“HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS” PARODY PREVAIL UNDER THE “FAIR USE DOCTRINE”
Steven T. Lowe
On July 6, 2018, the Second Circuit officially declared the parody “Who’s Holiday”, based on Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” was freed of all claims under the “Fair Use Doctrine.” In December 2016, “Who’s Holiday!” filed a claim for a declaratory judgment of noninfringement, soon followed by a Seuss estate counterclaim for copyright and trademark infringement.
“Who’s Holiday!”, a play which included bestiality, drugs, and other things Dr. Seuss would have never talked about, prevailed in their case by meeting several factors of the fair use test: “Here, the district court correctly determined that the play is a parody, imitating the style of the Grinch for comedic effect and to mock the naïve, happy world of the Whos…“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” setting, plot and style “is in the service of parody,” and the play [“Who’s Holiday!”] doesn’t quote the book or use verbatim text.”
The case is Lombardo v. Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP, case number 17-2952, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is a boutique entertainment and business litigation firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The Firm has extensive experience handling both copyright law and trademark infringement cases. Managing partner Steven T. Lowe has authored the “Death of Copyright” trilogy, the latest article of which, entitled “Death of Copyright 3: The Awakening,” was published in this summer’s Los Angeles Lawyer magazine. https://www.lowelaw.com/press
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