November 29, 2016

Jury Finds Jersey Boys Creators Guilty of Copyright Infringement

November 29th, 2016
The cast of ‘Jersey Boys’ performing at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

The cast of ‘Jersey Boys’ performing at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

From The Hollywood Reporter: According to a jury verdict Monday, creators of JERSEY BOYS took at least part of their now-famous show from an unpublished autobiography of founding member Tommy DeVito.

Journalist Rex Woodward helped DeVito write a non-fiction account of The Four Seasons’ more scandalous, even criminal, history. Woodward died before the book was ever published. When his widow, Donna Corbello, learned about the play and its connection to her late husband’s work, she sued.

Earlier this month, Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio were cleared from any liability in the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Robert Jones found no evidence had been presented that either of the men was aware the show’s writers had copied from the book or had any ability to do anything about it if they had known.

The jury found that DeVito did not grant an implied license for the creators of the stage play to use his book as source material — and attributed 10 percent of Jersey Boys’ success to infringement of the book.

Michael David, Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice, Des McAnuff and several corporations connected to the play were each found liable for direct copyright infringement of the unpublished book, Tommy DeVito — Then and Now.

In July, the court decided to divide the trial into a liability phase followed by a damages phase. So the amount of damages, if any, to be awarded to Corbello has not yet been determined.


  1. IF this book is ever published, I dare say that nearly 100% of their profits will be traced to the coattails of the magical success of Jersey Boys – a success that can’t be attributed to anything as concrete as one person’s reporting of another person’s perspective.

    If successful shows were so easy to come by, Jersey Boys wouldn’t stand out as such a record-breaking phenomenon. It’s got a soul and that can’t be copied or transplanted.

    Comment by Audrey Rockman — December 2, 2016 @ 12:23 am

  2. I hope the book is eventually published. I have not found a single book published on the history of the Four Seasons. Remember Jersey Boys is not history. It’s entertainment.

    Comment by Paul Urbahns — January 2, 2017 @ 8:51 am

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