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The Playwrights Forum > Critic's Corner > Reviews and Critiques > "Director's Copyright" - Good News for Playwrights from the US Copyright office

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 Posted: Sat Apr 11th, 2009 03:55 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
A very good and informative article in The Dramatist Magazine issued by the Dramatists Guild of America by Ralph Sevush, Executive Director of Business Affairs about this contentious issue that was involving lawsuits and god knows what by directors and the SSCD, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

The upshot is, the Copyright Office does NOT recognize the claims of the Directors. YAY!

So, as a warning, DO NOT ever sign any side contract with a director or anyone giving them undeserving rights to your play. They don't get any.

Mr Sevush concludes the articulately defined article by writing, "We hope the Copyright's Office apparently definitive position on this matter may deter directors from supporting their union's policy of pursuing the fiction of "director's copyright" at the expense of not only writers, theatres and the theatre-going public but at the expense of their fellow directors as well."

This does not mean some idiot lawyer will not/can not further pursue this matter in the judicial system.

So, we'll see what the next ploy/move is. But for now, you can sleep tight.

When you read some of the things the director in one of these cases/ instances wanted to "Copyright" it was basically stuff any high school director could come up with. Not that it wasn't a good show (I walked out of the Broadway production at intermission. Admittedly I had seen it late in the run, and you could tell the show had gotten sloppy.) It wasn't any more "inventive" than anything I had seen before.

One instance according to the complaint filed with the copyright office was "using the chorus to march and fight in slow motion for comedic purposes." WHAT? That is straight out of comedy 101. I guess we better not do any slow motion fighting anymore. It's might be copyrighted! (Thanks to the Copyright Office, it isn't.)

best,

in media res

Last edited on Sat Apr 11th, 2009 03:58 pm by in media res

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