MANHATTAN (CN) – A U.S.-based Beatles “tribute band” claims a would-be partner swiped its Broadway show, “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles,” to put on an infringing show called “Let It Be” in London.
Rain Corp. sued Jeff Parry, Thod Investments, Annerin Productions and Nirenna Productions, in Federal Court. The first three defendants are based in Canada, the last one in Las Vegas, Nev.
The plaintiff claims the defendants used “Rain Corp.’s enormously successful original musical revue ‘Rain – a Tribute to the Beatles’ (‘Rain – A Tribute’) to make a British version of the show, called ‘Let It Be,’ which has already opened in London’s West End and has announced plans to open on Broadway in New York in mid-2013.”
The complaint continues: “As defendants admit, Rain Corp. [sic] adapted ‘Let It Be’ from its copyrighted work ‘Rain – A Tribute’ by combining its existing copyrighted material, including the book for ‘Rain – A Tribute,’ with, among other things, new artwork, set designs, and compilations and arrangements of songs that Rain Corp. created specifically for the London production in order to customize ‘Rain – A Tribute’ for the London theater market.
“Promotional materials for ‘Let It Be’ refer to it as the West End premier of ‘Rain – A Tribute.’ For example, defendants’ proposed marketing materials for ‘Let It Be’ explain that ‘[h]aving been conceived in the U.S., Rain has been reimagined for the West End with all new staging and U.K. specific video content. … Finally, on the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles first single ‘Love Me Do,’ Rain is looking to make the leap to London’s West End.’ In fact, the original website for ‘Let It Be’ not only credits Rain as having created and conceived the show, but also acknowledges that the copyright belongs to Rain Corp.” (Ellipsis in complaint.)
Rain Corp. claims the violated broke a 50-50 partnership agreement made in 2009 when they opened “Let It Be” in September 2012 and refused to share revenue with Rain Corp.
“Once the London production had successfully opened, however, defendants, again through Parry, changed their tune, abruptly informing Rain Corp. that they would no longer be 50-50 partners with Annerin with respect to ‘Let It Be.’ Instead, Rain Corp. would receive a far smaller share of the show’s net profit, and would not share at all in the merchandising revenue or the creative royalty that it was to receive for the use of its book in ‘Let It Be,'” the complaint states.
“Since Let It Be opened in September 2012, defendants have failed to consult Rain Corp. as to any artistic decisions in connection with that or any other production of ‘Rain – A Tribute,’ as they were contractually required to do, and have refused to provide Rain Corp. with its agreed-upon share of the revenue from those productions.
“Adding insult to injury, defendants have in some instances removed Rain Corp.’s credit for the London version of the show from the production’s marketing materials in an attempt to conceal its contributions to that production, while in other instances continuing to tout publicly the fact that ‘Let It Be’ is a version of ‘Rain – A Tribute,’ in order to trade off of the great success and popularity of Rain Corp.”
Rain Corp. claims it “has spent countless hours working on ‘Let It Be,’ including but not limited to training current cast members, creating and contributing to the creation of video and other artwork to be used during the show, [and] overseeing and contributing to the creation of the set design and music.”
It seeks statutory damages for copyright infringement, breach of contract and unfair competition, and 50 percent of the revenue from the London production of “Let It Be.”
It is represented by Dale Cendali with Kirkland and Ellis.
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