Tina Turner is suing a German tribute act because she looks too much like the real thing. The case is unlikely to keep tribute acts off the UK stage, says media, entertainment and intellectual property lawyers Collyer Bristow.

Howard Ricklow, Partner, Collyer Bristow comments.

“Tina Turner has turned to her ‘private lawyer’ in Germany demanding an unauthorised tribute act remove its posters for fear that the German public may mistake the lookalike for the real thing.

“In asking ‘what’s law got to do with it’, Tina Turner is hoping to use European “right of personality” laws to determine how her image is used in public. Whilst much of European copyright law applies in the UK, there is no such right in the UK. Actions in the UK rely on “passing off” laws.

“Whilst it is ‘simply the best’ for music fans to see the original artist, it’s not always possible to artists and fans to ‘stay together’. Most bands and performers leave tribute artists alone or endorse and occasionally participate in performances. Artists who write their own songs benefit, with venues paying royalties to the PRS for distribution to the songwriters.

“The ability of artists to stop tribute artists is not straightforward, but generally the fans will need to have been confused or misled about who they were seeing with the promoter in this case saying “only a chronically stupid person is likely to confuse a tribute artist with the real thing”.

“However, if a tribute act moves from live performances to recorded or broadcast outlets, different rules will apply as would be the case if the artist has registered a trade mark protecting their name.”


About Collyer Bristow LLP

  1. Collyer Bristow LLP is a long-established law firm based in London, providing a wide range of legal services to high net worth individuals and SMEs. The firm has a particular reputation for its Private Wealth, Real Estate, Intellectual Property, Media/Entertainment and Dispute Resolution services.
  2. The firm has 85 fee earners which includes 30 partners. The firm and its individual lawyers are ranked in both Chambers and the Legal 500 directories.
  3. The firm has an office in Geneva, supporting its Private Wealth practice, and is able to provide advice to international clients across multiple jurisdictions.
  4. The firm’s highly experienced partners offer in-depth expertise and industry knowledge in commercial and residential real estate, corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, reputation management, employment, IP, insolvency, divorce and tax and estate planning.
  5. The ethos at Collyer Bristow is one of ‘personal’ service. All partners are professional yet approachable, working directly with clients to offer high quality legal advice as well as tailoring services to their individual needs. The firm’s core objective is to deliver consistently excellent services to clients.
  6. The firm has been championing emerging talent in contemporary art for almost thirty years. It supports and promotes young artists through its in-house art gallery and independently curated exhibition programme.


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