Widow of Gene Kelly files lawsuit against University Press of Mississippi
Suit claims the university press and author Kelli Marshall are planning to infringe upon copyrighted intellectual property with publication of interviews
LOS ANGELES, CA – April 29, 2016 – Today in Federal Court, Patricia Ward Kelly, the widow of legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly and Executrix of his Estate, filed a lawsuit alleging that the University Press of Mississippi and Kelli Marshall are planning to willfully infringe upon copyrighted intellectual property. University Press and Marshall are advertising their publication of an unauthorized collection of Gene Kelly Interviews and assert that they are obtaining the right to do so from unidentified persons not in the chain of title with Mr. Kelly. Ms. Marshall and the Director of the University Press of Mississippi, Ms. Leila Salisbury, were informed of the infringement, but repeatedly ignored written requests to cease and desist.
Warmly remembered for his starring roles in movie classics Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, Gene Kelly was also an important figure behind the camera, working as director and choreographer to change the look of dance on film. Educated in numerous fields and extremely articulate, Kelly often spoke in depth about his work, including his creation of a particularly American style of dance, the integration of dance to further the plot and the use of the camera to capture dance sequences. According to the lawsuit, Kelly’s unique expressions, spoken and written, “are original works of authorship and are copyrightable subject matter under the laws of the United States.”
Asked to comment about the case, Mitchell N. Reinis of Thompson Coburn, LLP, attorney for Mrs. Kelly, said, “Our client takes the willful infringement of Gene Kelly’s intellectual property very seriously and is prepared to pursue violations to the full extent of the law. Mr. Kelly was very specific about how he wanted his intellectual property used to further his legacy. He entrusted his wife to execute his wishes and to protect the rights to his property.” Reinis has also filed with the court an EX PARTE application for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the reproduction or publication of the Gene Kelly interviews and other materials.