Appeals Court Says Cats Make-Up Copyright Case Goes to Civil Trial

News   Appeals Court Says Cats Make-Up Copyright Case Goes to Civil Trial Attorney Russell Smith, counsel for Candace Carell, the artist and designer responsible for the distinctive make up and look that “brought the cats in Cats to life” has announced that the make-up artist has prevailed in court and expects to have her case presented before a civil jury in New York City. The fifth attorney to represent Carell in this case, Smith says that a “unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, led by Chief Judge John M. Walker, Jr. and joined by Judges Jose Cabranes and Chester J. Straub, has denied the Cats producers permission to appeal from the lower court ruling that her copyright infringement and false advertising claims should be allowed to proceed.”

Attorney Russell Smith, counsel for Candace Carell, the artist and designer responsible for the distinctive make up and look that “brought the cats in Cats to life” has announced that the make-up artist has prevailed in court and expects to have her case presented before a civil jury in New York City. The fifth attorney to represent Carell in this case, Smith says that a “unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, led by Chief Judge John M. Walker, Jr. and joined by Judges Jose Cabranes and Chester J. Straub, has denied the Cats producers permission to appeal from the lower court ruling that her copyright infringement and false advertising claims should be allowed to proceed.”

In June, the Federal District Court in Manhattan had said it would hear the case once depositions had been taken and a court date was set. It was the producers’ subsequent appeal of that decision which was not rejected by the appellate judge.

Carrell designed the Cats make-up, but has been battling with the show’s producers, The Shubert Organization, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Napier over copyright. After becoming aware that she had a valid copyright claim, Carrel registered her work in 1991. The producers petitioned this filing with the U.S. Copyright Office in Aug. 1992; that petition effort was unsuccessful and Carrel kept her registration following a 1994 ruling by the Copyright Office. Attorney Smith claims “over three billion dollars in worldwide grosses,” have been collected over the years from Cats but that his client “was never paid for her creations, even after she won a battle in the Copyright Office, where an effort to cancel her copyright registration was denied.”

As reported earlier, Cats characters require as much as "eight layers of make up."

"It is very elaborate, " Smith said, "and it takes several hours to put on." Smith was the attorney for dramaturg Lynn Thomson in her dispute with the Larson heirs over her contributions to Rent. A settlement in that case was reached. While all parties continue to refuse to discuss details, Thomson is believed to have been satisfied with the settlement. Smith told Playbill On-Line that Carrel “would prefer a settlement” but short of that “she is looking forward to presenting her case in front of six citizens” —the number of jurors comprising a civil jury.