The father of the late singer Selena is suing a Patchogue music promoter for using his daughter’s name in his popular tribute band.
Abraham Quintanilla Jr. filed a lawsuit in U.S. Eastern District Court in Brooklyn July 7 alleging that William Ciaramelli, owner of East Coast Tributes, infringed on the copyright of the logo bearing the singer’s first name in marketing materials and merchandise. Quintanilla wants to permanently stop Ciaramelli, who uses the band names “Almost Selena” and “Anything 4 Selena,” from using the name and is seeking unspecified damages, according to the complaint.
Selena Quintanilla Perez, one of the best-selling Latina music artists of all time and referred to as the “Queen of Tejano” music, was shot and killed in 1995 by her manager Yolanda Saldivar. She was 23.
The concerts feature an impersonator dressed as the singer performing her hits like “Dreaming of You" and “Como la Flor.” Quintanilla alleges that Ciaramelli’s show duped concertgoers into thinking his “services are sponsored by, approved by or somehow connected with” Selena’s estate.
Quintanilla, who lives in Nueces County, Texas, said he had sent several cease and desist letters to Ciaramelli, telling him to stop using any variation of the Selena logo as he has registered the trademark pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Ciaramelli said he had spoken to Quintanilla about getting his blessing and that the latest dispute boils down to “the curvature in the S” in the Selena logo. One letter from Quintanilla’s Beverly Hills, California lawyer Thomas Richards said he would be willing to settle the matter for $100,000.
Neither Quintanilla nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
Ciaramelli said he has 17 tribute shows in his roster ranging from impersonators of George Michael to Bruno Mars that perform all over the country. The Selena act is one of his most popular, he said.
“What do I have to say? It’s completely unfair," Ciaramelli, who lives in Patchogue, said of the lawsuit. “All we do is keep the songbook alive.”
Meanwhile, Ciaramelli continues to advertise concerts using “Almost Selena” as he admits it would be difficult to promote his shows without using the singer’s name. An advertisement on his website lists an upcoming "Almost Selena" and Gloria Estefan tribute show at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson on July 30.
People are still passionate about Selena’s music and she continues to reach a new audience 27 years after her death, he said.
“Some of the shows are really, really intense,” Ciaramelli said. “We've done shows of 3,500 people where you would think you're truly at the concert with the way that people act.”