Myndee Fleury Washington
Music & Drama Teacher
Union Park Charter Academy
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you EVERYWHERE"- Albert Einstein
A very vaild concern.
As I understand it, using the online ticketing service from Playscripts is an option, not a requirement. I am checking with the people I know there to make sure this is the case. I certainly would prefer if it was simply an option for a teacher to use if they wished, not a requirement that they must use the service. I will let you know what I hear.
While I completely understand the frustration, the other component is that licencing companies, in order to obtain authors that will allow steaming, have to be able to offer the stakeholders some kind of guarantee that their work with be secure, and not just posted on YouTube or Facebook for anyone to watch for free without protecting their royalty. This takes quite a financial investment to do it right, make it stable, and to fulfill the requirements that might make authors who have in the past been Leary at best about even a recording license much less the ability to livestream. It this time when these companies are all literally purging money with no end in site they are working to help us find a way to produce so that their authors can get their 11 to 20 percent royalty payment when none of us had any way of making money before. These companies, like all others arts businesses, are facing losing employees that they care about and no real income insight for some time. But still they are investing in us. They're gambling to create a platform that will meet and exceed the needs of school and community theatre, authors and stakeholders while still trying to hold on to as many employees as possible. This is the time to raise each other up, not beat each other down. You have every right to choose not to do a show from those companies, just as they have every right to approach their authors with a platform that is secure and will meet the needs of their business. I'm super excited for my Throwback Thursday series where I am live-streaming shows from the MTI catalogue that I have done over the last 16 years that have video and steaming licences. I think I have six scheduled so far! I'm making money, MTI is making money, and the authors are making money! That's a win in my book!
Thank you, Tim. This. Absolutely, this! As a teacher - who's $2,000 stipend to direct/design/produce extracurricular theatre for the year averages out to a couple of bucks an hour (if that) - every minute I have to spend learning a new system / interface is significant. As Michael pointed out, for most of our patrons it's probably not a big deal to have a different ticketing system or streaming platform for each show. However, for me, every different ticketing service and streaming platform is a new system to learn and deal with on the back-end. More time spent learning how to use it, populating it with information, and more emails to different companies / people when there are issues which need troubleshooting. I appreciate the legal position that publishing/licensing companies are in. (Thank you, Jim, for taking the time to go into some detail there, and for your earnest desire to be as flexible and accommodating as possible.) I get it, and I empathize. I also understand that this is all very new and was put together in a remarkably short time-frame. What I don't understand is this: if a ticketing/streaming service has "satisfied all of the legal requirements... and is fully equipped to deliver an authorized streaming experience" for one major publishing/licensing company, aren't they likely to have met all of the same requirements to be used for another? If BookTix works for TRW, why not for MTI? or Playscripts etc. (and vice versa). If it's because exclusive arrangements were the only way to make it financially viable, that at least makes sense. I don't overestimate the "Power of Purchase" held by a small high school in southern MD, and I don't think that anyone is trying to "beat each other down." If anything, I feel a desire to support the companies that facilitate our performances each year in a time when they may need it most. However, we are all facing difficult decisions and a lot of uncertainty. This is a significant factor in making those decisions and is worth discussing. Companies may have their hands tied - either legally, or financially - or they may be able to find a way to make it more feasible for us to license their shows. I will do my best to understand the former, while hoping for the latter.Many thanks to the people who create opportunities for our students, and best wishes to all.Cheers.~Guy
In accordance with United States and International copyright laws along with agreements between the authors of our musicals and owners of specific underlying rights (pre-existing books or movies or other source material) as well as newly assigned rights for film or broadcast usage of the musical, the license TRW issues is very narrow in scope. It allows for the live, stage performance of the musical under a very stringent set of terms and conditions providing assurance to our authors and respective owners that the rights they exclusively control will not be infringed upon or violated by the local production. Separate from the collection of appropriate royalty fees for the performance of their intellectual property, authors and owners must be afforded protection from any misuse of their rights.
In the challenging times we are facing together, TRW has, for many of our titles, obtained permission from the authors and owners for an extension of our covenant of rights to include those of live streaming. A component of our extension of rights into the arena of live streaming is the assurance that our streaming service will adhere to a very onerous set of rules and criteria that protect the integrity and intrinsic value of the copyright, mechanical ownership and broadcast use controlled by the authors and owners. To adhere to this requirement and not violate any rights which would subject you, our licensees, to potential legal action, we have partnered with BookTix. In establishing this partnership, BookTix has satisfied all of the legal requirements from our authors and owners and is fully equipped to deliver an authorized streaming experience.
While we encourage and request all of our licensees to use BookTix for their ticketing services, we appreciate that prior relationships by our licensees for ticketing services might be in place. Therefore, we will allow for your use of a different ticketing service but must require that the streaming platform be under the auspices of BookTix Live.Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
As a retired teacher of over 30 years, and still a director, I would find it difficult being forced to use a different ticketing company if I had loyalty or simply liked using that company. it seems the concern is that publishing companies and playwrights need a way to track ticket sales. If that is the case, any platform that can demonstrate they can work with publishers and playwrights should be available to use. After retiring from teaching, I took a job with the company I had used and loved, Ludus. We've developed a really great streaming product called AnywhereSeat. AnywhereSeat from the beginning developed a tool called Virtual Tracker specifically for publishing companies and playwrights to ensure streams can't be shared publicly across the internet and that access was regulated and easily reported.
We can work with the companies to ensure everything meets legal requirements per their standards. So to those publishing companies locking in customers to one platform, please know there are options out there. I am not sure I see the benefit to either companies or playwrights, or directors, at limiting choices.
We're glad to hear you enjoyed AnywhereSeat. Those are all great points! We'd be more than happy to work with any publishing company to meet those needs, even including a list of publishers to select from when setting up a show, and ensure the reports are up to standards. It is easy enough to keep track of those that "purchase a ticket" to a streaming event, and we can guarantee that each ticket (code) is used once and from one platform or device. We are willing to work with any publishing company or independent playwright to make things fair and transparent!I think this is all new and we are working through how best to manage things so everyone is treated fairly and wit quality. Streaming looks like it may be here to stay as a viable option for schools and other performing groups, this discussion is great to have!Let me know if there is anything else I or Ludus/AnywhereSeat can do to help make things easier.
Elisabeth,In general, ticketing/live-streaming companies have to charge a small fee per ticket, as that's how they stay in business and pay for all of the technology they created. On the publishing/licensing side, there's generally going to be some kind of add-on fee to live-stream plays because a) playwrights need to be properly compensated for their work and b) live-streaming creates extra work on our end to protect the playwrights' intellectual property. None of us can work for free any more than you can.While I appreciate wanting to keep the arts accessible, the one problem with charging nothing is that when something is free, it's easy to equate the price--nothing--with its value. I taught at an independent school, and while we always kept our ticket prices low (maybe $3/$5), we did think it was important to charge something. Nobody ever complained.Alternatively, some licensing agencies--we're considering it currently--may allow streaming longer-term (on some titles) via social media (e.g. Facebook Live!), but while that would remove the ticketing fees, it's likely to cost the school more upfront as there is so much more risk in terms of copyright.If that still doesn't work, you could do a public domain play or devise/write your own and then stream it over Facebook, Zoom or a similar platform.Cheers,Jonathan