Dollywood Sued For Use of Copyrighted ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Holiday Song
Dolly Parton's theme park, Dollywood, is facing a new lawsuit over the use of holiday classic "Christmas Time is Here," TMZ reports. Lee Mendelson, who is the executive producer of the classic Peanuts animated television specials, co-wrote the song, which is prominently featured in the 1965 animated holiday special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
According to the report, Mendelson's production company -- Lee Mendelson Film Productions, Inc. -- owns the copyright to the holiday tune. The production studio is suing Dollywood for its use of "Christmas Time is Here" in the park's annual holiday play, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Each year, the park celebrates the Christmas season with a run of performances of the play; the show features an arrangement of holiday tunes, including the offending "Christmas Time is Here."
The production company's team claims that Dollywood has been incorporating the song into its play without obtaining proper licensing agreements since 2007, and that background music in the performance uses music from the song, too. Per TMZ, the company warned the theme park in 2018 to stop using the unauthorized holiday classic, finally bringing the suit after Dollywood failed to secure permission following that warning.
The lawsuit seeks payment for past uses of "Christmas Time is Here," and requests that Dollywood stops using the copyrighted material until a licensing agreement has been reached.
Located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Dollywood has been an operating theme park since 1961. The park features a number of amusement park rides, alongside traditional crafts and entertainment local to the area as well as several seasonal concerts and musical events each year.
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