At the tech rehearsal of the Off Off Broadway production of Tam Lin, a play about a clash between mortal and immortal worlds, a fight between the playwright, Nancy McClernan, and the former director, Edward Einhorn, took the stage. Two days later, the director was fired after two months of unpaid work. The playwright then supervised the remaining rehearsals, either largely restaging the play or retaining most of Mr. Einhorn's contributions, depending on whose side you believe. Soon, Einhorn filed a lawsuit claiming that his staging contributions to Tam Lin constitute a copyrighted work of intellectual property, owned by him, and that the defendants, McClernan and her colleagues, must therefore pay for infringing the copyright which is calculated at the maximum of US$3M. The issue at stake is if a director should be able to copyright his ideas about how to stage a play. Many playwrights who against this feel the danger of the kidnapping of their plays, others saying that if each director's staging of a relatively new play had copyright protection, very soon there would be no staging options left. However, the consequence is already here, e.g. the Dramatists Play Service no longer includes detailed stage directions and other helpful annotations in the scripts they provide to licensees; the Theater on Film and Tape Archive said more directors and choreographers now request restrictions on viewings of their work. The trial of the Einhorn's case is scheduled in April.
(Image from http://www.untitledtheater.com/Edwardbio.htm)