“Spider-Man” producers challenge ex-director’s copyright suit

All the web-slinging powers in the world cannot help the Broadway producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” undo the copyright infringement challenge brought by the show’s former director. Instead, the producers have countersued, claiming the ex-director failed to hold up her end of the bargain.

The former director, responsible for the success of the Broadway version of “The Lion King,” directed and co-wrote the original version of the Spider-Man production. She included her co-writer in the copyright infringement suit, charging him and the producers with violation of creative rights.

The director was fired in March 2011, four months after the $75 million production opened in preview and three months before its official stage debut. Producers claim the director refused to collaborate and make changes to the stunt-dependent show, panned by critics for its constant delays and mechanical accidents.

The fired director’s lawsuit calls for a jury trial and compensation for her creative efforts, including an equal share in the profits from the “Spider-Man” story she helped to create. Additionally, she seeks the right of written consent for the use of her likeness and name in a documentary about the making of the musical.

The producers feel that the former “Spider-Man” director does not deserve a profit share because she failed to live up to work contract obligations. The countersuit claims the show became a success despite the former director. Producers say the success is a result of changes made after a new director was hired.

It can be difficult in a situation like this to accept that someone else may be making money off of your hard work, but copyright law is complicated and can be very intimidating. Consulting with an experienced attorney is probably the best course of action.

Source: Associated Press, “‘Spider-Man’ producers punch back at Julie Taymor ,” Mark Kennedy Jan. 18, 2012