As it turns out, Tina Turner does not always find imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery. In an ongoing court proceeding, the legendary singer is arguing that a doppelgänger of an unauthorized tribute act is so much better than all the rest that it is a problem.
Last year, Turner filed a complaint in a German court against Cofo Entertainment and its star Tina Turner look-alike, Dorothea “Coco” Fletcher, citing the striking resemblance seen on promotional posters could mislead fans to believe the real Turner would be performing. The Bavarian firm promoting the “Simply The Best: The Tina Turner Story” act has been touring across Germany, Austria and Switzerland for years.
Turner’s lawyer Kerstin Schmitt told the court, “What Ms. Turner dislikes about the whole affair is that she would like to be master of her own right of self-determination. She wants to decide herself when her name and her image can be used for marketing purposes.”
According to UK publication The Times, the business of lookalike acts generates millions of euros in revenue across European countries. If a court ruling is in favor of Turner, the tribute act industry could be negatively impacted by artists and their estates gaining new authority over their likeness. In Germany there is already a set of regulations, the personality rights of 2012, that gives individual limited control over their personality being used by unauthorized others.
“If you ban this here [in Germany], that would possibly be the end of a business model that is recognised and permitted,” Brunhilde Ackermann, who represents the tour’s operator, about the impact of the court siding with Turner.
Ackermann also suggested the only way there could be a mixup in anyone believing that Fletcher — who is decades younger — was in fact Turner is if the individual were a “chronically stupid person who looks at everything superficially.” A federal court is expected to reach a verdict in February.
This court filing is the just the second in recent news regarding Turner. In October the singer sold her music catalog spanning six decades of hits for a reported $50 million to BMG. “Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, something personal,” said Turner, 81. “My work is in professional and reliable hands.”