Tina Turner, 81, sues simply the best tribute act singer for being too similar to her (despite being nearly 50 years younger)
- Tina Turner, 81, suing tribute act based in Germany for looking too much like her
- Dorothea ‘Coco’ Fletcher, aged in her 30s, performs in show Simply The Best
- Turner says Fletcher looks so much like her in promotional posters that fans may mistakenly think she is involved in the production
- Case has reached Germany’s Federal Court of Justice with a ruling due next year
Tina Turner is suing a tribute act based in Germany for looking too much like her.
The American singer, 81, is duking it out in court with Dorothea ‘Coco’ Fletcher, aged in her 30s, who performs in an unofficial tribute show called Simply The Best.
Turner’s lawyers argue that Fletcher looks so much alike in promotional posters that fans may mistakenly think the real Tina is involved in the show.
The case has now reached Germany’s Federal Court of Justice which is set to make a ruling that could radically reshape the multi-billion dollar tribute act industry.
Tina Turner (left, performing in 1997) is suing tribute act Coco Fletcher (right) for looking too much like her
Turner is suing over this poster of Fletcher, which she says is so similar in appearance that it risks confusing fans
The lawsuit is against Cofo Entertainment, a German firm that represents Fletcher and other tribute acts that imitate Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra.
Turner first filed suit against the company – based in Bavaria – last year when posters for Simply The Best were released.
Her legal team scored an initial victory after a court in Cologne ruled the posters could indeed be misleading to punters, The Times reports.
But the posters were re-designed and Turner lost a follow-up case at the Cologne Court of Appeals, which ruled that the risk of confusion among the public did not outweigh Fletcher’s right of artistic expression.
The case has now reached the Federal Court of Justice, which held its first hearing on the matter last week.
Kerstin Schmitt, a lawyer representing Turner, sought to persuade the judges that the posters do not constitute ‘art’ and are merely advertising.
‘[Turner] would like to decide when her name and image are used for commercial purposes,’ Schmitt told the court.
But Brunhilde Ackermann, lawyer for the entertainment company, hit back – saying the average fan would expect a tribute act to look like the real Tina Turner.
Only a ‘chronically stupid person who looks at everything superficially’ would get the two confused, she said.
She also warned that a binding ruling on behalf of the court could potentially wreck a multi-billion dollar industry that has long-standing recognition as legitimate.
Judge Thomas Koch then questioned whether the motivation for Turner’s lawsuit is that she endorses a rival official tribute act.
His final ruling in the case is not expected until February next year.
Despite mostly performing in Germany, Fletcher is originally from the US and grew up in Alabama.
Initially working as a club singer, she moved to Vegas where she began performing with the likes of The Platters, Bobby Womack and Millie Jackson.
In 1997 she moved to Berlin and began performing in the ‘Stars in Concert’ show, which is dedicated to tribute acts.
Aside from performing as Tina Turner, Fletcher has also sung at shows organised by Austrian composed Udo Jürgens, who passed away in 2014.
She has also made several TV appearances in Germany, including on popular show Let’s Dance – a German version of Strictly Come Dancing.
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