Open Forum

1.  TED video on copyright

Posted 07-14-2017 14:46
I recently watched a TED video from 2007. I also explored the Creative Commons website alluded to in the video.

The speaker in this video makes an interesting argument. I'm curious about your thoughts:

How could this apply to theatrical productions based on published scripts? What rights should teachers have in creating staged productions?

There are many variables in producing a show: directors, designers, cast, budget, resources, community, world events, etc. It would be challenging to write a play so clearly that teachers could always recreate the playwright's intent in production. Without the playwright at the school, teachers are challenged with deciphering the playwright's intent from the script. These choices are being made in different parts of the country based on the students and resources at the school, and the people in the community that support the productions.

The easy (and legally correct) answer is to pick a different play or write for permission to make changes. I would argue that every production is already making these choices, even if they never change the text. It would be unfeasible to request permission for every artistic choice.

The country is divided in terms of personal beliefs. It's hard for me to believe that a playwright/composer can write a script that will be universally interpreted. I'm not suggesting that teachers be allowed to make changes to a script, but rather that we should consider the argument in the TED talk.

Should there be some middle ground when it comes to copyright? Watch the video before you respond. If you read the comments to the TED talk, you will see that people feel passionately about both sides of this issue.

David Tate Hastings
Olathe South High School

2.  RE: TED video on copyright

Posted 07-15-2017 10:26
I would like more flexibility with changing inappropriate lines and lyrics in musicals. It's VERY hard to find something in Alabama that fits your cast needs (as far as student performers available) that doesn't upset the parents but isn't a musical directed at elementary school kids, especially when you have limited boys.

Example: Even one Wizard of Oz you have Uncle Henry using the Lord's name in vain.

Im not asking to make Sam Shepard kid friendly or to even change the intent. I think most teachers just make the changes and don't ask unless it's a competition play.

Amy Strickland
Drama Teacher

3.  RE: TED video on copyright

Posted 07-16-2017 12:22
I think the best approach is to ask. Start well ahead of time as many publishers have a process for cuts and adaptions, but it does take time.  Some will just say, no.  But others are receptive.  All Shook Up for example has altered line options in the script.  After all, publishers and authors want their works to be performed and may simply not be aware of the need.

Michael Johnson
Trinity NC