Thursday, September 25, 2008

and you can quote me!

The Dramatists Guild plans to quote from the email I sent to them recently... here it is in its entirety:

I was glad to see the latest issue of The Dramatist is devoted to copyright issues.

Thought you might be interested in what's going on with my case...

As you may recall, Edward Einhorn registered an unauthorized derivative "blocking and choreography" copyright on my play TAM LIN, and then when I produced my play, used it to sue me in Federal Court, claiming my production violated his copyright.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered Einhorn to cancel the copyright because in his opinion the work wasn't substantial enough to copyright; it was registered for the purpose of instigating a lawsuit; and was unauthorized.

Then an odd thing happened - the US Copyright Office would only cancel the copyright if Edward Einhorn himself agreed with any one of Judge Kaplan's reasons. And since he refused, that was the end of it as far as the US Copyright Office was concerned.

At that point my lawyers basically threw up their hands and said, oh well, the Copyright Office won't do its job.

I sent a letter stating my case to the US Copyright Office a year ago and have not received a response to date.

But in spite of the legal stone wall I've run up against, it is not the end of the matter as far as I am concerned.

And this is not only about me. Any American author could find themselves in my situation because there are two serious problems with the US Copyright Office's derivative work registration system:


1. The Copyright Office does not require proof of authorization

2. The Copyright Office will not cancel the unauthorized copyright unless the wrongdoer confesses to the wrongdoing, even in spite of a judge's orders.


Also, in spite of the judge's order, Einhorn still holds an unauthorized "blocking and choreography" copyright registration, which should be of great concern to all American dramatists.

I plan to begin work on a project aimed at both canceling Einhorn's unauthorized derivative copyright and correcting the two serious problems in the US Copyright Office's system.

I hope that I can count on the Dramatist Guild's support in this endeavor. I plan to ask for the support of every American writers' organization.


Although I am capable of explaining the situation in logical and rational terms, it really makes me angry that the US Copyright Office is run this way. I can't believe it has been allowed to operate like this for so long.