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Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Musical Theatre International and The Really Useful Group lawsuit against American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pa.

Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Musical Theatre International and The Really Useful Group lawsuit against American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pa.

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Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Musical Theatre International and The Really Useful Group sued the American Music Theatre in 2013.
Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Musical Theatre International and The Really Useful Group sued the American Music Theatre in 2013.

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Published by: LNP MEDIA GROUP, Inc. on Oct 02, 2013
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10/04/2013

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
THE RODGERS
&
HAMMERSTEINORGANIZATION; MTI ENTERPRISES, INC.d/b/a MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL;MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL, LLC,d/b/a MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL;and THE REALLY USEFUL GROUP LTD.,Plaintiffs,
-against-
DWIGHT H. BRUBAKER, JAMES D.MARTIN, and FREDERICK W. STEUDLER,JR., trading as ENTERTAINMENT THEATREGROUP, a Pennsylvania General Partnership,d/b/a/ AMERICAN MUSIC THEATRE,Defendants.
·······························································X
Civil Action No.
___
ECFCASE
COMPLAINT
Plaintiffs The Rodgers
&
Harnmerstein Organization, MTI Enterprises, Inc., MusicTheatre International, LLC and The Really Useful Group Ltd. (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), by andthrough their undersigned attorneys Pepper Hamilton LLP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, asand for their complaint against defendants Dwight H. Brubaker, James D. Martin, and FrederickW. Steudler, Jr., trading as Entertainment Theatre Group, a general partnership doing business asAmerican Music Theatre (collectively,"Defendants"), allege as follows:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
I. This is
an
action for copyright infringement arising from Defendants' presentation
of
a theatrical musical production entitled "Broadway:
Now
and Forever" at the American MusicTheatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This Production is comprised entirely
of
unauthorizedperformances
of
musical numbers (and select dialogue) from various acclaimed Broadway
DWT 22542217v3 0063653-000013
Case 5:13-cv-05660-LS Document 1 Filed 09/26/13 Page 1 of 49
 
theatrical musicals including "The Producers," "West Side Story," "Annie," "Les Miserables,""JesusChrist Superstar," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Evita," "Cats,"and "The Phantom
of
the Opera" (collectively, the "Musicals"). Each musical number isperformed in dramatic fashion using various costumes, scenery, props, choreography, and/orstaging (including those that are reminiscent
of
the Broadway productions
of
each Musical) withthe admitted intent
of
providing the audience with a total theatrical experience. For the last fivemonths, Defendants have been repeatedly presenting public performances
of
"Broadway:
Now
and Forever" for commercial gain in their 1600-seat, for-profit theater without obtaining therequired copyright permissions from Plaintiffs, the owners
of
the copyright or certain exclusivecopyright interests in the Musicals and the well-known songs in them as described more fullybelow.2. Plaintiffs first learned
of
"Broadway:
Now
and Forever" from some
of
theirtheatre company customers in Pennsylvania who expressed concern that the numbers included inthe production
of
"Broadway:
Now
and Forever" conflicted with rights that those theatrecompanies had licensed from the Licensing Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs wrote several letters demandingthat Defendants immediately cease and desist the unauthorized performances
of
the Musicals. Inaddition upon information and belief, since at least June
of
2013, Defendants have been onexplicit notice from ASCAP that the musical numbers performed in "Broadway:
Now
andForever" are dramatic in nature and thus beyond the scope
of
Defendants' ASCAP license andtherefore require permission
of
the Plaintiffs.3. . Founded, respectively, by industry veterans Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hanunerstein,and Frank Loesser/Don Walker, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization ("R&H") and MTIEnterprises, Inc. and Music Theatre International, LLC, (collectively, "MTI") each have more
DWT 22542217v3 0063653-000013
2
Case 5:13-cv-05660-LS Document 1 Filed 09/26/13 Page 2 of 49
 
than
50
years
of
experience
in
granting licenses to theatres around the United States
to
performprofessional or amateur productions
of
the musicals they represent.
4.
R&H and MTI (collectively, the "Licensing Plaintiffs") exclusively control theUnited States rights to license amateur and non-first class productions
of
all
of
the Musicalsexcept for "The Phantom
of
the Opera." Plaintiff The Really Useful Group Ltd. ("RUG") ownsthe copyright in that dramatico-musical work. "The Phantom
of
the Opera"
is
still running onBroadway and is not yet available for license to non-first class professional productions
by
anytheater company in the United States.
5.
This is not, in fact, the first time that Defendants have misappropriated theperformance rights
of
dramatico-musical works controlled
by
one
of
the Plaintiffs, nor is itplanned to
be
the last. In 2011, Defendants produced a theatrical production entitled "Music
of
the Night: The Songs
of
Andrew Lloyd Webber," which was comprised, on information andbelief, entirely
of
unauthorized performances
of
musical numbers from dramatico-musical works
by
Andrew Lloyd Webber. Upon information and belief, each musical number was performed indramatic fashion using various costumes, scenery, props, choreography, and/or staging(including those that were reminiscent
of
the Broadway productions
of
each dramatico-musicalwork). According to Defendants' website, they plan to present a slightly revised version
of
"Music
of
the Night: the Songs
of
Andrew Lloyd Webber" starting in the Spring of2014.
6.
R&H is the exclusive United States licensing agent for non-first class and amateurproductions
of
the dramatico-musical works
of
Andrew Lloyd Webber (with the exception
of
"The Phantom
of
the Opera"). RUG owns, co-owns, or controls under exclusive license thecopyrights in the dramatico-musical works
of
Andrew Lloyd Webber (including "The Phantom
of
the Opera"). Defendants did not obtain from R&H or RUG licenses for the performances
of
DWT 22542217v3 0063653-000013
3
Case 5:13-cv-05660-LS Document 1 Filed 09/26/13 Page 3 of 49

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