Kingman then sued to enforce Pascal’s gift assignment of the future royalties. Decision?
In 1952, the estate of George Bernard Shaw granted to Gabriel Pascal Enterprises, Limited, the exclusive rights to produce a musical play and a motion picture based on Shaw’s play Pygmalion. The agreement contained a provision terminating the license if Gabriel Pascal Enterprises did not arrange for well-known composers, such as Lerner and Loewe, to write the musical and produce it within a specified time. George Pascal, owner of 98 percent of Gabriel Pascal Enterprises’ stock, attempted to meet these requirements but died in July 1954 before negotiations had been completed. In February 1954, however, while the license had two years yet to run, Pascal sent a letter to Kingman, his executive secretary, granting to her certain percentages of his share of the profits from the expected stage and screen productions of Pygmalion. Subsequently, Pascal’s estate arranged for the writing and production of the highly successful My Fair Lady, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion. Kingman then sued to enforce Pascal’s gift assignment of the future royalties. Decision?
Since there was no musical play or motion picture in nature at the time of the transmission of the message, Individual P's letter was meant to irrevocably pass a portion of the royalties from the potential productions to Individual K through assignment. As a valid gift, the assignment is enforceable.
For sums that are supposed to be owed to the assignor, grants of rights are enforceable. In order to make a gift to such an assignment, the donor only needs to show a current intention to irrevocably transfer the right over to the donor.
Assignments of rights are enforceable for amounts that are expected to be due to the assignor. The donor should only prove a present desire to irrevocably pass its right to the donor to make a donation of such an assignment.
Although there was no musical play or motion picture in existence at the time of the delivery of the document, Individual P's letter was intended to irrevocably pass a percentage of the royalties from the future productions to Individual K through assignment. As a true gift, the assignment is also enforceable.