Frankie Valli Sued Again, Copyright Infringement

Courtesy of Bobby Bank / WireImage
Courtesy of Bobby Bank / WireImage

Four Seasons member Frankie Valli is once again being sued for copyright infringement. Frankie Valli and Robert Gaudio were sued in 2011 for copyright infringement under the claim that the musical, Jersey Boys, was based partially on an unpublished autobiography about Tommy DeVito, one of the Four Seasons’ band members. Originally, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Valli and Gaudio. However, yesterday, Federal Appeals Court overturned this decision, stating there was “contradictory evidence about whether Valli and Gaudio executed an agreement with DeVito to produce the play in time to avoid termination of their ownership rights.” The 9th Circuit Court also earlier ruled in favor of Ms. Corbello, whose late husband wrote the unpublished autobiography in question, against DeVito who had “transferred his copyrights in the autobiography to Valli and Gaudio, and therefore, had to account Ms. Corbello for any profits he obtained from it.”

The Jersey Boys Broadway musical has been widely praised and is currently playing in New York, Las Vegas, London, the Netherlands, and in cities across the U.S., with twenty million people worldwide attending it. It features a biographical narrative with four separate points of view, one for each band member. Real life incidents such as Valli’s estrangement from his now deceased daughter, have been included in the musical. Not only has it been a financial success, but it also earned six Tony Awards and has been adapted into a film directed by Clint Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood, whose directorial debut was in 1971, has directed over 30 films; his latest is the Oscar nominated film American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper, coming under fire for the fabricated memoirs of Chris Kyle. Seth Rogen, who compared American Sniper to Nazi propaganda, has spawned numerous controversies himself with the movie The Interview, including the KCNA News Agency of North Korea reporting that there would be stern and merciless retaliation if the film was released. On November 24th, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked by an anonymous group called “Guardians of Peace.” North Korean officials denied involvement in the attack. On December 16th, the hackers also threatened to attack the New York premiere of The Interview.

Michael Moore referred to snipers as cowards. Both Rogen and Moore suffered immediate backlash for their comments, Moore still receiving Twitter hate. Though Eastwood has been largely silent throughout the American Sniper ordeal, he spoke to a TMZ cameraman Monday night agreeing to some extent, with the film’s naysayers, stating “they were right.”

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