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‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ inspired play gets copyright approval

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 18 September 2017

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Even with the pressure of a lawsuit by Dr Seuss Company, the creator of a ‘Grinch stole Christmas’ inspired play has succeeded in obtaining a fair use declaration.

Matthew Lombardo created a play named ‘Who’s Holiday’ which was based on the characters, plot and setting of the Dr Seuss book, ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’.

In July 2016, before the play was due to be launched, Lombardo received a large number of cease and desist letters from Dr Seuss Company claiming that the play would infringe their established IP based on the Grinch franchise.

In December 2016, Lombardo made an application to seek a declaration to highlight that the play fell under the ‘fair use’ copyright defence.

To counter this, Dr Seuss filed a claim for copyright infringement.

For once, the small man won. The judge considering the case in the US stated that the play went beyond just copying the characters and plot of the book. The play was deemed just a parody of the book which had added elements, enough to create a work in its own right.

Lombardo therefore was successful in receiving his declaration for fair use and the copyright infringement claim was dismissed.

It is not often a small fry would win against such a big fish as Dr Seuss.

If you would like more information regarding copyright and how you may be protected, contact the Lawdit copyright team today.

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