Statement On "Three's Company" / "3C" NY Stage Production<
New York July 25 2012. After reaching an agreement his lawyer that he would not present, license or publish a future stage production of “3C,” David Adjmi, the writer of the production recently presented at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York City, seems to have had a change of heart, even after the producer and theatre have agreed to have no further performances.
According to Don Taffner, Jr., President of DLT Entertainment, the producer and copyright owner of “Three’s Company,” the television classic sitcom of the 1970’s, “the play misappropriates multiple elements of the series,” which could prove to be especially harmful since the company has itself been developing a play based on the series and this production could negatively impact its potential.”
“This unauthorized theatrical adaptation could also harm the popularity of the series which continues to air daily and generate substantial revenues for DLT and its many partners in syndication, home video and other media formats,” said Taffner. He went on to say: “I understand a number of people have signed a petition in support of Mr. Adjmi, but we suspect that most of those individuals may not have even seen his play. We have seen the play and, therefore, have first-hand knowledge of its reliance on “Three’s Company” in both substance and nuance. While it may be headline grabbing to make this "wall street versus the little guy", the fact is that is not the case. We are a family company, not a Wall Street conglomerate. The beneficiaries of “Three’s Company” include hundreds of residual recipients (actors, writers and directors) who receive income on every sale and approximately a dozen parties, including some charities who were given their participations through estates, that are entitled to receive profit share payments including the British writers who created the original program (“Man About The House”) that is the basis for “Three’s Company”. It is our responsibility to these stakeholders to protect the integrity of the program.
DLT points to multiple similarities between the play and the sitcom that are overt duplications of scenes in the series, such as the play’s characters, settings and storyline, which mirror those of the series’ first episode. The lead characters’ relationships with each other and their jobs are also identical to those in the series.
The play’s opening scene has Connie and Linda (“Chrissy” and “Janet” from “Three’s Company”) sitting on the sofa the morning after a party with Linda combining wines from various bottles, which is identical to the first episode of the series. The male lead, Brad, appears in the girls’ apartment as a “leftover” from the party, which is also a key story point to the series’ first episode.
All of these specific similarities and many others were made without authorization or consent from DLT and are protected under copyright law. DLT has, in the past, licensed others to use elements of the series in parodies, including James Franco for a program at the Sundance New Frontier Festival in January 2011, but according to Taffner, Mr. Adjmi did not submit such a request to DLT. As Jonathan D. Reichman, a partner at Kenyon & Kenyon, DLT’s attorneys, said Thursday, “With all respects to Mr. Adjmi, if someone did to his play what we feel he did to our show, we think he would be up in arms objecting.”
Taffner added “Far from being a bully as alleged by some Adjmi supporters with no direct knowledge of the situation, we are not bullies and in fact let the play run until its scheduled end of July 15 even though we did not have to. As far as we are concerned the show had its final performance on July 15 and the matter is closed."
About DLT Entertainment
With offices in London, New York and Los Angeles, DLT Entertainment Ltd. is engaged in every aspect of television distribution and production around the world, as well as stage production in the US and in the UK.
Founded in 1963 as a distribution company by Don Taffner Senior, the company added television production to its portfolio in 1977. DLT Entertainment has enjoyed terrific success over the last forty plus years with legendary hits including the multiple award-winning sitcom My Family, As Time Goes By, Three’s Company, Too Close For Comfort and Meet My Folks. In addition DLT has built a reputation as a leading distribution company with classics such as The Benny Hill Show, The World at War, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood and The Russ Abbot Show.