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Tina Turner sues tribute act for looking too similar to her

Turner’s lawyers argue that fans may mistakenly believe that the real singer is involved in tribute show ‘Simply The Best’

By Hollie Geraghty

Tina Turner sings and wears black next to tribute act Dorothea 'Coco' Fletcher
Tina Turner (left), and tribute act Dorothea 'Coco' Fletcher (right). (Photos: Alamy/ Cofo Entertainment/ Davids Darmer).

Tina Turner is suing a tribute act for looking too similar to her.

The legendary singer, now 81, has argued that American-born, German-based act Dorothea ‘Coco’ Fletcher, who performs in tribute show ‘Simply The Best’, bears too much resemblance to her.

Turner’s lawyers argue that fans may mistakenly believe that the real singer is involved in the show because Fletcher, in her 30s, looks too alike Turner.

The lawsuit has been brought against Cofo Entertainment, a firm that represents other tribute like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra, and has now reached Germany’s Federal Court of Justice.

Last year posters for ‘Simply The Best’ were released, and a court in Cologne said that they could be misleading, according to The Times.

Turner lost a follow up case at the Cologne Court of Appeals after the posters were redesigned.

Turner’s lawyer Kerstin Schmitt argued that the posters were not “art” but more commercial materials.

“[Turner] would like to decide when her name and image are used for commercial purposes,” she told the court.

Cofo Entertainment’s lawyer Brunhilde Ackermann responded that only a “chronically stupid person who looks at everything superficially” could confuse the tribute act for the real Turner.

She also noted that the outcome of the court case could have a drastic impact on the billion dollar tribute act industry.

Judge Thomas Koch reportedly questioned if the motivation for Turner’s lawsuit was because she endorses a rival tribute act. A final ruling is not expected until February next year. 

Last month Turner sold her back catalogue rights for £225 million in what BMG described as its single largest artist acquisition ever.

The $300 million (£225 million) deal saw BMG acquire Turner’s artist’s share of her recordings, her writer’s share of publishing and her neighboring rights. BMG also secured rights to her name, image and likeness for brand partnership, merchandising and sponsorship usages.

Turner said of the deal: “Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal.” 

“I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music my work is in professional, reliable hands.”