“Anything You Can Use, I Can Use Better: Examining the Contours of Fair Use as an Affirmative Defense for Theatre Artists, Creators, and Producers,” by Benjamin Reiser, Fordham Intellectual Property Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. XXX, No. 3 (2020). Find the article here.
Broadway has long embraced a variety of source material to inspire generations’ worth of our best-loved shows. Over the last decade, six out of ten winners of the Tony® Award for Best Musical have been adapted from an array of novels, films, musical songbooks and even comics. Kinky Boots, Once and Billy Elliott all started their lives on the silver screen, and Frank Wedekind’s 19th Century play Spring Awakening was adapted for the musical stage roughly one hundred years after first publication. As the musical theatre canon expands, it is as important as ever for writers, composers and lyricists to understand the legal framework that is required when creating a stage adaptation or other theatrical piece based on existing material.