Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Death of a Satire…Fringe show cancels its run after threats from Arthur Miller estate

I know we’re getting a little exhaustive on the copyright issue, but this article seemed interesting.  Danny McGinlay was forced to cancel the run of his satire Death of a Salesman: The Sitcom (alternatively titled The Loman Empire: The Sitcom – an Unauthorised Satire of Death of a Salesman) at the Melbourne Fringe Festival after he received threats from the Arthur Miller estate about copyright infringements.  McGinlay claims that over 75% of the show he wrote and produced was original work and quotes were only used to set up context and jokes.  He worked for over a year to write, produce, cast and create the show, and is upset that the Miller estate is pushing so hard against their small production.  He says he sought lawyers before he went to put the show up and they seemed confident he would be okay, however, the Miller estate claims there are still infringements even though McGinlay claims they have not read a script.  In the end, McGinlay decided to pull the show when the estate continued to pressure him.

What isn’t clear to me is if McGinlay even offered for them to read his script.  Also, I understand the Arthur Miller estate wanting to protect Miller’s legacy, but couldn’t a comedy (even if it is satirical) based on his writings bring new interest to his work? Maybe I’m looking at that too glass half-full.

In the video clip that accompanies the article McGinlay adds, “…it’s really scary that art is being stifled.”

So, what do you think?


About Jenni

I am a writer, dreamer, and theatre enthusiast. I love life. I love to travel. I love to laugh. And I think life is beautiful. Follow my Twitter: @imRoseNCrantz

2 comments on “Death of a Satire…Fringe show cancels its run after threats from Arthur Miller estate

  1. benjamendouglas
    October 1, 2014

    Interesting. UK law is obviously different, with different precedents, but the “unauthorized parody” is clearly drawing on the Alice Randall / “Wind Done Gone” case, which was ultimately settled – with one requirement being the addition of the unauthorized parody label.

  2. dianalfreeberg
    October 1, 2014

    It seems to be a title problem. It makes me wonder what has happened with other uses of the title “Death of a Salesman”. I know that episodes of tv shows have used them before. Wonder if they encountered the same problem?

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