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1: ‘Anastasia’ Musical Lawsuit Steps Toward Trial as Judge Evaluates Similarities in Historical Fiction
First off today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the lawsuit over the Broadway musical Anastasia will continue as the judge has denied a motion for summary judgment.
The estate of the playwright Marcelle Maurette filed the lawsuit against Terrence McNally, who wrote the book the show is based upon, as well as the production company behind the play. According to the estate, the film rights to the play were sold to 20th Century Fox, which used it in both a 1956 live-action film and a 1997 animated movie. However, the estate says they retained all rights for live stage performances.
McNally had sought summary judgment claiming that the two works were not substantially similar and that the parts that did overlap were historical in nature. However, the judge disagreed noting that, even with historical work, the right to build on previous authors’ work is not absolute and that McNally had obtained a license from Fox but did not take the steps needed to secure a similar set of rights for the stage performance.
Next up today, Sky News reports that the creators of the Netrlix TV show Stranger Things have been hit with a lawsuit that claims the series is based on a short film him released in 2011.
The lawsuit was filed by filmmaker Charlie Kessler, who released a short film entitled Montauk in 2011. The film was based on a government conspiracy involving a missing child in upstate New York. He says he approached Matt and Ross Duffer, the brothers behind Stranger Things, about the idea of turning the film into a TV series but the idea never went anywhere.
According to the lawsuit, in 2015 Kessler learned about Stranger Things when Netflix announced it under its original title, Montauk. However, both parties admit that they based at least parts of their stories around conspiracy stories from Montauk, which were featured in a 1992 book. Kessler is seeking damages and a destruction of allegedly infringing materials.
Finally today, Khadrice Rollins at Sports Illustrated reports that University of Alabama coach Nick Saban has responded to the copyright claims from LeBron James and his media company, Uninterrupted, and he doesn’t seem to concerned about them.
The incident began when representatives for James sent the University a letter claiming that the schools new series Shop Talk was an infringement on Uninterrupted’s show The Shop. Both shows feature athletes sitting around in a barbershop talking though the University’s focuses on their players and staff. James had demanded a preview copy of the first episode (which had been teased just days before) so they can resolve any infringement issues.
When asked about it at a press conference, Saban seemed nonplussed about the legal threat. Saban said he was unaware of Uninterrupted’s show and say “There’s’ been at least 20 barbershop-type things I’ve seen on TV, I didn’t know anybody owned that.” Saban also said that they are going to continue working on Shop Talk despite the legal threat.
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.