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dramacentral dramacentral is offline
 
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copyright question
Old 11-13-2005, 01:36 PM
 
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I am producing a show with my drama group that is based on a well known children's book. I adapted the script myself and included original music. We do not charge admission or make any money on the script or performance in any way.

I had a parent call, concerned that we were violating the copyright and could be sued by the publishers. My understanding was that we were not allowed to make any money off a work or do anything that would limit the market for the book. If anything, we are providing free publicity and raising interest... but I don't think that is much of a legal argument.

We have done several other shows, and have never had this copyright concern come up before. What should I do? We have already cast the show and it would be very difficult to switch now.

In the future I'm just going to create the script completely from scratch, and avoid this problem altogether!


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Copyright answer
Old 11-13-2005, 02:20 PM
 
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The copyright notice is pretty standard in the front or back of all books: "All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form......without permission in writing from the publisher." I know that adaptions such as you describe are sometimes done, but the copyright notice suggests to me that it is not "legal."

Although the "storybook police" are probably not out to catch you, I can see where a parent would be concerned. This won't help now, but I think your plan to create original scripts for future productions is a good alternative!
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:03 PM
 
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I think what you're doing would qualify as "fair use" as defined by the U.S. Copyright Office. Go to their site and read the information about the practice. The Copyright Office is located within the Library of Congress, and the URL address for one section on "fair use" is http://memory.loc.gov/learn/start/cpyrt/. If you want to learn more, go to Home and type in Fair Use in the search function. I'm just curious as to whether the parent who is questioning your use of the book is an attorney or married to one! Good luck.
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Go ahead
Old 11-17-2005, 10:12 AM
 
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It is fair use. I am certain of it. I took a graduate class this summer and we went over this kind of thing. You are not making money or claiming ownership. If you advertise it make sure you give credit to author and publisher, and do not photocopy graphics without permission. If you used someone else's script you would need to pay them for the book itself and then money if you charged a fee to see. Break a leg!
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