Copyright Law

Playwright Says He Can't Afford 'Fancy Lawyer' to Fight 'Three's Company' Copyright Claim

A playwright who re-imagined Three’s Company for an Off Broadway play says he gave in to a cease and desist demand, promising at the end of the run that he won’t produce the play again or circulate the script.

David Adjmi told the New York Times that he feared the legal bills, so his agents agreed to the demands in an email. Adjmi earned only about $2,500 from his play 3C. “I can’t afford a fancy lawyer,” he said, “and I was getting all sorts of conflicting advice from my agents … and my producers, some of whom doubted that the play would meet the legal standards of parody.”

The Times calls 3C a “darkly comic deconstruction” of the Three’s Company sitcom, with characters “given new psychological and sexual layers.”

Pulitzer Prize finalist Jon Robin Baitz is among the playwrights urging Adjmi to put up a fight. “The fact that the lawyers for the long-gone show Three’s Company have nothing better to do, aside from billing legal hours like truffle pigs, than attempt to bully an Off Broadway playwright of modest means is an affront of the most base kind,” Baitz told the Times.

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