Copyright & Royalty Resources
A copyrighted play usually is offered as a licensed property. If you wish to produce a play protected by copyright, you apply for a license--in essence, paying the publisher/agent (and thus the playwright) for performances of the play. These payments are referred to as "royalties," and producing a copyrighted work requires permission and/or payment of royalties. This includes not only plays and musicals, but background music used in a production or performed on stage as part of a play. This is true whether you charge admission or not, and whether you are a for-profit or not-for-profit theatre or a school.
- AACT's Glossary of Rights & Royalty Terms (PDF)
- An article from the AACT Resource Library: "Script Changes? Copyright law requires permission. Here’s how to make it work."
- Since most copyrighted words cannot be recorded or videotaped without permission from the rights holder, take a look at this Resource Library article: "Videotaping: An Inconvenient Truth."
- AACT's Resource Library offers members a large collection of how-to articles and forms on production, management, governance, advocacy, and more.
Useful Articles on the Web
Copyright Information for Directors & Actors [College of William & Mary website]
Obtaining Rights to Produce a Play or Musical or Use Music in Live Performances [University of Texas at Austin website]
Music Rights for Plays and Musicals [TheatreLawyer.com]
The Use of Copyrighted Materials in Live Theatre Productions [MS Word document] [Richmond Sound Design website]
Online Reference Sites
Duration of Copyright [U.S. Copyright Office]
Music Licensing Terminology [ASCAP]
Music Licenses & Copyrights [IAMUSIC.com]
Licensing & Royalty Examples
NOTE: The above is a representative sampling only, since not all publishers post details on their websites.