February 5, 2009

I Love the Title [3:00 pm]

And copyright fights seem to make for good copy these days: One Man’s Blanche DuBois Is a University’s Infringement (pdf)

The University of the South, which owns the intellectual property rights for Williams’s “Streetcar Named Desire,” has threatened legal action to stop performances of the one-man show “Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire,” [emphasis added] which is scheduled to run through March 15 at SoHo Playhouse.

The play, which won the Audience Choice Award at last year’s New York International Fringe Festival, is written and performed by Mark Sam Rosenthal, who is featured as a modern-day Blanche weathering Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Superdome and a subsequent job placement as a cashier at Popeye’s — not to mention a series of unflattering blond wigs.

Lawyers for the university, in Sewanee, Tenn., initially tried to quash the production in September, arguing in a letter to Mr. Rosenthal that his play and performances were “infringements on the university’s valuable intellectual property rights.”

The letter came as a shock to Mr. Rosenthal, he recalled in an interview on Wednesday.

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