Charlie Brown producer suing Dollywood for using ‘Christmas Time is Here’

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Lee Mendelson Film Productions, the production company behind the Peanuts gang holiday specials is suing Dollywood in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Knoxville alleges the theme park had a “blatant disregard of the exclusive rights” when it used the song “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Lee Mendelson produced many of the Charlie Brown specials beginning in 1963 and co-authored the song. The company is asking for $150,000 for each time the song was used in one of Dollywood’s stage show productions and attorney’s fees.

The indictment says Dollywood was given notice in September 2018 of the infringement but the park has not obtained a license for the song.

The suit also says the park may have been using “Christmas Time is Here” as early as 2007. Clips of the production on YouTube include the song more than a decade ago.

Dollywood officials declined to comment citing the ongoing litigation.

Dollywood’s 2019 Christmas celebration Smoky Mountain Christmas is set to begin Nov. 9 and run through Jan. 4.

The Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schulz first appeared in a comic strip in July 1952. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” first aired in 1965.

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