Without creativity, the world would be a boring place but it is important for people in Sacramento to make sure they are not encroaching on someone else’s ideas or stories. Doing so can land them in the middle of a lawsuit where they will have to defend their work and prove it is entirely their own. If people know that they are using another person’s story or work, they should take steps to obtain permission from the owner of that information, preferably in writing.
Before he died, the founder of Four Seasons wrote a biography on his life. The biography was never published but It apparently was copyrighted. Additionally, it was seen or came to the notice of a group of people who were putting together a show – there was no information to clarify how they gained access to the record. The creators then put together a musical and called it “Jersey Boys,” opening it in 2005.
Over the past 11 years, the show has experienced immense success, bringing in global sales of over $2 billion. However, the widow of the Four Seasons founder filed a lawsuit, alleging that the creators used information from the biography of her husband without permission. Just recently, a federal jury agreed with her. The jury also determined that the information contributed to the popularity of the show – 10 percent worth. This means that the creators may have to pay around $200 million to the widow.
Copyrights are intended to protect material from being used by others. When people feel that their copyright has been violated or they need to establish one, they may find it helpful to speak with an attorney.
Source: Forbes, “’Jersey Boys’ Grosses Over $1 Million, Owes $200 Million For Copyright Infringement,” Lee Seymour, Dec. 5, 2016