Frank Castorf's 'Baal' – Director's Theater on Trial: Theater Directors in Conflict with Copyright Law in Germany

20 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2016

See all articles by Rupprecht Podszun

Rupprecht Podszun

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Faculty of Law; Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Date Written: April 28, 2016

Abstract

In 2015, the Munich District Court dealt with the staging of the play "Baal" by Bertolt Brecht in Munich Residenztheater. The heirs of the author claimed that the director of the play, Frank Castorf, a giant of German "Regietheater" (Director's Theater) had taken too much liberty in working with the text instead of staging a faithful interpretation. The case stirred uproar in Germany and shed light on the relationship of copyright laws and postmodern theater interpretations.

This lawsuit (settled after all) concerning a director’s creative freedom serves as the starting point in this paper to examine the relationship between copyright law and Regietheater in German theater and legal practice.

Part I retraces the conflict between the Residenztheater and the Brecht-estate giving an account of the litigation.

In Part II, the topic is broadly positioned in the field of copyright law - a field of law rewarding creativity and individuality of authors.

In Part III, the treatment of director’s theater in the practice of German courts will be retraced. For this, the case law is reviewed.

Part IV provides a perspective on related techniques from other cultural branches (likes sampling, mash-ups or hacking), and it explains two seminal judgments by German courts, "Metall auf Metall" and "Germania 3".

Finally, Part V concludes with thoughts on Director's Theater and Castorf's role in postmodern theater.

Keywords: Baal, Brecht, theater, copyright, Regietheater, Director's Theater

JEL Classification: Z10

Suggested Citation

Podszun, Rupprecht, Frank Castorf's 'Baal' – Director's Theater on Trial: Theater Directors in Conflict with Copyright Law in Germany (April 28, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2771638 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2771638

Rupprecht Podszun (Contact Author)

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Faculty of Law

Universitätsstr. 1
Düsseldorf, D-40225
Germany

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de/de/pub/wissenschaftler/wissenschaftliche_mitarbeiter/rupprecht_podszun.cfm

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