THE GRINCH HAS NOT STOLEN CHRISTMAS, YET
Steven T. Lowe
On June 26, 2018, the Second Circuit began to listen to arguments regarding the summary judgment decision issued in September of 2017 finding that “Who’s Holiday!” a parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, was protected by the doctrine of fair use.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP (“Seuss”) has appealed a summary judgment issued by U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein that found a one-woman show titled “Who’s Holiday!” was protected by the “fair use” doctrine. The parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” featured bestiality, drugs, and “other distinctly ‘un-Seussian’ topics.”
Counsel for Seuss argued that they should at bare minimum have the right to litigate whether plaintiff Matthew Lombardo violated copyright law in the first 60 lines or so of the play, and that Judge Hellerstein “had relied on ‘gut instinct’ when deciding Lombardo’s play did not impede Seuss’ market for future Grinch-related material.”
The case is Lombardo v. Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP, case number 17-2952, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
* With over thirty years of experience as an attorney, Steven Lowe is one of the most highly regarded entertainment lawyers in Los Angeles. Cases his firm have handled have appeared in the Hollywood Reporter numerous times, and he has been consistently selected as a top rated attorney in Super Lawyers magazine, among other awards and achievements. Mr. Lowe is also a Co-Founder and current President of the California Society of Entertainment Lawyers, a not for profit artists’ rights organization.
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