Music Theatre International has been awarded $450,000 in damages in addition to attorney’s fees in its copyright infringement case against Theaterpalooza Community Theater Productions, Inc.
According to a complaint that MTI filed on June 1, 2018, Theaterpalooza, which runs musical theater camps and teaches classes in Virginia and Maryland, had been using 16 of MTI’s copyrighted works for years without acquiring a license from MTI or paying for the use of the works. The damages were awarded by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“As early as January 12, 2015, Defendant (Theaterpalooza) was aware of Plaintiffs’ (MTI) copyrights and that it was infringing on those rights. Defendant disregarded those rights and continued to perform and advertise copyrighted material. Thus, the undersigned Magistrate Judge finds that Defendant willfully infringed on Plaintiffs’ protected works,” the finding states.
MTI said it plans to donate some of the damages to Jumpstart Theatre, a program created in part by MTI that brings theater programs to underserved communities.
“We are pleased that the court recognized the vital importance of protecting authors’ rights to license their work and condemned the ongoing behavior of Theaterpalooza in this case,” Drew Cohen, president and chief executive of Music Theatre International, said in the press release.