Open Forum

Video and livestream rights in the future

  • 1.  Video and livestream rights in the future

    Posted 19 days ago

    Do you think the pandemic will bring a permanent change to the way video, and now live-streams, are handled by publishing companies? I've only recorded our plays or musicals when wording in our contracts allowed it. My understanding is that even archival copies have not been legal, unless you had written permission in your contract. More recently, some companies have begun offering an additional charge for filming shows, but it only affects a few titles. Parents always believe we can film the shows and sell it to them as a way to remember the production or a way to show it to family members in care facilities or to family who live to far away to see the show. 

    This spring, we're seeing companies start to offer these services (MTI with ShowTix4U, BookTix with TRW, Dramatic Publishing). It seems like it would be a win-win for the creators of plays and musicals, the companies that hold the rights to have another stream of income, while providing a way for more people to see students' work, and a way for families to hold on to these memories. 

    The copyright laws were written long before today's technology was created. At this point, I'd love to watch shows from the past that I directed. Seeing the performances from the National Theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals, even BroadwayHD, and other professional companies online make me hope the royalty/publishing companies will find a way to make this happen for all educational theatre productions in the future.

    David Tate Hastings
    Theatre Educator
    Olathe South High School
    Thespian Troupe #5006

  • 2.  RE: Video and livestream rights in the future

    Posted 16 days ago
    I think it's important to add that in almost all cases, it is not the publishing/licensing house making these decisions. They are the "middle man" or messenger-- they contact the rightsholders for permissions.

    In many cases, these rights are unavailable, because film or streaming rights have already been granted to someone else (like a movie or TV studio or a service like BroadwayHD). 

    Of course, we are always happy to ask, and thrilled to give you suggestions about how to successfully produce a virtual/digital performance whenever we get an approval (and there are many cases where we do!). If your request is denied, it's not because anyone didn't bother to ask or is going out of their way to enforce something archaic. It's because the rights are unavailable. 

    We are here to advocate for you. It's our job to make sure we're well-versed in what you need as an educational theatre producer, so we can ask for it and work to develop resources to support you. Licensing teams (including my wonderful colleagues at Concord Theatricals) work very hard to represent you and your students to everyone involved.

    Rosemary Bucher
    Educational Theatre Licensing Coordinator
    Concord Theatricals
    New York, NY