Sep 04, 2020

  • DEEP DIVE

    The Basics of Copyright

    Copyright is the law of the land passed by Congress and overseen by the Copyright Office. The law exists so writers can profit from their work, enabling them to keep creating new work that will eventually belong to everyone. The Copyright Law thus recognizes that writing is valuable WORK and contributes to the artistic legacy of our country. Copyright Law makes it illegal to use, without permission, the original work of an author for his/her/their lifetime plus 70 years.

    Copyright is to writers what patents are to inventors. Copyright is intellectual property. If you have written it, it is your property exactly as if you built a car; if anybody stole it, you would call the police. If they wanted to borrow it and paint it, they’d have to call you first and ask or else you would call the police when you heard they painted it a bright red. Writing is property created and owned by the author and protected by the author’s copyright.

Sep 03, 2020

  • WEBINAR

    ASK BA: Fair Use

    FEATURING:

    Ralph Sevush, Executive Director of Business Affairs & General Counsel,  Jordan Greenberger, ESQand Amy VonMacek,  Director of Council Programs

    SUMMARY:

    Fair use is the doctrine that allows a person to use excerpts of copyrighted material without having to ask the copyright holder. So just how much of a song or poem can you use in your play without having to ask permission What falls under fair use? It depends! Ralph and Jordan answer questions about using copyrighted material and having your material used by others.

    About the Business Affairs Department at the Dramatists Guild

    The staff lawyers in Business Affairs can review unsigned contracts and advise on a wide range of matters including options, commissions, royalties, copyright, collaboration, trademark, rights of privacy, rights of publicity, defamation, so-called “life-story rights,” and agents. It can also provide guidance, and follow up on complaints regarding theatres, producers, publishers, agents, attorneys, festivals, and contests.

    Business Affairs also provides constructive comments to government and business leaders on balancing institutional tradition in the face of necessary innovation. Toward this end, the lawyers at the Guild track U.S. and worldwide theater business trends, advise members on immediate business concerns, and draft statements reflecting the Council’s position on issues of national import.

    For more information on Guild Services, you can visit us at www.dramatistsguild.com/contract-reviews-and-business-advice-writers or call 212-398-9366 

     

  • WEBINAR

    ASK BA: The Real Person in Your Play

    FEATURING:

    Ralph Sevush, Executive Director of Business Affairs & General Counsel,  Lloyd Jassin, Attorney, and Amy VonMacek, Director of Council Programs

    SUMMARY:

    Do you need permission? What kind of release will you need? What is the difference between the right of privacy and right of publicity? These questions, and more, are answered by Ralph and Lloyd in our illuminating ASK BA webinar. 

    About the Business Affairs Department at the Dramatists Guild

    The staff lawyers in Business Affairs can review unsigned contracts and advise on a wide range of matters including options, commissions, royalties, copyright, collaboration, trademark, rights of privacy, rights of publicity, defamation, so-called “life-story rights,” and agents. It can also provide guidance, and follow up on complaints regarding theatres, producers, publishers, agents, attorneys, festivals, and contests.

    Business Affairs also provides constructive comments to government and business leaders on balancing institutional tradition in the face of necessary innovation. Toward this end, the lawyers at the Guild track U.S. and worldwide theater business trends, advise members on immediate business concerns, and draft statements reflecting the Council’s position on issues of national import.

    For more information on Guild Services, you can visit us at www.dramatistsguild.com/contract-reviews-and-business-advice-writers or call 212-398-9366 

     

Sep 02, 2020

  • VIDEO

    #DGuknow: Copyright 101 for Dramatists

    Copyright is at the center of what it means to be a working writer in theatre today. But what exactly does that mean? Amy VonMacek, Director of Council Programs, sat down with Deborah Murad, Executive Director of DG Copyright Management, to learn more about what copyright is, what it isn't, and what it means to you as a working professional.

    Watch Deborah explain why copyright is so important, what is protected under copyright, how to protect your copyright, and more!

