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Childress v. Taylor
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
945 F.2d 500 (1991)
Actress Clarice Taylor (defendant) conducted research on the life of celebrated comic performer Jackie “Moms” Mabley with the intention of portraying Mabley in a play. Taylor hired Alice Childress (plaintiff) to write the play. Taylor gave Childress her research on Mabley. Childress wrote and copyrighted the resulting work, Moms: A Praise Play for a Black Comedienne, though Taylor contributed ideas for some scenes and characters. After a successful production of the play, Taylor planned a second version in which Taylor would make some changes to the original. Taylor’s agent sent Childress’s agent a letter stating that the finished play would be equally owned by Taylor and Childress. Childress rejected this proposal. Taylor then hired another playwright, to whom she gave Childress’s script and suggested changes for a second version. Childress brought suit. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Childress. Taylor appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Newman, J.)
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