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First off today, Robert Viagas and Adam Hetrick at Playbill report that a New York District Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the upcoming Broadway musical Anastasia, bringing the case one step closer to a trial.
Makers of the musical are being sued by heirs of playwright Marcelle Maurette, who had a play on the same subject that opened on Broadway in 1954. The new version claims to be based upon the 1997 film of the same name, but the Maurette estate claims the new version, due to debut on Broadway in March, plagiarizes from Maurette’s work.
In denying the motion to dismiss, the judge said that it was impossible for him to make a comparison of the two works at this time because, as is normal for a motion to dismiss, the defense had not filed answers to the claims. Producers of the new musical remain confident that the lawsuit is “without merit” and that they will prevail.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Jerome Lawson, lead singer of the acapella group The Persuasions, is suing Apple over the use of his voice in an ad for the iPhone 6.
At issue was a commercial for the iPhone 6 that featured the song I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) by Jamie xx. The song sampled The Persuasians 1971 recording Good Times, including Lawson’s voice, which also appeared in the commercial. However, Lawson isn’t suing for copyright infringement. Instead, he’s suing in a California court because he feels the use of his voice violates his right of publicity.
Normally, such a claim would likely be precluded by copyright law. However, since The Persuasians song was recorded in 1971, it’s a pre-1972 sound recording and is not covered under federal copyright law. This raises an interesting wrinkle to the case as it moves forward, solely under California law.
Finally today, Ariel Givner at The Fashion Law reports that the often-sued Forever 21 is now in the plaintiff’s chair, having filed a lawsuit against several California corporations that it claims have ripped off one of its designs, including the copyright-protected print pattern.
At issue is a pair of Ikat printed harem pants that Forever 21 claims were designed in house and have been protected by a U.S. Copyright Office registration since 2013. Forever 21 is asking the court for destruction of all infringing articles and for the defendants to pay all profits related to the sale of the infringing items as well as attorneys fees.
For many who follow copyright, the story has a strange tint as Forever 21 has been sued nearly 50 times for copyright infringement over the past few years, making them one of the most prolific defendants in copyright infringement lawsuits.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.