Copyright is not a passive act.

Copyright Advocacy

"Art is a joy, and art is something I do because I love it, but I also make a living from writing songs...when you share copies [of songs] that you have with other people, you're depriving people like me of our livelihood."- Mindi Dickstein

 

Copyright Advocacy Month may be over, but copyright is not a passive act. Download our curated list of materials, and watch our videos, and read our articles to learn exactly what copyright means, how it benefits theatrical writers, and what you can do to protect your copyright. Become an expert in copyright, and learn how it affects your career.

 

Download our Advocacy Guide Sheet

Sep 07, 2020

  • WEBINAR

    ASK BA: International Copyright and Licensing

    Ralph Sevush, Executive Director of Business Affairs & General Counsel,  Tonda Marton, Literary Agent and President of The Marton Agency, David Faux, Of Counsel, Deborah Murad, Executive Director of DG Copyright Management , and Amy VonMacek, Director of Council Programs

    Ralph Sevush, David Faux, and guest Tonda Marton, literary agent and president of The Marton Agency, discuss international copyright and licensing practices and insight into international copyright treaties.

    Guest Speaker: Tonda Marton has been  running The Marton Agency since 1992 when she took over the agency that her aunt Elisabeth Marton founded in 1953.  She was born in Los Angeles and raised there and overseas.  Tonda has a BA from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and an MFA in stage directing from UCLA.  Because of her nomadic childhood, she speaks French, Spanish, Italian, and German which has often proved useful in selling plays and musicals overseas.

    The Marton Agency handles foreign language rights for American plays and musicals. They are a full-service agency for overseas producers and foreign literary agents.

    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 06, 2020

Sep 05, 2020

  • QUOTE

    Artist as CEO

     "Because of copyright I get to be the CEO of my own imagination." 

    "Copyright acknowledges the innate worth of an individual author’s voice...as distinctive as a thumb print or a strand of DNA. It’s a patent, if you will, on artistic expression."

    Doug Wright

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 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