Open Forum

  • 1.  question about performance rights

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hello busy, passionate, creative people!
    There is a group of students at my school that want to perform an adapted script of Mean Girls. They would adapt the script... Would we still have to pay performance rights?
    Thanks!

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    Marta Carvalho
    Drama Director
    Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, Portugal
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  • 2.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 28 days ago

    Absolutely. And all edits or cuts of the script must be approved in writing. That is usually not easy to do.

    ~Dave



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    David Simpson
    Performing Arts Center Manager
    MI
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  • 3.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 27 days ago
    Edited by Matt Curtis 27 days ago
    Hi Marta,

    Unfortunately, what your students are proposing is illegal. You must obtain permission from the film's rightsholders (most likely Paramount Pictures) to adapt their intellectual property. It is highly unlikely that they would agree to let you do so because they have already granted those rights to the producers of the Broadway musical. Eventually, you will be able to license the performance rights of the stage musical, but you'll need to perform the script as written.

    I always urge teachers to use situations like this as a teachable moment for your students to help them understand copyright law.

    Best,
    Matt

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    Matt Curtis
    Content & Marketing Director
    Educational Theatre Association
    OH
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  • 4.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 27 days ago
    Yes - and the rights are not available; they don't exist for adapting or performing. Ian Doescher (of Star Wars Shakespeare fame) wrote a Shakespeare version of Mean Girls, but his agent and him have a very close working relationship, and a lawyer, to secure rights for what he is creating. Even then, one of the caveats is that his books based on movies cannot be produced as performances. The musical is currently on tour and the rights are not available yet for schools to perform.
    You never want to adapt and perform a movie script as a public performance  - that's playing with fire. Some schools have gotten away with it (i.e. the school that did Alien a few years ago), but many do not. A local high school produced The Breakfast Club in 2004, and it was an absolute nightmare for the school once the production company found out.
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. This is something I'm very passionate about because I've seen firsthand what can happen. 


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    Ellicia Elliott
    Artistic Director
    Richland WA
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  • 5.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 27 days ago
    What if it is presented as a class presentation? Audience would be grades 11 and 12, no tickets sold, and during the school day. The kids are wanting to use this a way to receive CAS hours (IB program). Thanks!

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    Marta Carvalho
    Drama Director
    Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, Portugal
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  • 6.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 27 days ago
    Unfortunately, this is not an acceptable way to skirt the legality of the issue. Any time you are performing in front of an audience, you need to secure performance rights for material that is not 100% original or in the public domain (like Shakespeare). It does not matter if the audience is paying of non-paying, if they are students in a classroom or audience members in an auditorium. If there is an audience of any kind - meaning people viewing the presentation who are not part of it - you need to be acquiring permission to perform.

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    Matt Curtis
    Content & Marketing Director
    Educational Theatre Association
    OH
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  • 7.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 26 days ago
    Thank you to everyone for your feedback. This a great learning opportunity for the students regarding performance rights.

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    Marta Carvalho
    Drama Director
    Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, Portugal
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  • 8.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 26 days ago
    The only place where you might have wiggle room is if they create a parody version. There are rules about parodies that give them a little more licensing freedom, but you would need to research this carefully to make sure you're in a legal realm.

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    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School
    VA
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  • 9.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 26 days ago
    No, no, no. This is illegal and unethical. And it is direct opposition to the spirit of IB education. This project should never have been started. It is wrong no matter how the performance is presented.
    I'm sorry if this sounds harsh.

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    John Perry
    Retired Theatre Teacher
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  • 10.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 26 days ago
    Once again, thank you to everyone for their feedback. John, no need to apologize. I am not the IB Theatre Arts teacher, but yes, I am using this platform to get information and pass it on. In my initial post it says "they want" which means they haven't started it. Information was gathered, research was made, and now it's been shared with admin. Thanks :)

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    Marta Carvalho
    Drama Director
    Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, Portugal
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  • 11.  RE: question about performance rights

    Posted 26 days ago
    Sorry, didn't want to be too harsh but ethical issues as to rights, performance, etc just set me off. I've seen too many productions here in Louisville done illegally and too many schools ("reputable" performing arts programs) making changes that I know were not approved by the licensing agent.
    Thanks for doing the leg-work for the IB program. They really should know better.

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    John Perry
    Retired Theatre Teacher
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