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Caffey v. Cook
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
409 F. Supp. 2d 484 (2006)
Marion Caffey (plaintiff) was a writer, director, producer, and choreographer of musical stage shows. Caffey devised the concept for Three Mo’ Tenors, a Black alternative to the popular operatic group The Three Tenors. Victor Cook, Rodrick Dixon, and Thomas Young (defendants) were hired as the singers. Caffey, Cook, Dixon, and Young collaborated on the selection of songs, though Caffey had the final decision-making authority. The songs were arranged in a specific order to give the show an arc. Caffey registered a copyright in the show. The show encountered financial difficulties and ended. However, without Caffey’s permission, Cook, Dixon, and Young continued touring as Cook, Dixon & Young for seven additional performances. Six of these performances retained the Three Mo’ Tenors song selection except for one substitution. The seventh date was less than half the length of the singers’ established performance. Caffey brought a copyright-infringement action in federal district court. The court determined that gross revenues from the first six Cook, Dixon & Young performances were $330,000. The court then subtracted direct costs of $174,995.95, overhead costs of $9,616.65, and $43,616.22 in deductions from income taxes on the profits. This left $101,771.18 as Cook, Dixon, and Young’s net profits.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Holwell, J.)
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