    Executive Producer: Amy VonMacek

    Theme Composition: Ioana Preda Buburuzan

    Production and Design: Kristin Kapinos and Gabriel Drozdov

     

  • MUSIC VIDEO

    "Someone Wrote That Song" - music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Craig Carnelia

    "If a puppet tells you not to steal sheet music, we think you should listen. Especially if those puppets are voiced by Benj Pasek, Nick Blaemire, Kait Kerrigan and the inimitable Stephen Schwartz." - Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk

    As destructive and unfair to composers, lyricists and publishers as the illegal photocopying of sheet music has been over the years, the spread of free sheet music sites on the internet is threatening the very existence of professional publishing. In response to this threat, the Dramatists Guild formed the Copyright Advocacy committee to combat the piracy of sheet music and scripts on the internet.

     

     

    "Someone Wrote That Song"

    Directed and Edited by Jeremy Levine, Transient Pictures

    Produced by Craig Carnelia, Jeremy Levine and Stephen Schwartz

    Music: Alan Menken

    Lyric: Craig Carnelia

    Music Produced, Arranged, and Recorded by: Curtis Moore

    Vocals: Nick Blaemire, Kait Kerrigan, Benj Pasek and Stephen Schwartz

    Backup Vocals: Curtis Moore

    Director of Photography: Eric Phillips-Horst

    Field Producer & Creative Consultant: Marina Fernandez Ferri

    Puppet Design & Construction: The Puppet Kitchen

    Set Design & Construction: The Puppet Kitchen

    Puppeteers: Heather Asch, Jake Basel, Ryan Dillon, Michael Schupbach, James Wojtal, Eric Wright

    Puppet Kitchen Staff: Kevin Abrams, Jake Basel, Emily DeCola, Aston Hollins McClanahan, Chloe Moser, Michael Schupbach, Eric Wright

    Consulting Producer: Landon Van Soest

    Production Assistant: JP Keenan

    Compositing & Color Grading: Begonia Colomar

    Additional footage from "The Legacy Project" Courtesy of the Dramatists Guild Foundation 

    Thanks: The Cornelia Connelly Center David Faux Amy VonMacek

    Special thanks to the many Dramatists Guild composers and lyricists who lent their time and support to this project.

Sep 01, 2020

  • ARTICLE

    Playwrights and Copyright by Doug Wright

    Playwrights and CopyrightBROADWAY, 1926

    The Rialto is alive with drama. At the Mansfield Theater, a revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Beyond the Horizon is enjoying a healthy run. At the Imperial, George Gershwin’s prohibition romp Oh, Kay is a bona fide sell-out. At the Mayfair, an unexpected guest upstages the opening night of a searing marital tragedy entitled The Half-Naked Truth. In the words of critic Brooks Atkinson:

    “Toward the end of the second act… a gray cat walked amiably across the stage, peeped curiously over the footlights, and then sat down comfortably, yawned a little, blinked sleepily and apparently settled for the night…What drama could vie with the reality of a cat? Or what actor could put a cat to shame? Unfortunately…the play…was amateurish in every [other] respect.”

    The Half-Naked Truth closed within a month; the fate of the cat remains unknown.

    But the dramas playing out on Broadway that fateful year aren’t all happening onstage; in a nearby office building behind closed doors, a cluster of playwrights – Eugene O’Neill and humorist George Kaufman among them – are meeting with a group of theatrical producers.

    The writers have recently established a Guild, just fourteen years old, to fight for equitable practice in their profession. Somewhat reluctantly the Producers have agreed to meet. On one point the Guild is intractable: the right of its members to control their copyrights and prevent unauthorized changes in their scripts.

    Negotiations are grueling. In desperation the dramatists threaten to withdraw their plays, submit no new ones and effectively halt the upcoming Broadway season. Producers are incensed. Finally, five months later, the writers emerge victorious.

    Fast forward 88 years...

Aug 31, 2020