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Articles and Statements

Article: FROM THE DESK OF THE DRAMATISTS LEGAL DEFENSE FUND - 2015

In the July/August issue of the Dramatists Guild’s publication John Cariani wrote about his experience with the almost cancelled production of Almost, Maine in Maiden, NC.

In October of 2014, school officials at Maiden High School in Maiden, North Carolina canceled a production of my play Almost, Maine citing its “sexually explicit overtones” as the reason for pulling the plug. However, according to local media reports, many students felt that the real reason was because of public outcry over a scene in the play called “They Fell” in which two men declare their love for one another. Within days, the school’s decision drew national attention and ire. Several major media outlets contacted me for comment, and Playbill.com asked me for a statement. I am not particularly political. I am not an activist. Almost, Maine is not a political play. It’s a sweet, sad collection of love stories. It’s about as unobjectionable as can be. And yet it has generated a surprising amount of controversy over the past few years because of “They Fell.” To read the rest of the article CLICK HERE

Statement: Dramatists Legal Defense Fund Congratulates Playwright David Adjmi on Fair Use Win - 2015

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund congratulates playwright David Adjmi and his attorneys for their victory in the “fair use” suit against DLT entertainment, the producers of the TV series Three’s Company.  DLT claimed that Adjmi’s play, 3C, was an infringement of their copyrights, but Mr. Adjmi was granted a declaratory judgment on the pleadings by Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, in the Southern District of New York.

Statement: The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund writes Amicus Brief in support of Adjmi - 2014

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF) filed an amicus curiae brief in the Southern District of New York Court case Adjmi v. DLT Entertainment LTD. in support of Adjmi’s claim that his Off-Broadway production of “3C” was a fair use and a parody of the popular television show “Three’s Company”.

Earlier this year Mr. Adjmi filed a suit to receive affirmation that his play did not infringe upon DLT Entertainment’s copyright. DLT Entertainment filed a counterclaim of copyright infringement. Representatives for the Plaintiff contacted the DLDF to write an amicus brief in support of fair use and parody. Click here to read the amicus brief.

Statement: Arthur Miller Centennial: Attention Must Be Paid - 2014

The Dramatists Guild of America, the national association of playwrights, librettists, composers and lyricists, is proud to support the drive to have Arthur Miller honored with a United States Postage Stamp on the 100th Anniversary of Arthur Miller's birth, October 15, 2015… The Guild also urges its members to support the effort and encourage theatres, artistic directors, performers, designers, technicians and all the artists who work in the theatres around the country to help this remarkable American writer be properly honored for his life's work. 

Statement: National Free Speech and Drama Groups Urge Maiden High School in NC to Reverse Almost, Maine Cancellation Screenings  - 2014

In a letter sent to Maiden High School and Catawba County Schools Board of Education in North Carolina today, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, the National Council of Teachers of English, and PEN American Center urged the school to reinstate a scheduled January 2015 production of John Cariani's Almost, Maine. The letter also encouraged the school to institute a sound, thorough process for considering community complaints about dramatic productions in the future.

Statement: Metropolitan Opera Cancels “The Death of Klinghoffer” Live Screenings  - 2014

As national and international organizations committed to the right to artistic freedom of expression and an open exchange of ideas, we are deeply concerned about the Metropolitan Opera’s cancellation of more than 2000 HD live screenings of John Adams’ opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, in 65 countries.

Statement: The State of Censorship - 2014

The Dramatists Guild's “State of censorship” statement, published by the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Response: Trumbull High School's Production of RENT- 2013

The Dramatists Guild responds to the proposed cancellation of a student production of RENT. The DLDF presents the first ever DLDF Defender Award to Larissa Mark, a high school senior from Trumbull, CT who successfully organized her community in opposition to her school’s sudden cancellation of their production of Rent, ultimately forcing the production’s reinstatement. This new award from the DLDF honors Ms. Mark’s work in support of free expression in the dramatic arts.

Statement: The Dramatists Guild to the House Judiciary Subcommittee - 2013

Statement by the Dramatists Guild of America to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet for the Hearing on Innovation in America: The Role of Copyrights

Brief: Google vs. The Authors Guild, et. al.- 2013

The DLDF joined the Dramatists Guild and other writer organizations to support the Author’s Guild in their class action suit against GOOGLE to prevent the wholesale copyright infringement of entire libraries of works.

Response: The Rocky Horror Show - 2012

Censorship issues on the community level are plentiful, and the Guild has been active over the years in writing in opposition when it happens. 

'Of words and Deeds' - By Ralph Sevush
'The Dramatists Guild and Free Speech Issues'

Brief: Support of Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Colorado Smoking Case - 2008

The Guild joined the National Coalition Against Censorship in an amicus brief supporting TCG’s challenge of the anti-smoking laws in Colorado which had no exemption for theatrical productions.

'Where's the Smoke' - By Ralph Sevush

Brief: Thomas v. Larson - 2007

The Guild supported the estate of the late Jonathan Larson (a non-member) in its defense of litigation brought by a dramaturg claiming co-authorship of the musical, RENT. The Guild authored amicus briefs on both the trial and appellate level.

'How to Avoid Rent Control' - By Christopher Wilson and Ralph Sevush
'Working Together' - By Ralph Sevush

Joint Statement: Mullen v. SSDC, et. al. -2006

'The Urinetown Papers' - By Ralph Sevush 

Brief: Edward Einhorn vs. Mergatroyd Productions, Jonathan X. Flagg, LLC, and Nancy McClernan - 2006

The Guild supported its member in a litigation over the concept of “director’s copyright”;  Ralph Sevush also offered expert testimony in that case.

'Playwright in Court' - By Rebecca A. Frank
'Mergatroyd' - By Nancy McClernan
'Roundtable on Director’s Copyright' -By D. Auburn, D. Ives, M. Norman and Ralph Sevush 
'The Director-Dramatist Relationship' - Seminar with John Weidman, Johnathan Reynolds and Ralph Sevush
'Director at the Gates I' - By Richard Garmise
'Director at the Gates II' -By Richard Garmise
'No Copyright for Directors' - By John Weidman

Misc:

'Quixotic Quests' - By Ralph Sevush, Esq. 
'Supreme Court to Decide: Was Bono a Boner?' - By Amy Schlossberg and Ralph Sevush  
'National Endowment for the Arts vs. Finley' - By Ralph Sevush, Esq.