To begin with the first paragraph:
Recently, I was involved in a drawn out and highly publicized dispute between myself and Mergatroyd Productions over my direction of a stage play entitled Tam Lin. The dispute centered around the concept of a director's copyright. Mergatroyd had fired me the day before the opening of the play and then used, I contended, the blocking and choreography I had created for the play without paying me for my work. Judge Kaplan's final decision avoided the question of copyright, awarding me money for the implied contract we had instead—that I would be paid, and that Mergatroyd Productions would be able to use my work. This made the copyright question moot.
The judge actually agreed with Mergatroyd Productions. We never said we wouldn't pay Edward Einhorn - we told him, both in person and via email that we would pay him. The issue was that Edward Einhorn wanted the full $1000 that we originally offered. But since we had to fire him for the good of our show, and since he then tried to sabotage the production through an email to the cast and crew, we felt he didn't deserve the full amount.
And JUDGE KAPLAN AGREED WITH US - awarding Einhorn $800 - LESS than what Einhorn demanded. Actually he tried to extort $2000 out of us, by serving us a cease and desist letter from David Einhorn, his brother. Eight hundred dollars was very close to what we were prepared to pay Einhorn, had he deigned to negotiate with us instead of pulling his bullshit copyright scheme, in the words of Judge Kaplan "aided and abetted by" his brother. So this incredibly expensive lawsuit was really over a couple of hundred dollars, David Einhorn's lack of professional ethics, and Edward Einhorn's gigantic ego.
And of course the argument for a director's copyright is flawed from start to finish. I'm currently working on an article about the Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions lawsuit, complete with transcripts from the trial for the Dramatists Guild's newsletter. Then I'll be posting an expanded version here, with additional gory details like the Village Voice's article about the trouble that playwright Richard Foreman had with Edward Einhorn (scroll down to "Disobeying the Foreman.") In private correspondence, Foreman told me that he always thought Einhorn made a mess of his (Forman's) plays, which is why he told Einhorn on a Manhattan street corner one day that he'd prefer that Einhorn never direct his plays again. Unfortunately, I didn't know about Foreman's experience with Einhorn until after we hired Einhorn, and Einhorn proceeded to make a mess of my play.
Einhorn agreed to cancel his ill-gotten derivative copyright on my play TAM LIN, although I see that it's still listed in the Copyright Office's database. I recently wrote to the Copyright Office asking them why they are so lackidaisical about confirming whether or not an author of an original work has authorized a derivative work. I will report their response (or non-response if it comes to that) here.
It was on the basis of his fraudulent derivative copyright registration that Einhorn sued me for producing my own work. If the Copyright Office had been doing its job, Einhorn would never have been allowed to register his bullshit "blocking and choreography" script.
Einhorn admitted on the stand that the copyright registration was a scheme he and his brother devised to extort money from Mergatroyd Productions (wait until you read the transcript.) But the Copyright Office's weakness will be there for unscrupulous attorneys like David Einhorn to exploit until people speak up.
More once the article is complete...