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Dollywood in copyright law lawsuit

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2019 | Copyright Law

Music artists in New York and around the nation often dream of creating a classic song that people will love for generations to come. Those who have achieved such a feat not only feel a sense of accomplishment, they often take comfort in knowing that their artistic contribution can generate income for themselves and their loved ones. If another person or entity uses that song without the artist’s permission, it is considered a violation of copyright law. This is because the entity may use the song in a way that the artist doesn’t approve of or that the entity will profit off of the song without properly compensating the artist. This is the current predicament of the theme park Dollywood, as it fights allegations that it used a Christmas song without permission from the songwriters.

Dollywood, named for country superstar Dolly Parton, is accused of using the the song called “Christmas Time is Here” in one of their stage shows at the theme park. It is commonly known as the “Charlie Brown Christmas” song. Representatives for the songwriters say that the park used the song in a live show called “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” for over a decade without securing the proper copyright. The songwriters legal team says that it warned Dollywood about impending litigation last year but that the park continued to infringe the copyright.

The copyright holders are asking Dollywood for $150,000 for every performance of the song as well as covering legal fees. The show the song is used in is still on the schedule for Dollywood’s upcoming Christmas season. Some people may not be aware, but a live show like this one is considered a dramatic performance of the song and requires specific permissions according to copyright laws.

However this particular case turns out, it only highlights how important it is for artists of all mediums to protect their work. Artists deserve to profit from their intellectual property and also to have a say in how their work is distributed. Any artists here in New York who want to protect their work may want to involve an attorney who has extensive experience in copyright law.