(WBIR-Lake City) Lake City Council voted to change its name to Rocky Top, despite the possibility of copyright infringements.
Developers are interested in building a Rocky Top theme park on property currently owned by the city on Highway 441 between I-75 and US 25. City officials said the name change would make it easier to market the new attraction.
There are plans for several visitor attractions, including an indoor-outdoor waterpark, restaurant, and 3D interactive theater.
Prior to the meeting, Lake City Mayor Tim Sharp told 10News the city's legal counsel advised them to delay the vote. They were considering the delay because of a letter Mayor Sharp received on Thursday afternoon from Gatlinburg based House of Bryant Publications, LLC.
The family of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote the famous song, "Rocky Top," has many patents with the name, including copyright of the song.
"A lot of stuff they have entitlement to, a lot of merchandising rights. So we just need to make sure we're not stepping on toes before we proceed with anything from our end," Mayor Sharp said.
City council decided to approve the name change proposal. According to Lake City Vice Mayor Michael Lovely, they decided to move forward with the name change because at this point they are not selling anything.
They are concerned with how the possible copyright infringements could affect using the name "Rocky Top" for souvenirs.
"If he (House of Bryant Publications) wants some kind of royalty, then we can work something out on that. Because this is a win-win situation," Vice Mayor Lovely said.
The state will have to give it final approval.
Representative John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, attended the meeting and said it should be "no problem" getting it through.
The name change proposal will be brought up in the next legislative session, which starts in January. If it does pass, Lake City will have to revisit the copyright issues.
Mayor Sharp said they plan on meeting with House of Bryant Publication's attorney in the near future.
"It's kind of a slight pop in our bubble but I think we can rebound and continue on with hopefully a good investment with the folks that are going to come in and really make a good change in our town," Mayor Sharp said.
After the vote, 10News contacted L. Lee Wilson, J.D. who represents House of Bryant for trademark issues. Wilson, as well as the two principals of the company, Dane and Del Bryant, are declining to comment at this time and referred all questions to their attorney.