Judge Hands Victory to ‘Three’s Company’ Parody in Copyright Case

Apr 1, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled in favor of a parody of the 1970s sitcom “Three’s Company” in a copyright infringement case.

“In a significant free-speech victory, Loretta A. Preska, Chief United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, ruled Tuesday that ‘3C,’ a play that parodies the 1970s sitcom ‘Three’s Company,’ does not infringe on that copyrighted program,” Jeremy Gerard writes on Deadline.com.

The case has been in court for almost three years, Gerard notes. In the ruling, the judge supported playwright David Adjmi’s claim that his use of elements of the original ABC sitcom is protected under the doctrine of fair use.

Preska wrote in her ruling: “’3C’ is a fair use of ‘Three’s Company.’ The play is a highly transformative parody of the television series that, although it appropriates a substantial amount of ‘Three’s Company,’ is a drastic departure from the original. … Equating the two to each other as a thematic or stylistic matter is untenable; ‘3C’ is a fair use ‘sheep,’ not an ‘infringing goat.’”

three's company“Three’s Company”

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