Dolly Parton‘s esteemed theme park Dollywood is being sued by television producer Lee Mendelson’s production company. Apparently, it’s over the usage of a famous song “A Charlie Brown Christmas” television special without permission.
Dollywood, The Lawsuit, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Lee Mendelson Film Productions (LMFP) has filed a lawsuit against The Dollywood Company.
LMFP was founded by Lee Mendelson, an award-winning, executive television producer. It has also “created over thirty prime time network specials, including such stars as Paul Newman, Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, Flip Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Henry Fonda, among others.”
Mendelson, who was an executive producer of the beloved 1965 Charlie Brown holiday special, co-wrote “Christmas Time Is Here” with famed jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, who is also the composer and performer to the soundtrack “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
According to the documents that were obtained by TMZ, Mendelson’s company says it recently became aware of Dollywood’s efforts to weave the track into its stage play “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which Mendelson’s team claims to have been happening without permission since 2007.
Mendelson accuses Dollywood of infringing on their copyright. The company is demanding $150,000 per infringement and attorney fees. The lawsuit is also seeking an injunction against Dollywood from playing their music.
The suit states:
“Defendant owns and operates an amusement and Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, under the name Dollywood (the “Theme Park”). As alleged more fully below, Defendant has used the Infringed Work in the live theatrical production, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” (the “Production”) at the Theme Park without a license in place for Dramatic Performances/Rights (“Dramatic Rights”).”
The lawsuit aims to get the amusement park to pay for its previous, and potential future use of the song “Christmas Time Is Here.”
Dollywood has been open since 1986 after the singer invested money into an amusement park named Silver Dollar City.