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9th Circuit Reinstates Widow’s Copyright
Claim Against Producers of ‘Jersey Boys’

Feb. 13, 2015, 5:00 AM

A district court misconstrued the nature of an agreement between one member of Four Seasons and two of his former bandmates when in 1999 he granted them permission to use his “biographies” in the development of a musical, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held Feb. 10 (Corbello v. DeVito, 9th Cir., 12-16733, 2/10/15).

That resulting musical, “Jersey Boys,” debuted in 2005 to critical acclaim and has been an international sensation. Relevant to this case is a biography of bandmember Thomas DeVito that was never published before the ghost writer died in 1991. The author’s ...