The producers of a latest musical based on Anne of Green Gables have filed a lawsuit against the P.E.I.-based Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority, claiming their work doesn’t infringe upon trademarks held by the authority.
Within the lawsuit, filed Tuesday within the Southern District Court of Recent York, the producers allege the Anne Authority is “openly” attempting to increase the lifetime of and monetize an expired copyright for L.M. Montgomery’s famous book set on Prince Edward Island.
The corporate is looking for a declaratory judgment stating that their play’s title “doesn’t infringe on any trademark or other mental property rights.”
The Anne Authority is jointly owned by the Province of P.E.I. and Montgomery’s heirs Ruth Macdonald and David Macdonald.
Anne With An E, LLC, is a Recent York-based production company behind Anne of Green Gables: A Recent Musical. The play with a folk-rock flavour was first produced in July 2018, and in accordance with the lawsuit, is currently in development for Broadway.
Anne of Green Gables, the novel, entered the general public domain in 1983 in the USA, and in 1992 in Canada. That happens a certain length of time after an creator’s death, and it often means the work becomes available for adaptation without fees having to be paid.
However the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority has a trademark on Anne of Green Gables, and has worked to manage and protect latest representations of Anne, at the same time as the book has entered the public domain.
Within the Recent York lawsuit, nevertheless, the producers claim Anne is “as much in the general public domain as are Shakespeare’s plays.”
In keeping with court documents, producers filed the suit after the licensing authority sent a draft version of a trademark infringement criticism, threatening to file it in court if the play was not renamed. The deadline the authority gave for renaming the show was Monday, Feb. 20.
CBC News reached out to the Anne Authority for comment on Wednesday, but didn’t hear back.
Prince Edward Island’s Confederation Centre of the Arts is home to Canada’s long-running musical, based on the Anne story. The centre recently announced that Anne of Green Gables: The Musical will now be produced every second yr, starting in 2024.