WRIT OUT OF HELL: MEAT LOAF SUES UK TRIBUTE ACT FOR $100,000 18th July 2012
Dean Torkington as Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf is suing UK pub tribute singer Dean Torkington, 50, from Burnley, Lancashire, for £64,000 ($100,000) claiming he's an 'online imposter' and a 'cybersquatter. The legal action, launched in Los Angeles, California, centres on Mr Torkington’s website www.meatloaf.org.
Full-time performer Dean has been a Meatloaf tribute act since 1996 and performs at pubs and clubs across the UK. He claims to have had the www.meatloaf.org domain name for 12 years. Meat Loaf, 65, has the website www.meatloaf.net.
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A writ issued by LA law firm Lavely And Singer, using Meat Loaf's real name Marvin Aday, claims Dean has "commercially exploited the internet top-level domain name MeatLoaf.org to capitalise on the artist's celebrity."
It goes on to claim that Dean is "liable for substantial damages, including statutory damages of up to $100,000 for your cybersquatting".
Cybersquatting means using a domain name in bad faith where the user is trying to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.
Dean says he's used the domain name since 2000 and makes it clear it's a tribute act. He said: "Earlier this month I received a copy of the lawsuit posted to my home and emailed. I have every intention of defending this to protect my good name and will not be bullied in this way.
"I really don’t see what his gripe is or legally where he is coming from. I am not guilty of cyber squatting or passing myself off as him."
Dean also said that this is not the first time that Meat Loaf has tried to sue him. In 2003 he claimed the singer dragged him back stage at his concert in Liverpool and told him to get rid of his van which has Bat Out Of Hell album artwork on the side.
He said he also offered Meat Loaf his domain name for £8,000 - but was offered £1,300.
He said: "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."
Dean has toured with his show To Hell And Back: (A Tribute To Meat Loaf) for the past 16 years and is clearly shocked at the claims. He said the dispute has led to the one-time devoted fan diversifying his act. His Legends Of Rock show now includes tributes to Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
He also says the fact that he's shed 11 stone in the last two years means he could no longer be considered a 'dead ringer'.
He added: "I have been a Meat Loaf tribute performer since 1996. I used to be an Elton John performer before that but put on quite a bit of weight so decided to become Meat Loaf.
"I would emulate him as best I could. I have a full stage set with a motorbike and a big picture of the album cover 'Bat Out Of Hell 2' at the back.
"We have not got on for a long time. He said that he wanted my website www.Meatloaf.org. He's never made it easy for me.
"Once I paid £400 on VIP tickets to see Meat Loaf at Liverpool Docks. He came in his big tour bus and I came in my van with the 'Bat Out Of Hell' artwork on the side.
"I was on the front row and we were due to meet the band after the show. During one of the songs I got a tap on my shoulder and this guy tells me that Meat Loaf wanted to meet me after the show.
"I went back stage and I had him and his manager having a go at me. He said that he wanted to get all the pictures off the side of my van and also he wanted my website address.
"I told him that he was not having my website but shortly after that his YouTube channel complained about my YouTube videos of my show and I had to take mine down.
"I have taken this show all over the country and promoted him well in all these years. I have done charity gigs too. But when the person that you are portraying is making your life hell it makes you question whether you still want to be like them.
"I just wanted him to say that he thought that it was good but he never has. My webpage has always said that I am a tribute act. I have never tried to say that I am Meat Loaf himself.
"I've gone back to doing Elton John tribute acts more now as a result of all this. It's less hassle than being a Meat Loaf tribute act any day."
Dean, whose next show is at the Crown Paints Social Club, Darwen on Saturday, July 28th, added: "There are no court dates set and I believe they have to serve me the writ in person for that.
"It wouldn't surprise me if they did it while I was on stage in Darwen."