Meat Loaf sues tribute act for cybersquatting and impersonating
19 July 2012
Legendary rock singer Meat loaf is suing a British tribute act for $100,000 (£64,000) over claims that he is a “cybersquatter and fraudulent imposter”.
The tribute act in question, To Hell and Back, is the work of Dean Torkington, a 50-year-old divorcee from Burnley. He currently owns the domain name meatloaf.org, but the writ issued by Meat Loaf (real name Michael Aday) claims that Torkington has “commercially exploited” said domain name in order to “capitalise on the artist’s celebrity”. Torkington’s domain was registered in March of 2000, over a year before Meat Loaf’s own official domain name (meatloaf.net) was registered.
The lawsuit, initiated in the US state of California, describes Mr Torkington as a “dead ringer” of the singer, and accuses him of trying to “fraudulently…pass himself off as Meat Loaf”. With props and an elaborate stage show, Mr Torkington’s own site proclaims that “You simply won’t find a more accurate portrayal of the Rock God Meat Loaf anywhere else”.
However, Mr Torkington insists that his act does not infringe on Meat Loaf in any way, and vowed not let the singer “bully” him. “It's not the first time Meatloaf and his management have tried to threaten me…I'm seeing my barrister because there's a legal term that states if he knew about me and has done nothing before he cannot complain later on."
Mr Torkington, who also incorporates songs from Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, and Aerosmith into his act, argued that he could hardly be considered a dead ringer for the hefty rock legend anymore, having lost 11 stone over the past two years.
In 2009, he recorded “The Bat Strikes Back”, an original tribute album to Meat Loaf’s groundbreaking opus, “Bat out of Hell”. Writing on his website, he suggested that the album had caused him to draw Meat Loaf’s ire even further.
“According to sources this video of my own original album is what has really angered Meat Loaf, and brought about this writ. Could the reason be be (sic) it got a better review than Bat Out Of Hell 3 in Classic Rock Magazine?” he wrote.