NEW YORK (AP) — A playwright who was accused of copyright infringement by lawyers representing the TV show "Three's Company" over his parody of 1970s sitcoms has won a victory in court.
Loretta A. Preska, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled Tuesday that David Adjmi, whose play "3C" had a run at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in 2012, is protected under the doctrine of fair use.
"The play is a highly transformative parody of the television series that, although it appropriates a substantial amount of 'Three's Company,' is a drastic departure from the original that poses little risk to the market for the original," the judge wrote, noting that copyright law "is designed to foster creativity."
Adjmi had the backing of many theater community heavyweights, including Jon Robin Baitz, Stephen Sondheim, Tony Kushner, John Guare and Terrence McNally.
The play is about two girls — one a tomboy, the other a sexy ditz — and a guy who spontaneously become roommates in a rundown Santa Monica apartment after a wild party.
They clash with a dislikable landlord who makes offensive, homophobic jokes. The playwright is exploring the idea of a culture avoiding difficult issues and problems by retreating into sex and drugs.
The law firm Kenyon & Kenyon, which represents DLT Entertainment, the owners of the TV sitcom "Three's Company," sent Adjmi a letter demanding that he cease further performances of the play anywhere. The lawyers claimed that "3C" was damaging to a proposed stage version of "Three's Company."
After the ruling, Adjmi tweeted: "Come and knock on my door..."
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits