Library: Copyright and Securing Rights to Produce a Play! – Theatre Alberta

Brave Girl – Lunchbox Theatre
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Library: Copyright and Securing Rights to Produce a Play! – Theatre Alberta

 

Obtaining rights to produce a play can seem daunting for new producers; however, it is not as complex as it might sound. In most cases, rights are only a phone call or a simple online application form away.

The first step is to find out who holds the production rights. Have a look at the first few pages of the script – especially the front and back of the title page.

Rights & RoyaltiesWe looked through the first couple of pages of these two plays. This is what we found:

The Gentleman Clothier by Norm Foster
The title page contains the title of the play, the name of the playwright, and the publisher: Playwrights Canada Press. The first line on the back of the title page reads: The Gentleman Clothier © 2016 by Norm Foster. There’s also a statement on that same page that reads: For professional or amateur production rights, please contact: The Gary Goddard Agency.

The Forbidden Phoenix by Marty Chan
Again, the title page contains the title of the play, the name of the playwright, and the publisher: Playwrights Canada Press. The first two lines on the back of the title page reads: The Forbidden Phoenix book © Copyright 2010 Marty Chan, lyrics © Copyright 2010 Marty Chan / Robert Walsh. There’s also a statement on that page that reads: For amateur or professional production rights, please contact: Playwrights Guild of Canada

If it’s not obvious whom to contact to obtain production rights, we suggest that you contact the publisher who’ll be able to put you in contact with the right person. These are some of the publisher’s you’re likely to come across:

Playwrights Guild of Canada
Playwrights Canada Press
Samuel French
Dramatic Publishing
Dramatists Play Service
Music Theatre International
Theatre Rights Worldwide (TRW)

If you’re still unable to locate the copyright holder, you’ll find more information on these websites:

Copyright Board of Canada – Unlocatable Copyright Owner in Canada
United States Copyright Office
CopyLaw.com – Locating Copyright Holders in the US

All of the links mentioned in this blog post can also be found in our online catalogue. Just click the tab LINKS in the top right corner.

Now that you know whom to contact, give them a call or fill out their online application form. Visit their website and look for a link called Royalties, Licensing, Performances, or Production Rights. The terminology varies a bit from site to site but that’s the general terminology.

If you want to know more about rights and royalties and what to expect when applying for production rights, check out our Ins and Outs of Rights and Royalties guide.

Break a leg!
~ Chris and Solveig, Librarians