Copies of play for college production

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  • Our theater professor wants to make copies of a play for his actors to use. Running through fair use guidelines, I'm not sure what to tell them.

    1. Mostly educational use
    2. Fictional work
    3. Using the whole play
    4. Market value effect--not too much, but the kids aren't buying their own copies of the play to use

    Do they need to get permission for this? Does it make a difference if they charge for any performances?
  • If they are performing the play in public, they should go through one of the established playscript suppliers, like Samuel French , and pay the proper licensing fees. (I base this partly on my experience as a costmer for college productions -- the producer I worked with was always very careful to do this.) One way to get around this is to stick with plays out of copyright, like Shakespeare, or find plays published under a Creative Commons license. The right to perform the work in public is one of the creator's copy rights, and if you perform it in public without permission you are taking that right away.

    For a reading in a drama class with no public performance, however, the rules for classroom copying would apply. Making photocopies would be fine, at least for the first time he wants to do this.

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