Cofo-Entertainment, shows the poster against which Tina Turner sued

Photo: Alliance/dpa. Photo

Lawyer Brunhilde Ackermann, who represents the defendant organizer Kofo Entertainment, explained that the event was legal. “If the show falls under artistic freedom like this, it has to be promoted accordingly. And through the lead actress, who also appears on the show. It can’t be that a blonde, for example, can be seen on the poster for the “Turner story.” The criterion is an “average informed, attentive and sensible person”, not “one who is chronically stupid and sees everything superficially”.

Ackerman also opened a big barrel: “The problem is this: if it were forbidden here now, it would probably be the end of a business model that is recognized and accepted, that is, shows tribute.” Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Kofo Entertainment has a musical about the Mushrooms from Liverpool as well as singer Falco in their program. Like “The Abba Story,” they are advertised with doppelgangers that represent the original as authentically as possible and look as similar as possible, explained managing director Oliver Forster.

BGH now has to decide whether the public will be deceived by the poster or not. After all, Turner officially retired more than ten years ago and hasn’t announced a return since, as hardcore fans know, Richter Koch said. There is also the question of whether Turner’s rights are being violated.

teaser picture

Actress Dorothea “Coco” Fletcher looks very similar to the original.

Photo: Alliance/dpa. Photo

However, during the conversation he also realized that there was another factor behind the controversy, Koch said: In 2019, “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical” celebrated its German premiere on the Hamburg Reeperbahn. It was developed by Stage Entertainment – in close collaboration with the music legend, opposite “The Tina Turner Story”. The Opertenhaus has re-shows on its schedule since October – hence the direct competition.

Personal rights of celebrities are always a matter for the judiciary. Germany’s highest civil court – the BGH – has already dealt with this. For example, in 1999, judges in a landmark ruling on the marketing of the image of actress Marlene Dietrich for advertising purposes confirmed for the first time that heirs to the dead stars could make financial claims for their commercial exploitation. In this case, the daughter was right and was allowed to claim compensation for the unauthorized use of the name and photograph of her mother, who had died in 1992.

German courts have also settled tribute shows. For example, the Mannheim Regional Court ruled in 2009 that such statements about Michael Jackson violated neither the King of Pop’s post-mortem personal rights nor his right to his own image. For the organizers of the “Tina Turner Story,” the process is a little tedious going through all the examples, as Forster acknowledged. Especially since probably nothing will change – whatever the verdict. Because since the decision of the Cologne Regional Court, posters for the show and website have been supplemented with the words “Starring Dorothea Fletcher as Tina Turner”. On the other hand, so much attention is certainly equally free advertising – after all, there are 57 locations planned for the coming year.

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