Weinstein & Randisi
Phone:585-310-1578
Toll free:800-768-1780

Resize the Content Text

Abbott and Costello heirs lose lawsuit over puppet monologue

The heirs of comedy team Abbott and Costello recently lost in court after filing a lawsuit regarding what is possibly the duo's most famous skit. The lawsuit alleged that Broadway musical "Hand to God" lifted material from the skit "Who's on First." According to reports, parts of the pun-filled skit were either paraphrased or repeated by a puppet to add some bit of comedy to what is, otherwise, a darker show.

The Broadway show opened in April 2015. Heirs of the estate had cease-and-desist orders issued to attempt to stop the show after learning of the inclusion of the material. The heirs claimed that the playwright used Abbot and Costello copyrighted material without seeking proper permission or making compensation for the use.

A judge dismissed the suit. In his ruling, he stated that the material used in the show did not, as the plaintiffs alleged, use the "very heart" of the skit. Instead, the judge stated that the new material transformed enough of the old material, providing a new spin and new light on it, to make the new material something different.

While this case did not go in the plaintiff's favor, it is a good example of how heirs must continue to protect their rights long after an estate might be considered settled. Estates that contain creative assets or long-term investments can be active for decades. Even if estates don't contain such items, probate litigation might be necessary for heirs who believe wills are not being honored or that a presented will is not valid. Working with someone experienced with estate law can help you understand whether an issue might be present.

Source: Broadway World, "Broadway's HAND TO GOD Wins Lawsuit Over Abbott & Costello's 'Who's on First?'," Jessica Khan, Dec. 17, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • I wanted to write to say how pleased my wife and I were at your professional handling of our estate planning and preparation of new wills. We were put at ease by your visit to our home for an interview and were pleased that you listened to us and captured the things that we felt were important.

    --Robert and Christine Simonson, Fairport
  • In order to finalize the documents we came to your office and were greeted in a very professional manner and we could not have asked for finer service. We left with copies of everything we needed and feel very confident our needs have been met. Thanks again. We will surely recommend you should the opportunity arise.

    — Christine and Robert Simonson, Fairport
  • I have been working with Weinstein & Randisi for about two years now. Elizabeth Randisi, through a very thorough process, has helped my wife and me determine what is really important in our lives. Thus, we were able to draft a living will that reflected our most important values regarding our estate.

    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
  • I would like to give a testimony for Elizabeth Randisi, an estate attorney with Weinstein & Randisi. Her knowledge of wills and estate planning was clearly demonstrated in her presentation to us. Realizing our need for a will, my husband and I went to see Elizabeth.

    --Kathy and Gary Gray, Webster
  • Filing for Medicaid is never an easy or fun process. However, working with the Weinstein & Randisi firm made the process simple and streamlined. We were able to obtain all files and records regarding Medicaid enrollment within a few days using specially prepared checklists and verbiage recommended by our assigned paralegal.

    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
Awarded Top 50 Estate Planning Blog
Email Us For a Response

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Blog Feed

Blog

Weinstein & Randisi - estate planning

290 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200
Rochester, NY 14625

Toll Free: 800-768-1780
Phone: 585-310-1578
Rochester Law Office Map

Map

Call us now for a free, 100% confidential consultation: