Court: 'Who's on First' can remain in theatric production

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — An appeals court says producers of a Broadway play can use Abbott and Costello's famous "Who's on First" routine over objections by the comedy duo's heirs.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Tuesday. The heirs had sued "Hand to God" producers.

A lower-court judge ruled last December that the play's use of the routine was so transformative that it constituted fair use of a copyrighted work. The 2nd Circuit disagreed with that reasoning. But it said the heirs could not win their claim because they could not prove they owned a valid copyright.

In the play, an actor uses a sock puppet to perform part of the famous routine almost verbatim.

The parties didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.