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Entertainment & Sports Law

‘Blues Brothers’ nixed in tribute show title, but judge OKs ‘distinctive style’ of black-suited duo

Posted Oct 23, 2013 3:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi performing as the Blues
Brothers in 2009. steve white photos / Shutterstock.com

The producers of a tribute show honoring two characters famously portrayed by Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi can't use their "Blues Brothers" moniker in the title.

But the "distinctive style" of the black-suited duo isn't restricted by their right of publicity, since it wasn't unique to them and, in fact, was copied by them from other singers, a Dutch judge has ruled. Aykroyd and Belushi's widow had sued in Hague District Court in the Netherlands in an unsuccessful effort to shut down the show, explains the Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq. blog.

"The claimants did not contest that the appearance of Jake and Elwood Blues, namely a duo wearing a black suit, with a white shirt, black tie, white socks, black shoes, black sunglasses, black ‘pigskin’ hats and sideburns are similar to the dress style of a number of blues legends form the 1950s, such as Reverend Gary Davis and John Lee Hooker," Justice Melanie Loos wrote in an opinion earlier this month that allows the show to go on. "The claimants even stated at the hearing that Aykroyd and Belushi were inspired for The Blues Brothers by the performers of the so-called hipster style of ‘Electric Blues’ performers from Chicago."

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